CHICAGO, June 7, 2004 – LAWFUEL – Joy V. Cunningham, senior vice president
and general counsel for Northwestern Memorial HealthCare and Northwestern
Memorial Hospital, will be installed as the first African-American female
president of The Chicago Bar Association (CBA) on June 24, 2004. Cunningham
has had a distinguished and varied career, including service as a Circuit
During her one-year term, Cunningham — also the first corporate counsel
to be president — will focus her energy on several projects, including
advocating for mandatory continuing legal education for Illinois lawyers and
sponsoring a judicial seminar for state and federal court judges in an effort
to improve the Administration of Justice. She is also committed to serving
the public by expanding public service and consumer education programs;
creating a program called “Computers for Clergy,” which will solicit law firms
to donate working computers to Chicago-area clergy; and the implementation of
regular programming at the William C. Goudy Elementary School, adopted by the
CBA in 2003.
Cunningham currently brings her experience from the bench to Northwestern
Memorial, where she’s committed to developing proactive strategies to avoid
hospital risk while continuously underscoring the importance of quality
initiatives. “Joy demonstrates exceptional leadership ability and a
propensity for forward thinking,” said Gary Mecklenburg, president and CEO of
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare. “These traits, combined with her legal
talents, have made her a tremendous asset to our senior management team and I
am sure she will serve the CBA with equal success.”
“Whether as a judge during a jury trial or as a volunteer working with
children, Joy Cunningham’s knowledge of the law and commitment to justice is
an inspiration,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “Joy is making
history by becoming the Chicago Bar Association’s first African-American woman
president. More importantly, she has been making a difference in people’s
lives for a long time, and I know she will continue to do so.”
African-American lawyers were not admitted to the CBA until November 1945
and minority numbers in bar associations didn’t start growing substantially
until the mid-1980s and 1990s. That’s part of why Cunningham feels a moral
obligation to serve as president of CBA.
“As the legal profession becomes more diverse, I believe it’s important
the leadership reflects that,” said Cunningham. “I have a responsibility to
do the very best I can in this position, because young black lawyers need to
recognize that they can be included in the infrastructure of the legal system
and have the power to bring about change.”
Cunningham grew up in New York and worked as a nurse before going to law
school in the early 1980s.
“Ms. Cunningham has proven credentials in the legal and medical
communities and her selection as president of the Chicago Bar Association is
well-deserved. She will be a great asset in her new post,” offers Illinois
Comptroller Dan Hynes.
Before joining Northwestern, Cunningham most recently served as a judge of
the Circuit Court of Cook County, where she had a diverse assignment including
jury trials. She also has served as associate general counsel for Loyola
University and Loyola University Health System and was the first African-
American woman to serve as an attorney with the law firm of French, Rogers,
Kezelis & Kominiarek. She has also served as Assistant Attorney General and
as a judicial clerk to Illinois Appellate Justice Glenn Johnson.
Cunningham has served on the CBA Board of Managers almost continually
since 1995, as a member (95-97), secretary (97-99), treasurer (01-02), second
vice president (02-03) and first vice president (03-04). She also serves on
the Board of Directors for the Chicago Bar Foundation and worked for many
years with The CBA Judicial Evaluation Committee.
She has authored professional publications and is a member of a number of
professional associations, including the American Bar Association, the
American Health Lawyers Association and the Women’s Bar Association of
Illinois. She has been recognized for her volunteer service to several
community organizations including the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, The
Constitutional Rights Foundation and the Chicago Association for the Education
of Young Children. She is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, the
Chicago Network and is a board member of the Center for Conflict Resolution.
Cunningham earned her Juris Doctor degree from John Marshall Law School in
Chicago, and her Bachelor of Science degree from the City University of New
York. She is admitted to practice law before the Illinois, New York, Federal
and the Federal Trial Bars.
Cunningham and her husband, Vance du Rivage, have a son, Jeremy Keith.
They reside on the northside of Chicago.
Cunningham will be installed as CBA President at The CBA Annual Meeting,
Thursday, June 24, 2004, at the Standard Club. A reception will begin at
11:30 a.m., followed by a 12:15 p.m. luncheon in the Grand Ballroom. The cost
to attend the luncheon is $50 per person and $500 for a table of 10. To make
a reservation, call Tamra Drees at 312-554-2057.
About Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) is one of the country’s premier
academic medical centers and is the primary teaching hospital of Northwestern
University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Northwestern Memorial and its
Prentice Women’s Hospital and Stone Institute of Psychiatry have 744 beds and
more than 1,200 affiliated physicians and 5,000 employees. Providing state-
of-the-art care, NMH is recognized for its outstanding clinical and surgical
advancements in such areas as cardiothoracic and vascular care,
gastroenterology, neurology and neurosurgery, oncology, organ and bone marrow
transplantation, and women’s health.
Northwestern Memorial was ranked as the nation’s 5th best hospital by the
2002 Consumer Checkbook survey of the nation’s physicians and is listed in the
majority of specialties in this year’s US News & World Report’s issue of
“America’s Best Hospitals.” NMH is also cited as one of the “100 Best
Companies for Working Mothers” by Working Mother magazine and has been chosen
by Chicagoans year after year as their “most preferred hospital” in National
Research Corporation’s annual survey.