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Pioneering Law Experts Receive The NNA’s First Lifetime Achievement Award At Chicago Conference

Two of the foremost experts in the nation on U.S. Notary law received the NNA’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award at Conference 2010 — Malcolm Morris, law professor at Northern Illinois University, De Kalb; and Michael Closen, Professor Emeritus at Chicago’s John Marshall Law School. The two are being recognized for their unprecedented work in modernizing Notary best practices, state laws and ethical guidelines throughout the United States.

Morris and Closen have contributed decades of expertise and labor to the improvement of the Notary office as attorneys, expert consultants and educators, raising awareness of the importance of Notaries Public among both lawmakers and the legal profession.

“The NNA is honored to acknowledge the accomplishments of Professors Closen and Morris as they are among the nation’s leading legal scholars on notarization,” said Charles Faerber, Vice President of Notary Affairs. “We look forward to Notaries and officials from around the country being with us for the presentation in Chicago on June 16.”

Morris is a recognized leader in the Illinois Bar and an active participant in the Notary arena. He drafted the commentary for the two Model Notary Acts, co-authored a Notary law and practice casebook and appeared before a Congressional subcommittee as an expert witness on federal Notary legislation. Professor Morris also contributed greatly to shaping The Notary Public Code of Professional Responsibility — a definitive compendium of Notary best practices and ethics.

Closen was an influential member of drafting committees for the Model Notary Act of 2002 and the Model Notary Act of 2010 — landmark works that have served as blueprints for Notary laws adopted by numerous jurisdictions throughout the United States. He is the primary author of the only book on common-law notarization ever used as a law school text. As a leading Notary authority, he has also has served as an expert witness in Notary-related cases throughout the nation, including a major Illinois case ruling on the responsibility of businesses to train employee-Notaries, even when not specifically required by law. Closen spoke on this critical case and other legal issues important to Notaries and their employers at the Conference’s Concluding General Session.

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