NIU College of Law alumnus Vincent F. Cornelius, the first African American to serve as president of the Illinois State Bar Association, is profiled in the July 2016 issue of the Illinois Bar Journal magazine.
Digging beyond his professional career as an attorney and his goals for the ISBA presidency – “working to brighten the future of young lawyers, advocating for diversity and inclusion in the profession, and offering relevant continuing legal education for small-firm members” – the story also explores his childhood in Joliet.
Cornelius … has memories of wanting to be an attorney since he was in elementary school, citing “both substantive and shallow” reasons for being drawn to the profession. The substantive piece traces to his mother, who had a master’s degree in human development and “loved helping people,” he says. “I loved that about my mom. And that was something that was important to me. I saw my mom help people a lot when they were at their lowest points.”
And the “shallow” reason? “I was a big fan of a show called Perry Mason,” he says with a laugh. “And somewhere, between those two things, I decided way too early in life that I wanted to be a lawyer.”
The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin also reported on Cornelius: “It’s a tremendous honor, especially to know that you are elected by your fellow members of the Illinois State Bar Association. I am really excited about the opportunities that are out in front of us right now and what the future holds for our association.”
Cornelius recently delivered the keynote address at the NIU Law commencement ceremony.