Malcolm L. Morris, interim dean of the NIU College of Law, has been elected into the 2008 Class of Academy Laureates by the Academy of Illinois Lawyers. The Laureate Award, the supreme honor bestowed by the Academy, is given to those lawyers deemed to exemplify the highest ideals of the profession as demonstrated by their pervasive record of service to the law and the public.
Founded in 1999, the Academy of Illinois Lawyers has honored 80 attorneys with the distinction of being a Laureate.
The purpose of the Academy is to enhance the honor and dignity of the ISBA by recognizing lawyers who exemplify values, standards and ideals of the best of the legal profession. Laureate candidates must be members of the ISBA and have practiced law primarily in Illinois for at least 25 years. Morris will join five other award recipients in Chicago for induction April 8.
Morris has been a professor at the College of Law since 1978; his areas of teaching include trusts and estates, estate planning, property, and e-commerce. He has served as associate dean of academic affairs since 2003, and in 2008, he assumed the position of interim dean.
In 2007, Morris was named among the National Notary Association’s (NNA) list of “The 50 Most Influential People in Notarization in the Last 50 Years.” He distinguished himself in the notary area by teaching the first law school class on notarization and co-authoring the first law school text on notarial law and practice. Morris is the reporter for the Revised Model Notary Act, which will have proposals designed to foster electronic business transactions.
He also was the reporter and a principal draftsman for the Model Notary Act of 2002, as well as the Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility (1998). In 2006, Morris served as an expert witness before Congress on a notary bill. In 2001, the NNA honored Morris with its prestigious Achievement Award.
An active participant in the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), Morris twice has received a Certificate of Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Association. In 1998, he received of the Association’s Austin Fleming Award. Morris is a past chair of the ISBA’s Business Advice and Financial Planning Section Council and editor of “The Counselor,” an ISBA publication. Additionally, he is chair of the ISBA’s Committee on Legal Education, Admissions and Competence. On the national level, Dean Morris served on the American Bar Association's Section of Legal Education Bar Admissions Committee and chaired the Donative Transfers Section of the Association of American Law Schools.
In addition to other work, Morris directs the Sophomore Summer Institute, a program he developed that is hosted at the NIU College of Law in partnership with the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO). Designed for undergraduates interested in attending law school, the primary goal of the program is to help low-income, minority or disadvantaged students succeed in law school. Previously, he directed the Program for Minority Access to Law School, a cooperative effort with the other public law schools in Illinois to assist minority undergraduates prepare for admission to law school.
Morris received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his law degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He also holds an LL.M. from Northwestern University.