Law Day 2022

Taking a Pause to Improve the Future

U nprecedented. Challenging. Difficult. These are words with which we are all familiar after two years of living in a pandemic. But our individual experiences of this collective global crisis also gave new meaning to words we thought we knew: Hope. Resilience. Opportunity. Leaders, including me, were keenly aware of the two options we had. We could help our organizations navigate through a collective pause, accepting the hand dealt to us by lock- downs and a devastating virus. Or we could get to work on practically reassessing, adapt- ing, and rebuilding based on the reality of our “new normal.” HLAI paused gathering in person. We were committed to the health of our com- munity. But that didn’t stop us from working with our membership. They knew we were still here because we involved them in the work of rebuilding. The unprecedented pause in our otherwise event-packed year gave us time to join our minds, reanalyze our purpose, and direct our attention to achieving new goals. There’s never enough time for all the tasks we must complete. That’s true for individuals and organizations. Everyone has backburners. HLAI had several filled with the task of imple-

menting dynamic ideas. HLAI accepted the challenge of the pandemic as an opportunity to tend our backburners and accomplish mile- stones previously kicked down the road. Most importantly, HLAI never forgot to listen. As president I empowered board mem- bers to voice bold ideas, young lawyers to pursue innovative options, and members of our judiciary to think outside of the box. The organization’s attention, like mine, is beyond the challenges of the pandemic and towards the success earned by unity, resilience, and hard work. Our concept of “normal” will undoubted- ly change. I know there are challenges ahead. I know they will be difficult. But I also know that HLAI is made of amazing lawyers and judges who volunteer their time daily to pave the road for those who will follow. We are im- proving the experience of the next generation. That’s what matters. That’s why HLAI is on the right track.


President, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois

Collaborating Toward Greater Diversity

O ver the past year, the Arab American Bar Association of Illinois has not shied away from advancing leadership to address challenging topics in our community. AABAR started 2021 by launching a pi- oneering, biannual CLE series on Diversity & Inclusion by discussing Law Firm Hiring Prac- tices. Representatives of big and small firms alike presented on the best practices that they employ to be inclusive and retain a diverse workforce. This presentation demonstrated the importance of diversity in the workplace and how inclusion of all makes for unique per- spectives and an overall healthier workforce. In May, AABAR co-presented in the Asian

American Bar Association’s forum “Breaking Down our Silos: Building Relationships, Com- munity & Solidarity Across Bar Associations,” along with seven other bar associations. Tak- ing a joint leadership approach to address rac- ism and hate will continue to be an integral part of AABAR’s initiative moving forward. AABAR held another CLE on “Diversity & Inclusion in Legal Education” in June, with several law schools in the Chicagoland area discussing initiatives being taken to bring greater diversity to its student bodies. In July, AABAR hosted its second annual Unity Dinner with the Muslim Bar Association. In August, AABAR launched a physical and


Vice President of the Arab American Bar Association of Illinois


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