Kerry R. Peck, Class of 1978

Nationally recognized elder law attorney

Kerry R. PeckKerry Peck is the Managing Partner of the law firm Peck Bloom LLC in Chicago, specializing in will contests, probate litigation, trust litigation, probate administration, elder law, estate planning and guardianship litigation. His clients include families, hospitals, banks, the State of Illinois, Cook County and the City of Chicago. He recently co-authored a book, Alzheimer’s and the Law: Counseling Clients with Dementia and Their Families, and he has contributed articles to the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, the Chicago Bar Association Record and various other bar association journals and newspapers. Peck regularly presents seminars to health care institutions, banks and the City of Chicago Department of Aging and he has worked with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board to present pre-retirement seminars to employees nearing retirement age.

Peck is a past president of the Chicago Bar Association and has served on the National Board of Directors of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for both the Center for Disability and Elder Law and the Suburban (Cook County) Area Agency on Aging. He is also a member of the Governor’s Task Force regarding Elder Abuse and in 2005, he was named a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging. He is currently a member of the Chicago-Kent Alumni Board of Directors.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?

I pretty much knew fairly early on I was going to be a lawyer. My dad was a lawyer and both of my children are attorneys. It’s kind of genetic. I knew early on I was going to study law.

What would you say has been your greatest challenge?

I think the greatest challenge every lawyer faces is distinguishing and learning that there are many things in the law that you don’t know. I think the hardest part of practicing law is knowing what you don’t know. That sounds odd, but don’t take a case you don’t know anything about. Make sure you have resources and people you can turn to to help you with things you don’t know.

What has been your greatest professional achievement?

I think my greatest achievement was the opportunity, privilege and honor of serving as the Chicago Bar Association President. When I was president of the CBA, we had 22,000 members, a committee structure that was the backbone of the organization, and I spent a lot of time in Springfield working on legislative changes. I worked very hard to maintain strong relationship with the judicial branch. Also, The ABA asked me to write a book on Alzheimer’s in the law recently.

What advice would you give to young attorneys just starting out?

Get out and meet people in the community. Get involved in organizations, whether they’re charitable or legal. You’ll find through your involvement that you’ll make a lot of good friends. Some of these friends may decide in the future that you’ve demonstrated capacity and competency to be referred business.

What would you say your future holds?

I think my future holds a continued practice of law in private practice. Perhaps there’ll be another book on the horizon or getting involved in more teaching opportunities. As I look to the future, I think that’s where I’m headed. I also have a couple of grandchildren now, and that’s completely changed my life.