2012 – Marta C. Bukata
Marta C. Bukata, a professor in her native Argentina before coming to Chicago in 1972, has dedicated nearly her entire legal career to tirelessly advocating for some of the most vulnerable people in our community: children and victims of domestic violence. Since 1986, Marta has played an integral role at the Chicago Legal Clinic, where she has served as Deputy Director since 1989 and is Director of both the Domestic Violence and the Child Representative Programs. Over the course of the past 26 years, Marta has served as the court-appointed representative for countless children caught in the middle of complex and highly contested custody matters. She also has been a fierce advocate for hundreds of victims of domestic violence who seek protection, custody of their children, or benefits that would enable them to escape their abusers. Marta’s wealth of family law experience, keen legal abilities, and steadfast commitment to public service make her a true standout in the Chicago legal community.
In addition to to her leadership position and considerable caseload at the Clinic, Marta has shared her talents with a variety of social service organizations and other groups, including working closely with the courts on issues impacting families. Despite her busy schedule, Marta regularly mentors law students and new attorneys and freely lends her expertise to her colleagues. Among the mentees Marta has inspired is her daughter, Laura, who began volunteering with the Clinic as a teen and today is following in her mother’s footsteps as a Supervisory Attorney at the Clinic, where she oversees the Child Support Advice Desk in the Circuit Court.
In the words of her colleagues and peers, Marta is a zealous, no-nonsense advocate with a strong sense of integrity and incredible spirit of helping others. Those who know Marta can attest that she takes little credit for her work and shies away from praise. It is our honor to recognize Marta for her years of committed service and the impact she has made in the lives of thousands of disadvantaged Chicagoans.