On January 2, 2016 we lost a dear member of our law firm, Lori Cunnigham. Lori made her mark in the community by helping many folks through very trying and stressful times in their lives. It was her care for others and the impact on their lives that made her truly special. In fact, so special and highly thought of, the Judges of the 19th Judicial Circuit have for the first time awarded their Liberty Bell Award posthumously to Lori April 20, 2016. This award is given to acknowledge outstanding service in furtherance of the administration of justice. Chief Judge Jorge L. Ortiz stated that they are honoring Lorinne for the extraordinary contribution she made to the Administration of Justice in her lifetime. Lori is further proof that even Lawyers come in the form of a good, just and right person. All those she touched will miss her.
Please take a moment to read what clients, judges and other attorney’s have said regarding Lorinne J. Cunningham.
P. M. - We all have suffered a great loss of a person who was always willing help people and had such a great attitude in doing so. Lori will be missed.
T.H. -Those facing foreclosure have lost an ally and warrior.
M.H.S. - Lori was always so kind. Every time I would see her, she would ask to see pictures of my children and ask me how my health was. She was such a good-hearted person who genuinely cared about others. I will truly miss seeing her walk through the courtroom doors. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.
Mitchell L. Hoffman Circuit Judge, 19th Judicial
It is difficult to find the words to adequately express the profound sense of loss that I, and other members of the Lake County Judiciary, feel at the passing of Lori Cunningham. Lori was one of the finest attorneys to ever appear in our courtrooms.
Lori was a lawyer's lawyer. She had a keen intellect, and she studied the law. She was "old school" in the finest sense of that term. She truly cared about her clients, and always did her utmost to help them find a path to a better and a more secure financial future. She understood the value of keeping a family in their family home, and she came to the courtroom prepared to fight on behalf of those families. But Lori also embodied the virtue of civility. She never demonized her courtroom opponents. She understood that they were doing their jobs, just as she needed to do hers. She worked cooperatively with opposing counsel, not only because it was to the benefit of her clients, but because she understood that it was her professional obligation to treat all participants in the court system with respect.
In fact, when we put together a working group of mortgage foreclosure attorneys to help in create the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program, it was a foregone conclusion that we would ask Lori to become a member of the group. She readily answered the call, and quickly became a voice of reason and common sense in those early, formative meetings. She was truly instrumental in helping to create a program that has helped many Lake County families remain in their homes.
I will miss her deft legal acumen, her quiet dignity, her sense of humor and the warm camaraderie she shared with her colleagues in the bar. I want to convey my sincere and heartfelt condolences to her family. You can be extremely proud of what Lori accomplished as a lawyer, advocate, counselor and colleague.
Getting to know Lori over the years has truly been a joy for us. Our relationship started on opposite sides often butting heads in foreclosure court. Us representing banks and her fighting the good fight for homeowners. At that time, we had venom for anyone that created more work for us. But that only lasted for so long as the type of person Lori was won us over and our professional relationship soon turned into personal admiration.
Lori was kind and thoughtful and had the most wonderful, random, outrageous Lori stories. Like how her whole house was electrified and could have ignited at any moment. Or the nutrition bar she invented. Don't quote us on this but we think it was called the "buffin" - a protein muffin. Or how she would say she would be right back and not be seen for another half hour only to have a tale of what she got hung up on this time. "Hey, do you have a minute..." cause if you do Lori will share a story with you.
When Raj and I decided to venture out and open our own firm, no one was more supportive than Lori. She set us up with our first client and was always willing to take our phone calls when we needed her advice (which was often). We have no doubt that we would not be where we are today without her help and guidance.
We could go on and on about Lori and how she always made time to help us, how much fun it was being around her, or her love of novelty baseball helmets piled high with nachos. But we will conclude with simply stating that Lori was a colleague, a mentor, and most of all a dear friend who will sincerely be missed. We would do anything to have the chance to spend another minute with her.
R. J. and J. D.
- J. D.
I am beyond devastated by the loss of my friend and colleague. When I first started covering Lake County for Codilis almost three years ago, Lori was the first person that I got to know, largely because she went out of her way to get to know me. As a somewhat shy, very introverted person, I appreciated this overture more than I could say, and we soon became fast friends. To me, Lori's personality had two main pillars: intellectual curiosity, and a fathomless well of concern for other people. On any given day, she and I could discuss not only a given case up in court that day, but also a range of topics from history to cosmology to astrophysics, and everything in between. She was curious about everything, and loved learning for its own sake. I will miss our discussions dearly; our grand plans to revise the bankruptcy code will have to wait.
Lori epitomized the "people person." She knew everyone, and everyone loved her. It was hard not to love her; she cared so much for so many people. She always had an encouraging word, and was everyone's go-to person for legal advice and questions. I don't know how many times I saw her in the lobby of the courthouse, grabbing coffee with an attorney who wanted to get her opinion on an issue. Even though we practiced on opposing sides in foreclosure court, she was such a great sounding board for ideas, and she was a great person with whom to nitpick the latest case law. However, for her, foreclosure law was about more than the statutory repossession of real property; she never failed to see and hear the people it affected. Through the Mortgage Foreclosure Help Desk, she helped countless borrowers to understand their rights and responsibilities in a foreclosure case, and lent a sympathetic ear to their particular circumstances. She was a zealous advocate on behalf of her own clients; I wish they could have seen how well she represented their interests in court, how passionately she fought for them. There was no one that Lori would refuse to help, no person in whom she couldn't see a good side. She saw the best in everyone, and I hope that I can live my life and practice law in a way that would make her proud. I offer my sincere condolences to her family.
M. R. and S. G.
The gift of professional collegiality and getting to know each other is one of the real pleasures of our profession, working responsibly and with colleagues to solve client problems.
Lori exemplified that gift in her daily professional life.
I am saddened by Lorinne’s passing. Her contributions toward establishing our foreclosure mediation program and her volunteerism at our foreclosure help desk were much appreciated and will not be forgotten by those she served.
Jorge L. Ortiz
19th Judicial Circuit
She was a mentor to me in foreclosure defense and always said something to make me smile every time I saw her. Recently I received an honor and was on the front page of the Docket. The first day back into Chancery, she whipped out the Docket and started showing all the other attorneys and was saying things like, “finally, one of our own made the big time” and “chancery always gets overlooked, but they awarded our girl!” She was every bit as proud of me as my own mother was. And in a way, she was a mother to all of us in foreclosure court. Whatever side we were on, she treated us like family. She was a fierce litigator and brilliant legal theorist, and I often “stole” her arguments for my own cases. She taught me a lot about the law and a lot about how to be the best kind of lawyer- both killer in court and kind in the hallway. She will be sorely, sorely missed by very many people, and I am honored she took me under her wing as one of her own.
Lake County Foreclosure Mediation Program
I am so sorry to learn of Lori's passing, it was a pleasure and an honor to work with her, when she represented clients in the Foreclosure Mediation Program. She was always diligent, thorough, and pleasant and will be missed. My thoughts go out to her family and friends.
Lorinne J. Cunningham focuses in the area of foreclosure defense, loan modifications, bankruptcy, and consumer rights law. Lori is the lead litigator for one of the largest foreclosure defense practices in the Chicago area at Newland & Newland LLP. While Lori practices in all counties of the Chicago area, she litigates more foreclosure defense cases in Lake County, IL than any other lawyer.
Lori is highly skilled in using a foreclosure defense as leverage to get lenders to provide loan modifications, obtain deficiency waivers, and uses creative solutions to achieve whatever the client’s goal is.
Lori was invited by Lake County’s chief foreclosure judge to serve on a committee that formulated the Lake County mediation program to assist people in foreclosure to obtain loan modifications.
Due to Lori’s tremendous experience and skill level, Lori is often a speaker at various bar association seminars where she has spoken on how to use a foreclosure defense and to obtain a loan modification and many other related topics.
Besides foreclosure defense, Lori is highly proficient in bankruptcy. Lori handles Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 bankruptcies. Lori also practices in consumer rights law where she will file suit against parties that violate laws designed to protect our consumer rights.
Lori has been in practice with Stephen and Gary Newland since 2010. Before then Lori worked for some of the nation’s largest Bankruptcy and Collection firms. Having worked both sides of the issues, she continually applies her knowledge to the benefit of her clients.
Lori received her bachelor’s degree in History and Criminalistics form the University of Illinois at Chicago where she graduated with highest distinction. She was given membership in various honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key, and Honors College. She was an editor for the University’s literary journal the Red Shoes Review. As a senior, she received the University’s highest award for scholarship in History, the Goodman Award.
Lori worked in a Criminal laboratory throughout law school as a microscopist and lab manager, attending IIT-Chicago-Kent College of Law, on various scholarships, made the Dean’s list each semester and graduated with Honors.
Areas of Practice
Bankruptcy Foreclosure Defense Consumer Law
Illinois, 1997 Wisconsin, 1998 Northern District of Illinois Eastern District of Wisconsin
University of Illinois/Chicago
Illinois Institute of Technology/ Chicago-Kent School of Law