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Vincent F. Cornelius
Vincent F. Cornelius
Vincent F. Cornelius was installed as president of the 32,000-member Illinois State Bar Association on June 17, 2016. The installation took place at the association's 140th Annual Meeting at the Westin O'Hare in Rosemont. Cornelius is the Principal in the Law Office of Vincent F. Cornelius with offices in Joliet and Wheaton. He is the 140th ISBA president, and the first African American to lead the association as president. View pictures from the installation at

A major focus of Cornelius' year as president will be the future of young lawyers. Cornelius has ambitions for a collaboration with Illinois law schools and law school deans, the Illinois Supreme Court, the American Bar Association, and others to prepare young lawyers for the profession. As a small-firm attorney, Cornelius understands the concerns of his peers, including solo practitioners, and he plans to address their issues as well.

The ISBA Annual Meeting featured programming from the association's Solo and Small Firm Conference. Cornelius will also focus on offering assistance for small-firm members through enhanced Law Practice Management Resources.

Cornelius will also highlight diversity and inclusion in the profession, and the issue of implicit bias.

The following vacancies were filled at the Board of Governors meeting on June 18, 2016 at the Westin O'Hare in Rosemont during the 140th Annual Meeting.

(The number of vacancies is noted in parentheses)

Cook County

  • Cory White, Chicago

2nd Circuit / 13th Circuit / 17th Circuit / Cook
2nd Circuit (1)

  • James Ruppert, Mount Vernon

13th Circuit (1)

  • James Reilly, Streator

17th Circuit (1)

  • Marishonta Wilkerson, Rockford

Cook County (1)

  • Edward Burt, Chicago

Outside Cook County

  • Chantelle Porter, Lombard

Lois Wood
Lois Wood
J. William Lucco
J. William Lucco
Join the Fellows of the Illinois Bar Foundation for the Metro East Fellows Reception on Thursday, July 21 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel, 1000 Eastport Plaza Drive, Collinsville, IL 62234.

The event, presented by Russell K. Scott, Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., will honor attorneys J. William Lucco (Lucco, Brown, Threlkeld & Dawson, LLP) and Lois Wood (Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation) for their leadership and dedication to the law.

ISBA Director of Legislative Affairs Jim Covington reviews legislation in Springfield of interest to ISBA members. This week he covers Personal Information Protection Act (Public Act 99-503), Cell site simulator device (Senate Bill 2343), Mechanics Lien Act (Senate Bill 2450), Predatory lending database program (Senate Bill 2677), and Condominium and Common Interest Community Ombudsperson Act. (House Bill 4658). More information on each bill is available below the video.

Personal Information Protection Act. Public Act 99-503 (Biss, D-Skokie; Williams, D-Chicago) makes the following changes to the existing Act.

(1) Expands the definition of protected “personal information” to include a person’s first name or first initial and the last name that are encrypted or redacted but the unlocking keys have been breached to allow one of several “data elements” to be unlawfully acquired. 

ARDC Litigation Manager & Senior Counsel Melissa Smart discusses the ethical pitfalls of online reputation management.

Albert E. Durkin
Albert E. Durkin
Angelica Wawrzynek
Angelica Wawrzynek
The Illinois State Bar Association's Board of Governors elected a new secretary and treasurer at its meeting June 18 in Rosemont. President Vincent F. Cornelius held the Board's organizational meeting in conjunction with the Annual Meeting.

Angelica W. Wawrzynek, of Mattoon, will serve as treasurer. She is an associate at Tapella & Eberspacher LLC. She focuses primarily on civil litigation and especially personal injury cases. In 2012, Wawrzynek received the ECIWAA Award for Service to the Community and the following year she was honored with the ISBA Young Lawyer of the Year Award. She graduated cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law.

Albert E. Durkin, of Chicago, was elected secretary. Durkin is the managing partner and founding member of Miroballi Durkin & Rudin, LLC in Chicago, Illinois. He has over 35 years of experience as an active personal injury litigator. He is a 1977 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will receive the 2016 Distinguished Award for Excellence from the Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF) at the organization’s 18th annual black-tie Gala on Friday evening, October 14, at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Place, Chicago. The event begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30, followed by dinner and dancing. The IBF is the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association.

Attorney General Madigan became the first woman elected to serve as the Illinois Attorney General and one of only a handful of female Attorneys General in the country when she was elected to the position in 2002. In 2014, she was elected to her fourth term and is now the senior-most female Attorney General.

Attorney General Madigan has brought a high level of activism to the Office of Illinois Attorney General. She has demonstrated principled leadership, putting policy before politics and focusing her work as the state’s top legal advocate on protecting the people and communities of Illinois.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis has begun an application process for a vacancy in the Third Judicial Subcircuit of Cook County.

The vacancy is created by the upcoming retirement of Cook County Circuit Judge Maureen Leahy Delehanty. Judge Delehanty has been a judge since 2009 and is set to retire on July 31, 2016.

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced that the 21st Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Joann I. Drew as an associate judge of the Twenty-First Judicial Circuit.

Ms. Drew received her undergraduate degree in 1975 from Illinois State University, Normal, IL, and her Juris Doctor in 1982 from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA. Ms. Drew is currently affiliated with the Kankakee County Public Defender's Office in Kankakee, IL.

Looking out the windows of his 7th floor corner office in downtown Joliet, ISBA President Vincent F. Cornelius is surrounded by his roots.

Cornelius can stand in one spot and point to Washington Junior High School, which he attended and where his mother taught for 34 years; out another window is the former location of Joliet Catholic High School, where he graduated in 1982 and which has since merged with sister school Saint Francis Academy; and at a slightly different angle is the University of Saint Francis, where he graduated in 1986 as an Academic All-American basketball player.

Cornelius - whose agenda as ISBA president includes working to brighten the future of young lawyers, advocating for diversity and inclusion in the profession, and offering relevant continuing legal education for small-firm members - says he once set foot in his office when it housed another firm and had his eyes on it for awhile.

"I wanted this suite because the space and all of [the surroundings] meant so much to me," he says. "I can kind of walk all around my suite here and see all over town - the neighborhoods that I lived in, the memories that I had."

Read more about President Cornelius and his plans for the coming bar year in the July Illinois Bar Journal.