Person of the Year 2017

Opening Statement

Paul Dailing


October 2017

And the 2017 Chicago Lawyer Person of the Year is…

Waiting for your nomination.

The calendar might say October and jack-o’-lanterns are more the staple of the month, but we’re already churning away on the December issue. The centerpiece of that issue is our Person of the Year feature highlighting a practicing lawyer, judge, paralegal or other member of Chicago’s legal community who has made a difference in the last year.

Submissions are due by Monday, Oct. 16, and can be sent to

Past honorees have been among the most famous names in Chicago law: Tom Sullivan, Dan Webb, Rita Garman and Mary Ann McMorrow to name a few. It’s a list people want to join, so I’m using this space to give some tips on how to make your submission as powerful as possible.


The ideal candidate has impacted the practice of law on many fronts. Last year’s selection of Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila’s Patricia Brown Holmes was as much due to the then-new firm’s impact on the business of law as on Holmes’ work as special prosecutor investigating whether Chicago police covered up for the officer who shot and killed Laquan McDonald.

Your nominee’s impact should have come within the year. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier was selected in 2015 not for his long and storied career, but for the importance of his then-recent rulings on pension reform and plaintiff litigation — and the political repercussions of his battle for retention.

And remember, to be considered, a practitioner must have been working for a portion of the year. People who retired or have died during 2017 will be considered, but current practitioners are preferred.


To submit, e-mail with the subject line “Person of the Year.”

Your pitch should be no more than 250 words. Links to résumés, bios, recent cases, pro bono work and other information you think will help us decide can and should be included. But in the 250-word pitch, tell us why you personally think your nominee is the right one.

Nominate a partner from your firm, a courtroom foe, your best friend, your spouse — there are no prohibitions on who can nominate whom.

Last thoughts

You’re probably already thinking of someone who deserves this. A friend, a mentor, a trusted colleague or bitter rival — some name has already crossed your mind.

I hope these tips help you convince us the name you’re thinking of is the right one.


Paul Dailing