NIU law alumnus Vincent F. Cornelius makes history in Illinois State Bar Association election

Vincent F. Cornelius
Vincent F. Cornelius

Northern Illinois University College of Law alumnus Vincent F. Cornelius (’89) was elected third vice president of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA).

Cornelius is now in succession to become the first African-American president of the ISBA in its 136-year history. In 2016, he will lead the largest bar organization in the state with 32,000 members.

“The Illinois State Bar Association is among the premier bar associations in our nation. I am so blessed and thankful to be elected to the line of succession that will eventually allow me the honor of leading our association as president. I am elated, humbled and looking forward to the task ahead,” Cornelius said.

Cornelius is the principal of The Law Offices of Vincent F. Cornelius, with offices in Wheaton and Joliet, where he concentrates in civil and criminal litigation. He has been a member of the ISBA his entire legal career, and was first elected to the Board of Governors in 1999 as a downstate Under Age 37 member.

He has served as a member of the Governor’s Commission on Criminal Law Reform and as chancellor of the ISBA’s Academy of Illinois Lawyers. He also made history in 2008 when he became the first African-American president of the Illinois Bar Foundation. In June 2011, he was appointed as an at-large member of the ISBA Board of Governors to provide leadership opportunities for under-represented segments of the association and its governance.

Logo of the Illinois State Bar Association“The NIU Law community is very proud of Vince and his outstanding accomplishments, especially this most recent monumental achievement,” said NIU Law Dean Jennifer Rosato. “He always has been a committed member of our community, and an invaluable resource on important issues to the law school, especially diversity. He has been an asset to our students, faculty, and alumni in his role as a mentor, colleague, and friend.”

Cornelius is an active alumni member at NIU Law, where he has served on the NIU Law Alumni Council since 1998, contributed as a mentor to law students and is a frequent speaker on alumni panels. One of his greatest contributions to the College of Law has been hosting the NIU Law Minority Reception since 2004, an event that has become an annual tradition and favorite among alumni.

He was honored in 2010 with the NIU Law Outstanding Alumni Award; and in 2005, he received the Outstanding Service Award from the NIU Law Alumni Council.

In addition to Cornelius, many other NIU Law alumni also fared well in the ISBA election:

  • Richard D. Felice (’79) will succeed to the office of President-Elect;
  • Dick B. Williams (’96) was elected to the ISBA Assembly for the 10th Circuit;
  • Steven A. Andersson (’92), Susan W. Rogaliner (’91), and Colleen G. Thomas (’94) were elected to the ISBA Assembly for the 16th Circuit;
  • Robert Handley (’78) was elected to the ISBA Assembly for the 18th Circuit;
  • Rhonda L. Rosenthal (’95) was elected to the ISBA Assembly for the 22nd Circuit;
  • Kenya A. Jenkins-Wright (’03), Julie A. Neubauer (’07), and Hon. John A. Wasilewski, ret. (’78) were elected to the ISBA Assembly for Cook County.
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