As the 145th president of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), it is my pleasure and privilege to serve as the fifth female and first Polish-born president of the largest voluntary bar association in Illinois. One thing I have learned from leadership in challenging times is that we are all pandemic warriors fighting adversity in law and in life. I also believe it is paramount that we fight to achieve a healthy life-work balance.
I have dedicated my presidential year to helping our members prioritize their own well-being so they can be present with their families while still staying productive in their practice. We’ve teamed up with the Illinois Judges Association (IJA) to bring our members a spring Wellness Series featuring Erin Clifford that will emphasize holistic health. I look forward to our virtual “Celebration of Women as Leaders in the Profession” program co-sponsored with the IJA and Chicago Bar Association, as well as an important ISBA program focused on parenting in the pandemic.
As a mom and business owner, I recognize the importance of helping attorneys master the art of practicing law as a business. I introduced the ISBA’s Business Institute, which consists of short programs for practitioners of all levels. The Institute’s topics ranged from marketing to increasing profits to capitalizing on change, more necessary than ever during these challenging times.
Last winter, we welcomed nationally recognized speakers Dana and Keith Cutler to present their program, “Rooting Out Racial Bias.” The Cutlers addressed microaggression, implicit bias and cultural appropriation. We’re bringing them back this May and have hired consultants to support our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts.
The ISBA Board of Governors created a comprehensive strategic plan under my leadership. Highlights include improved communications, richer membership experiences and increased diversity in our membership and leadership.
It is my hope that we empower all attorneys interested in pursuing leadership roles to do so and provide them with attainable paths to their goals. The ISBA Leadership Academy is a flagship program designed to train the next generation of diverse professionals to become effective leaders in the Illinois legal community.
Now, more than ever, it is important that we come together and celebrate Law Day. Happy Law Day to all of my fellow pandemic warriors.