|Marc S. Firestone (President and Chair)
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Philip Morris International, Inc.
Marc Firestone is Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Philip Morris International, Inc. Before joining Philip Morris in 2012, Marc was Executive Vice President, Corporate and Legal Affairs and General Counsel of Kraft Foods Inc., where he served since 2003. From 1988 to 2003, Marc held numerous positions in the law departments of Philip Morris Companies Inc. and Philip Morris International Inc., lastly as Senior Vice President & General Counsel of PMI. Marc started his legal career as an attorney at Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC.
Marc received a BA, magna cum laude, in Romance Languages and Philosophy from Washington & Lee University and a JD, magna cum laude, from Tulane University School of Law.
Marc is a co-founder and the chairman of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession; Adjunct Professor of Law at New York Law School; a frequent speaker on international antitrust law, diversity and in-house legal practice; and a recipient of the Director's Roundtable Distinguished General Counsel award.
|Stuart A. Alderoty
Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel
HSBC North America Holdings Inc.
Stuart Alderoty is Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel of HSBC North America Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc, one of the world's largest banking and financial services organizations. In this role, he serves as the head of the legal function for HSBC - North America.
Prior to joining HSBC, Stuart served as Chief Litigation Counsel/Managing Counsel with American Express. In that role, he managed a broad team that was responsible for American Express' litigation and legal issues related to privacy, insurance, consumer cards, and global advertising and brand management. Prior to joining American Express in 2002, Stuart was a litigator in private practice for 17 years, the last 13 of which with the LeBoeuf law firm where he was a partner since 1996.
Stuart serves on the Board of the Count Basie Theatre Foundation, a not-for-profit community arts center in Red Bank, New Jersey.
He earned a bachelor's degree from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and is a graduate of Rutgers Law School - Newark.
|Lawrence R. Baca
Lawrence Baca, a Pawnee Indian, is President of the Federal Bar Association. Formerly a Deputy Director of the Office of Tribal Justice, United States Department of Justice, during his 32 years with the Department he also served as a Senior Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division. On the occasion of his retirement, February 1, 2009, he was presented the Attorney General's Medallion, the highest award the Attorney General can present to a retiring employee. The award has only been presented seven times in the past decade. Baca was the leading proponent on behalf of the civil rights of American Indians in the Civil Rights Division for 32 years. His civil rights work on behalf of American Indians in the areas of Credit, Voting Rights and Education was groundbreaking. The Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights has said that Mr. Baca filed more civil rights cases on behalf of American Indian victims than any other attorney in the history of the Civil Rights Division.
A 1976 graduate of Harvard Law School, Baca was one of the first American Indians to graduate from Harvard. He was the first American Indian ever hired through the Department of Justice's Honor Law Program. In 1973, Baca received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in "American Indian History and Culture" from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he also taught two courses on Indian issues during his senior year. In 1974, while attending law school, he was a Harvard Teaching Fellow at Harvard University and, in 1976, he taught a course entitled "Perspectives On The Historical Development of American Indian Policy and Law" at the Harvard University Extension School. He was an Adjunct Professorial Lecturer teaching Federal Indian Law at American University Washington College of Law in 2004 and 2005. He initiated the course in Federal Indian Law at Howard University School of Law in 2007.
Professor of Law and Co-Director, Center for Professional Values and Practice
New York Law School
Elizabeth Chambliss is Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Center for Professional Values and Practice at New York Law School. Her research focuses on the management and regulation of large law firms and the dynamics of gender and race integration in the legal profession. Her most recent work examines the expanding role of law firm general counsel, and the implications of professional risk management for law firm culture. She also has served as the reporter for the American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession and the New York State Bar Association Committee on Minorities in the Profession. Professor Chambliss received her J.D. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining New York Law School, she was Research Director of the Program on the Legal Profession at Harvard Law School.
|Brian W. Duwe
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP
Brian W. Duwe leads Skadden's Chicago office and concentrates his practice in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, and general corporate and securities matters. Mr. Duwe has represented buyers, sellers and their financial advisors in a wide variety of transactions, including negotiated and contested public acquisitions, private acquisitions and divestitures, management buyouts, restructurings, spin-offs, and joint ventures and other strategic alliances. He also has counseled issuers, selling shareholders and investment banks in public offerings and private placements of debt and equity securities.
In addition, Mr. Duwe advises clients regarding general corporate and securities matters, including securities law compliance, corporate governance issues, disclosure issues, stock repurchase programs, shareholder agreements, severance arrangements and proxy contests. He has counseled numerous clients regarding shareholder activism, the implementation of shareholder rights plans and other corporate control matters.
Mr. Duwe's clients have included, among others, Abbott Laboratories; Ball Corporation; CF Industries Holdings, Inc.; Deere and Company; Exelon Corporation; Guidant Corporation; Hartmarx Corporation; Pactiv Corporation; Sara Lee Corporation; Solo Cup Company; Steelcase, Inc.; Stryker Corporation; Suros Surgical Systems; Unitrin, Inc.; US BioEnergy Corporation; U.S. Can Corporation; and VeraSun Energy Corporation.
Among his various M&A representations, in 2010 Mr. Duwe represented CF Industries Holdings, Inc. in its unsolicited $4.7 billion acquisition of Terra Industries and simultaneous defense of a hostile offer by Agrium, Inc. In its inaugural issue on innovative lawyers in the United States, the Financial Times recognized the deal as the most innovative M&A transaction in 2010.
Mr. Duwe also has represented financial advisors and underwriters in various securities offerings and M&A transactions.
Mr. Duwe lectures from time to time on corporate and securities law topics. He repeatedly has been selected in the Mergers & Acquisitions Law section of The Best Lawyers in America and included in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2011.
|Elisa D. Garcia C.
Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
Elisa D. Garcia C. was named Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary in July 2007. She has been an attorney for over 25 years. Prior to joining Office Depot, she served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary for Domino's Pizza, Inc. in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Earlier in her career, she served as Latin American Regional Counsel for Philip Morris International and Corporate Counsel for GAF Corporation. She began her legal career as a corporate associate with Willkie, Farr & Gallagher in New York.
Elisa is a graduate of the St. John's University School of Law in New York, and also received a joint BA/MS in Political Science and Management and Policy Sciences from W. Averell Harriman College, State University of New York at Stony Brook. Her memberships include the Association of Corporate Counsel and the National Hispanic Society of MBAs. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.
|Kim D. Hogrefe
Senior Vice President and Senior Specialty Claim Officer
Chubb & Son
Kim D. Hogrefe is a Senior Vice President of Chubb & Son. He is the Senior Specialty Claim Officer of Chubb's Claim Department, with responsibility for claims of the highest complexity and financial exposure.
Kim joined Chubb in 1986 after nine years experience as a trial attorney, supervisor and administrator in the New York County District Attorney's Office. He is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
He is a member of the American Bar Association and served from 2006 to 2009 on its Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. He was elected and served for three years as a member of the governing Council of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (TIPS) of the American Bar Association. He was Co-Chair of the Professionals' Officers' and Directors' Liability Committee of TIPS. He was also the Chair of the Directors' and Officers' subcommittee of the Insurance Law Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.
Kim is a frequent speaker on the topic of Directors' and Officers' liability claim handling and related issues. He has made presentations at National and Regional RIMS, PLUS, the Stanford Law School Directors' College and various bar associations. He is the co-author of an article on D&O claim management published in 1997 by Risk Management Society Publishing, Inc. and a 1998 article on utilization of damage analysis in the settlement of securities class action claims.
|Floyd Holloway, Jr.
State Farm Insurance Companies
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Floyd Holloway received his B.A. degree in political theory and American government from Georgetown University College of Arts and Sciences in Washington, D.C., and his law degree (J.D.) from the Georgetown University Law Center. Floyd is Counsel in the Corporate Law Department. His responsibilities include legislative and regulatory monitoring and advocacy for the Company's New York operations. He also provides and coordinates advice and counsel on compliance issues and others matters in the State.
Mr. Holloway began his career with State Farm in 1989 as a specialist in complex casualty claims and environmental coverage. He joined the Legal Department of the Fire & Casualty Company's General Claims Division in 1993, where he served as coverage counsel and was appointed to the Board of Governors of the Insurance Environmental Litigation Association. In 1995, he transferred into the Corporate Law Department, and assumed his current position as counsel in 2000. In the past he has served as State Farm's year 2000 Counsel, and has provided advice on a variety of technology-related issues, including the development and deployment of the Companies' Intranet and security infrastructure.
In addition to his legislative and regulatory responsibilities, Floyd manages the Corporate Law Department's Legislative Services Unit, which, among other things, provides support to the general departments and the network of state counsel responsible for legislative and regulatory affairs. He also manages office support operations for the Corporate Law Satellite Office in the Northeast Zone. Floyd is a past participant in the Northeast Zone's Enterprise Development Group, and served as the Northeast Zone Diversity Coordinator from 2003 - 2005.
Floyd is the past chairman of the New York Insurance Association (NYIA) (2003-2005). He remains active in the Association's governance and strategic planning process, serving on the NYIA Board; and in the management of public policy initiatives as chairman of the PAC Committee and the Automobile Insurance subcommittee. He is also a participating member on NYIA's legal, legislative and education and planning committees.
Mr. Holloway is a past chair of the American Bar Association's Minority Counsel Program, a constituent project of the ABA Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. He was appointed Commissioner 2001, serving three consecutive terms through 2004. He is also an active member of the Tort Trial and Insurance Practices Section (TIPS) of the ABA where he currently serves as vice-chair of the Corporate Counsel Committee, and participates in the Section's Diversity Task Force. Floyd's previous assignments within TIPS include service on the Property Insurance and Emerging Issues Committees, and the TIPS Committee on Women and Minority Involvement.
|Sharon E. Jones
Jones Diversity Group
Sharon is a lawyer by training and a consultant specializing in providing diversity/inclusion strategic consulting and training to leaders of law firms, corporations, government and not for profit organizations. She is the President of Jones Diversity Group LLC. Her firm's broad range of services enables organizations to fully utilize, retain and promote women and racial and ethnic minorities into leadership roles as well as create inclusive workplace cultures.
Jones Diversity Group conducts assessments of law firm cultures with respect to diversity and inclusion; provides diversity and inclusion training/education, mentoring program design and training; management leadership coaching around issues of diversity and inclusion and strategic plan design and implementation. Sharon's work with Jones Diversity Group is national in focus but has involved work with global entities. She is a regular speaker at conferences within the legal profession, including partners' retreats; women's and minority retreats, and bar association diversity conferences.
Sharon has practiced law and been a community leader over a 20 year career, including positions as a federal prosecutor, with major law firms and with Fortune 500 Corporations. She has been highly successful as a litigator, strategist, manager, counselor, an educator and a problem-solver with regard to extremely complex and sensitive matters.
From 1985-1989, Sharon served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, based in Chicago, where she conducted federal grand jury investigations and trials in high profile white-collar criminal cases. In private law practice, she was a partner at Bird, Marella, Boxer, Wolpert & Matz in Los Angeles. In addition to her litigation practice, she was responsible for all in-house continuing legal education, as well as being an adviser to clients on a variety of employment and workplace harassment issues. She was Of Counsel at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe in Los Angeles, where she created and implemented its litigation training as well as firm-wide orientation training and evaluation programs. Sharon has taught Trial Advocacy, both as an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern Law School and at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.
In the corporate sector, Sharon managed litigation matters worldwide for Abbott Laboratories, as well as advising senior management in matters of crisis management and in fashioning creative solutions to highly complex business issues. Most recently, Sharon acted as Senior Counsel at SBC Communications (now AT&T).
From 2000-2001, Sharon served as Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association Private Antitrust Litigation Committee and from 1994-1995, she was Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association West Coast Committee of White Collar Crimes. She is a co-author of two bar association reports providing consulting advice to Los Angeles County: The City in Crisis - A Report by the Special Advisor to the Board of Police Commissioners on the Civil Disorder in Los Angeles (October 1992) and Report of the Los Angeles County Bar Association Advisory Committee for the Office of the District Attorney (September 1994).
Sharon was Counsel of Record in the amicus curiae briefs filed in the United States Supreme Court in 2003 and 2006 by the Black Women Lawyers Association of Chicago in Grutter v. Bollinger and the University of Michigan in support of diversity in higher education and in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District supporting the right to voluntarily desegregate public schools.
Sharon is a past President and co-founder of the Black Women Lawyers Association of Chicago. While Program Chair she created the innovative monthly BWLA Roundtable luncheon series designed to increase mentoring and networking opportunities for its members. Sharon is currently on the Board of Directors for the Women Employed. She also served as a consultant to the ABA General Counsel Steering Committee to the Minority Counsel Program. She is a past Chair of the Chicago Bar Association Committee on Racial & Ethnic Diversity and was instrumental in the 2006 adoption of the Chicago Bar Association's Diversity Initiative and Commitments on Racial & Ethnic Diversity for law firms and corporate legal departments. Sharon is the First Vice President of the Harvard Law School Alumni Association and will become its President in June 2010. She is an alumnus of Leadership Greater Chicago.
Sharon has received numerous awards including most recently the Black Women Lawyers Association of Chicago's Woman of Vision Award (2006); Chicago Bar Association's Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges Award (2008); and the Young Women's Leadership Charter School's Industry Leader Award (2008). She is co-founder of the Association of Black Radcliffe Women (1975) and Black Women Lawyers Association of Chicago (1986); two organizations which continue to thrive.
Sharon is a co-author of a guide published by the American Bar Association in May 2004 entitled, "Walking the Talk: Creating a Law Firm Culture Where Women Succeed" which deals with the retention and promotion of women in law firms.
Sharon is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard College.
|John H. Mathias, Jr.
Jenner & Block LLP
John H. Mathias, Jr. is a partner in the law firm of Jenner & Block. He is a senior member of its Litigation Department and Chair of the firm's nationally prominent Insurance Litigation and Counseling Practice. He is a veteran trial lawyer concentrating on business litigation with particular emphasis upon insurance coverage litigation, reinsurance arbitrations, class actions, directors and officers litigation, and professional liability litigation. He has co-authored over twenty legal publications, including Insurance Coverage Disputes (Law Journal Press 1996) and Directors and Officers Liability: Prevention, Insurance and Indemnification (Law Journal Press 2000).
John is a member of the Illinois Capital Litigation Trial Bar and frequently provides pro bono representation to indigent defendants in death penalty cases at both trial and appellate levels. He is currently national Chair of the American Bar Association's Death Penalty Representation Project.
John also serves on the boards of Chicago Sinfonietta (the nation's most diverse symphony orchestra), The Latin School of Chicago, and the Dartmouth Lawyers Association. He is the immediate past President of the Harvard Law Society of Illinois, and he is currently President of the Association of Alumni of Dartmouth College.
John is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Dartmouth College (1969) and Harvard Law School (1972).
Willie J. Miller, Jr.
Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Corporate
Willie Miller joined Kraft Foods Global, Inc. in 2007 as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Corporate with responsibility for managing Kraft's corporate legal activities. Prior to joining Kraft, Willie was a partner in the Chicago law firm Vedder, Price, Kaufman & Kamholz, P.C. as a member of the firm's Financial Institutions and Finance and Transactions Groups. Before joining Vedder Price, Willie was in the legal department of LaSalle National Corporation for 25 years where for the last six years he served as Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer. In his capacity as Chief Legal Officer, Willie led and managed the corporation's legal department consisting of 65+ attorneys and over 30 administrative and paralegal staff. He was largely responsible for the transformation and growth of the bank's internal law department. As a member of the senior management team, Willie was involved in the strategic direction of LaSalle's growth throughout the Midwest.
Willie is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Leadership Council of Metropolitan Chicago. He is also a former member and past president of the Board of Education for Evanston Township High School. Mr. Miller is an inaugural recipient of the Chicago United Business Leaders of Color Award and is a current member of the Fellowship of African American Men.
Willie earned his B. S. from the University of Illinois in 1975 and his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1979.
Nam H. Paik
Partner and Chair, Diversity Committee North America
Baker & McKenzie
Nam Paik joined Baker & McKenzie in 1988. He is a widely-experienced lawyer advising multinational corporations and banks with respect to their investments worldwide. He primarily advises multinational corporations on a wide variety of legal issues, including corporate, commercial, cross-border, employment, dealership, litigation and foreign investment issues. Mr. Paik has worked on a variety of transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, restructuring projects, financings, leases, joint ventures, reorganizations, strategic alliances, and other business combinations and separations. He is the former Chair of the Firm's North American Diversity and Inclusion Oversight Committee.
Nam is active in several organizations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, the Hearing Board of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's Asian American Advisory Council. He was past President of the Korean American Bar Association as well as a member of the Advisory Council of the Committee for Democratic and Peaceful Unification of Korea. Nam served on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms, the Asian Human Services and the Korean American Community Services. Nam also was on the Board of Governors of the International Association of Korean Lawyers and was Chair of The Chicago Bar Association's YLS International Law and Practice Committee. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.
Nam is a graduate of Northwestern University (B.A., 1985) and Northwestern University School of Law (J.D., 1988). Mr. Paik was licensed to practice law in Illinois in 1988.
Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company
Mark Roellig is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, the parent company of a global, growth-oriented, diversified financial services organization, listed as number 101 in the Fortune’s ranking of America’s largest corporations with more than $440 billion in total assets under management at the end of the year 2011 headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts. He has been with MassMutual since 2005.
In his capacity as MassMutual’s General Counsel, Mr. Roellig is responsible for all the legal affairs of the Company and advises management and the board of directors to ensure that MassMutual complies with corporate-governance requirements and safeguards the interests of MassMutual’s policyholders. He is also responsible for the corporate secretary, corporate compliance, internal audit, government relations and the Corporate Administration and Real Estate and Facilities Departments of MassMutual.
In 2005 Mr. Roellig served as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Fisher Scientific International Inc. a global source of laboratory supplies and equipment, e-commerce procurement technology and related services for scientific research and healthcare. From 2002 to 2005, Mr. Roellig served as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary for Storage Technology Corporation ("StorageTek"), a data-storage-solution company. There, he held responsibility for all legal and public-policy issues and also supported the activities of the board of directors while simultaneously managing worldwide marketing and corporate strategy activities. Prior to joining Storage Technology, Mr. Roellig served in various legal positions with U S WEST Inc., where he ultimately became Executive Vice President of Public Policy, Human Resources and Law, Secretary and General Counsel. He began his career practicing civil litigation with the Seattle law firms of Reed, McClure, Moceri and Thonn and Perey and Smith.
Born in Michigan in 1955, Mr. Roellig received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan, then went on to earn his law degree from George Washington University and his M.B.A. from the University of Washington in Seattle. Mr. Roellig and his wife, Lisa, reside in Simsbury, Connecticut.
Michael J. Wagner
Baker & McKenzie LLP
Michael Wagner is the Chair of Baker & McKenzie’s North American Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Indust ry Group and the immediate past Chair of the Global Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Industry Group. He also leads Baker & McKenzie’s Product Liability, Safety and Recall Practice and is a senior member of the firm’s North American Litigation Practice Group. Michael concentrates his practice in commercial and tort litigation. He regularly represents global manufacturers as they confront mass tort and other litigation involving a wide range of products, from prescription medications to medical devices to food and other consumer products. He has tried numerous cases to verdict before juries. Michael regularly has primary counsel responsibility for the defense of commercial and product liability claims.
Drawing on his skills as a trial lawyer and his experience as a former journalist for the Associated Press, Michael coordinates internal investigations, advises corporations confronting major crises, and helps them manage those challenges by coordinating media responses, developing appropriate litigation strategies, and working closely with senior executives as they make critical decisions. He regularly assists companies in conducting national and international product recalls, meeting the challenges of highly publicized mass tort and commercial claims, and responding to product safety and data breach situations. In 2011, he advised Sony in responding to the widely reported data security breach allegedly involving more than 70 million customer accounts.
Michael was selected by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to serve as a stakeholder delegate to participate in the Third Biennial United States–China Consumer Product Safety Summit in Shanghai, Wuxi, and Beijing, China on October 21-26, 2009. The Summit included a series of direct discussions with senior representatives of AQSIQ, the CPSC’s counterpart agency in China.
Prior to joining Baker & McKenzie in 1983, Mr. Wagner served as a law clerk for the Honorable Fred J. Cassibry of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans. From 1981 to 1983, he was associated with the law firm of Jenner & Block.
Michael is a graduate of Northwestern University (B.S., 1978) and University of Wisconsin Law School (J.D., 1981).
|Thomas P. White
Schiff Hardin LLP
Thomas P. White concentrates his practice in trademark, licensing, copyright and general intellectual property law. His practice encompasses selection, registration and policing of U.S. and international trademarks; litigation and resolution of disputes involving trademarks, copyrights, software licenses and other intellectual property rights and agreements; structuring and negotiation of intellectual property transactions, including brand and technology licenses, consent agreements, development agreements and distribution agreements; negotiation of software agreements, including licenses and implementation agreements; advising clients on advertising rights and publicity rights; and intellectual property aspects of corporate transactions
Tom also directs his firm's trademark prosecution practice. He has substantial experience in general commercial litigation and dispute resolution. He is a member of his firm's Diversity Committee and its Subcommittee on Racial, Ethnic and National Origin. He co-chairs IILP’s Social Media Committee.
|James H. Wooten, Jr.
James H. Wooten, Jr. recently retired as the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Illinois Tool Works Inc., a Fortune 200 company with 16.2 billion dollars in revenues. James began his career with ITW in 1988 as a Senior Attorney providing legal counsel to the Company's decentralized business units around the world. He was elected to his current position in 2005 and is responsible for legal, environmental and safety, risk management and governmental affairs.
James was born in Chicago, Illinois, May 31, 1948. He earned his B.A. from the University of Illinois (Chicago Circle), 1978 and his J.D. from the University of Chicago, 1982. He is admitted to the Illinois Bar, 1982. Previously he practiced with Gardner, Carton & Douglas: Associate, 1982-1987;
James is a Member, American and Chicago Bar Associations, Executive Leadership Council, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the Association of Corporate Counsel, the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Junior Achievement. He is a Board member, Children Memorial Hospital, Goodwill Industries of Metropolitan Chicago, Congo Square Theatre Company, Window to the World Communications, Inc. (WWCI), University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).
|Hon. E. Kenneth Wright, Jr.
Presiding Judge, 1st Municipal District
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois
E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., the Presiding Judge of Municipal District 1 of the Cook County Circuit Court since 2003, is a former President of the Chicago Bar Association.
Judge Wright has distinguished himself as one of the most active and visible leaders of the Chicago legal community with roles in civic, judicial and bar association initiatives. A frequent speaker and prominent champion of accessibility to justice issues and legal outreach in Chicago, he currently serves as Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair of the Center for Conflict Resolution; on the Executive Committee of the Municipal District Presiding Judges Committee; on the Judges Mentoring Program; and on the Board of the Chicago Urban Day School. He is also a member of the Senior Review Board for the Guardianship Reform Project.
A frequent guest on Chicago-area legal affairs programs he has most recently appeared on CAN-TV's "Hotline 21," the Illinois State Bar Association's cable TV program; WBBM's "Morning News;" PBS Channel 11's "Chicago Tonight;" and CLTV News. He is a frequent lecturer and speaker at Chicago colleges and universities and at professional events and is the author of "The Other Shoe Drops," published in 2006.
He has been honored with numerous awards including the 2006 Vanguard Award of the CBA, presented to outstanding minority lawyers and judges; the 2007 Judge of the Year Award from the Illinois Commission for Honest Government; the Man of the Year Award from the Sweet Holy Spirit Full Gospel Baptist Church; the 2005 Dog Advisory Walk Group Award for community service on behalf of animals and pet owners; and the Gavel Award presented by the African American Employees Committee of the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court in 2005. In 2004, he was named by the Center for Conflict Resolution one its "25 Most Influential People." He also was honored with the 2003 Chairperson Award from the Illinois Judicial Council.
Before taking the bench in 1994, the year he was appointed to the Cook County Circuit Court, he ran a solo practice in Chicago and served as a guardian ad litem in the Probate Division of the Circuit Court.
|Sandra S. Yamate
Chief Executive Officer
The Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession
Sandra S. Yamate is the CEO of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession. Previously, she spent ten years as the Director of the American Bar Association's Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession. She was the first Executive Director of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms. Prior to that, Sandra was a litigator in Chicago for ten years.
Outside the legal profession, Sandra is best known for her interest in multicultural children's literature. She and her husband are the founders of Polychrome Publishing Corporation, the only company in the country dedicated to producing children's books by and about Asian Americans. Sandra authored Polychrome's first two books, Char Siu Bao Boy and Ashok By Any Other Name. Polychrome books have been described as exemplary examples of anti-bias children's literature by Teaching Tolerance Magazine, a publication of the Southern Poverty Law Institute, and are included in the Anti-Defamation League's World of Difference Program bibliography of recommended children's books.
Sandra was a founding member of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, where she served as the first Central Region Governor. She is a former president of the Japanese American Service Committee, the oldest Asian American social service agency in the Midwest and the Harvard Law Society of Illinois. She is a former member of the boards of the Japanese American Citizens League, the Asian American Institute, the National Women's Political Caucus of Metropolitan Chicago, the Girl Scouts of Chicago, Friends of the Chicago Public Library, the Asian Pacific American Women's Leadership Institute, and Asian Americans for Inclusive Education. She has written and spoken extensively on diversity in the legal profession and on multicultural children's literature.
Sandra earned her AB in Political Science (cum laude) and History (magna cum laude) from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She received her JD from Harvard Law School.