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Grace Mata is an attorney with Howard & Howard Attorneys who specializes in creditors’ rights litigation. She began her career at Howard & Howard as a runner during her junior year in high school, and has served the company intermittently ever since, returning last year as a full-time attorney.

After studying at Illinois Central College and graduating from the University of Illinois, Mata was accepted by the John Marshall School of Law, where she received the Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates Fair Housing Scholarship. She served in both the Predatory Lending Clinic and the Fair Housing Clinic, providing legal services to the underserved population in the Chicago area. Mata served as vice president of the Latino Law Student Association, and received three separate externships, including one with U.S. District Court Judge Joe B. McDade in the Central District of Illinois.

After graduating from law school in 2007, Mata accepted a clerkship with Cook County Circuit Court Judge Jesse G. Reyes, where she mastered the intricacies of creditors’ rights law. Shortly after returning to Howard & Howard, Super Lawyers magazine named Mata an Illinois Rising Star, a prestigious distinction claimed by no more than 2.5 percent of Illinois attorneys.

In the year and a half since she returned to central Illinois, Mata has increasingly taken on additional community service responsibilities. She serves as a co-chairperson of the Peoria County Bar Association Committee on Diversity and was elected to serve as president of the Peoria Hispanics outreach organization. Mata is a member of the Peoria Friendship House Board of Directors, actively working within the Bar Association to promote its mission. Most recently, she was selected as a fellow of the Illinois State Bar Association Diversity Leadership Institute.

Exemplifying the qualities of a true leader, Mata is loyal, selfless and compassionate, always pursuing excellence and demonstrating poise under pressure. She is sure to make a continued impact on central Illinois through her commitment to serving others. iBi

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