CBA President Daniel Kotin Featured in Chicago Lawyer Magazine


Excerpt from "Meet the New Presidents From Three of Illinois’ Largest Bar Groups," by Emily Donovan, Chicago Lawyer Magazine, Law Bulletin Publishing Company

Daniel Kotin

When McDermott Will & Emery hired Dan Kotin in his first law job, the firm offered to buy him one membership. It could be anywhere, even at a health club. His father, a fellow lawyer and longtime Chicago Bar Association member, told Kotin he had to join the CBA.

“It was the best advice that I could imagine,” Kotin says.

Kotin, this year’s CBA president and a co-founder of Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, has been a member throughout his career. The Loyola University Chicago School of Law graduate says the CBA is inseparable from his identity as a lawyer.

“The true mission is to help lawyers, to help bench/bar relations, to help our legal system to benefit the public and all at the same time provide a good time for lawyers to be part of this organization, so it’s fulfilling and it’s worthwhile,” he says.

While the internet and attorneys’ new expectations for work/life balance have forced the organization to adapt to its members’ changing needs, Kotin says the CBA stays true to those missions.

“We’re obviously not going to solve the access-to-justice problem, but if we can take small steps and help the problem a little bit, that will be a successful year,” he says.

To help pro se litigants prepare for court appearances, Kotin hopes to help launch a video series where Chicago judges explain what litigants need to know — like how they should bring a copy of the lease that is the basis for their legal complaint. The CBA would distribute those videos through aLexisNexis or the local libraries.

He also hopes for an opportunity to open a specialty branch courthouse in low-income neighborhoods.

“You know you can go into a Wal-Mart or a Costco and have your eyes examined?” Kotin asks. “We may be able to have court calls that are more accessible for people that are in the underprivileged areas of town.”

And for the benefit of the legal community, Kotin wants to launch a series of 10- to 15-minute interviews with Chicago’s legal legends. Kotin comes from a family of lawyers, including the late Philip H. Corboy. He regrets that his uncle died without leaving behind any sort of memoir of his life as a lawyer. Kotin wants the video series to document what the city’s legal giants consider their legacies so people can remember them in their own words.

Kotin is also excited for the organization’s annual trip abroad. This year’s destination is London, and Kotin promises it’s going to be “the most fantastic experience in London that anybody’s had, even though everybody’s been there several times.”

Thanks to contacts Kotin and other CBA trip planners know, visits will include access to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom; the House of Lords; the well of the Old Bailey courtroom during a trial; a river cruise past Runnymede, where the Magna Carta was signed and sealed; Windsor Castle; and dinner in the grand hall of the Temple Church, where “The Da Vinci Code” was filmed and, disputably, where William Shakespeare last performed as an actor.

“We’re going to have a lot of fun this year, but I don’t want anybody to get the idea that I’m just trying to turn this into a fraternity or something, a social club,” he says. “We’re going to still focus on all the substantive issues that has distinguished the CBA from other bar associations.”

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