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Crystal Lake lawyer, mediator honored for services to McHenry County as part of Law Day

WOODSTOCK – Breaking up is hard to do. So is public service.

That’s why a Crystal Lake lawyer involved in several area organizations and a McHenry County mediator known for making divorce easier were honored Friday for going above and beyond in their respective professions.

As part of the Law Day celebrations Friday in McHenry County, Mark Saladin received the Distinguished Service Award and Joe Canevello was named the recipient of the Liberty Bell Award, both given out each year by the McHenry County Bar Association.

Law Day, typically celebrated May 1, is a national day to celebrate the rule of law and its contributions to the freedoms Americans enjoy. Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower first proclaimed the day in 1958.

Saladin, who also is a Woodstock City Council member, was honored for his work in the legal field. Jennifer Johnson, who works with Saladin, said he has been a mentor to her and many attorneys along the way. She said his selflessness and constant desire to help others make him one of the best recipients they’ve ever had.

He is a partner at the Zanck, Coen, Wright and Saladin law firm, located in Crystal Lake. His areas of practice include business acquisition; corporation and partnership; nonprofits; wills and trusts; real estate; and zoning and land planning.

The award recognizes bar association members who provide dedicated service and contributions to McHenry County residents. In addition to practicing law, Saladin also serves as a director and is vice president of the McHenry County Youth Sports Association, vice chairman of the McHenry County Economic Development Corp., and is on the board of directors for Transitional Living Services, a nonprofit agency that serves veterans.

Saladin, who did not know he was receiving the award, said he has appreciated all of the opportunities he’s had over the years, and he touted the importance of service work for all community members.

“You haven’t lived unless you’ve run for office in a municipal election,” he said, laughing.

Canevello serves as a mediator, certified anger management specialist and chairman of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Family Mediation Advisory Council. He also is the owner of Connections Counseling & Consulting Services Inc.

As a mediator for more than 20 years, Canevello is a neutral party who works with couples in resolving problems to ensure a divorce is as amicable as possible.

He also has provided training for school psychologists and social workers in local school districts, and for mediators and attorneys in seminars sponsored by various agencies.

Melissa Cooney, who presented the award, said Canevello truly cares about the process and the people involved in what he does every day. The award is given to an individual who has promoted a better understanding of the rules of law and a greater respect of law and the courts.

“Joe has made the process of divorcing easier in McHenry County,” she said.

Canevello, too, was taken by surprise in being chosen for the award. He said he was humbled, shocked and a bit flummoxed but very thankful for the recognition.

The national theme for this year’s Law Day was the 14th Amendment and the many ways it has reshaped American law and society. Lucas Kim and Jordyn St. John, both of Hannah Beardsley Middle School, as well as Dylan Lyon of Heineman Middle School, were honored for their essays about what they believed was the most important clause in the 14th Amendment.

Each of the three students wrote about the equal protection clause. The clause, which took effect in 1868, says that no state can deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Seventy-five middle school students submitted essays for the contest.

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