The NIU College of Law Board of Visitors elected a new Executive Board during its spring meeting. Matt Pfeiffer (’00) was named chair, transitioning from his previous position as vice chair. Vincent Cornelius (’89) was elected vice chair and Kenya Jenkins-Wright (’03) was elected secretary. Each member of the new leadership team is a respected member in the Chicago legal community as well as a local leader in their own right.
Matt Pfeiffer has his own firm, Pfeiffer Law Offices, P.C. in Naperville, IL. He handles a broad range of civil litigation, arbitration, and mediation matters for individuals and small- to medium-size business entities in DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, Lake, McHenry, and Kendall Counties as well as various transactional matters throughout these regions. Matt was recently sworn in as president of the DuPage County Bar Association. He is also a past Chair of the DCBA Professional Responsibility Committee, Business Law Committee, and Law Practice Management Committee. He is an active member of the Illinois State Bar Association and has served on ISBA’s Civil Practice and Procedure Section Council, Business and Securities Law Section Council, and ISBA Assembly. In addition, he is a past President of the NIU Law Alumni Council.
Vincent F. Cornelius was elected to serve as the 140th President of the 32,000 member Illinois State Bar Association for the year 2016-2017. He is the first and only lawyer from Will County to serve as ISBA president in the 142-year history of the Association. He is the only lawyer in Illinois history to serve as President of the ISBA, President of the Illinois Bar foundation, and Chancellor of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers. He has also served as the only Will County member of the distinguished American Bar Association’s House of Delegates. Vincent is the principal of the Law Offices of Vincent F. Cornelius with locations in Joliet and Wheaton. He has also served on Governor’s Commissions, legislative committees, and university boards. He currently serves on two Illinois Supreme Court commissions. Vincent is a recipient of the Northern Illinois University College of Law’s Outstanding Alum Award and its Alum of the Year Award. He is a recipient of the University of St. Francis 2006 Outstanding Alum Award, and he has served as Vice-Chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees.
Kenya A. Jenkins-Wright is General Counsel of the Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission (GAC). Prior to joining GAC, Kenya spent 12 years as a litigator with the law firms of Hinshaw & Culbertson and later Greene and Letts, specializing in product liability, medical malpractice, and Section 1983 civil rights actions. Kenya is a past president of the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, Inc. She is also a member of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), where she is currently the Chair of the Standing Committee on Racial & Ethnic Minorities and the Law, also serving on the ISBA Assembly and Bench & Bar Section. Kenya is a member of the board of directors of the Chicago Bar Foundation and a past president of the Chicago Bar Foundation Young Professionals Board. She is also a past board member of the Cook County Bar Association. Kenya has received numerous awards and recognitions for her legal prowess and community involvement, including: Chicago Daily Law Bulletin “40 Under Forty Illinois Attorneys to Watch”; American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division’s Star of the Year Award; National Bar Association’s 40 Under Forty Award; Illinois Super Lawyer; Cook County Bar Association’s Junior Counselor Award; and Cook County Bar Association’s President’s Award.
The Board of Visitors is extremely grateful to outgoing chair Judge William H. Haddad (ret). During his term, Judge Haddad was vital in assisting the College of Law in the critical areas of Fundraising, Career Development, and Outreach and served as an invaluable source of experience and knowledge. In addition, Kate McCabe was thanked for her role as BOV secretary for two terms.