NIU Law alumnus Richard D. Felice (’79) was installed June 20 as president of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) at the organization’s annual meeting at the Grand Geneva Resort in Lake Geneva, Wis.
Felice, who became the 138th president, took the helm of the largest bar organization in the state with more than 32,000 members.
During his remarks at the installation dinner, Felice outlined three main initiatives he plans to focus on throughout his year as president.
The first is the formation of a Task Force on the Impact of Law School Debt on the Future of the Profession to address the tremendous challenges facing new lawyers, including staggering law school debt and a stifling job market. The task force “will study in depth the concept of practice-ready new lawyers and consider constructive changes to law school curricula,” Felice said. Justice Ann Jorgensen of the Second District Appellate Court will chair the committee.
The second initiative is the formation of a Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute Series, which will offer educational programs to solo and small firm practitioners in five settings throughout the state. The institute will provide a variety of programming to help lawyers enhance their practices.
The third program will focus on civics education programming with high school students. It will work with the ISBA’s Law Related Education Committee and with Illinois Judges Association President Michael Hyman on the IJA’s “Courtroom in the Classroom” project.
Also during the installation dinner, alumnus Vincent Cornelius (’89) was inducted as second vice president of the ISBA. He will lead the organization in 2016 and become the first African American president in its history. Alumni Kenya A. Jenkins-Wright (’03), Lisa M. Nyuli (’89), James F. McCluskey (’79) and Sonni C. Williams (’99) were inducted as members of the ISBA Board of Governors.
Felice, who is in private practice in Wheaton, concentrates his law practice in domestic relations and litigation.
He was first elected third vice president of the ISBA in 2010 after having served two three-year terms on the Board of Governors. He is an officer of the ISBA Mutual Insurance Co. and serves on the board of the Illinois Bar Foundation, the ISBA’s charitable arm. He was an appointed member of the Illinois Supreme Court’s Rules Committee, and a past president of the DuPage County Bar Association, DuPage County Bar Foundation and the DuPage County chapter of the Justinian Society of Lawyers.
An avid supporter of the NIU College of Law, Felice regularly attends events/programs, serves a mentor to students and alumni, and he is collaborating with Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea to help accomplish his goals throughout and beyond his ISBA presidency.