Peter J. Birnbaum, Class of 1983
President and CEO of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund
Peter Birnbaum has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. (ATG) since 1991, overseeing a staff of more than 200 people and annual revenues in excess of $40 million. He began his career at ATG while still a law student at Chicago-Kent, working as a law clerk in 1981 and eventually advancing to be a staff attorney and then vice president and counsel. In 2004, Birnbaum was appointed as a judge to the seven-member Illinois Court of Claims, which hears cases en ban and rules on claims against the State. He has authored or been featured in dozens of regional and national newspapers and trade publications and, in 2011, he was inducted as a Laureate in the Academy of Illinois Lawyers, the highest honor bestowed by the Illinois State Bar Association.
Birnbaum is a past president of the Chicago-Kent Alumni Board of Directors and currently sits on the Board of Overseers. He was honored with the school’s Distinguished Service Award in 2004.
Describe your current path. What steps did you take to get to where you are currently?
I was fortunate in that I began my career at ATG my first year of law school. That provided me with a career path that has been very rewarding.
What was the greatest challenge you have faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
Trying to navigate as a regional company in an industry that is dominated by large national and multi-national companies. We overcame this by building a culture where our employees and customers are loyal and supportive.
How would you persuade a potential student to attend Chicago-Kent?
What would people find most surprising about you?
I play drums in a band - and we don’t suck as bad as you think we would!
What has been your greatest professional achievement?
Since becoming CEO in 1991, I have grown the company from a small local concern to a regionally strong player in a wide variety of services that support law firms.
What advice would you give to young attorneys just starting out today?
Find something that appeals to you and embrace it completely. If you aren’t sure what you want to do, pick something and do it.
How did Chicago-Kent prepare you for your present success?
I would not be where I am today without Chicago-Kent. From the first day of school and through this very day I have received nothing but support and encouragement from the faculty, administration and alumni.