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About the Award

Named after the first woman to chair the ABA Business Law Section, the Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award is presented annually to an exceptional woman business lawyer who has made significant contributions to the profession and the Business Law Section.

Nomination Guidelines

2025 Nominations will open in Fall/Winter 2024. Nominations can be made at this link.

The nominee should be a woman who:

  • has made significant contributions to the profession and the Business Law Section

  • has achieved professional excellence in her field and demonstrated a dedication to the work of the Section; and

  • has worked to advance opportunities for other women in the profession and the Section. 

Contact Gina Dickinson ([email protected], 312-988-5316) with any questions.

2024 Glass Cutter Award Recipient

(L-R) Sylvia Chin, Section Diversity Officer; Karol Sparks, 2024 Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award Recipient; and Nikki Munro, Section Chair

(L-R) Sylvia Chin, Section Diversity Officer; Karol Sparks, 2024 Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award Recipient; and Nikki Munro, Section Chair

Karol K. Sparks

The foundation of the Business Law Section’s reputation for excellence in its programs, committee work, and content rests, of course, on the contributions of our members. And it’s a source of Section pride that our members are recognized by the entire legal community for their unparalleled knowledge and expertise in their chosen legal practices. The recipient of this year’s Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award -- Karol Sparks -- possesses a legal expertise and professionalism that has not only made her a commanding presence in the law but she has also helped raise the stature of the Business Law Section’s Banking Committee.

Karol’s reputation as one of the country’s leading experts in banking law is an achievement that is rare in the practice of law. Her keen legal mind and 40 years of committing herself to understand the intricacies, subtleties, and precepts of banking law has inspired a generation of women to share her passion for legal scholarship and become outstanding lawyers.

A partner in the Financial Institutions Group of Barack Ferrazzano, LLP, in Chicago, Karol’s practice concentrates on corporate activities and regulatory issues of financial institutions. For decades, she has provided wise counsel to her banking clients on a variety of issues, and she is sought out for her legal analysis as well as her understanding of the practicalities behind the laws and regulations that govern financial institutions.

Karol served as Chair of the BLS’s Banking Law Committee in 1998–2002, and she has been an active member of the committee since 1985. She has served as an elected member of the Council of the Business Law Section of the ABA; and she also was chair of the BLS Publications Board.

The beneficiaries of Karol’s expertise goes well beyond her clients. Fortunately, Karol is a prolific and talented writer who is adept in explaining the intricacies of banking law to students, lawyers, academics, and professionals in the business community. Karol is the author of the ABA’s Keys to Banking Law and Banking Law Essentials; and the author of the legal treatise: Insurance Activities of Banks (published by Aspen Law & Business) and updated annually.

Karol’s long list of academic credentials is also impressive: from 2009 until 2013, she was an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Law, having previously taught at the University of Iowa College of Law as an adjunct from 2001–2007. In January of 2014, she joined the Graduate Program in Banking and Financial Law of the Boston University School of Law as a lecturer in law in the LL.M program.

Whether it is her work as a lawyer, lecturer, or author, Karol’s dedication to learning and then passing her banking knowledge and analysis to others in the profession highlights her importance as a woman in the legal profession as well as a worthy recipient of the Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award. Karol has created a body of work that will be a source of inspiration for young lawyers as they seek to learn – and master – the fundamentals of banking law.

Past Honorees

  • 2023 Jeannie Frey
  • 2022 Kathleen Schin McLeroy
  • 2021 Jacqueline Parker
  • 2020 Vicki O. Tucker
  • 2019 Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier
  • 2018 Therese G. Franzén
  • 2017 Patricia A. Redmond
  • 2016 Sylvia Chin
  • 2015 Doneene K. Damon
  • 2014 Hon. Jean K. FitzSimon
  • 2013 Kathleen Hopkins
  • 2012 Meg Milroy
  • 2011 Elizabeth S. Miller
  • 2010 Marsha E. Simms
  • 2009 Mary Ann Jorgenson
  • 2008 Rita W. Ross
  • 2007 Linda J. Rusch
  • 2006 Dixie L. Johnson
  • 2005 Lynne B. Barr
  • 2004 Linda C. Quinn
  • 2003 Elizabeth S. Stong
  • 2002 Linda C. Hayman
  • 2001 Mary Beth Clary
  • 2000 Renie Yoshida Grohl
  • 1999 Mary Ann Hynes
  • 1998 Barbara Mendel Mayden
  • 1997 Lizabeth A. Moody
  • 1996 Corinne Cooper
  • 1995 Amy Boss
  • 1994 Fe Morales Marks
  • 1993 Jean Allard