Home Members Events Scholarships Member Login

The Bohemian Lawyers’ Association was organized in 1911 and the first annual meeting was held in the historic Libuse Hall (2039 West Roosevelt Road) in Chicago. A charter was applied for to the Secretary of State under the name "Chicago Bohemian Bar Association". In November 1911 a name change was made, becoming the "Bohemian Lawyers' Association of Chicago”.

The original incorporators were Charles B. Pavlicek, Otto Kerner Sr., Otto F. Ring, Frank H. Bicek, Frank Posvic, John O. Hruby and Anton Zeman. The purpose of the Association, as stated in its Charter, is “to unite in maintaining the standards of the legal profession, to cultivate social intercourse among its members and to promote the due administration of justice.” The officers for the first year were: President, Charles B. Pavlicek; First Vice President, Charles A. Churan; Second Vice President, Otto Kerner Sr.; Secretary, J. J. Viterna; Treasurer, Frank Posvic and Historian, John O. Hruby, Jr.

Other charter members were: George A. Basta, Jerome J. Cermak, Ludwig R. Dejmek, E. J. Geringer, Cyril Jandus, John W. Jedlan, Harold W. Jirka, Ludmil Kandlik, Otto Kaspar, Miles E. Kastner, Joseph Z. Klenha, Adolph J. Krasa, Alexander S. Kratky, Frank J. Mancl, Charles J. Michal, Vladimir F. Moudry, Edward J. Novak, Anton Pecival, Joseph G. Pisha, Edward J. Smejkal, Joseph A. Smejkal, Otto L. Steiskal, James F. Stepina, James Storkan, Frank J. Traznik, Joseph F. Triska, Walter Truc, Judge Joseph Z. Uhlir Sr., W. J. Vavra, Joseph L. Voborsky.

From 1911 to 1927 the Association functioned through its Board of Managing Directors and only annual meetings were held of the entire membership. Since 1927, meetings of the entire membership are held monthly except the months of June, July and August. The Association met at the Bohemia Clubhouse (Ceska Beseda), 3659 Douglas Boulevard, Chicago until 1955 when that building was sold. Meetings today are held at Klas Restaurant in Cicero.

Active (full) membership is open to attorneys residing or practicing law in either the Chicago metropolitan area or State of Illinois of Czech, Moravian, Ruthenian, Silesian or Slovak ancestry (or who are married to a member in good standing of such descent). In 2004 the Association broadened the membership provisions of its bylaws to provide for associate (lawyer) and law student members. Associate membership is open to lawyers who, while not being of Czech/Slovak background, otherwise meet the criteria established for active members and have an interest in the culture and heritage of the Czech Republic or Slovakia. Law student membership is open to law students studying at ABA accredited law schools who otherwise meet the criteria established for active members. From time to time the Association through its members have taken a stand for or against proposed legislation and the proposed amendments of the Constitution of the State of Illinois, and have given publicity to their actions in the newspapers of the City of Chicago and its suburbs. Over the years the Association has taken an active interest in the unauthorized practice of law by persons and corporations not qualified to do so and to such end cooperated with the Chicago Bar Association. Other groups in consultation with the Association are the West Suburban Bar Association, Justinian Society of Layers, Advocates Society (The Association of Polish-American Attorneys) and Czechoslovak League for Financial Institutions.

The Association looks with pride to the public record which its members have made, both elected and appointed, from the executive office of governor of the State of Illinois, held by Otto Kerner, Jr. to Justices of the Peace and Police Magistrates. Among the offices held by individual members have been: Attorney General of the State of Illinois, Assistant Attorneys General, Judge for the District Court of Appeals (U.S.), Judges of Superior and Circuit Courts of Cook County and Juvenile Court, Judges of the Municipal Court of Chicago, Clerk of the Probate Court of Cook County, Assistant Probate Judges, Assistant State’s Attorneys, Assistant Corporation Counsels (City of Chicago), Judge of the County Court of Cook County, Masters in Chancery, Mayors and Presidents of Municipalities, Township Collector, Chief Title Examiner, Registrar of Titles Torrens System, Chief Title Officers of Chicago Title and Trust Co., Attorneys for Municipalities, Attorneys for Public Commissions, and Commissioner of the United States District Court. In addition there have been many members of the Association serving their communities, state and nation in important offices.

© 2004 Bohemian Lawyers' Association of Chicago. All Rights Reserved.