Illinois Bar Journal

March 2018Volume 106Number 3Page 12

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ISBA Elections

Bios of candidates for third vice-president and the board of governors

It's ISBA Election Season!

Spring is almost here, and that means it's election season at the ISBA. There are contested races for third vice-president and the Cook County and Area 8 board of governors seats. This election section of the Journal has background about the candidates to help you make an informed decision.

Ballots will be distributed soon. Paper ballots will be mailed and e-ballots will be emailed on March 26. Voting concludes April 30 at 4:30 p.m. CDT. All attorney members with dues paid up by March 1 of this year are eligible to vote for races in their area. Find out more at

Third VP. Candidates for third vice-president are chosen from Cook County and downstate (outside Cook) in alternating years. This is a Cook County year, and the contestants are Stephen M. Komie of Chicago, Anna Krolikowska of Northbrook, and John Nisivaco of Chicago. Learn more about them by reading their bios on pages 12 and 13. This year's third VP winner will serve as the ISBA's president in 2021-22.

Board and assembly. In the Cook County board race, Chicagoans Ava George Stewart, Mark L. Karno, and Arlette G. Porter are running for one open seat. In Area 8, incumbent Perry J. Browder of Alton faces Shira D. Truitt of Belleville. Find out more about board candidates on page 14. There is no contest in the Cook County assembly race, where 22 candidates are running and 22 seats are open. All successful candidates - for third VP, board, and assembly - take office in June.

Don't stand on the sideline. Casting your vote is easy and only takes a few minutes. Be on the lookout for your ballot, and do your part to shape the ISBA's future.

Third Vice-President

Stephen M. KomieStephen M. Komie, Chicago. 40-year Solo Practitioner in Illinois courts, Komie and Associates, trial/appellate practice. J.D., DePaul College of Law (1976). Admitted: Illinois Supreme Court (1976); U.S. Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeals; U.S. District Court for Central, Northern, and Southern Illinois. ISBA member since 1976; secretary (1996); treasurer (1995); Board of Governors (1992-1997,1999-2004, 2011-2016); Assembly (1985-1990,1992-1997,1999-present). Special committees: Credentials (chair), GATS (chair), Mandatory CLE, Judicial Compensation, and By-Laws (chair). Standing committees on Professionalism (chair), and ARDC. Section councils on Criminal Justice (chair, member, 1989-2016); Traffic Laws and Courts; and Family Law. Illinois Bar Foundation: past director, Platinum Fellow. Speaker: ISBA CLE seminars and Young Lawyers Section. Delegate: Rededication of Magna Carta (2015), CBA Conference on Cuban Law (2010). Other activities: National Trial Lawyers, Appellate Lawyers, Celtic Legal Society, Illinois Trial Lawyers, Justinian Society, North Suburban Bar, Northwest Suburban Bar, West Suburban Bar, DuPage County Bar, Will County Bar, Peoria County Bar, and Women's Bar Association. Articles: "Magna Carta: 800 Years of the Rule of Law," Illinois Bar Journal Vol. 103 No. 6; "Allegations of Child Abuse in Custody Disputes and Visitation Battles," Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, Illinois Family Law (1998, 2008, 2012). Awards: ISBA Board of Governors Award (1991), ISBA Certificates of Appreciation (1986, 1990, 1991, 2001, 2006); Illinois Leading Lawyer (2015-2018); Super Lawyer (2004-2018); National Trial Lawyers Top 100 (2018); and ATLA Top 100 Trial Lawyers (2012). ISSUE STATEMENT: Leader in Advocating individual rights of lawyers through "Attorney's Bill of Rights" (1989); providing expungement of ARDC complaints made against attorneys and other procedural safeguards; proposal for one ID card for attorneys to be admitted to courts statewide without search; proposal to reduce bank fees for credit card use by ISBA members.

Anna P. KrolikowskaAnna P. Krolikowska, North-brook. Founder and managing partner at K & R Family Legal Services. Anna represents clients in family law matters. She received her B.A. and J.D. from Loyola University Chicago and is a Gannon Women's Leadership Scholar. ISBA activities: She is serving her second term on the Board of Governors (2014-present) and served multiple terms on the Assembly (2009-2014). Past chair of the ISBA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Section Council; Standing Committee on Scope and Correlation, Marketing Committee, and Special Committee on Membership Enhancement. Anna co-chaired the ISBA YLD Holiday Party (2009-2011), raising over $35,000 for the Children's Assistance Fund for children-friendly waiting rooms in Illinois courthouses. Silver Fellow, Illinois Bar Foundation. She was appointed to the ISBA Mutual Company's Sales and Marketing Committee (2012-present). She developed and taught an Advanced Family Law Seminar at Loyola Law School (2010-2015). Other activities: Advocates Society, Decalogue Society, Catholic Lawyer's Guild, ITLA, Justinian Society of Lawyers, NSBA, NWSBA, WBAI, and West Suburban, DuPage County, Lake County, and Peoria County bar associations. Awards: "Rising Star," Illinois Super Lawyers (2015, 2016); "Emerging Lawyer," Leading Lawyers (2015, 2016, 2017). ISSUE STATEMENT: As a past president of the North Suburban Bar Association, Anna is the only candidate who has served as a bar association president. The practice of law is changing and if we do not approach it in a meaningful way, it will not be for the better. To advance and sustain the ISBA into the future, we have to make ISBA relevant and attainable to everyone, especially the next generation of lawyers. I will focus on offering more robust mentorship, career building and networking opportunities to engage and retain younger and under-represented attorneys, offer practice management tools, and provide practice marketing and section council marketing assistance for our more established practitioners.

John L. NisivacoJohn L. Nisivaco, Chicago. Boudreau & Nisivaco, LLC. Education: B.A., Northern Illinois University (1990); DePaul University College of Law (1993). Admitted in Illinois (1993), and the United States District Court, Northern District (1993). Principal areas of practice: plaintiffs' personal injury. ISBA activities: appointed to the Board of Governors in 2010 to fill a vacancy; elected to Board of Governors in 2011 and 2014. Assembly (1998, 2001, 2006 and 2016). Tort Law Section Council (chair, 2006-2007); 18-year editor, "Tort Trends" newsletter. Standing committees on Judicial Evaluations Cook County (chair, 2009-2011); Assembly Program & Agenda (past chair); and current member, Special Committee on Succession and Transition Planning. Past member, Young Lawyers Division; past chair and trustee of LAWPAC. Former member of the Illinois Bar Foundation Board. Other bar association activities: current member, Appellate Panel of Judicial Evaluations; past chair, Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening; past chair, CBA Tort Litigation Committee; past member, Board of Managers of ITLA; current member, Board of Advocates of ITLA; and member of the Justinian Society of Lawyers. Awards: Named as one of the "Top 100 Trial Lawyers" by The American Trial Lawyers Association. Received the "Trial Lawyer Excellence" Award in 2011 for obtaining the largest railroad crossing verdict in Illinois history. Teaching: Adjunct Professor at DePaul University College of Law teaching a course on Pre-trial Civil Litigation Strategy. Other involvement: Appointed commissioner of the Lyons Township Mental Health Commission (2009). ISSUE STATEMENT: The future of the ISBA requires a leader who can relate to all of our members. If elected, I will focus my efforts on increasing the awareness of the Association's benefits to promote the advantages of membership.

Board of Governors – Cook County
CONTESTED - (1 to be elected)

Ava George StewartAva George Stewart, Chicago. Criminal Defense Attorney. Education: B.A. and M.S.C., Northwestern University; J.D., University of Illinois. ISBA activities: Board of Governors Member At Large (2016-present). Assembly (2007-2010; 2014-2016). Standing committees on Illinois Bar Journal Editorial Board (2010-present); Marketing and Communications (2014-present). Section councils on Criminal Justice (chair, 2015-2016), Traffic Laws and Courts (chair, 2011-2012). Illinois Bar Foundation: Silver Fellow and board member (2015-present). Other activities: BWLA; Served multiple terms as co-chair of the WBAI's Criminal Litigation Committee (2010-2016); DUI Committee of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2013-2016); Illinois Delegate for the National College of DUI Defense (2010-2015); Women Everywhere, Board (2011-present); Cook County Bar Association, WBAI, and the Women's Criminal Defense Bar Association (current). Former Board member, Minority Legal Education Resources (2005). As a frequent presenter and panelist at legal conferences and seminars throughout the state and nationally, and author of CLE materials and articles for legal publications she presented on issues as diverse as current issues in criminal law, cross-examination of police, sentencing, mitigation, legalization of cannabis, medical cannabis, Illinois criminal and DUI case law updates, Secretary of State-related issues, and specialty courts including Drug courts and Veterans' courts, criminal law primer, Intersectionality of Criminal law with Family law and Immigration Law, as well as unconscious bias.  Prior to becoming an attorney, she was Executive Director at several not-for-profit organizations, with a focus on homeless and disenfranchised women and children in diverse communities. ISSUE STATEMENT: The ISBA can best be strengthened to serve its members throughout their careers by focusing on the following: Increasing member recruitment and retention; Improving member engagement and satisfaction through innovative programs and services; and developing succession planning for leadership to insure the ongoing stability and health of the Bar.

Mark L. KarnoMark L. Karno, Chicago. Owner of Mark L. Karno & Associates LLC, a six-attorney law firm with offices located in Chicago and Aurora. Practice primarily consists of plaintiff personal injury and petitioner workers' compensation claims along with some general civil litigation and transactional matters. B.S. Finance with high honors, University of Illinois, Champaign (1979); J.D., I.I.T./Chicago-Kent College of Law (1982). Admitted: Illinois (1982), Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (1984), U.S. District Court N.D. Illinois (1982), and Trial Bar (1985). ISBA activities: Board of Governors (2012-2013, 2014-2017), Assembly (2010-2014). Board of Governors liaison to section councils on Elder Law (2015-2017), Tort Law (2015-16), Civil Practice and Procedure (2016-2017), and Intellectual Property Law (2014-2015); and standing committees on Professional Conduct (2015-2017) and Military Affairs (2014-2015). Former member of the Committee on Judicial Evaluations Cook County (1998-2000); past chair of Civil Practice and Procedure (2011-2012) and Insurance Law (2002-2003) section councils. Member of the Allerton House Conference steering committees (2008, 2011 and 2014) and co-chair of the 2013 Allerton House Conference. Twenty-nine year member of the Tort Law Section Council, and co-editor (1999-2003) and contributor to ISBA's Tort Trends newsletter. Lecturer and moderator at ISBA Seminars. Testified before the Illinois General Assembly regarding ISBA sponsored legislation. Illinois Bar Foundation: Board of Directors (2014-present), treasurer (2017-2018), co-chair of the 2015 IBF GALA Fundraiser, Platinum Fellow. Other activities: 2013 Diversity Scholarship Foundation Unity Award Dinner Advertising Committee; past chairperson of two sub-sections of the Chicago Bar Association Civil Practice Committee (1995-1996 and 1997-1998). Member of ITLA, AAJ, National Trial Lawyers, Justinian Society of Lawyers and Decalogue Society of Lawyers. Rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, Super Lawyer from 2009 to 2018, Lead Counsel Rated, Multiple-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

Arlette G. PorterArlette G. Porter, Chicago. Sole Practitioner: family law, real estate closings only. Education: B.A., Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois (1976); M.A., Chicago State University (1984); John Marshall Law School (2004). Admitted: 2005; Northern District of Illinois (2005); United States Supreme Court (2009); Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (2014). Certified Mediator/Arbitrator Practice: divorce, child support, allocation of parental responsibilities (custody), guardianship of minors, real estate closings only.  ISBA activities: Assembly. Section councils on Family Law; and General Practice, Solo and Small Firm. Standing committees on Assembly Agenda and Program; Assembly Finance; Assembly Governance; Continuing Legal Education; Judicial Evaluations Cook County; Racial and Ethnic Minorities and the Law; and Law Related Education for the Public. Young Lawyers Division. Bronze Fellow, Illinois Bar Foundation. Other activities: CBA, CBA Christmas Spirits Cast Member (2005-2014). Domestic Relations Courtroom Facilitator; Cook Country Guardian Ad Litem/Child Representative; ARDC Hearing Board Member (2006-2010); ARDC Oversight Committee (2008-2010); Civic: WTTW Community Advisory Board (2006-2008); Lake Region Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Constitution and By-Laws Committee and Delegate to Convention. Christian Fellowship Volleyball and Basketball League Player, Coach and Commissioner (1997-Present). Chicago Bears Organization, Cheerleader (1975-1976). Mother to two adult sons, Gerod (BNSF Railroad) and Daniel (Cook County Department of Corrections). ISSUE STATEMENT: Provide innovative and fresh ideas to the Board and membership; encourage retention of members and explore ways to attract new members with an eye towards diversity.

Board of Governors – Area 1 (Circuit 18)

Kent A. GaertnerKent A. Gaertner, Wheaton. Incumbent. Principle of Kent A. Gaertner P.C. Kent concentrates his practice in the area of bankruptcy law. B.A., Carthage College (1974); J.D., Nova Southeastern University Law School (1977). Professionally, Kent is extremely active in both the DuPage County Bar Association and the ISBA. ISBA activities: Board: elected in 2015 to the Illinois State Bar Association Board of Governors as the 18th Judicial Circuit Representative. In that role he has been the Board liaison to several different section councils and committees of the ISBA. Assembly: elected to the ISBA Assembly representing DuPage County. Kent served as the chair of the Bankruptcy Subcommittee of the ISBA Commercial Banking, Collections and Bankruptcy Law Section Council. He now serves on the Standing Committee on Scope and Correlation of the ISBA Board. He is a Silver Fellow in the Illinois Bar Foundation. Other activities: past president, DuPage County Bar Association (June, 2009-June, 2010), member, Florida Bar. Kent serves as a Hearing Board member for the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee. Awards: named one of the "Top Ten Personal Bankruptcy Attorneys in Illinois" by Leading Lawyer Magazine (March 2016) and has been chosen as a Leading Lawyer Network "Super Lawyer" since 2013. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale Hubbell. In June of 2017 he was named the DuPage County Bar Association Lawyer of the Year. Kent grew up in Naperville, IL. He and his wife Mary live in Aurora, IL and have three adult children.

Board of Governors – Area 3 (Circuits 12, 13, 16, 21 and 23)

Rory T. WeilerRory T. Weiler, St. Charles. Incumbent. Weiler & Lengle, P.C. Rory is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) who concentrates his practice in family law. Education: Northern Illinois University (1975), John Marshall Law School (1979). Admitted: Illinois (1979). ISBA activities: Board of Governors (2015-present). He serves on the Standing Committee on Budget and Audit; is a member of the Family Law Section Council (since 2001, chair 2010-11) and is the current co-editor of the Section's monthly newsletter. He has been a member of the ISBA Legislation committee since 2012. He is a Diamond Fellow of the Illinois Bar Foundation and a current member of its Board of Directors. Other activities: He served 12 years on the Illinois Supreme Court's Committee on Character and Fitness. He served on the Illinois AAML chapter board of directors. He has lectured at and participated in many seminars sponsored by the ISBA and other organizations on many family law topics, and authored numerous articles on family law topics. He has written a book about family law practice, "Divorce Tools and Techniques," which has been published by James Publishing Co. He has been active in advancing the provision of legal services to the indigent, and in 2005 was awarded the ISBA's John C. McAndrews Pro Bono Service Award. ISSUE STATEMENT: ISBA faces the same challenges all voluntary professional associations face to provide real value for our members' dues. Free CLE and access to Fastcase are just two ways we do so, and we need to continue to prioritize value to members. We also need to expand our efforts to promote ethnic, gender and age diversity in our association.

Board of Governors – Area 6 (Circuits 7, 8, 9)

J. Randall CoxJ. Randall Cox, Springfield. Partner, Feldman Wasser, a general trial practice firm, whose practice concentrates in federal and state crim-inal defense, administrative law, probate and commercial collections. B.A., Knox College; J.D., Southern Illinois University School of Law. Admitted 1991. ISBA activities: Committee on Continuing Legal Education (2001-present, chair, 2015-2017); CLE Committee Liaison to various section councils since the liaison program was established; Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute Planning Committee (2014-present, chair 2017-present); Solo and Small Firm Conference Planning Committee (2010-2014); Traffic Laws and Courts Section Council (2006-2012, chair 2010-2011); High School Mock Trial Judge; ISBA speaker. Other bar association activities: Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Board (2011-present, president 2014-2015); National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; National College of DUI Defense; Sangamon County Bar Association. Volunteer and Community Service: U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois, Springfield Division, Reentry Court Program/Court Assisted Program, Private bar representative (2016-present); Sangamo Club Board (2012-present, president 2016-present); Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta appointed graduate volunteer to Knox College chapter (2016-present); Springfield Air Rendezvous, Legal Advisor and Board Member (1998-2007); Lincoln Library Foundation (2000-2006, president 2005-2006). Awards: Leading Lawyer (2010-present), Commercial Litigation, Criminal Defense Law: Felonies and Misdemeanors, Criminal Defense Law: DUI. Instrument rated private pilot.

Board of Governors – Area 8 (Circuits 3 and 20)
CONTESTED - (1 to be elected)

Perry BrowderPerry Browder, Alton, IL. Incumbent. Chair of the Asbestos Group and Shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy, a national law firm with Illinois offices in Alton and Chicago. Current practice focus on mesothelioma, asbestos, toxic tort, and personal injury. Former practice: defense work, states attorney and legal aid. B.S., Bradley University; J.D., Valparaiso University School of Law. Admitted 1988. ISBA activities: Board of Governors (2017-present); Board liaison to the Special Committee on Privacy and Information Security Law (2017-present); member, Tort Law Section Council (2008-present); past member standing committees on Continuing Legal Education (1999-2003) and Judicial Evaluations outside Cook County (1999/2000). ISBA Speaker. Illinois Bar Foundation: current president, Pillar of the Foundation Fellow, former co-chair, Illinois Bar Foundation Gala. Other activities: former president, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association; founding member, Lincoln Legacy Society; member Founder's Circle, American Association for Justice, Madison County Bar Association, Alton/Wood River Bar Association, and American Bar Association. Presentations: Speaker, HarrisMartin, Perrin, Plaintiffs Asbestos Litigation Seminar, ITLA conferences, and speaker for Valparaiso and other events. Awards: Super Lawyers, "Illinois Super Lawyer" (2011-present); Best Lawyer in America, Personal Injury Litigation–Plaintiffs (2013-present); Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year" in Personal Injury Litigation–Plaintiffs in St. Louis (2015); AV-Rating, Martindale-Hubbell. Wife is Michelle and they have three children, Amanda, Emily and Martin. ISSUE STATEMENT: Build upon past successes and embrace new ideas including keeping alumni as current members, continue working to provide value to new and young attorneys, and support diversity initiatives by expanding geographical representation, increasing unique and growing practice area representation, and strengthening relationships across practice areas. 

Shira TruittShira Truitt, Belleville. Principal of The Truitt Law Firm, LLC, which is a civil practice firm with a focus on education law, estate planning, business law, family law, and public housing, with locations in St. Louis, Missouri and Belleville, Illinois. A native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Shira is a graduate of Southern University and A & M College earning her B.S. in Psychology, and admitted to Psi Chi, the Honors Fraternity for Psychology.  She went on to simultaneously earn both her M.S.W. with a concentration in children and youth and a specialization in family therapy from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work as well as her J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. ISBA activities: Proud member since 2010, a part of the very first Diversity Fellows class. Ms. Truitt recently ended three consecutive years of service as an Assembly member representing the 20th Judicial Circuit in St. Clair County, IL. She serves on standing committees on Women and the Law and Judicial Evaluations outside Cook County. ISBA Projects: down-state team for Lawyers Feeding Illinois (2012/2013), down-state representative for Task Force on New Lawyers (2013/2014), and downstate member of the Task Force on the Impact of Law School Curriculum and Debt (2014-2016). Awards: 2016 Diversity Leadership Award recipient, the first African-American to receive this prestigious award in its eight (8) year history. The Diversity Leadership Award recognizes long standing, continuing and exceptional commitment by an individual or an organization to the critical importance of diversity within the Illinois legal community, its judiciary and within the Illinois State Bar Association. 

Board of Governors – Area 4 (Circuits 10, 14 and 15)

Assembly - Cook County
UNCONTESTED - (22 to be elected)

  • Dawn Bode
  • Kellyn Doyle Coakley
  • Bradley M. Cosgrove
  • Anthony Garcia
  • Mauro Glorioso
  • Matthew R. Huff
  • Michael T. Huguelet
  • Kenya Jenkins-Wright
  • Marjorie Kennedy
  • Brittany Bene't Kimble
  • Sarah F. King
  • David H. Latarski
  • Ellis B. Levin
  • Dennis M. Lynch
  • Timothy E. Moran
  • Robert Oleszkiewicz
  • Patricia Pantoja
  • Angela Peters
  • Arlette G. Porter
  • Curtis B. Ross
  • Evan W. Schanerberger
  • Martin D. Snyder

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