The Trusted Adviser
June 2011 | Volume 4 • Number 4

Update from ATG Administration

ATG CEO and President Named Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers



Birnbaum Second Youngest Laureate Ever Inducted by the Illinois State Bar Association

Attorneys&€™ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. (ATG) is proud to announce that our CEO and President, Peter J. Birnbaum, has been named a Laureate of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA).

The 2011 Class of seven Laureates was inducted on Tuesday, April 26, 2011, at a luncheon ceremony in Chicago at the Standard Club, led by ISBA past president and ATG board member John G. O&€™Brien of Arlington Heights, chancellor of the Academy Board of Regents.

Birnbaum has served as President and CEO of ATG since 1991. He began his 30-year career with us in 1981 while in law school. A distinct part of Peter&€™s success as President is that he understands ATG operations and core functions with great depth, having worked in several different roles, supervised many departments, and been a part of the building process at ATG since the early days. When Peter started, there were fewer than 25 employees at ATG, just a handful in Chicago and about twelve in Champaign. He currently oversees a staff of nearly 200 people and annual revenues in excess of $32 million. While his solid understanding of the real estate process and title insurance are critical to his success, he also plays the role of visionary with aplomb. He has fostered an environment within the company that encourages loyalty and longevity. There are 34 employees who have been with ATG 20 years or more! More than half our management staff fall into that category. The statistics for the loyalty of ATG members are similarly impressive.





Laureate Peter J. Birnbaum, ATG President and CEO, receives his Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) Laureate medal from ISBA President Mark Hassakis (long-time ATG member) at left and John O'Brien, ISBA Past President, chancellor of the Academy Board of Regents, and long-time ATG member and board member.

The ISBA Board of Regents selects Laureates based on nominations of attorneys who have demonstrated a commitment to the highest principles of the legal profession and to serving the public. Of the award, Birnbaum said, "I am deeply honored to be joining such a distinguished group of professionals."

Birnbaum is the second youngest (by one year) of all 102 attorneys who have been designated as Laureates of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers.

Birnbaum joins a distinguished group of lawyers who have been given this honor. Among them are ATG founding board members Richard Hart of Benton (2000) and James Elson, Sr., of Canton (2001), ATG founder Stanley Balbach of Urbana (2002), ATG member and Peter&€™s mentor, the late Harold Levine of Chicago (2003), and many more. Previous years' Laureates are profiled

Under Birnbaum's leadership, ATG has become widely known as an advocate for lawyers and the clients they serve.

Birnbaum's many honors include having been elected to theAmerican Land Title Association Board of Governors(ALTA) for the last two consecutive years. He is only the second bar-related title company executive to serve during ALTA's 104-year history.

He has also been a member of the ISBA's Task Force on Public Protection from Unauthorized Practice since 1996 and is vice chair of the Chicago Bar Association Committee on Unauthorized Practice of Law. He also serves on the Board of Overseers of Chicago-Kent College of Law.

In January 2004, Birnbaum was appointed as a judge on the seven-member Illinois Court of Claims, which hears cases en banc and rules on cases against the State. He also served a two-year term as president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago. Birnbaum now serves on the advisory board of that organization as well as on the board of theJesse White Foundation, for whom he is leading efforts to develop a freestanding training center.

In addition to frequently lecturing and publishing a wide variety of professional articles, Birnbaum also advocates for legislation in Springfield and Washington to enhance the legal profession and to protect the public.





The Class of 2011 Laureates: (front row, left to right) John B. Kincaid, William V. Johnson, Gino L. DiVito, and Peter J. Birnbaum; (back row, left to right) David B. Sosin, Leo H. Konzen, and John G. O'Brien, presenter and chancellor of the Board of Regents. Rosalyn B. Kaplan was inducted posthumously.

"Peter is very deserving of being named a Laureate — the supreme honor bestowed by the Academy and only awarded to those deemed to exemplify the highest ideals of the profession," explained the ISBA's President Mark D. Hassakis. "Since 1999, the Academy has honored lawyers who have established and maintained the highest principles of the profession as demonstrated by their pervasive record of service to the law and to the public."

Following are excerpts from the nomination letters of four of more than a dozen distinguished people who supported Birnbaum being named a Laureate:





"In more than 30 years of our friendship, Peter and I have become partners in working toward a brighter future for children. He believes in the power of charity and has encouraged others to do so as well."
Jesse White, Illinois Secretary of State

"Throughout the past three decades, Mr. Birnbaum has proven himself as a dedicated legal professional who is not only committed to the craft and art of law, but he is equally committed to investing in his community."

John J. Cullerton, Senate President, State of Illinois

"The key to Peter's success is his industriousness, combined with a deeply abiding integrity and enduring professionalism. His extraordinary talents have made him a true leader in the legal profession and earned him the recognition of our Governor, who appointed Peter to the Illinois Court of Claims in 2004."

Justice Anne M. Burke, Supreme Court of Illinois

"Peter's efforts to prevent the unauthorized practice of law are legendary around the State. It is one thing to speak to a group of lawyers on the topic, but quite another to take on a hostile crowd that does not realize that the public and society are better served by the lawyer's zeal for his client's cause."

Thomas A. LeChien, Attorney and Counselor, ATG Board of Directors

The 33,000-member ISBA, with offices in Springfield and Chicago, provides professional services to Illinois lawyers, and education and services to the public. (Previous years' Laureates are profiled

The board and staff of ATG express their heartfelt congratulations to Peter for having been selected to receive this distinguished honor.





Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Laureate inductee and ATG President Peter Birnbaum (holding his daughter), and Miles Beermann, of Beermann Swerdlove LLP, Chicago.







THE TRUSTED ADVISER is published by Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc., P.O. Box 9136, Champaign, IL 61826-9136. Inquiries may be made directly to Mary Beth McCarthy, Corporate Communications Manager. ATG®, ATG® plus logo, are marks of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. and are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The contents of the The Trusted Adviser © Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund, Inc.

[Last update: 6-10-11]