On Thursday evening, November 3, 2022, in the Crystal Room at the Union League Club of Chicago, IPLAC hosted its 127th Annual Dinner in Honor of the Federal Judiciary. This fall, at the dinner, IPLAC honored Chief Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer, Judge Gary Feinerman, Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman, Judge Thomas Durkin, Judge John Kness, Judge Franklin Valderrama, Judge Gabriel Fuentes, and Magistrate Judge Beth Jantz of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois; and Administrative Judge Cindy Greenbaum and Interlocutory Attorney Jennifer Elgin of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
IPLAC’s presentation of its Distinguished Judicial Service Award to Judge Thomas Durkin was the highlight of the evening. IPLAC President, Tiffany Gehrke, presented the award to Judge Durkin and shared anecdotes and praise from his colleagues on the bench and his law clerks. IPLAC noted Judge Durkin’s interest in mentoring, particularly in the IP community in his role as President of the Richard Linn American Inn of Court. Judge Durkin’s colleague’s called out, among other things, his ability to quickly get to the heart of a problem or issue and propose sensible (and sometimes novel) solutions, in the cases before him, and his terrific sense of humor. Judge Durkin’s colleagues also recognized his understanding of the hard work that goes into a trial and his deep engagement with those practicing before him. Tiffany also noted her favorite fun fact, that Judge Durkin won the Catholic League Championship in the 2-mile run in 1971 and that his best time in the 2-mile run was 9:47!
In accepting the award, Judge Durkin highlighted some of the many aspects of being a federal judge that he most appreciates. He explained that he is always impressed by how seriously jurors take their roles in the process, and loves to see how serving on juries brings together citizens from all walks of life and backgrounds in order to work together. Judge Durkin also recognized the honor he felt in administering the oath of citizenship to new U.S. citizens. On the very day of the dinner, the new citizens sworn in at the Northern District hailed from more than forty countries, illustrating how people from all over the world want to come and be a part of the U.S. Judge Durkin finds it inspiring to be reminded of that in the course of his judicial duties.
The evening would not have been possible without the generous and enthusiastic support of these sponsoring firms: Kirkland & Ellis LLP as the Wine Sponsor and also a Table Sponsor; Crowell & Moring LLP, Fitch Even Tabin & Flannery LLP, Greer Burns & Crain Ltd., Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd., Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP, and Norvell IP LLC as Table Sponsors. IPLAC thanks the Dinner Committee co-Chairs, Julianne Hartzell of Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, and Alisa Simmons of Fitch Even; IPLAC Board of Manager, Member, and Website Committee Chair, Mary Fetsco of Fitch Even; and dedicated volunteers Aracell Hernandez, Lynne Solski, and Marcia Kowalski of Marshall Gerstein, and Julie Harshbarger and Liz Serrano of Fitch Even; for helping Tiffany plan the event.
View all photos from the event here.