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National Notary Association Names Illinois Law Professors Recipients Of First-Ever Lifetime Achievement Award

Los Angeles, California - May 03, 2010

LOS ANGELES — The National Notary Association is pleased to announce that Michael Closen, Professor Emeritus at Chicago’s prestigious John Marshall Law School, and Malcolm Morris, law professor at Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, have been named recipients of the NNA’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their unprecedented accomplishments in modernizing the Notary Public office. The presentation is taking place June 16 at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, Chicago, before an assembly of hundreds attending the Association’s 32nd annual Conference. Notaries from across the state and around the nation, state officials, legal experts and industry leaders are gathering to honor Closen and Morris for their achievements.

“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.”

In recent years, Illinois has risen to prominence as one of the most progressive states in the nation for the implementation of much-needed Notary law reform. A four-year pilot program in Cook County is being closely watched around the nation as the forerunner for a new role for the Notary in fighting the current epidemic of mortgage fraud. A watershed ruling issued by an Illinois Appellate Court, Vancura v. Katris, has further thrust the state onto the national stage by declaring that employers of Notaries must adhere to common law practices that go beyond the requirements of existing statutes. The June 16 event will bring recognition to Professors Closen and Morris for the key roles they played in bringing about the critical changes.

Closen, whose accomplishments include milestone publications in the field of AIDS-related law, is the primary author of one of the definitive publications on notarization and Notary law and the only book on common law notarization ever used as a law school text. He was also a leading member of drafting committees for the Model Notary Act of 2002 and Model Notary Act of 2010 — landmark works that have served as blueprints for Notary laws adopted by numerous jurisdictions throughout the United States. And, he has served as an expert witness in Notary-related cases throughout the nation, including the precedent-setting case, Vancura v. Katris, which is scheduled to be heard by the Illinois Supreme Court on May 18.

Professor Morris is a recognized leader in the Illinois Bar and an active participant in the Notary arena. In 2008, Professor Morris was elected a Laureate of the Illinois Academy of Lawyers, the highest distinction awarded by the Illinois State Bar Association. 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 a 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 code of ethics.

For more information regarding the National Notary Association’s 32nd annual conference — visit

About the National Notary Association

Established in 1957, the National Notary Association (NNA) is the leading professional authority on the American Notary office and is dedicated to educating, serving and advocating for the nation’s 4.8 million Notaries. The NNA imparts comprehensive notarial knowledge and understanding, promotes a positive public perception of the Notary office, and bolsters consumer protection by promoting best practices. The Association’s accredited professional programs, services and model legislation help Notaries advance their careers and serve the American public with the highest level of professionalism and ethics. To learn more, visit us at