We were pleased to continue our 2013 Distinguished Speaker series in April with a keynote address by the Honorable Shelvin Louise Hall of the Illinois Court of Appeals before lawyers and law students in our Chicago office. Judge Hall gave a first-hand account of meeting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a young girl and the impact that brief encounter in her father’s office had on her legal career. She captured the audience’s attention with a personal account and connection with the events leading up to the famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and the March on Washington occurring later the same year, a timely account with 2013 being the 50th anniversary of both historic events.
Judge Hall began her legal career in 1980 in Washington, DC, as a Legislative Director to the late US Congressman Mickey Leland. In 1982, she became a senior attorney with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and subsequently became General Counsel in 1984. On January 11, 1991, she was appointed as a Circuit Court Judge of Cook County, and was elected in November 1992. She served in the Domestic Relations and Law Divisions of the Circuit Court, and serves on the Education and Executive Committees of the Supreme Court’s Illinois Judicial Conference. On February 2, 1999, she was assigned as an Appellate Court Judge and elected Appellate Court Judge in 2000. Judge Hall is the current chairperson of the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association, a national organization for this country’s 1,500 African-American judges, and former chair of the Illinois Judicial Council. We thank Judge Hall for inspiring us all to do a little better to foster an environment of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and personally.