Lawrence E. Kennon recently celebrated his 80th birthday and announced his retirement from the practice of law in association with the firm of Power & Dixon. The Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights hosted a reception honoring the life and accomplishments of Larry Kennon as a champion of civil rights and personal liberties.
Fittingly, the event was held at 1401 West Roosevelt Road, just blocks from where he grew up over half a century ago. Joining to salute Kennon were colleagues in law who also grew up in Larry’s Near West Side neighborhood: Standish Willis and Edward A. Williams. Kennon attended Crane Technical High School, Chicago City Colleges, DePaul University, and the DePaul University College of Law. Willis and Williams admit Larry Kennon influenced them to follow him into the law.
After a stint in the U.S. Army, Kennon joined the Cook County State’s Attorney’s staff. Upon leaving for private practice, he specialized in criminal defense work. During the freedom movement, he added a civil rights practice, representing the NAACP, ACLU, Black Panthers, and African American Patrolman’s League. Kennon has built a reputation fighting police brutality and torture and supporting rights to assemble and protest. He is a participating attorney in the effort to prosecute Commander Jon Burge and his fellow police officers accused of torturing citizens under arrest.
In politics, Larry Kennon was Chairman of the Lawyers Committee to Elect Harold Washington. During the Washington administration, he served as Chairman of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals. He was also one of Mayor Washington’s personal lawyers.
Kennon was Vice President of the Cook County Bar Association. He was of counsel to the Pontiac 17 following the uprising at the prison. Larry Kennon is a recent recipient of the Vanguard Award and the John Paul Stevens Award, the highest honor of the Chicago Bar Association.
Kennon has long been an advisory board member of The Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights and is the registered agent for the Bill of Rights Foundation. This celebration of Larry Kennon’s life and career served as the launch of a scholarship fund in his name.
Acclaimed attorney Standish Willis declares, “Larry, I grew up blocks from you on the West Side and became a lawyer because of you.” (Photo by Brad)
Bennett Johnson, Vice President of Third World Press, pays tribute to old friend Larry Kennon. (Photo by Brad)