The Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) has recognized Rockford Managing Attorney Jesse Hodierne (under 10 years) and former PSLS Executive Director Mike O’Connor (over 10 years), with this year’s distinguished Joseph R. Bartylak Memorial Legal Services Award. This award is named in memory of legal services attorney Joseph R. Bartylak to annually honor his extraordinary commitment and dedication to civil legal services and his outstanding service to Illinois’ vulnerable and low-income population.

Below is just some of what their nominators had to say about them:

“Mike has been generous with his time and with his knowledge, insights, and wisdom. No matter the role or the decade, Mike has been open, friendly, curious, determined, compassionate, humble and thoughtful, in both senses of the word. In sum, Mike is just a good person—the kind we need more of in the bar, in legal aid, and in leadership roles in both. Mike’s bedrock commitment to the day-to-day work of fighting injustice and bending the trajectory of lives in a positive direction has been at the core of his success as executive director.”

“Jesse brings high energy and zeal to every case and his approach in contagious. He has helped scores of lower income homeowners keep their homes. He has always excelled at working with clients and gaining their trust—a skill that comes naturally to Jesse. Building this trust is key to successful practice, but it is especially so in helping struggling homeowners understand and sort through their options for ones that work best for them. In short, Jesse is an exemplary legal aid attorney and leader.”

Congratulations, Jesse and Mike!