The Chicago Bar Foundation (CBF) and the Chicago Bar Association (CBA) created the Exelon Outstanding Corporate Counsel Award to recognize the generally unsung pro bono contributions of attorneys in the in-house legal community and to encourage other corporate attorneys to volunteer their time and talents to help those in need. To underscore its commitment to pro bono in the corporate sector, the Exelon Corporation has generously endowed the award, allowing the winner to designate a special Chicago Bar Foundation grant to the legal aid or public interest law organization of his or her choice. William A. Von Hoene, Jr., Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Exelon Corporation, explains that "we at Exelon view pro bono and community service as an integral part of our legal department's work, and we are proud to support this award."
At last month's CBF/CBA Seventh Annual Pro Bono and Public Service Awards Luncheon, co-chaired by Kathleen L. Roach of Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP and Kelly R. Welsh of Northern Trust Corporation, this year's Exelon Outstanding Corporate Counsel Award was given to Daniel A. Cotter.
Mr. Cotter started his insurance career as an accountant for CNA Insurance before transitioning to its regulatory compliance section. After earning his law degree from the John Marshall Law School of Chicago, he worked for Lord Bissell & Brook LLP in Chicago. He then returned to CNA as a regulatory attorney.
Until last month, Mr. Cotter was senior counsel, assistant secretary and property and casualty liaison for the Unitrin Services Company at its home office in Chicago. He left to join Argonaut Group, Inc., a national underwriter of specialty insurance products in niche areas of the property and casualty market. As of July 11, he is the company's assistant vice president and deputy general counsel for regulatory affairs.
Exemplary pro service has been a hallmark of Mr. Cotter's legal career. He has provided pro bono legal services for several years for the Center for Disability and Elder Law. He also has served on the associates board for Literacy Chicago and the CBF's board of directors and as chair of the CBA's Young Lawyers Section. His community service was recognized in 2004 with the Make A Difference Award by the Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Lend-A-Hand Program. In the same year, he was named one of the "40 Illinois Attorneys under 40 to Watch" by Law Bulletin Publishing.
CBF improves access to justice for people who are impacted by poverty, abuse and discrimination. The CBF's mission is grounded in the belief that access to justice is central to our democratic society and that the concerted efforts of a few can make a real improvement in the lives of many. The CBF accomplishes its mission by awarding grants and other assistance to more than 40 legal aid and public interest law organizations, encouraging the legal community to contribute time and money, functioning as a clearinghouse for information and resources, and providing leadership in the community on access to justice issues. For more information about the CBF, please call (312) 554-1204 or visit www.chicagobarfoundation.org.