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Stuart Lefstein's speech at Moline admissions ceremony

Posted on November 9, 2009 by Chris Bonjean


By Stuart Lefstein Justice Kilbride - Thank you so much for inviting me here today and for your kind introduction. Justice Lytton, Chief Judge O'Connor, Judge Vespa, Honorable Justices of the Appellate Court, Honorable Judges of the Circuit Court, President O'Brien of the Illinois State Bar Association, and most distinguished honorees - my soon to be fellow Illinois "attorneys and counselors at law" - a phrase that is inscribed on the licenses you will receive today -families of the honorees, friends and other guests: When Justice Kilbride asked me to say a few words on this occasion, I was delighted to say "yes."  As an old man, I enjoy being in the company of young lawyers.  I also don't say "no" to the Supreme Court, unless it's the correct answer to a question from the bench during oral argument. But the problem with accepting invitations like this is that when you are up here you have to say something!  What is there left to say to a group of young lawyers who have already sat through commencement speeches at high school, college and most recently, law school graduations?  In the few minutes I have, I doubt if I could be very helpful in telling you how to practice law or handle whatever other employment you might choose.  Also, and sadly, I lack a blueprint for what young lawyers need to do in order to successfully navigate these very difficult economic times. So I am departing today from the conventional words of wisdom that are usually imparted on occasions like this. Because you are about to be sworn in as Illinois lawyers, I thought it might be appropriate to briefly reflect on the most revered lawyer that ever practiced in our state - particularly this year - this year because February 12th marked his 200th birthday - so to borrow a line from his most famous speech, "It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this."  That speech, of course, was given at Gettysburg 146 years ago this month, and the small town Illinois prairie lawyer who gave it was, as we all know, President Abraham Lincoln.

Illinois Judges Annual Meeting

Posted on November 6, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Judge Ann Claire Williams, 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, will keynote the annual Judges Luncheon during the joint meeting of IJA and the Illinois State Bar Association, Dec. 10-12 in Chicago. Programs will include "Ten Things Lawyers and Judges Need to Know About Military and Veteran's Laws" and "Dynamics of Domestic Violence and Its implications on Custody and Visitation."

Illinois Bar Foundation Gala 2009 raises more than $230,000

Posted on November 5, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Vince Cornelius, John Cullerton and Mike Monico
IBF Board President Vince Cornelius, State Sen. President John Cullerton and Awards Presenter Michael Monico
More than 430 people attended the 11th Annual Gala to show their commitment to the Foundation and recognize the 2009 Recipient of the Distinguished Award for Excellence, Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton, on Oct. 16 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Chicago. Thanks to everyone who supported the event, the IBF met or exceeded every goal for the 2009 Gala, netting more than $230,000. These important funds will be used to help support the Foundation and the many grantee organizations and individuals who receive financial assistance. Oh, What a Night! There was definitely a feeling of excitement in the air that evening. Guests at the sold-out event were given the opportunity to bid on 5 different Live Auction items, and more than 90 Silent Auction items, including a variety of vacation stays, jewelry, wine, artwork, sports memorabilia and sports and concert tickets. Some of the highlights of the Live Auction were a trip for two to the 2010 Masters Tournament Final Rounds, a trip for two to Barcelona, Spain, and a legal letter that was signed by Abraham Lincoln during his days with the firm of Logan & Lincoln. Open space was scarce in the crowded auction area but nobody seemed to mind as they enjoyed specialty martinis and champagne cocktails from the Martini Bar. Bidding was done on computerized terminals that allowed Gala volunteers to carry the terminals around the ballroom, updating the guests on their bids, which encouraged some very competitive bidding wars.  In addition to the two auctions, raffle tickets could be purchased for $100 each for the chance to win either a Trip for Two to San Francisco and Sonoma, CA, a 55" Samsung LCD TV, or $2,500 in cash. Surprisingly, one person was the lucky winner of two of the prizes after purchasing only two tickets; Brian Monico won the San Francisco trip and the $2,500, while Tom Else, an IBF Board member, was the lucky winner of the Samsung TV.
While I admit that I may be biased, I believe that this was our best Gala in recent memory. - Vince Cornelius, IBF Board President.
The evening's program was kicked off by Board Gala Chair and IBF Silver Fellow Shawn Kasserman of Corboy & Demetrio, who recognized and thanked the two Gala Co-Chairs, Barry Montgomery of Williams, Montgomery & John, and Lorna Propes of Propes and Kaveny, as well as the rest of the Committee members. Brief remarks from ISBA President John O'Brien and IBF Board President Vince Cornelius kept the program moving. Perry Browder of the Simmons Firm, Gala Vice Chair and an IBF Board Member, was introduced as the 2010 Board Gala Chair. After a four-course meal and the Award Presentation by Michael Monico of Monico, Pavich and Spevack to Senator Cullerton, who attended with his wife Pam and family, guests remained to dance to the music of the Ken Arlen Orchestra and find out which items they'd be taking home. All in all, a wonderful time was had by everyone present. Most importantly, with the assistance of these funds the Foundation will continue to move forward in its mission to serve the people of Illinois by ensuring meaningful access to the justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who can no longer support themselves due to incapacity.
Tonight is about the work we do and the efforts we make to ensure that justice is fair for everyone in Illinois. For each of you, I commend your work...I thank you for your charitable efforts and continued work throughout the year. Each dollar you contribute to the works of this Foundation is an investment in the goal to make the idea of freedom truly work. - Sen. John Cullerton during his award speech.

Please save the date for the 2010 Gala on Friday, October 15, 2010!

Over 2,300 new attorneys admitted

Posted on November 5, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
More than 2,300 new attorneys were admitted to practice on Thursday, Nov. 5, with Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court presiding and administering the attorney's oath at five locations statewide. The largest group, 1,869, was admitted in the First Judicial District during ceremonies at the McCormick Place West Skyline Ballroom. Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald presided over the ceremony, with Justices Charles E. Freeman and Anne M. Burke participating. Justice Robert R. Thomas presided over the Second Judicial District ceremony at 10 a.m. in Elgin. Justice Thomas L. Kilbride presided over the Third Judicial District ceremony at 11:15 a.m. in Moline. Justice Rita B. Garman presided over the Fourth Judicial District ceremony at 10 a.m. in Springfield. Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier presided over the Fifth Judicial District ceremony at 2 p.m. in Carbondale. The new admittees bring the total number of licensed attorneys in Illinois to approximately 86,000. Click here to view photo galleries from each event.

Special White House assistant Kareem Dale visits ISBA

Posted on November 2, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
ISBA 2nd Vice President Mark Hassakis, Cook County Bar President Marian E. Perkins-Phillips, Special White House Assistant Kareem Dale, WBAI President Patrice Ball-Reed and ISBA President John O'Brien
ISBA 2nd Vice President Mark Hassakis, Cook County Bar President Marian E. Perkins-Phillips, Special White House Assistant Kareem Dale, WBAI President Patrice Ball-Reed and ISBA President John O'Brien
Kareem Dale, Special White House Assistant in the Office of Public Engagement, visited with the Illinois State Bar Association and local bar associations Monday to seek feedback on issues including Disability Law, Civil Rights and other justice-related issues. The meetings were held at the ISBA's Chicago regional office, 20 S. Clark.

Young Lawyers Division to host 12th Annual Holiday Party

Posted on October 28, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
yldholidayparty09The Illinois State Bar Association's Young Lawyers Division will host its 12th Annual Holiday Party to benefit the Illinois Bar Foundation/Young Lawyer's Division Children's Assistance Program on Dec. 4 from 6-10 p.m. at the Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison. Over $150,000 has been raised to establish children's waiting rooms throughout Illinois and to provide assistance to other child related legal programs. The YLD Children's Assistance Fund is a special fund of the Illinois Bar Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable entity.
  • When: Friday, December 4, 2009, 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
  • Where: The Cubby Bear Wrigleyville 1059 W. Addison (map and directions)
  • What: Complimentary Cover Charge, Open Bar, Appetizers, and LIVE MUSIC
  • Cost: $35.00 per person for tickets purchased through November 20 $30.00 per law student for tickets purchased through November 20 $40.00 after November 20 and at the door per person and per law student
  • Deadline to register online: December 2

Solo and Small Firm Conference kicks off in Springfield

Posted on October 22, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Banners commemorating the Lincoln Bicentennial have made their way from Chicago to Springfield.
Banners commemorating the Lincoln Bicentennial have made their way from Chicago to Springfield.
Attendees of this week's Solo and Small Firm Conference in Springfield will see a number of ISBA banner's commemorating the Lincoln Bicentennial displayed on utility poles in front of the Attorney General's Office, Illinois Supreme Court, Illinois Bar Center and around the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum downtown. The banners also have hung near the federal building in Chicago and will be placed around the State of Illinois bldg on LaSalle St. for the month of December. Check for frequent updates from the conference. Pictures from Day One

SIU Forum to look at models for international justice

Posted on October 16, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
A program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale later this month in honor of United Nations Day will examine international justice models. "The International Criminal Court and Other Models for International Justice," is set for 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 22, in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building Courtroom, room 109, at the SIU School of Law. The program is free and open to the public. Cindy Buys, an associate professor and director of international law programs at the SIU School of Law, will be the moderator. A reception follows the program in the law school's formal lounge.

Phi Alpha Delta to initiate Hon. George N. Leighton

Posted on October 15, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
The Chicago Alumni Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, International, will initiate Hon. George N. Leighton as an Honorary Member of the fraternity on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 4:30 p.m. This ceremony will be followed by remarks delivered by Judge Leighton as part of the Chapter's "Distinguished Lecture Series." Upon conclusion of Judge Leighton's remarks, a complimentary hors d'oeuvre reception will follow. The event will take place at Petterino's Banquets (Lower Level), 50 W. Randolph. The remarkable career of Judge Leighton, a former state and federal judge who, at age 96, is Of Counsel to the Chicago firm of Neal & Leroy, epitomizes the core values of Phi Alpha Delta. Space is limited and RSVPs are required by Oct. 16 to

Illinois Bar Admission ceremonies set for Nov. 5

Posted on October 6, 2009 by Chris Bonjean
Illinois Bar Admission ceremonies will be held in the five Judicial Districts on Thursday, Nov. 5:
  • Judicial Dist. 1: 10:30 a.m., McCormick Place West, Chicago
  • Judicial Dist. 2: 10 a.m., Hemmens Memorial Bldg. Elgin Civic Center Plaza, Elgin
  • Judicial Dist. 3: 11:15 a.m., I Wireless Center Conference Room ABC, Moline
  • Judicial Dist. 4: 10 a.m., Michael J. Howlett Bldg. Auditorium, Springfield
  • Judicial Dist. 5: 2 p.m., Southern Illinois University School of Law Auditorium, Carbondale.
Click here for the full Statewide Calendar of Bar Events