Ray J. Koenig IIIan openly gay, Chicago-based attorney who has been recognized by Law & Politics Magazine's Super Lawyers publication as a Rising Star for 2010 and 2011, an honor bestowed upon only five percent of the attorneys in his peer grouphas had yet another honor thrown his way.
Koenig has been named the managing member of Clark Hill's Chicago office.
He is a member of the firm's litigation practice group, and is a well-known civic activist.
"I am thrilled [with the appointment]," Koenig said. "I think it's a good opportunity for the firm, and for me to help grow the firm in the Chicago area. I was very happy to be asked to fill the role.
"I think it's very good for the firm to appoint someone from the LGBT community, and I think it's a fantastic thing for the LGBT community. I believe that part of the reason I was recruited to join the firm two and a half years ago was because I am an openly gay man with a pretty decent practice. To appoint me in this role, as an openly gay man, is a good thing for the community in general."
Koenig, 38, is married (in Connecticut) to his partner of almost seven years, Johnny Song. They have twin daughters, Grace and Adeline.
"We are pleased to announce that Ray has agreed to serve in this leadership role for our Chicago office," John Hern, Clark Hill CEO, said in a statement. "Ray is an accomplished attorney and has demonstrated impressive leadership skills during his time with Clark Hill. This is a time of tremendous growth in our firm, and we are fortunate to have someone like Ray as a part of our team."
Koenig also is a member of the firm's litigation practice group and chair of the Trusts & Estates Section Council of the Illinois State Bar Association and past chair of the section legislation committee.
He is also a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and Clark Hill's Diversity & Inclusion Committee, among other panels and organizations.
"As a firm with international reach and global clients, Clark Hill understands the importance of a diverse and inclusive culture," Koenig said. "We believe in promoting diversity and inclusion in our firm, fostering a collegial and respectful working environment in which each person is encouraged and supported to reach his or her highest potential.
"I'm a big believer that, the more people who are out in their work and personal lives, the better we are overall because so many people change their opinions of LGBT people, issues and rights when they know someone, or know of someone, who is LGBT.
"Having someone out in a leadership position in a good-sized national law firm, that can only have a positive impact on the LGBT community here."
Koenig said he represents a lot of LGBT individuals, couples and families. In addition, he often is appointed to cases where there are LGBT individuals who need representation and the judges will want him to be involved, "because they know that I might be able to relate to the litigant more than others."
"When I think about what I do for a living, what makes me the happiest or proudest are the cases in which I am appointed by the court and serve in a role known as guardian ad litem, frequently, pro bono, and I have the opportunity to bring order to someone's life," said Koenig, originally from suburban Detroit; he has lived in Chicago since 1996. "Those cases tend to be pretty meaningful, and I tend to jump at accepting them any time a judge asks me to play that role. I really like that, and it is something I'm very proud of doing."
In addition, Koenig is an adjunct professor at the John Marshall Law School, where he teaches an elder law course. He also posts to Clark Hill's "Estate, Trust, and Guardianship Controversies" blog.
Koenig practices in the areas of probate litigation, trust litigation, fiduciary litigation, elder law, estate planning and estate administration, with an emphasis on will, trust, guardianship, and advance directive contests and other fiduciary litigation.
"Law firms are often pretty slow to catch on to trends, so it's really nice to be here at Clark Hill, leading an office and a firm where we support diversity, but also make it a mission to support and encourage attorneys to make personal growth," said Koenig, who has been with Clark Hill for about three years.
"Away from the office, I try to spend as much time as possible with my family," said Koenig, although he is also involved in numerous political campaigns and charitable organizations.