Bernard B. Wolfe, Class of 1937
Longtime legislative and judicial leader
After graduating from Chicago-Kent in 1937, B.B. Wolfe co-founded Kanes, Rogoff & Wolfe, a commercial law firm, where he practiced law until joining the United States Navy in 1943 and serving as a lieutenant in World War II. After the war, he returned to private practice as a partner in the law firm Lipman, Lochtan and Wolfe and later served as a federal prosecutor. He was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1964 and served for five consecutive terms, during which time his major achievement was an initiative changing the laws as they dealt with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). He also helped found the Illinois SIDS Study Commission in 1971. He served as an associate judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County from 1974 to 1983 and as a judge from 1983 to 1984. Wolfe has also sat on several civic and charitable board organizations, and previously ran the intern programs for law students at Loyola University and Chicago-Kent. Wolfe has received several prestigious awards, including the Best Legislator Award from the Independent Voters of Illinois, the Distinguished Lawyer Legislator Award from the Chicago Bar Association and the Legislative Excellence Award.
Describe your career path. What steps did you take to get to where you are currently?
Set a goal and be active in “people problems,” having achieved success in the 3 departments of government. Be independent, work for “We the People”. I live by, “A poor settlement is better than the best law suit.” – M.R. Fillipp
What has been your greatest professional achievement?
Changing the Tort law of “contributory negligence.”
What does your future hold?
I’m 99- I have served the 3 branches of government. Executive as a Federal Prosecutor, the Legislative branch as a 5-term member of the Illinois House of Representatives, and the Judicial branch as a 10-year trial judge.
What does it mean to you to be one of Chicago-Kent’s 125 Alumni of Distinction?
An honor and recognition of my being connected during the Depression.
How did Chicago-Kent prepare you for your present success?
I was a Depression student and dreamed of being a lawyer. The Kent staff and the Dean gave me the basics to pass the Bar. 1937 was the first step on the new concept. I took it and passed, thanks to Chicago-Kent.