Liberty Achievement Award
The Liberty Achievement Award was presented to Ellie Jurado-Nieves, vice president and assistant general counsel, regulatory and legislative affairs at the Guardian Life Insurance Company, at the Section Conference welcome reception sponsored by Thomson Reuters. This award celebrates the lawyers and judges who have spent their career actively promoting diversity and inclusion within the legal profession.
Jurado-Nieves has played a key role in diversity and inclusion efforts at Guardian, serving as a founding member of the company’s inaugural Diversity Council that established the company’s diversity strategy focused on embedding diversity practices into human capital management, culture, and programs. She also established and served as chair of the company’s first employee resource group, the Women’s Leadership Network (WLN), to drive the development of programs to build the next generation of leaders at Guardian. The WLN has grown to 400+ members, including a chapter in India. Jurado-Nieves is the immediate past diversity strategy partner for Guardian’s law department, where she launched various programs to increase diversity in the legal profession, including programming with Guardian’s retained law firms to partner with and encourage the development of diverse lawyers assigned to Guardian matters.
James K. Carroll Leadership Award
We were delighted to bestow former Section Chair Sam H. Poteet Jr. with the James K. Carroll Leadership Award, which recognizes an attorney or judge who has demonstrated leadership qualities in service to the Section, at the Section Conference Thursday evening reception and dinner.
Poteet is a principal with Manier & Herod, practicing in the areas of surety law, financial institution bonds, fidelity law, D&O and E&O insurance, taxation, estate, and business law. Poteet previously served as Chair of the TIPS Section and served as a Council member, officer, and chair of its Fidelity and Surety Law Committee. He is a frequent speaker at ABA, Fidelity Law Association, and Southern Surety & Fidelity Claims Association meetings. Poteet has handled surety claims and workouts/bankruptcies for numerous sureties and also handles fidelity and financial institution bond claims. In addition, he has represented clients in numerous purchase and sale transactions of business and also handles estate tax planning for large estates, most of which have involved closely held businesses.
Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award
The Excellence in the Advancement of Animal Law Award was presented to Jane McBride, a member of the Illinois State Water Survey Advisory Board and Illinois state representative for Project Coyote, at an afternoon reception during the Section Conference. The award recognizes exceptional work by an Animal Law Committee member who, through commitment and leadership, has advanced the humane treatment of animals through the law.
McBride is a former TIPS Animal Law Committee chair and founder and president of Illinois Humane. During her tenure as committee chair, she led a collaboration with the National Judicial College to develop a series of webinars on animal law. Judges now have more extensive awareness and familiarity with animal law, animal interests, and animal well-being. This groundbreaking initiative formed a CLE program that has become essential training for judges, advanced the practice of animal law before the judiciary, and promoted the interests of animals. McBride also worked to deepen and develop the committee’s future leaders by investing in mentorship and professional development of young lawyers.
McBride’s work in the Illinois State Bar Association and her leadership of its animal law–related efforts have brought together many diverse stakeholders to champion legislation benefiting animals. She also served as senior assistant attorney general and assistant bureau chief of the Environmental Bureau in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.