Dec 9, 2010

Hyman and Kennedy newest Leading Lawyers at Chuhak & Tecson, P.C.

Two attorneys who took the scenic route getting to their careers are the most recent Chuhak & Tecson lawyers to be named to the Leading Lawyers Network in Illinois, joining 14 other Chuhak attorneys who have already achieved that distinction. That's one-fourth of the firm.           

Loretto Kennedy wanted to be an actress and singer when she was growing up, but now, as a top-flight aviation and product liability litigator, the courtroom is her stage. Josh Hyman thought he would work in politics; instead, he has become a first-rate banking attorney who mentors other young attorneys.           

Kennedy and Hyman, both principals at Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. may not have taken a straight path to get where they are today, but their journeys have been marked with successes. The latest, Leading Lawyers Network, is a distinction extended by Law Bulletin Publishing Company of Chicago.

Judging that lawyers themselves are best qualified to identify the best among them, the network asks attorneys to name peers and even competitors they would recommend to family or friends if they could not take a case themselves. No self-nominating allowed. Attorneys may not even recommend anyone from their own law firms, and no way can a professional buy the opportunity to become a Leading Lawyer.           

Years of experience, quality of service, and strength of reputation are what entitle a candidate to earn this honor. 

Kennedy has practiced law since 1988. More than half her work is with domestic and international aviation litigation stemming from airline accidents. This often takes her to sites in far-flung places like Singapore and Sydney on behalf of the client—which may be a parts manufacturer, an installer, contractor, or other entity implicated when the unthinkable happens. The rest of her practice is focused on product and construction liability and general civil litigation.           

“It's moving and humbling to be recognized along with the others on the Leading Lawyers list,” Kennedy said. “I only hope that the quality of my work and my dedication to my clients always reflects the qualities which being chosen as a Leading Lawyer represents.”           

What are those qualities? Kennedy said that if she were nominating a colleague to the Leading Lawyers Network, she would look for a skilled attorney who addresses clients' problems with a fierce dedication and an amount of creativity.           

She also finds, in reading through Leading Lawyer profiles, that not only have the top-named attorneys developed command of their practice areas, but frequently they also are active contributors in the community.           

“Typically, they tend to be well-rounded people, which makes them more effective lawyers,” Kennedy said. “They've brought in their own perspective on life, so they have a better understanding of their clients. Whether the client is facing a traffic ticket or whether they're facing a hundred million dollar loss to their company, it always helps to be able to put yourself in the client's shoes so you can better counsel them on decisions that need to be made.”           

Kennedy reaches into the community herself by coaching junior varsity cheerleading and serving as a Girl Scout leader for two troops—one for sixth grade and one for high school girls. Two years ago, Girl Scouts of Chicago recognized her as an Outstanding Volunteer. In 2009, Kennedy founded a networking group, the Northwest Chicago Professional Women's Leadership Exchange. She's still singing, too—mostly at her church—and also regularly takes the stage in the Chicago Bar Association's annual Christmas Spirits production. 

Hyman, who also has practiced law for 22 years, thought that after law school he would continue working for former Senator Bill Bradley, just as he did when the senator appointed him to the Congressional and Administrative Law Clinic in Washington, D.C. But when Bradley ultimately decided not to pursue the U.S. Presidency, Hyman returned to Chicago to look for a job.           

Cutting his teeth at a small boutique banking law firm in 1990, he learned banking law and how to service bank clients. He started his own practice out of his home in 1995. In 2002, Hyman joined Chuhak & Tecson and started the firm's banking group, which he continues to chair.           

Hyman's team now consists of 24 bank lawyers, who serve more than 75 banks and the FDIC on a local and national basis. Today, Chuhak's bank practice group is the largest and most active in Illinois.           

“It is a distinct honor to be appointed to the Leading Lawyers Network,” Hyman said. “I'm fortunate to make my living in such a gratifying profession and with so many talented colleagues.”           

A few years ago, Hyman created an associate marketing initiative for Chuhak associates, “having them join me at marketing events with all kinds of clients,” he said. “The idea was to get them familiar with being in the company of somebody after hours who they could potentially be doing business with and learning how to interact.”

Hyman has served as president of the board for Inspiration Cafe, a Chicago charity that addresses homelessness, with great success. “While I was there, we took the organization from a $350,000 not-for-profit operating in the red to an over $3 million organization operating in the black,” he said.

He and his wife, Belkis Muldoon, also are actively involved with the not-for-profit Illinois Education Foundation, and Belkis serves on the board of directors. In addition, they sponsor a local Catholic high school student, enabling them to touch the life of a young person in a direct and meaningful way.