Achieving what seem like impossible results. That is what Mallory Moreno, an elder law attorney with Chuhak & Tecson, so often accomplishes.
Moreno's peers say that this young attorney is never fazed by challenges. Instead, she relies on her legal skills, command of the law, and commitment to her clients to overcome them.
Just ask Donald Higgins with Fifth Third Bank. He said he's seen Moreno successfully appeal the most complicated and convoluted Medicaid denial by knowing the department's own rules better than department officials themselves did.
"Mallory always goes above and beyond for her clients in achieving results that otherwise seemed unlikely or impossible upon an initial meeting," Higgins said. "In my time in working with Mallory, I witnessed the wealth of knowledge she brought into every client interaction, coupled with an incredible passion for both the clients themselves and the law in general. The conviction, compassion and perseverance were always on full display."
As Higgins says, attorneys need passion and willpower when dealing with state Medicaid agencies and challenging guardianship matters. The requirements that individuals must meet to qualify for Medicaid can be onerous. The appeals process when individuals are denied Medicaid is complex. But these hurdles never slow Moreno, he said.
"It could drive a person mad, but Mallory never missed a beat," he said. "Getting people the help they need and preserving assets for continued care and support is always top of mind for Mallory."
Others point to Moreno's passion for protecting her clients as something that sets her apart from other attorneys. Guardianship is one of Moreno's specialty, and it's clear, her nominators say, that Moreno has true empathy for her clients, and does whatever it takes to help them meet their goals.
"Mallory cares about what she does and is excellent at it," said Maureen Loughran, an attorney with Chicago's Duggan Bertsch, LLC. "I can't stress enough how kind, patient and intelligent she is. She's a credit to our profession and I think all young attorneys should strive to be more like her."
As evidence of her commitment to elder law, Moreno has earned her CELA -- Certified Elder Law Attorney -- designation. In the entire state of Illinois, only 17 attorneys have earned this designation. She has also been named as an "Emerging Lawyer," a peer-recommended honor given to 2% of all Illinois attorneys.
And while she's built a busy elder law career, Moreno has carved out time, too, to remain active in the legal community. She is the current President-Elect for the Illinois Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and serves as the vice chairman of not-for-profit Working Adults Learning Lifelong Skills (W.A.L.L.S.), a life-skills center for adults with disabilities.
"Mallory has the rare ability to excel in both transactional and litigation work," said Missy Turk Firmage, fellow probate attorney. "Mallory appears in court multiple times a week and has earned the respect of each judge in our division. She is able to zealously advocate for clients while maintaining a working rapport with opposing counsels, a trait that is not frequently seen in our field."