CHICAGO (July 8, 2010) — The Chicago Bar Association and The Chicago Bar Foundation have awarded McDermott Will & Emery partner, Todd A. Solomon, the 2010 Maurice Weigle Exceptional Young Lawyer Award. This award is given annually to a lawyer aged 36 or younger based on his or her demonstrated commitment to pro bono and community service, contributions to making the bar an effective force for improving the legal profession and helping the overall community, and furthering the ideals of the legal profession. The Award is generously endowed by the families of Maurice W. Weigle and Maurice S. Weigle, and allows the recipient to designate a special $2,500 Chicago Bar Foundation grant to The Chicago Bar Foundation-funded legal aid or public interest law organization of his or her choice.
“I am proud and humbled to be recognized by The Chicago Bar Foundation,” commented Mr. Solomon. “I would like to thank the Weigle family for their generous grant which I will be presenting to Equip for Equality and AIDS Legal Council of Chicago.”
McDermott Co-Chair Jeffery E. Stone said of the award, “This is a well-deserved award and very significant honor. I cannot think of a more worthy recipient than Todd. Todd is a talented, dedicated and focused lawyer whose unwavering commitment to the legal community and, even more importantly, to pro bono services is remarkable. He is a terrific role model for the Firm and the Chicago legal community.”
“We would like to congratulate Todd on this honor—he represents the very best values in our profession, and is a wonderful role model for all of us,” commented Peter J. Sacripanti, McDermott Co-Chair.
Mr. Solomon has been a significant contributor to the legal community for more than 11 years. He is extremely dedicated to advancing the legal profession through counseling clients, providing pro bono legal services to the underprivileged and publishing articles on pressing legal topics. He is co-chair of the Chicago office’s Pro Bono & Community Service Committee and a member of the Firm’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Diversity Committee. Mr. Solomon was named Pro Bono Attorney of the Month in June 2008 by Illinois Legal Aid Online and also received the 2008 McDermott Will & Emery award for Outstanding Achievement and Commitment to Pro Bono and Service to the Community. In 2009, he was appointed to the board of directors of AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, which preserves, promotes and protects the legal rights of men, women and children impacted by HIV. Mr. Solomon has also served as McDermott's vice-chair for the Chicago Bar Foundation's Investing in Justice Campaign for the last two years. Since its inception, the Investing in Justice Campaign has raised millions of dollars from the private bar in order to fund legal aid services for the underprivileged in the City of Chicago.
As just one example of the pro bono work to which he dedicates his time, Mr. Solomon recently led a McDermott team of pro bono lawyers to secure the expungement of a child abuse “indicated” finding against a single mother of three teenage girls. One of the girls had been refusing to eat at school, raising concerns for school officials. With the school’s help, the mother sought treatment for her daughter and the daughter’s condition improved. Nonetheless, a hotline report was made to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the agency found medical neglect by the mother. Mr. Solomon and his team immediately sought to appeal the finding and represented the mother in a two-day hearing before an administrative law judge. The judge agreed with the team’s argument that there was no basis for the finding, writing that the agency “failed to provide a scintilla of competent testimony that the [mother] ever engaged in Medical Neglect of [her daughter].” As a result of Mr. Solomon and his team’s work, the medical neglect finding was expunged from the mother’s record.
The Award will be presented at The Chicago Bar Foundation’s Annual Pro Bono & Public Service Award Luncheon on July 13, 2010 at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago. For more information about The Chicago Bar Foundation or the Maurice Weigle Exceptional Young Lawyer Award visit: http://www.chicagobarfoundation.org/.
McDermott Will & Emery recognizes and appreciates the need to give back to the communities of which it is a part and to assist those who are unable to afford legal services. In 2009, our lawyers and staff devoted more than 75,500 hours to pro bono matters and community service, and more than 70 percent of our lawyers provided pro bono legal services to the poor, to organizations that serve the indigent and to certain not-for-profit organizations and small businesses focused on serving low-income communities.