On October 25, 2023, the Federal Bar Association’s Chicago Chapter convened its 2023 annual meeting at the Union League Club, drawing more than 260 judges and other legal professionals. The event was emblematic of the Chicago Chapter growth, resilience, and unwavering commitment of its members. Integral to the event was the election and installation of the officers and directors for the 2023-2024 year.
Annually, this occasion attracts federal judges and legal practitioners from Chicago and its surrounding areas. Mayor Brandon Johnson opened the event with welcome remarks, while the Hon. Diane S. Sykes, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, delivered the keynote address. The FBA boasts over 14,000 members spanning 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The Chicago Chapter alone comprises more than 600 members.
Mayor Brandon Johnson Welcomes Attendees to the 2023 Annual Meeting
As the event’s proceedings got underway, Mayor Brandon Johnson, Chicago’s 57th Mayor, took to the podium. Drawing from his years in education, Mayor Johnson emphasized the indelible mark such experiences leave on shaping leadership. His tenure at both the Jenner Academy in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood and Westinghouse College Prep on the West Side afforded him an intimate understanding of urban challenges, ranging from school closures to the devastating ripple effects of gun violence. “There’s no better position to prepare someone to run the City of Chicago than teaching in middle school in the Chicago Public Schools,” remarked Mayor Johnson.
Jones Day Anti-Human Trafficking Team and Poonam Lakhani Receive the Kathryn Smith Matkov Award
In tribute to its late Past President, Kathryn Smith Matkov, the Federal Bar Association’s Chicago Chapter annually awards the Kathryn Smith Matkov Award to legal champions of the under-represented, children, the elderly, and minority communities.
Bethany Biesenthal presented this year’s award to the Jones Day Anti-Human Trafficking Team, and Edward Feldman presented the award to Poonam Lakhani in acknowledgment of their steadfast dedication to the cause of justice.
The Hon. Diane S. Sykes Provides Keynote Speech at 2023 Annual Meeting
Chief Judge Diane S. Sykes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit addressed the assembly with an insightful keynote speech. In her address, Judge Sykes invoked the observations of Alexis de Tocqueville to highlight the trend of political disagreements being addressed in judicial proceedings. Judge Sykes emphasized the judiciary’s staunch commitment to the principles of evidence, factual rigor, and impartial processes, asserting the indispensable role of courts in preserving the rule of law amid prevailing sociopolitical tensions.
The Hon. Lindsay Jenkins Installs the New Federal Bar Association Chicago Chapter Officers and Directors
Timothy A. Hudson of Tabet DiVito & Rothstein LLC was officially inaugurated as the new Chapter President, along with Erin McAdams Franzblau as President-Elect, the Honorable Sunil R. Harjani as Vice President, Kristine Rinella Argentine as Secretary, and Elizabeth A. Ekl as Treasurer. In his remarks, Mr. Hudson emphasized the Chapter’s distinctive value proposition to its members: consistent access to high-quality Continuing Legal Education and unique opportunities for interaction with federal judges and other experienced legal practitioners.
Highlighting the Chicago Chapter’s differentiation from other bar associations, he attributed its distinctiveness to the significant degree of engagement by the judges of the Northern District of Illinois and the exceptional caliber of its programs and events. .
2023 President Noelle Brennan and 2024 President Timothy Hudson Share Their Remarks
Outgoing FBA Chapter President, Noelle C. Brennan, detailed key initiatives undertaken during her tenure. Ms. Brennan highlighted the Chapter’s work on the “When Citizenship Depended on Race” program (which included a vivid reenactment of pivotal Supreme Court cases from the 1920s) and the Rising Professionals Symposium (designed for law students and early-career lawyers who gained valuable insights into establishing and managing their legal practice).
Mr. Hudson then articulated his forward-focused vision for the Chapter: “The FBA Board Members and Presidents, both past and present, have built our Chapter’s reputation as the second-to-none leader in creating phenomenal programming opportunities and opportunities to come together as a community.”
To learn more about the Federal Bar Association Chicago Chapter, please feel free to connect with our 2023-2024 leadership team:
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