By Mark E. Furlane
Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Welcome to the 2014-15 year of the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, recently recognized by the National FBA as “Chapter of the Year” for our outstanding programming and other activities. There is a lot to be enthusiastic about in the coming year and I am delighted and honored to serve as Chicago Chapter President. As Chicago Chapter President I plan to focus on membership growth and the role of our committees in building on our Chapter’s past successes, so that the Chicago Chapter will continue to play an important role in the Chicago federal legal community.
The Chicago Chapter has approximately 500 members. Our board of directors and past presidents include many of the District Court and Magistrate Judges of the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division and sitting Judges of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Our membership is involved in nearly all aspects of federal practice in the Northern District, and includes federal, state, and administrative law judges, and private and government practitioners. The Chicago Chapter has taken a leading role in championing issues important to the federal courts and legal community in the Northern District.
Our award-winning Chapter has always provided rewarding and cutting edge educational programs, enriched through the active involvement of our federal bench in our Chapter activities and governance. The Chapter’s program offerings include a wide variety of legal topics by members of the federal judiciary, private practitioners, professors, and other well-known speakers, usually providing CLE credit for participation. We offer some programs free of charge to members, such as our annual Ethics Program. We also provide social and community programs to serve the federal legal community in the Chicago area, including our always well attended Holiday Party, our endowed Michael Lefkow fellowship program, and our regular monthly chambers lunches with the judges of the Northern District.
This year we are establishing several new committees for both our existing and new members. Our Younger Lawyers and Law Schools and Law Students Committees are dedicated to serving the needs of newer and future lawyers. Chicago Chapter practice and service committees include the Federal Career Service, Corporate and Association Counsel, Immigration Law, Labor & Employment Law, Public Service and Mentoring, and the Awards and Pro Bono committees. We are also proud of our role with the Federal Court in promoting pro bono work in the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and our community service projects. This year we will focus on assisting the court’s reentry program.
We hope you will join the Chicago Chapter if you are not already a member. We welcome your participation and encourage you to get involved. Our committees will grow and flourish with the contributions of your active involvement.
In addition to increasing our membership, our focused committees will serve to strengthen our ties to the national Federal Bar Association, which is an important federal policy shaping organization influencing legislation and rules, and practice in the federal courts. I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events or committee meetings.
If you have any questions or would like information on joining our chapter or a committee, please either call me at (312) 569-1332 or email me.