In last month’s newsletter, I shared some personal details about why scholarships are important to me. This month, I want to share with you why supporting our upcoming Scholarship Ball on November 18th should be important to all of us.
I had the honor last week of celebrating Judge Demacopoulos’ retirement at the Daley Center. At that event, she shared a story from the first time she ran for an Associate Judge position in 2003. During the interview process, she was frustrated as judges questioned her, not about her legal acumen and judicial qualifications, but instead, “What is the best restaurant in Greek Town?” Judge Demacopoulos went on to explain that 20 years later, the times have certainly changed. Today, a female Greek Judge is not only possible, but it has become a reality to many others who have followed in Judge Demacopoulos’ footsteps. The retirement celebration was hosted by Judge Anthony Kyriakopoulos and was attended by many other Greek judges, which now total nearly 20 in Illinois. Notably, Judge Demacopoulos explained how important the HBA was to her professional success.
The increasing prominence of Greek Judges is just one aspect of the HBA’s success. The HBA’s annual Judges’ Night has become one of hottest tickets in town attended by more than 100 judges from all levels of the judiciary. This event garners front page attention in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, and judges routinely tell us that that they love coming to celebrate with the HBA. The HBA has also been recognized for its establishment and support of Hel.LAS, the only Greek pro bono clinic in the United States, which has helped hundreds of families since it opened its doors in 2016.
Our most important event, however, is always our Scholarship Ball. We showcase the best and brightest members of our Hellenic community by recognizing the lifetime accomplishments of prominent Hellenes outside the field of law, our own Lawyer of the Year, and our new young lawyer Rising Star Award. We also lift up tomorrow’s stars with law student scholarships. The HBAF has awarded at least $60,000 in scholarships each year since 2016, and we will do that again this year. The greater legal community has taken notice of these awards, and our Scholarship Ball is also regularly featured in the Law Bulletin.
As Greek lawyers, we all benefit from the elevated profile of the HBA. It is a virtuous cycle, and our efforts are interconnected to our collective success. By supporting the Scholarship Ball, we continue to help ourselves, but we also help the next generation of Greek attorneys who will carry the torch we received from those before us, who worked so hard to build the HBA. The law students we will honor at the Ball will no doubt become tomorrow’s judges and leaders in the legal community — and the future leaders of the HBA.
Supporting the Scholarship Ball is an investment not only in our present, but also in our future, and we all benefit from that. If you have not already done so, please reflect on how the HBA has helped you, and click the links below to become a sponsor.