The Chicago Bar Association 150th Celebration

CBA Honors Robert A. Clifford with Inaugural Champion of Justice Award By Terrence M. Murphy, CBA Executive Director Emeritus

A t the 2023 Annual Meeting, Immediate Past President Timo thy S. Tomasik announced that Robert A. Clifford would receive the inaugural Champion of Justice Award at the CBA’s 150 th Anniversary Celebration. As Co-Chair of the 150 th Anniversary Committee, I am proud that the CBA has created this annual award in Clif ford’s name. This new award honors CBA members whose integrity, character, trial advocacy skills, length of professional experience, and dedication to preserving judicial independence reflect the highest ideals and standards of the legal profession. The CBA's President and members of the Executive Committee will serve as mem bers of the Award Committee. The Robert A. Clifford Champion of Justice Award will be presented for the first time to its namesake at the Associa tion's 150 th anniversary celebration. In future years it will be presented at the CBA Annual Meeting. The honoree has a stellar career and legacy of service to the Association, to the legal profession, and to numerous chari table and educational institutions and the community. Since graduating from DePaul Uni versity's College of Law in 1976, Clifford has been actively engaged in the work of the Association. He has served on numer ous committees, the Board of Managers, as a member of the Executive Committee, and as President during the 2011-2012 bar year. During his presidency, Clifford focused on many of the important issues facing the legal profession and the public, including legal education; federal funding for local, state, and national legal service

Justice Michael A. Bilandic: “I'll never forget Justice Bilandic’s words. ‘None of us succeeded on our own, and I have stood on the shoulders of many whose help and friendship has been invaluable.’” Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz: “If I hadn't been extended a helping hand, I'd have wound up a punch-drunk prize fighter instead of a federal judge. The only thing a person can do by himself/herself is fail. My mother instilled in us the neces sity of doing a mitzvah, a good deed for people, every day.” Clifford is highly regarded in Chicago, throughout Illinois, and beyond, as one of America's most talented and successful trial lawyers. He has been recognized as one of the “Best of the Best” trial lawyers in national and international legal com munities. Indeed, Clifford is what many people call a “universal donor.” He and his wife, Joan, are a lifelong team, and together they have made the CBA and numerous other organizations better because of their leadership and generosity. Goethe perhaps said it best, “Who would be great must concentrate their powers, must work within the limits of their art; and it is the law alone that can give us freedom.” This honor will remind all of us that we too can make a difference if we care and if we can get others to care as well. The Champion of Justice Award is a fit ting tribute to Clifford’s lifelong commit ment to the CBA and to America’s legal profession. On behalf of myself, President Ray Koenig, the Executive Committee, the Board of Managers, and the Associa tion’s entire membership, we say, “Thank you, Bob, thank you very much!”

organizations; judicial disqualification and the preservation of Judicial Indepen dence; reengineering Illinois courts; law practice management; and mentoring. The latter topic is particularly impor tant to Clifford; in one of his president's columns entitled “The Gift of Mentor ing,” he referenced several Chicago lawyers and judges who were his lifelong mentors and friends. Clifford attributed much of his success to the training, guidance, and friendship he shared with them. His men tors included some of the best lawyers in Chicago, including trial lawyer and CBA past President Philip H. Corboy; Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice and former Chicago Mayor Michael A. Bilandic; and United States District Court Judge Abra ham Lincoln Marovitz. In that column, Clifford memorialized the role that each of these mentors played in his career: Philip H. Corboy: “I learned a great deal about the law, trial work, and life from Phil, who became my mentor and lifelong friend.”

Made with FlippingBook Ebook Creator