Vincent Cornelius of Joliet made history June 17 when he was installed as the 140th president of the Illinois State Bar Association at its annual meeting.
He is the first person from Joliet, the first person from Will County, and the first African-American, to become president of the association. While the first two are personally satisfying to Cornelius – having lived in Joliet most of his life – it’s the latter he feels is most historically significant.
“There’s always a diversity of mindsets and diversity of personalities and viewpoints,” Cornelius said. “The more of those viewpoints and perspectives that have a seat at the table and voice in the ideology, the stronger the organization and the stronger the association.”
Raymond Bolden, a former Will County judge, has known Vincent for most of Cornelius’ life. Bolden called Cornelius, whose practice focuses on criminal defense and civil litigation, a great attorney and leader.
“He has intelligence and he works hard at his profession,” Bolden said. “He cares about people and he wants to help others. Those are the qualities for people who want to help others lead.”
As president of the association, Vincent plans to emphasize education. According to a new release from the ISBA, Cornelius intends to collaborate with Illinois law schools and law school deans, the Illinois Supreme Court and the American Bar Association.
Vincent, who said he’s taught Bible study at his church, said education is important when communicating with clients, witnesses and sometimes even judges.
“I have a teacher’s heart,” he said.
He gives credit for that to his mother, Lorrayne Cornelius, a Washington Junior High School teacher for 34 years.
Source: The Herald News | DENISE M. BARAN–UNLAND – firstname.lastname@example.org