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Remembering Shelli Anderson

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All of us at Franczek mourn the loss of our longtime partner and dear friend, Shelli Anderson. At the same time, we celebrate and honor Shelli for her skill in the law, her deep personal and engaging commitment to her clients, her tenacity, and her integrity, all of which made her a trusted counselor and advocate for board of education members and administrators throughout Illinois.  Just as important, we are forever grateful as colleagues for her warmth, humor, generosity, and tireless work ethic that contributed so much to the success of the firm and to each of us on a personal level. All who she represented or worked with will cherish her life and legacy.  

Shelli was a devoted daughter to Linda and Mel, loving wife to Max and mother to Charlie, and a doting dog mom to Monty and Floyd. An ardent animal lover, Shelli could always be counted on to have a furry companion by her side. Shelli grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, but she created a home for herself in Evanston, Illinois after obtaining her criminal justice and law degrees at Loyola University. 

After beginning her career at Vedder Price, Shelli joined Franczek in 1998. For the next 25 years, Franczek served as the home base of her work as general counsel to numerous Illinois school districts and private schools. Her work touched on some of the most challenging issues facing the field of education today. Shelli became a trusted advisor to school boards and administrators across the state, ensuring that they could effectively serve their communities and, most importantly, their students. 

Throughout her career, Shelli advanced the field of education law by widely sharing her knowledge and experiences. Shelli was a mentor and role model for other members of our firm and a respected leader in the professional community. She regularly presented to school associations on a diverse range of topics. In addition to her work with the Illinois Association of School Boards, Illinois Association of School Personnel Administrators, Illinois Association of School Attorneys, and Illinois Association of School Business Officials, Shelli founded the Women’s Network of School Administrators, a professional organization designed to support female school administrators in Illinois as they advance into leadership roles. She was widely celebrated for her work. In 2010, Shelli was included in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s annual “40 under 40” list. She was regularly named in Illinois Super Lawyers and Leading Lawyers, and Crain’s Chicago Business named her a “Notable Woman Lawyer” in 2018.  

Within our firm, Shelli is remembered as a steadfast but approachable leader, fiercely dedicated to her colleagues and clients. Over her 25 years with Franczek, Shelli served in nearly every leadership role within the firm, including several years on the executive committee. Everybody learned something from Shelli, even those who merely observed her as she deftly juggled an enormous caseload. She was a quick wit and good listener who made everyone she interacted with feel important—coworkers, clients, friends, and family.  

Shelli’s work has created waves in the Illinois education system that will be felt for years to come: by students attending schools that feel safer, women administrators who find navigating their workplace easier, and teachers who feel more valued. We at Franczek will always remember and honor Shelli for her immeasurable contributions to our clients, our communities, and ourselves.  

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Melanoma Research Alliance, or the ASPCA, both organizations close to Shelli’s heart. A memorial service to celebrate Shelli’s life will be held at the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation located at 303 Dodge Avenue in Evanston on Monday, August 14 at 10:00 a.m., where friends, family, and colleagues will come together to honor her memory and share their stories of a remarkable woman who left an indelible mark on the world of law and education.  There is a small parking lot across from the synagogue, as well as street parking. Overflow parking can be found across the street at the Levy Center located at 300 Dodge Avenue.