EDWARDSVILLE – More than a few audience members may have been startled when Edwardsville attorney Al Pranaitis received the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel's (IDC) 2018 Distinguished Member Award and said "without attempting false humility" that he didn't "deserve" to be so recognized.
"I was not involved in the selection for this award, but believe me I am very proud to have been selected," Pranaitis, a partner at Rynearson Suess Schnurbusch & Champion, said during a Madison-St. Clair Record email interview. "What I was thinking when I made the comment about not being deserving is that there are - and have - been many members of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IDC) over the course of its existence, 54 years, who deserve the Distinguished Member Award."
Pranaitis received the award during the IDC's 54th annual meeting, held June 8 in Chicago, according to an IDC press release that included Pranaitis' comments during the meeting. The IDC was organized in 1964, has more than 800 members, and has a stated mission "to ensure civil justice with integrity, civility and professional competence," the press release said.
Pranaitis is the 13th recipient of the IDC's Distinguished Member Award.
"The 12 prior recipients were four women and eight men," he said. "These are the folks I referred to as real 'heavyweights' in terms of what they have done for the good of the organization and for the practice of law. But folks like Mark Mifflin, Gordon Broom, Rudolf Schade, Gregory Ray come to mind in terms of current or past members who have not received the award but are more deserving than I am, in my opinion. And unless being older is a criterion, Aleen Tiffany would be another - again in my opinion. These are all folks who devoted a large part of their time and much effort over the course of many years to the good of the IDC and all that it stands for."
The IDC's Distinguished Member Award "is a reflection of outstanding leadership and involvement in the association" and those "have contributed to the IDC in many capacities and exemplify the best in the practice of law by continually bringing credit to the profession, the law, and the association," according to the IDC's description of the award.
"I believe it is the highest award that the IDC gives out," Pranaitis said. "So receiving the award makes me very proud to even be thought about in these terms. I feel very fortunate."
Pranaitis also recommended that up-and-coming defense attorneys join the IDC.
"There is so much to learn from the publications, seminars, committee participation and contacts with the other members," he said. "And the participation in and of itself is a very rewarding and enjoyable experience."
Pranaitis, an IDC member for more than 25 years, has served on the IDC board of directors, has been a membership committee co-chair and a speaker at the IDC’s fall seminar, according to the press release.
Pranaitis also has penned "Monograph" and several features for the IDC Quarterly, where he has been an editorial board member and editor-in-chief of the Quarterly.