August 25, 2011

April 2010: Saul J. Morse, Esq.

morse photo

Attorney with post-polio syndrome finds career path with many bends.

How many hats can an attorney wear during the course of his or her career? For Saul J. Morse, Esq. there have been many. During his 37 years of practice he has covered transportation law, constitutional law, health law, and corporate law. He worked for the federal government, the Illinois government (both executive and legislative branches), as a solo practitioner, managing partner of a small firm, counsel for a large firm, adjunct professor, mentor, and elected local official. All the while, Saul’s varied and successful career has been guided by his personal interests and connections, as well as the legal profession’s increasing outreach towards lawyers with disabilities.

A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana, Champaign Law School, Saul contracted polio at the age of 21 months and currently has post-polio syndrome. He uses a wheelchair as an accommodation. His disability has not only defined who he is, but it has also shaped his legal career. At first, there were problems from the legal profession when it came to his disability. “In the early days of my practice, I had to arrange to be carried up the steps at certain courthouses, including the Illinois Supreme Court,” he recalled, “now, however, I have seen a more welcoming and helpful attitude towards lawyers with disabilities—both with state and local bar associations, and the ABA.”

Saul began his legal career as a trial attorney for a federal transportation regulatory body. He then went on to serve as chief counsel to the Minority Leader of the Illinois State Senate. Moving to private practice, Saul joined with colleagues and formed a law firm where he served as managing partner. After, he set up and oversaw the corporate legal department for the Illinois State Medical Society, the Illinois State Medical Insurance Services, Inc., and the Illinois State Medical Inter-Insurance Exchange. He currently works part time as counsel for Brown, Hay, & Stephens LLP as a transactional lawyer advising clients on the creation and management of health care entities and medical practices. He was on 3 gubernatorial appointed boards, including Chair of the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission. In addition to this long list of professional accomplishments, he is his town’s elected treasurer and is an adjunct assistant professor at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and at the University of Illinois Springfield where he teaches Health Law.

Saul’s varied resume stems from his personal desire to learn more and follow where his interests lead him. He has no desire to be limited to a specific field or practice, as his varied experiences are what he derives satisfaction from. It was during law school that he learned the ability to analyze diverse issues, and he has not stopped since then. Another factor in Saul’s desire to take on different areas of the law is how the legal profession eventually came around to accept and accommodate his disability. “When I graduated from law school, I had to look towards the federal government for employment, because they were required by law to accommodate me, and there was nowhere else to go,” he said, “but with the proliferation of assistive technology, and significant changes in the attitudes of legal employers, I was provided opportunities to follow my interests into other areas of the law and in varying capacities.”