2007 Recipient

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Where presented : 
Exemplar Award Dinner
Recipient(s) name: 
Roderick A. Palmore
Recipient title: 
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
Recipient organization: 
Sara Lee Corporation
Recipient organization city: 
Downers Grove
Recipient organization state: 
Reason for selection of recipient(s): 

Roderick A. Palmore is leading the way toward equality and justice in our communities and our places of business. As executive vice president, general counsel and secretary at Sara Lee Corporation, Palmore recognizes the critical importance of pro bono service for corporate counsel and understands that the legal and business interests of Sara Lee's clients are furthered when access to the legal system is available to everyone, regardless of economic status. Palmore’s distinguished service to the community and his commitment to equality and justice have been recognized by a number of organizations. He is the recipient of the 2006 ABA Spirit of Excellence Award, 2005 ACC Diversity Award, 2005 Equal Justice Works Scales of Justice Award, 2003 ACC Excellence in Corporate Practice Award and the 2002 MCCA Employers of Choice Award –Midwest region.

Named one of the fifty most influential general counsel in February 2006 by Inside Counsel, a premier business magazine for general counsel and corporate legal executives, Palmore is well known for his leadership in furthering diversity within the corporate legal world. In the spring of 2004, he initiated the “Call to Action,” a program focused on addressing the retention, promotion and direction of business to minority communities within the legal profession. Signatories to his Call to Action must not only promise to look at a firm's commitment to diversity when choosing outside counsel, but to "end or limit" their relationship with firms that do not demonstrate a meaningful commitment to being diverse. In just one month
after issuing the call, general counsel from 60 companies signed on. Today, 110 companies have signed onto the Call to Action. 

Palmore is also a leader in his community. He is a member of the board of directors of Nuveen Investments and the Chicago Board Options Exchange and formerly served on the board of directors of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, and the Centers for New Horizons. His demonstrated commitment to access to justice includes service on the board of directors of the Chicago Bar Foundation, the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago and the Public Interest Law Initiative. Palmore also generously donates his time to other volunteer activities including serving on the Chicago Bar Association’s Board of Managers, membership on the board of directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel and the board of trustees of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and as a former chairman of the Public Arts Advisory Commission of Oak Park, IL.