Founded in 1934, the Decalogue Society of Lawyers is the oldest continually functioning Jewish bar association in the United States. Decalogue maintains a broad range of programs to benefit its members, the Jewish community, the legal community, and the general public.
These include our judicial evaluations, numerous legal lectures, mentoring of younger lawyers, social activities, judicial reception, and other events.
Over this past year, Decalogue has continued its mission of raising the standards of the bar and bench and to educate the public on legal issues, maintaining vigilance against public and private practices which are discriminatory, and to foster friendly relations with other groups. And we have sought to remind the diverse legal community in our city that, truly, we are stronger together.
In the wake of the horrific events in Charlottesville, Va., Decalogue organized a coalition of over 20 bar associations to speak out against the rise of anti-Semitism and racist hate in this country. Decalogue worked with many of these same bar associations to confront Chicago’s gun violence by helping to organize a “Lawyers Call to Action” anti-violence initiative, which was kicked off with summit held at the CBA building.
As part of this ongoing effort, Decalogue members (and those of the other bar associations) have worked to assist dozens of non-profits that address violence in Chicago on a daily basis. We have also worked with other affinity bar associations to build bridges of cooperation and understanding. Indeed, Decalogue and the Arab American Bar Association recognized such efforts among our members through our Building Bridges Award ceremony held this year at The John Marshall Law School.
Our anti-Semitism committee continues its hard work of assisting those facing the scourge of hate. We have continued to work closely with the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in addressing hate crimes that have affected various communities. And we have continued to speak out against discriminatory policies, extra-constitutional action by the executive, and attacks against the judiciary. This included the filing of an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court.
This year, the theme for Law Day is “Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom.” For 84 years, Decalogue has been at the forefront of promoting justice in society and improving the legal profession. The ability of the judiciary, with the assistance of lawyers, to challenge the actions of the executive and legislative branches serves to protect the rule of law, due process and the rights of individuals from being trampled by the whims of any group or individual.
Decalogue will continue to work with its brothers and sisters in the bar to protect our Constitution’s system of checks and balances and to ensure the protection of the rights of Jewish citizens as well as all other citizens under our country’s beautiful system of law.