CHICAGO, (Feb. 17, 2009) - William A. Von Hoene Jr., executive vice president and general counsel of Exelon Corp., received a 2009 Spirit of Excellence Award for outstanding efforts as a corporate leader to promote diversity in the legal profession.
The American Bar Association Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession presented the award Feb. 14 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, during the 2009 ABA Midyear Meeting.
"Throughout his career, Bill Von Hoene has complemented his successful substantive legal practice by actively promoting racial and ethnic diversity within the legal profession and fairness and equality in society. He has taken the "Call to Action" seriously, and has demonstrated what concrete action can achieve. His professional excellence and unwavering resolve to champion civil rights and promote racial and ethnic diversity, both professionally and personally, make him an ideal recipient for the Spirit of Excellence Award," said Fred Alvarez, commission chair, in announcing Von Hoene's selection.
Von Hoene has been general counsel at Exelon since February 2006, and has been with the corporation since 2002. He has demonstrated a commitment to diversity within the ranks of the corporate legal department, and insisted on a similar commitment by preferred provider law firms serving the legal needs of the corporation. Under his leadership, Exelon has recruited racially and ethnically diverse lawyers into their legal offices in Philadelphia and Chicago. He also has facilitated lawyers on staff moving into key business leadership roles in the company, and recruited candidates directly into business positions. When there are extended absences in the legal department, he arranges with law firms and with minority- and women-owned businesses to provide diverse lawyers who will fill-in, giving them the opportunity to work side by side with Exelon legal staff and business clients to develop mutual, long term business relationships.
In working with preferred provider law firms, Von Hoene created the AAA Diversity Program emphasizing awareness, action and assessment as law firms assign diverse lawyers both to staffing and to managing the legal services they provide for Exelon. Under the program, firms must report the gender and minority diversity of lawyers assigned to Exelon work and the percentage of law firm billings represented by diverse lawyers. Exelon provides the law firms with billing profiles, ranking them by diversity billing performance, and uses the profiles in assigning new work to the firms.
Before joining the Exelon legal staff Von Hoene was a partner at Jenner & Block in Chicago, where he was co-chair of the firm's diversity committee and was responsible for developing a comprehensive diversity program for all offices of the firm. He also served as a hiring partner and a member of the firm management committee, among other responsibilities. He previously was an associate at a smaller Chicago law firm, and clerked for a U.S. District Court judge.
Von Hoene is licensed in Illinois and California. He is a past board member of and general counsel to the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities. He is a past president of the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and currently serves as a member of the board of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago. He has served on the board of the Chicago Bar Foundation, the Joffrey Ballet, the Edison Electrical Institute Litigation Committee and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. He has been a corporate member of the Minority Counsel Program of the ABA commission.
He is a cum laude graduate of Yale University, with a bachelor's degree in political science, and a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a member of the law review and elected to the Order of the Coif.
The ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession is a catalyst to change the legal profession to reflect the society it serves. It helps racially and ethnically diverse lawyers advance their careers and standing in the profession. Its leadership, programs and information help the profession understand and eliminate racism, bigotry and discrimination. The commission works to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession, and thus enrich it.
With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.