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Will County Champions Reception

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2023
  • The Grand Ballroom at Joliet Union Station

Join the Champions of the Illinois Bar Foundation for the Will County Champions Reception, honoring Judge Vincent F. Cornelius (Twelfth Circuit Court, Will County) and Justice Mary Kay O’Brien (Illinois Supreme Court).

Wednesday, May 24 | 5:30 – 7:30 pm
The Grand Ballroom at Joliet Union Station (50 E Jefferson Street, Joliet)

*Free parking available after 5 pm across the street in the Will County lot.

Champions Awards are presented to honorees selected for their significant contributions to law and society, including dedicated service through the Illinois Bar Foundation and its Champions. Proceeds of this event will benefit the access to justice and lawyers care programs of the Illinois Bar Foundation.


Judge Vincent F. Cornelius, a Gold Champion of the IBF, served as a Board member from 2000-12, including many years in leadership culminating in his Presidential term from 2008-10. During his tenure in leadership of the Illinois State Bar Association, Cornelius rejoined the IBF Board from 2013-17, through his term as President of the ISBA from 2016-17. Cornelius holds the distinction of being the first African American and first Will County attorney to hold the position of ISBA President in the organization’s history. Installed as a Judge for the Twelfth Circuit Court in Will County in 2019, Cornelius previously worked as the founder and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Vincent F. Cornelius in Joliet and Wheaton. He has tried hundreds of cases during his career as a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, and civil litigator. In addition to his exemplary career, Cornelius is a leader in the legal community, serving at various times on governor’s commissions, Illinois Supreme Court commissions, legislation committees, and university and community organization boards.

Justice Mary Kay O’Brien, a Diamond Champion and longtime event supporter of the IBF, has served the Illinois community as a judge for over 19 years, first on the Third District Appellate Court and most recently as a Justice on the Illinois Supreme Court, having been elected in November 2022. Justice O’Brien’s career can be characterized by her commitment to public service, from her time as a student at Western Illinois University serving in the Student Government Association to working as for the Illinois Attorney General in the Kankakee Regional Office to her years serving the public on the Illinois General Assembly. As a state representative, O’Brien was a strong advocate for working families, fighting for better quality and availability of daycare services as well as the expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act, and she also fought tirelessly to increase protections for victims of violent crimes. While serving on the Third District Appellate Court, O’Brien worked closely with numerous committees, including the Appellate Court Access to Justice Committees, the Illinois Courts’ Commission and the Lawyers Assistance Program, all causes closely tied to the work of the Illinois Bar Foundation in support of access to justice for all and support for attorneys in crisis.


Presenting Sponsor


Benefactor Sponsors


Advocate Sponsor


Patron Sponsors

Carla Alessio-Policandriotes

Sandra Crawford, Law Crawford P.C.

Edward J. Jarot, Castle Law

John G. Locallo, Amari & Locallo

Lisa M. Nyuli

Sonni Choi Williams