By: Judge Robert Bertucci, President
As I write the first president’s message of my term, I am profoundly aware of the history of the Justinian Society of Lawyers. Many officers, members and volunteers have served the society in a variety of ways in the many years since our inception in 1921, and we are grateful for the past and on ongoing contributions of so many individuals. I am proud that for so many years the Society has honored our founders by assisting attorneys and law students through mentoring and networking opportunities. I am particularly proud of our long history of awarding scholarships to deserving law students and, for more than ten years now, our positive impact on the lives of many deserving children that have benefitted from our Children’s Endowment Fund awards. I want to thank past president Mauro Glorioso and the nominating committee for selecting me to lead the Society this year.
Already this year, because of the strong support of our members and sponsors, we raised approximately $7,000 at our June Golf Outing; all of which will be presented to our Justinian Society Endowment Fund to be distributed equally to the Children’s Endowment Fund and the Scholarship Fund. Our success in June was due in large part to the hard work of Co-Chairs, past president Sam Tornatore and our newest Justinian officer, Vince Vidmer; both of whom graciously agreed to again serve. I thank them. I also want to thank the entire golf committee, along with the many volunteers, which included several law student members who were willing to give of their time. They ensure that our future is in good hands.
I want to thank the Honorable Gloria Coco for chairing our September 11, 2013, Installation and Awards Dinner. Judge Coco and her committee have once again organized a memorable evening and I am very grateful. This year I have chosen the Honorable Renato Turano, Senator of the Republic of Italy, to receive the Outstanding Achievement Award, which will be presented in honor of Justice Moses W. Harrison. Senator Turano is the president of Turano Baking Company, a longtime benefactor of the Italian-American community and Italian Senator representing North America. Justice Harrison, a longtime Justinian, had a long and distinguished legal career which included many years of service on the Illinois Appellate Court and Illinois Supreme Court, and culminated with his term as Chief Justice. Justice Harrison passed away earlier this year.
The Justinian Society Award of Excellence will be presented to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, in honor of former Assistant State’s Attorney Joseph Nigro. Joe was a Vietnam War veteran and, like the Honorable Anita Alvarez, was a career prosecutor who served with distinction throughout his career under several State’s Attorneys from both political parties, and was the longtime supervisor of the Special Remedies Unit. Joe passed away last year after battling cancer.
As I stated in setting out some of my goals at our very successful first dinner at Gibson’s Steak House in May, I will be recruiting members to serve as liaisons to each Illinois law school as well as Marquette to help keep the lines of communication between student members and attorney members open, and to encourage student participation in the Society now and after graduation. I pledge to lend the Endowment Fund whatever support it needs. I plan to reinvigorate our committees and, in particular, our membership and ad-book committees, and properly staff them with attorney and law student members. I have also made it my goal to increase judicial participation both in membership and at Justinian functions. I know that lawyers and law students will appreciate greater participation at Justinian events by judges, whether they are of Italian ancestry or otherwise interested in the Italian-American culture.
We have selected excellent dinner venues and look forward to our monthly dinner meetings following our September Installation and Awards Dinner. We are also hoping to host a joint reception along with the Decalogue Society of Lawyers at the ISBA/Illinois Judges Association mid-year meeting on Friday, December 6, 2013. I congratulate James B. Goldberg, a longtime Justinian supporter, as he leads the Decalogue Society this year as its president.
Finally, I want to congratulate my predecessor, Gregg A. Garofalo, on his term as president and recognize his many years of work on behalf of the Society. I also want thank my fellow officers and executive board members for their continued support. I am honored and humbled to serve as president.
Judge Robert Bertucci, President