The Journal of The DuPage County Bar Association

From the Editor

The importance of mentoring or who is George Wythe?
By Azam Nizamuddin

November has arrived and we are supposed to be in the fall season. But alas, this is the Midwest where autumn lasts just long enough to completely miss it and yet we are left with tons of leaves to rake up. This month we typically give thanks by celebrating Thanksgiving and honoring the military service of our veterans. In fact, the DCBA will be having a CLE credited Veterans luncheon on November 9 to honor our veterans.

In giving honor and giving thanks to people, we should bear in mind the importance of mentors, teachers, and other guides. Mentors play a crucial part in the development of professionals, scholars, and thinkers. We are aware of some of the most important recipients of mentorship in history. For example, Aristotle was a student of Plato. Thomas Aquinas, probably the most important Christian thinker of the Middle Ages, was a student of Albert the Great. He was so awesome that his last name was “Great.” But his actual name was Alberto Magnus. Abu-Hamid al-Ghazali, the most celebrated Muslim thinker and polymath of the Middle Ages studied under Al-Juwayni, the leading theologian of his time. And no, his buddies did not call him “Al”. Arabic names are very long and often abbreviated to an attribution referring to place of birth, ancestry, or tribal affiliation. But I digress.

The role of mentorship is equally relevant and critical in American legal history. Most people are aware of Thomas Jefferson. Also, most lawyers are familiar with the name of John Marshall, the celebrated 19th century Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. What did Jefferson and Marshall have in common? They were both students of George Wythe. Who? Every student of American history and legal history should know this name. George Wythe (pronounced “with) was a lawyer, judge, Virginia elected official, law professor, a signatory to the Declaration of Independence, and a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787.

For the legal profession, Wythe is generally acknowledged as the first law professor in the United States. Thomas Jefferson and others helped establish the first legal institution to train lawyers at the College of William and Mary. They chose their mentor George Wythe to provide this legal education. Wythe used Blackstone’s commentaries and introduced the important concept of the common law to his students. Indeed, Wythe trained dozens of lawyers who became influential in the legal profession, but also in American political history, particularly in the early history of the Commonwealth of Virginia. People such as James Monroe, Henry Clay, and John Marshall, all benefited from Wythe’s keen intellect and prolific knowledge of classical literature. For Thomas Jefferson, Wythe was a significant influence in law and philosophy, particularly with the introduction to the writings of John Locke, which became instrumental in understanding the role of government and individual rights for many of the framers of the US Constitution. Indeed Jefferson described Wythe as, “My faithful and beloved Mentor in youth, and my most affectionate friend through life.” Upon his death, Wythe bequeathed his library to Thomas Jefferson, which is now located in the Library of Congress in the Thomas Jefferson room.

Given the importance of mentoring in the legal profession, the DCBA provides a very robust Lawyer to Lawyer Mentor-Mentee program. This state-wide program has been administered by the DCBA for the past five years. You can contact the DCBA administrator Janine Komornick for more information on the program. So, let us pause and give thanks to those unnamed, humble, or forgotten mentors in our profession who paved the way for so many in the legal profession.

For our November issue, we would like to thank Editorial Board member James McCluskey for serving as the Articles Editor. We have several important articles this month. We begin with a timely article on employee claims under the Illinois Wage Payment Act by Lauren Parks. Patrick Boland discusses recovering Actual Damages in Copyright Infringement cases. Daniel Porter provides a terrific overview of Zoning litigation in DuPage County. Finally, but certainly not the least, James McCluskey give us an overview of the Completed Staff Work Doctrine and how it applies to law firms. We appreciate their timely and helpful contribution to the DCBA Brief. Thanks also to our colleague Christine McTigue for the case law updates in November.

As a reminder, we welcome substantive articles for this coming year. In addition to providing the Brief reading public a topic worth reading, it will also increase your knowledge of a subject matter which can be a great source of marketing and collaboration with others in the legal profession. Plus, you’ll earn necessary CLE credits for your contribution as well!

Azam (“Az”) Nizamuddin is General Counsel with the American Trust Corporation and Chief Compliance Officer for Allied Asset Advisors in Oak Brook, Illinois. Previously, he practiced commercial litigation and family law with large firms, small firms, and as a solo practitioner. He is an active member of the DCBA, and serves on the DCBA Business Law Section. He also serves on the ISBA Corporate Law Section and previously served on the ISBA ARDC Committee. He was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission, Language Access Committee. He is also Adjunct Professor at Loyola University
and frequently lectures on the intersection of law and religion.

Azam Nizamuddin
Brian Dougherty
Associate Editor


Anthony Abear
Terrence Benshoof
Annette Corrigan
Dexter Evans
Peter Evans
Raleigh D. Kalbfleisch
Timothy Klein
Christopher J. Maurer
James F. McCluskey
Christine McTigue
Clarissa R.E. Myers
Jane Nagle
Joseph K. Nichele
John J. Pcolinski, Jr.
Jay Reese
Arthur W. Rummler
James L. Ryan
Jordan Sartell
David N. Schaffer
Michael R. Sitrick
Jolianne Walters
Eric R. Waltmire

Jacki Hamler
Ross Creative Works
Kelmscott Communications
Jeffrey Ross

DCBA Brief