BBP bids fond adieu to Harmon, new Senate President

Burke Burns & Pinelli, Ltd. partner Don Harmon has decided to step down from his position with the firm in order to devote more time to his new position as Illinois Senate President, he announced last week.

“I recognized that I just don’t have the time capacity to be a good Senate President and to practice law the way I practiced it,” Harmon told WTTW in a televised appearance on “Chicago Tonight” last week. “As I campaigned around the state with my colleagues I made it clear to them that it would be my top priority.”

Harmon, in his fourth term as a State Senator, was elected in January to succeed the outgoing John Cullerton in the important leadership position.

Harmon, who joined BBP in 2005 after several years practicing law at Mayer Brown, said he will miss the day-to-day activities of being a lawyer but looks forward to devoting his full attention to confronting the challenges as a legislator for the people of Illinois.

“I loved practicing law and I cannot imagine practicing anywhere but at the firm that I’ve been with for the last 15 years,” he said. “My partners are enormously talented, and more importantly, they are true and loyal friends. But I recognize that being Senate President is going to consume almost all of my time.

“So yesterday when I got home from Springfield, I met with Mary Pat Burns, the head of the firm, my mentor, my role model for how to practice law in an honorable and ethical way, and we began the discussion of me stepping away from the practice in order to devote more time to the Senate presidency.”

Harmon, 53, has served in the State Senate since 2003, rising to a series of leadership positions over the years, including Senate Pro Temp, Assistant Majority Leader and Vice-Chair of the Judiciary Committee. He also has served as a member of the Committees for Assignments, Environment, Executive, Executive Appointments, Redistricting, and Telecommunication and Technology.

Harmon’s full interview can be found on WTTW’s website at You can also view it here at

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