The Southwest Bar Association was started by a group of attorneys that lived and practiced law on the southwest side of Chicago and neighboring suburbs in 1956. Jerome T. Murphy was the first attorney sworn in as President of the SWBA. The SWBA has had ties to the 5th Municipal District Court of Cook County from its early days. During those early years, very few cases were heard in the suburban District Courts compared to today. Prior to the existence of the current 5th Municipal District Courthouse, there was a mini-court center for the 5th District Court located in Chicago Ridge, Illinois. The current 5th District Courthouse, located in Bridgeview, Illinois, was built in 1986. A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the beginning of construction on the new courthouse in 1986. Judge Anthony S. Montelione, the Presiding Judge of the 5th Municipal District at the time and Christine E. Smith McMahon, the President of the SWBA at the time, were both present at this ceremony. Mrs. Smith McMahon was the second female President of the SWBA, the first being Betty Williams Gallo, who was sworn in in 1983. Mrs. Smith McMahon continues to sit on the Board of Directors for the SWBA to this day. The types of cases and volume of cases heard by the 5th Municipal District has grown significantly since the opening of the Courthouse in Bridgeview.
The SWBA continues to be a community of attorneys living and practicing on the southwest side of Chicago. The SWBA offers regular pro bono services at the 5th District Courthouse, gives out an annual scholarship to a high school senior for college, and holds several events and continuing education courses for attorneys throughout the year. The SWBA is dedicated to the maintenance of the highest professional standards, the advancement of the administration of justice, and service to the legal profession and public.
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