CHICAGO (JUNE 13, 2012) – McDermott Will & Emery today announced the appointment of partner Michael A. Pope by the Illinois Supreme Court to its newly-established Commission on Access to Justice (“the Commission”).
The Commission is charged with finding ways “to promote, facilitate, and enhance equal access to justice with an emphasis on access to the Illinois civil courts and administrative agencies for all people, particularly the poor and vulnerable. The purpose is to make access to justice a high priority for everyone in the legal system and, to the maximum extent possible, the Commission is intended to complement and collaborate with other entities addressing access to justice issues.”
The Commission’s distinguished eleven members are appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court and include nominees from the Illinois Bar Foundation, The Chicago Bar Foundation, Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, and the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, which nominated Mr. Pope to the Court.
“I am honored to have been selected a member of this important Commission whose work will make a real difference to the many litigants coming to court unrepresented,” said Mr. Pope. “The Commission will focus on a number of key issues surrounding access to justice, including how to make the courts more accessible to people of low income and those with language problems. We will be looking at ways to make the process more transparent and the required legal forms more easily readable.”
“We are delighted that Mike has been selected for this very prestigious and important post,” said Lazar P. Raynal, Firm-wide head of McDermott's Trial Practice Group. “Mike has long been dedicated to the cause of providing legal services to those unable to afford legal representation. As one of the nation’s most accomplished trial attorneys, Mike knows there is much to be done to improve access to civil justice, and he is committed to making a difference.”
The head of McDermott’s international Product Liability practice, Mr. Pope was recently recognized in the 2012 edition of The Legal 500 United States for his leadership in guiding the Firm’s work in the area of Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense (Toxic Tort), the first time McDermott received that honor. Additionally, Mr. Pope was recognized in the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America in the categories of bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation and mass tort litigation. He is also ranked in the current edition of Chambers USA for being one of the leading lawyers in the field of litigation. He has a national practice in product liability, consumer fraud matters and complex business litigation.
Mr. Pope has long been active in access to justice initiatives and in pro bono activities. For two years, he headed the Lawyers Trust Fund of Illinois, the state’s IOLTA funder. He later founded the Coordinated Advice and Referral Program for Legal Services (CARPLS), which provides telephone referral assistance to legal service providers in Cook County, Illinois. More recently, he formed the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF), and served as its first president. IEJF makes annual grants of State funds to legal assistance providers within Illinois.
In addition, Mr. Pope is a past president of the Seventh Circuit Bar Association, the official liaison between practicing lawyers and the federal judges in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. He is also a former chairman of the board of trustees of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. He is a past president of Lawyers for Civil Justice, a national coalition of corporations and trial lawyers interested in improvements in the civil justice system.
He has served as president of the International Association of Defense Counsel, the oldest professional association of trial lawyers practicing in the defense of civil litigation. Mr. Pope is a fellow of three peer review professional organizations of trial attorneys: the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Society of Barristers and the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.
About McDermott Will & Emery
McDermott Will & Emery is a premier international law firm with a diversified business practice. Numbering more than 1,000 lawyers, we have offices in Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Milan, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, Rome, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. Extending our reach to Asia, we have a strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai.