Francis D. Morrissey, Of Counsel, for Archdiocese’s Legal Services Office, Dies
Was Dedicated Lawyer, Educator and Champion of Legal Ethics
By Michelle Martin
Catholic New World
Family, friends and colleagues are mourning the death of Francis D. Morrissey, a Chicago attorney and law professor who was honored Sept. 30 with the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago. Mr. Morrissey died October 11 of metastatic melanoma. He was 77. A funeral Mass was celebrated October 15 at Holy Name Cathedral.
Mr. Morrissey, a resident of Hyde Park, grew up in St. Columbanus Parish on the South Side before entering Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake, where he received a doctorate in sacred theology. Mr. Morrissey decided that he did not have a vocation to the priesthood and entered law school at Loyola University. After serving as editor of the law review, he graduated in 1958 and joined the law firm of Baker and McKenzie, where he became a partner four years later.
After retiring from the firm in 1995, Mr. Morrissey began teaching at John Marshall Law School in Chicago. He joined the Office of Legal Services in December 1995, working one day a week. His practice areas included Insurance & Risk and Tort.
Mr. Morrissey focused his career on legal ethics and he served as president of the National Conference of Bar Examiners for many years. He worked to create an ethics test for the bar exam. Eventually, a Multi-State Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE) was initiated. All but four states now include an ethics test on their bar exams.
He also brought lectures on ethics into law school classrooms through funding provided by case verdicts involving ethical breaches. In addition, he has been an adjunct professor and distinguished visiting professor in law schools much of his legal career, focusing on ethics and bar passage.
Mr. Morrissey is survived by his wife, Corinne, and by a son, Francis P., a daughter, Mary Kwasny; and four grandchildren.
Mr. Morrissey's first wife, the former Marie McGinnity, died in 1984, and he remarried five years later.