Board of Trustees Welcomes Newest Member Jessica O’Brien

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The Board of Trustees at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago welcomed has welcomed its newest board member, Jessica Arong O’Brien. She will serve a three-year term on the 26-member board. She was sworn in at the June 2012 meeting.

The John Marshall Law School Board of Trustees in Chicago has welcomed its newest board member, Jessica Arong O’Brien. She will serve a three-year term on the 26-member board. She was sworn in at the June 2012 meeting.

“I am honored to be serving on the board of trustees. It is another way for me to give back to my law school, an institution that believes in working for diversity in the legal community. As someone of Pacific Islander descent, I am a direct beneficiary of this John Marshall initiative. Coming to John Marshall changed my life forever.

“I want to continue working on the law school’s innovative initiatives,” O’Brien said, “and to create an appreciation for John Marshall among our students and alumni so they, like me, can be proud to call The John Marshall Law School their alma mater.”

Leonard F. Amari, president of the board of trustees, is enthusiastic about O’Brien’s newest role at John Marshall. “She is one of our outstanding graduates who brings her energy and ideas to the board.”

“At the same time, my colleagues and I extend our sincere thanks to Giacomo ‘Jack’ Pecoraro for his many years of service,” Amari said. “He has been a valued member of the board and we much appreciate all the time he gave to our endeavors.” Pecoraro, of Springfield, is a 1982 alumnus.

O’Brien, an assistant Illinois attorney general with the Department of Revenue, has three degrees from John Marshall. In 1998, she was the first John Marshall student to earn a joint JD/LLM degree in tax law in three years. She also received a second LLM in Employee Benefits in 2002.
She was with Schuyler Roche & Zwirner PC before joining the Department of Revenue staff where she litigates cases involving corporate, partnership and individual income and sales taxation.
O’Brien relinquished her role as acting chief counsel for the Illinois Lottery in March 2012 after she won the Democratic primary for a Circuit Court of Cook County judgeship. The election is in November 2012.

She is an active member of the bar, serving as president of the Diversity Scholarship Foundation; treasurer of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois; and is on the board of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Foundation and the Asian American Bar Foundation.

In 2006, O’Brien was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court as a hearing officer for the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, and in 2008 as a member of the court’s Character and Fitness Committee, First District. In 2009, O’Brien was appointed a member of the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the Northern District Court of Illinois.

She has been recognized for her outstanding volunteer efforts. Last year, President Barack Obama's Council on Service and Civic Participation presented O'Brien with the President's Volunteer Service Award.

O'Brien was twice named “Most Valuable Member” by the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois. She has been honored with the Outstanding Leadership Award by the Asian American Bar Association; the Asian Pacific American Community Service Award by the Cook County State's Attorney Office; and the Outstanding Service Award for Judicial Evaluation by Circuit Court of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans.

The John Marshall Law School Alumni Association also recognized her with its Distinguished Service Award, and she was inducted into the Chicago Filipino American Hall of Fame twice under the categories of law and public service.

O'Brien is married to Brendan A. O'Brien (JD ’96), a partner of Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLP.

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Marilyn Thomas
John Marshall Law School
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