October 05, 2007

Jenner & Block Partner Daniel R. Murray was honored by the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago as the Catholic Lawyer of the Year at a special ceremony held on September 30.

Each year the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago bestows its Catholic Lawyer of the Year Award on an attorney in the archdiocese of Chicago who has served as a role model in the profession for the Catholic faith through dedication to public and community service.

Mr. Murray was honored at a brunch following the Red Mass which was held at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.  The Red Mass is celebrated each year at the beginning of the fall court term and is attended by numerous members of the Federal and state judiciary and bar.

Cardinal Frances George, archbishop of Chicago, was the principal celebrant of the Mass and spoke at a brunch following the Mass.  Cardinal George commended Mr. Murray for “his fine work in his own law firm, his teaching at Notre Dame University, plus his advice on the many boards that he serves on here in the Archdiocese.”

Mr. Murray was presented with the award by the President of the Catholic Lawyers Guild, William Quinlan, and by Jenner Partner Barry Sullivan, who introduced Mr. Murray.

Mr. Sullivan recounted several highlights of Mr. Murray’s career, including his representation of pro bono client Bill Witherspoon following the U.S. Supreme Court landmark decision In Witherspoon v. State of Illinois.   Together with Jenner Partner Jerold S. Solovy, Mr. Murray represented Mr. Witherspoon for many years in his parole proceedings and after multiple hearings, succeeded in obtaining parole for his client. Mr. Sullivan explained how Mr. Murray remained a friend to Mr. Witherspoon well after his release during Mr. Witherspoon’s years of service at a half-way house for ex-convicts in Detroit.

“Dan has always been a steady voice for serving clients and society, emphasizing the importance of treating each other with humanity,” Mr. Sullivan said.

He also discussed Mr. Murray’s many years of experience in handling bankruptcy and restructuring matters for corporate entities, including his involvement in the Rock Island, Milwaukee Road and the Chicago, Missouri & Western Railway Company bankruptcy proceedings.  Mr. Sullivan noted especially his service as Trustee of the Chicago, Missouri & Western Railway, in which he was able to preserve vital rail service for the citizens of Illinois.  In addition, he highlighted that Mr. Murray’s involvement in a number of other notable restructurings, including those for The Babcock & Wilcox Company and Conseco, Inc.

Mr. Sullivan also described Mr. Murray’s devotion to the Church and community, serving as a member of the Board of Directors for the Big Shoulders Fund that assists the Archdiocese of Chicago in raising funds for Catholic elementary and high schools in Chicago, as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic Theological Union, a graduate school of theology in Chicago, Illinois, and as a member of the National Board of Advisors of The Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Center.  Mr. Sullivan also noted Mr. Murray’s service as an adjunct professor at University of Notre Dame’s School of Law and as managing partner of Jenner & Block.

Mr. Murray was recently profiled in the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Chicago, the Catholic New World in recognition of being named the Catholic Lawyer of the Year. In the article, Mr. Murray said, “As a lawyer, you’re called upon at the core of your vocation to help other people. That’s what an advocate and a counselor does, at heart: help other people, the client.”

“We are very fortunate to have a license to practice law. It’s a great responsibility and a lot of trust is given to us. Because we have this responsibility, we have an obligation to give back, and that is something that has been taught to me from my earliest days as a lawyer at Jenner & Block,” he concluded in the Catholic New World profile.

Mr. Murray is Chair of the Firm’s Bankruptcy, Workout and Corporate Reorganization Practice and Co-Chair of the Commercial Law and Uniform Commercial Code Practice.  Mr. Murray is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers and the American Law Institute.