SPRINGFIELD, Ill., June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Mt. Vernon, Illinois attorney Mark D. Hassakis will be installed today as the 134th president of the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) at the organization's annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch.
The 33,000-member ISBA, with offices both in Springfield and Chicago, Ill., provides professional services to Illinois lawyers, and education and services to the public.
Hassakis will make "Lawyers Care" the overarching theme of his presidency, honoring the extraordinary efforts that ISBA lawyers and judges make every day to serve their communities.
In addition, he will place a special emphasis on juvenile justice reform and the role that lawyers and judges are playing to make needed improvements in the system.
"We must do something about the epidemic of juvenile crime and the seeming lack of an approach to successfully re-directing many youth who are convicted," he says. "By putting an emphasis on community-based alternatives, we can stop wasting the state's limited financial resources on approaches that do not work, like incarceration, for these low and moderate offenses."
Working with the leaders of Illinois Models for Change, an initiative funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to help reform the juvenile justice system in Illinois, Hassakis and the ISBA will cast a spotlight on several successful model programs in Illinois that can serve as an impetus for other communities to make changes.
Looking ahead to the next generation of lawyers and bar leaders, Hassakis will identify as "Rising Stars" ISBA members admitted to the bar for less than five years who have already made noteworthy contributions to the practice of law.
Hassakis, who concentrates his law practice in injury and wrongful death cases, will be the first Greek American to serve as ISBA president. In 2002, he was elected to the Board of Governors, the ISBA's 25-member supreme governing body. He was elected ISBA third vice president in May 2007 and has moved up the organizational ladder, currently serving as president-elect. He is a past president of the Illinois Bar Foundation, charitable and educational arm of ISBA, and the Jefferson County Bar Association.
Hassakis & Hassakis, P.C., began in 1950 as a firm established by Mark's father, Demetri Hassakis, to engage in a full-service practice that was typical back then. Over time, the practice evolved into what it has become today: a distinguished boutique injury law firm.
Community activities have played an important part in Hassakis' life, including service on the board of the Downtown Mt. Vernon Development Corporation. He and his wife Janet served as co-presidents of the Jefferson County Heart Association, and both are active members and sponsors of Cedarhurst, a nationally-recognized local art museum and sculpture park.
He and Janet have a daughter, Hallie, 28, who holds a masters degree in International Relations and works for the federal government in Washington, D.C. A son, Mark Denny, was born in 1984 and passed away on August 10, 2007.
Hassakis received his law degree from St. Louis University School of Law in 1976 and a B.A. from Northwestern University in Evanston in 1973.
SOURCE Illinois State Bar Association