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Laurel G. Bellows
Chair, House Of Delegates, American Bar Association
HAWAII, Aug. 8, 2006 - Laurel G. Bellows, a principal in the Chicago law firm Bellows and Bellows, P.C., took office today as chair of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association. Her term began at the conclusion of the ABA Annual Meeting in Hawaii. Laurel is the first person from Illinois to be elected to an association-wide office since 1975.
The House of Delegates is the ABA’s policy-making body, and the two-year post of chair is the second-highest elected office in the organization. Currently, there are 549 delegates in the House, including representatives of state and local bar associations, substantive legal sections and divisions of the ABA, affiliated organizations, former officers, members of the Board of Governors, at-large delegates and state delegates. Action taken by the House of Delegates on specific issues becomes official policy of the ABA.
Bellows, a Chicago native, is a long-time ABA member, having served as chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession and as a member of the ABA Board of Governors, where she chaired the Finance Committee. Bellows was the second woman president of the 22,000-member Chicago Bar Association and served as president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents.
Outside of her work for the bar, Bellows served on the Illinois Supreme Court Special Commission on the Administration of Justice and on the U.S. Senate Judicial Nominations Commission for the State of Illinois. She also spearheaded the Justice for Youth Campaign to improve Cook County’s juvenile justice system, and writes and lectures nationally on topics related to negotiation skills, business and investment litigation. Bellows is past chair of The Chicago Network, an organization committed to the advancement of women.
She has won many awards including the ABA Commission on Women’s Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award in 2001, the American Jewish Committee’s Judge Learned Hand Award in 2002 and in 2005, and the “Women With Vision” Award from the Women’s Bar Association.
Bellows graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and received her law degree from Loyola University School of Law.
With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law in a democratic society.