May @theBar

Pictured above: Awardees at the 2017-2018 YLS Annual Meeting. Get your ticket for this year’s meeting now at 

Post authored by Jennifer Byrne

May kicked off with a celebration of Law Day, which is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law, which underscores how law and the legal process have contributed to the freedoms that all Americans share. The CBA’s celebration included a number of events hosted by the Young Lawyers Section, including a Call-a-Lawyer Day for the public hosted in conjunction with the Lawyer Referral Service, a Judge’s Reception for young lawyers to connect with members of the judiciary, and an outdoor celebration at Daley Plaza featuring performances by the CBA Chorus and remarks from several notables from Chicago’s legal community, including Justice Jesse Reyes. The American Bar Association’s Law Day theme for 2019 was “Free Speech, Free Press, Free Society.”  In keeping with that theme, the speakers discussed how these individual liberties, afforded to us by the First Amendment of the Constitution, form the foundation of our free society.

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Pictured from left to right: YLS Law Week Chair Nick Standiford, CBF President Carrie DiSanto, YLS First Vice Chair Octavio Duran, Keynote Speaker Justice Jesse Reyes, YLS Chair Brandon Peck and CBA Treasurer Timothy Tomasik, all of whom participated in our annual Law Day celebration at Daley Plaza on May 3.

It has also become a Law Week tradition to present the Liberty Bell Award to non-attorney member of the community who has done work to strengthen the American legal system. The honoree is selected by a committee comprised of CBA leaders and presidents of various local bar associations. This year, the award was presented to Marshan Allen, a Project Manager for the Restore Justice Foundation.  Marshan had received a life-without-parole sentence as a teen and spent more than 20 years in prison.  He used his time in prison to work on educational and rehabilitative programming and now advocates for statewide criminal justice reform.  He was nominated for the award by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Clare McWilliams and Illinois Appellate Judge Eileen O’Neill Burke for his participation in a new educational program for the Illinois Judges Association designed to raise awareness among young people about the personal and legal consequences of bad decision making. Click here for more information about Marshan Allen and his inspiring story.

Pictured from left to right: Judge Clare McWilliams, Liberty Bell Award Honoree Marshan Allen and YLS Chair Brandon Peck at the YLS Judge’s Reception on May 2.

Though it’s hard to believe, we’re closing in on the official end of the 2018-2019 bar year, and the YLS Annual Meeting is on the horizon.  This year’s meeting will take place on June 5 at Wildfire Chicago (159 W. Erie).  The annual meeting is a great opportunity for young lawyers d to meet active Section members and learn how to get more involved in the Association. The outgoing YLS Chair, Brandon Peck of Peck Ritchey LLP, will preside over the meeting and celebrate the Section’s many accomplishments and outstanding committees, seminars and special projects. Incoming Chair, Octavio Duran of Hart David Carson LLP, will be introduced and give a preview of what he has planned for the year. A reception will take place at 11:30a.m., followed by the luncheon at 12:00p.m. Click here to order your ticket now.

The YLS is pleased to be honoring the following individuals for their service to the Section during the 2019-2019 bar year at this year’s annual meeting:

David C. Hilliard Award For Outstanding Committee Service 

YLS Estate Planning Committee

Patrick Bushell, Peck Ritchey, LLC

Maureen Loughran, FMS Law Group, LLC

Bridget Byrne, Goldman Sachs

Milton H. Gray Award For Outstanding Project Leadership

Joe Busnengo, Miles & Gurney, LLC

John Festa, Law Offices of John Phillip Festa, LLC

Rising Star Award For a Leader with Exceptional Promise

Kenneth Matuszewski, Rabicoff Law, LLC

WINGS Logo High Res

Throughout the month of May, the YLS will be raising awareness and funds for survivors of domestic violence.  Members of Chicago’s legal community are asked to make a minimum donation of $25 to the WINGS Program, a local nonprofit agency which aims to provide a pathway to independence for adults and children who are escaping from domestic violence and abuse.  Donations can be made using the fundraiser’s GoFundMe page by clicking here. On June 6, the fundraiser will culminate with a “Walk for Survivors” during which participants will walk one mile through Chicago’s Loop. The walk will kick-off at Daley Plaza and end with a social at Joy District Chicago (112 W Hubbard St). Walkers are encouraged to RSVP in advance to and to make the suggested minimum donation of $25.

Finally, if you are a young lawyer member of the CBA (i.e. law student member or member within your first 10 years of practice), now is the time to indicate your interest in committee leadership. The YLS Executive Council is currently seeking new leadership for several of the Section’s practice-area committees.  Please email me at if you’re interested or would like to learn more.

I hope to see you this May @theBar!

Best wishes,

jen sig

Jennifer Byrne


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