Homer Livingston, Jr., Class of 1966
Former president and CEO of LaSalle National Bank
The former president and CEO of LaSalle National Bank, Homer Livingston, Jr. has been a leader in new rules of corporate governance. Currently a director of Peoples Energy Corporation, he led its board in governance reforms and, as Chairman of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, he brought Sarbanes-Oxley into the not-for-profit world even though it was not required, but something Livingston felt was the right thing to do. Prior to his tenure at LaSalle National Bank, Livingston served as a trustee of the Southern Pacific Railroad, as President and CEO of the Chicago Stock Exchange, as Chairman of NorthShore University Health System and as Executive Vice President of the First National Bank of Chicago. He has served on numerous civic and charitable boards, including The Chicago Community Trust, Adler Planetarium, Loyola University and McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University, and is a Governing Member of the Art Institute of Chicago.
What is your greatest achievement?
I suppose the turnaround of LaSalle Bank is the most visible achievement. It was doing very badly and we turned it around dramatically in a fairly short period of time. Taking anything that’s not doing well and making it a success is a trick. Sometimes it work and sometimes it doesn’t. The ability to do that is interesting to me.
What advice would you give to young attorneys just starting out today?
Look at a situation that’s presented to you and figure out what’s right. Everyone is out to make as much money as they can. You need to have some sort of ethics that tells you, “This is the right side of this issue to be on.” Not to just grab any piece of business that comes along. Even starting out you need to do what’s right.
How did Chicago-Kent prepare you for your present success?
The thinking process. Law is a little like a chess game. You see a position, and then have to decide if that’s a strong position, or if you can do something else. You get the first picture of what a case is about, and then you see the two sides of the case, so let’s try and see what the other issues are that we can work with. It causes everyone when they graduate to come out thinking differently than they did when they started.
What does your future hold?
My future is my past. When you get to this time of my life, you’ve done a lot of things. I’m not looking for any new challenges at this point. I’m pleased with what I’ve done. I’m done some things that worked, some that didn’t. Which is what life is all about. I’m just enjoying what’s happened.
What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
My father was a banker so I was going to be a banker. It was very simple. I could’ve done whatever I wanted to do, but sometimes your father is your hero and therefore you want to do what they did. He also went to law school. He always said, “Get the law degree and don’t worry about anything else.” I did that and it was a very worthwhile effort.