The Chicago Bar Association 150th Celebration

Pro Bono Week (later emulated by the American Bar Association), capped by a pro bono fair that matches dozens of organizations with Chicago lawyers looking to volunteer in the community. Aurora Abello-Austriaco (2012-13) became the first Asian American to serve as CBA President. Ray J. Koenig III (2023-24) made history as the first openly gay leader of the organization. Unique Programs and Events Lawyers for Lend-A-Hand to Youth (LLAH) was created by Thomas Demetrio (1992-93) and, in support of it, Lifting for Lend-A-Hand was popularized by Dan Cotter (2014-15), who has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in sponsored lifts for programs to help mentor and tutor children throughout the city. In 2021, Cotter was recognized with LLAH’s inaugural “My Hero” Award. Cotter’s presidential year also marked the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, which the CBA commemorated by sponsoring educational and celebra tory events. Other unique events during this era of the CBA’s history include hosting representatives from the World City Bar Asso ciation in 2018 under the leadership of President Steven M. Elrod (2018-19) and the first-ever program in 2019 that spon sored the General Counsels of Chicago professional sports teams – including the Cubs, White Sox, Bulls, and the U.S. Soccer Federation. Elrod’s successor, Judge Thomas R. Mulroy (ret.) (2017-18), sponsored a conference, “A Lawyer’s Call to Action,” where 20 service organizations from violence-ridden communi ties presented their legal needs to 100 volunteer lawyers who later assisted with free legal help. Mulroy also sponsored a fundraiser for victims of two hurricanes (Irma and Maria) that struck Puerto Rico in 2017. Education and Entertainment The year 2000 marked the founding of the CBA Barristers Big Band by members who share a love of big band jazz. The group, which includes members from every type of law practice as well as law students and judges, includes numerous vocalists and musi cians who play brass, rhythm instruments, and more. For the past 19 years, the group has been holding an annual benefit that raises money for the CBA musical ensembles including the CBA Sym phony Orchestra and the CBA Chorus. Education combined with travel when Kevin Durkin (2006-07), a partner at Clifford Law Offices, held the inaugural international CLE Abroad trip to Dublin, Ireland. The tradition has continued

over the years to Italy, England, Paris, Jerusalem, and elsewhere. In 2016 the CBA built a video studio for the organization and members to create their own videos and podcasts under the guid ance of CBA President Daniel M. Kotin (2016-17). A Touching Goodbye A significant event during this era was the retirement of CBA Executive Director Terry Murphy in 2020 after 49 years with the Association. He will be remembered through the Terrence M. Murphy Impact Award given each year by the Young Lawyers Sec tion to a leader who has made a substantial impact on the YLS. Murphy was just the fifth person to hold that position, but the transition to current Executive Director Beth McMeen was seam less, given her many years of experience with the organization. Staying Relevant Throughout its history, the CBA has stayed on top of areas of developing law, including the formation in 2015 of new commit tees on mindfulness, trial practice, and the creative arts. Under the leadership of Daniel Kotin (2016-17), an anti-violence com mittee and task force was formed. In 2018, the CBA formed sev eral new committees focused on Well-Being and Mindfulness, Financial and Emerging Technology, and Business Divorce and Complex Ownership Disputes (addressing shareholders rights, deadlocks, freeze-outs, and other contests for corporate control). Its founding chair, John C. Sciaccotta of Aronberg Goldgehn Davis & Garmisa, is slated to become CBA President in 2024-25. The impact of artificial intelligence in all areas of life, as well as the legal profession, is in its early stages. However, as this era of the CBA draws to a close, the Association has demonstrated its commitment and capability to stay relevant throughout its 150 year history by supporting lawyers as individuals, by advancing the law as a profession, and by serving communities and society as a whole, no matter what the challenges. As Mister Rogers said, “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” For the CBA, it’s only just beginning.

Pamela Sakowicz Menaker is a Communica tions Partner at Clifford Law Offices, former CBA Board of Managers member, and member of the CBA Record Editorial Board.

The CBA Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will perform a concert on June 1 at 7:30 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Cathedral (Wabash & Huron) to celebrate the CBA’s 150th Anniversary. Performance will include works from Rossini, Mendelssohn, and Beethoven. Tickets are now on sale at HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CBA!

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