Rural Practice Initiative

The mission of the ISBA Standing Committee on the Rural Practice Initiative is to increase access to attorneys in rural areas of Illinois. In furtherance of this mission, it will identify and implement a viable program to support the establishment of young lawyers in the practice of law in rural parts of the state in need of lawyers. This program may include a clearinghouse to connect young lawyers willing to join or establish a law practice in rural areas with experienced practitioners looking to transition their practice. The Standing Committee will also identify potential sources of funding to support the young lawyers as they join or establish a practice, including potentially support for student debt payments, moving expenses, and the expenses associated with starting a practice. 

View the Rural Practice Fellowship Program

Committee Roster

  • Angelica W. Wawrzynek, Constant Wawrzynek & Grove LLC, Mattoon, Chair
  • Laurel A. Rigertas, Northern Illinois University College of Law, DeKalb, Vice-Chair
  • Andrea Lynn McNeill, Attorney Andrea McNeill, Marion, Secretary
  • Sarah J. Taylor, Barrett Twomey Broom Hughes & Hoke LLP, Carbondale, Ex-Officio
  • John R. Bailen, Bruce Farrel Dorn & Assoc, Highland Park, Member
  • Perry J. Browder, Simmons Hanly Conroy, Alton, Member
  • Billie J. Constant, Constant Wawrzynek & Grove LLC, Mattoon, Member
  • Scott Dutton, ISBA Mutual Insurance Company, Chicago, Member
  • John F. Erbes, Southern Illinois University School of Law, Murphysboro, Member
  • Clarissa P. Gaff, Land of Lincoln Legal Legal Aid Inc, East St. Louis, Member
  • Ebony R. Huddleston, The Law Office of Ebony R Huddleston PC, Alton, Member
  • Jennifer L. Kincaid, Pepping Balk Kincaid & Olson Ltd, Silvis, Member
  • Dennis J. Orsey, Dennis J Orsey PC, Granite City, Member
  • Sara Ellen Stephenson Peska, Mahoney & Mahoney LLC, Freeport, Member
  • Megan Ryan, Jacksonville, Member
  • Sheila J. Simon, Southern Illinois University School of Law, Carbondale, Member
  • Douglas K. Smothers, Land of Lincoln Legal Aid, Decatur, Member
  • Michael G. Bergmann, Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI), Chicago, Board Liaison
  • Krista L. Appenzeller, Illinois State Bar Association, Springfield, Staff Liaison
  • Stacey Hacker Meehan, Illinois Bar Foundation, Chicago, Liaison to IBF
  • Stacey Weiler, Illinois Bar Foundation, Chicago, Liaison to IBF