The Chicago Bar Foundation honored John Marshall graduates Sarah Hess (’14) and Gary Wachtel (’03) for their contributions to the legal community at the annual Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation Pro Bono & Public Service Awards Luncheon on July 17.
Hess is currently a staff attorney with the Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children serving the University of Illinois at Chicago’s CHECK program. Her work focuses on place-based legal interventions for youth with chronic health conditions. Hess is the 2017 recipient of the Kimball R. Anderson and Karen Gatsis Anderson Public Interest Law Fellowship, which was created by former Chicago Bar Foundation President Kimball Anderson and his wife Karen.
After graduating from John Marshall in May 2014, Hess spent two years working to improve children’s health through a specially designed program that won her a prestigious Skadden Fellowship. Her inspiration for the project came from her work as a law school legal extern at Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, a public interest law and policy center. During her externship, Hess focused on early learning for residents up to five-years old at Altgeld Gardens, a public housing project.
Wachtel is the Senior Director for Discover Financial Services’ Law Department. He is also the Director and Pro Bono Committee Chair of Discover’s Pro Bono Program. Wachtel is the 2017 recipient of the Exelon Outstanding Corporate Counsel Award, which recognizes the generally unsung pro bono contributions of outstanding attorneys in the corporate sector and encourages other corporate attorneys to volunteer their time and talents to help those in need.
Wachtel also serves on the Board of LAF, formerly the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. For more than 50 years, LAF has provided free legal services in non-criminal matters to people living in poverty in metropolitan Chicago. While working with LAF, Wachtel has helped establish and staff a domestic violence help desk at the Rolling Meadows, Illinois courthouse and regularly staffs a LAF clinic in Woodlawn, Illinois.