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Illinois Supreme Court

P. Scott Neville, Jr. Sworn in as Illinois Supreme Court Justice

Posted on June 15, 2018 by Rhys Saunders
Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr.
Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr.

The Honorable P. Scott Neville, Jr. was sworn in to the Illinois Supreme Court today during an installation ceremony at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. 

He is filling the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice Charles E. Freeman. Justice Neville’s appointment is effective today through Dec. 7, 2020. He said he plans to seek reelection.

A graduate of Washington University’s School of Law, Justice Neville has practiced law in Illinois since 1974, when he became a law clerk for Illinois Appellate Court Justice Glenn T. Johnson. Throughout his career as an attorney, Justice Neville has specialized in appellate, employment, civil rights issues, and complex litigation.

Illinois Supreme Court Adopts Uniform Bar Exam

Posted on June 8, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

Illinois became the 30th state to adopt the Uniform Bar Exam (UBE) June 8 when the Illinois Supreme Court approved it to be the main component for bar admission. 

The UBE is a nationwide test that allows test takers to transfer scores between states, which improves mobility of Illinois attorneys. It will be given for the first time in Illinois in July 2019. 

The Illinois Board of Admission to the Bar held public hearings in Springfield, Carbondale, and Chicago in 2016 to provide information on the UBE and to seek comments regarding its potential adoption. The comments received were overwhelmingly supportive of the change. That same year, the Illinois State Bar Association Board and Assembly issued recommendations that the supreme court should adopt the UBE. 

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Two, Suspends 13 in Latest Disciplinary Filing

Posted on May 24, 2018 by Rhys Saunders

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on May 24, 2018. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Benjamin William Meyer, Wheaton

Mr. Meyer, who was licensed in 2011, was disbarred on consent. He pleaded guilty to three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child in Ogle County and was sentenced to serve ten years in the Illinois Department of Corrections for each count, 30 years in total, to be served consecutively, with 85 days credit based on his actual time in custody. The sentencing judge also ordered him to provide a DNA sample, submit to sexually transmitted disease and HIV testing, pay fees and costs and, once released, register as a sex offender for the duration of his natural life.

Justice Charles E. Freeman Announces Retirement

Posted on May 17, 2018 by Rhys Saunders
Justice Charles Freeman
Justice Charles Freeman
Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr.
Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr.

Justice Charles E. Freeman, the first African-American to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court and as Chief Justice, will retire June 14.

Justice Freeman, 84, is the fifth-longest serving justice in Illinois Supreme Court history at 27 years, six months.

The Supreme Court has constitutional authority to fill interim judicial vacancies and has appointed Appellate Justice P. Scott Neville, Jr., to fill Justice Freeman's seat, effective June 15 through Dec. 7, 2020. Justice Neville has been a member of the First District Appellate Court since 2004, and a judge since 2000. Cook County Circuit Court Judge Carl Anthony Walker has been assigned to the First District Appellate Court until further order of the Court. Appellate Court Justice Michael B. Hyman was also reassigned to an Appellate Court seat effective until Dec. 7, 2020.

Born in Richmond, Va., Justice Freeman descended from slaves freed by Quakers before the American Civil War. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Union University in 1954 and a law degree from the John Marshall Law School in 1962. 

He also served as an Illinois assistant attorney general, Cook County assistant state's attorney, and assistant attorney for the County Board of Election Commissioners. He was an arbitrator with the Illinois Industrial Commission and he later served on the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Four, Suspends Nine in Latest Disciplinary Filing

Posted on March 16, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on March 16, 2018. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • John F. Dziedziak, Chicago

Mr. Dziedziak, who was licensed in 1982, was disbarred. He misappropriated a total of approximately $20,000 in settlement proceeds from three separate client matters, neglected two client matters, failed to keep a client informed of the status of their case, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law after he was removed from the Master Roll, and failed to participate in the disciplinary proceeding.

Illinois Supreme Court to Hear Oral Arguments in Urbana

Posted on February 23, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, March 15, at 10:30 a.m.

The court periodically holds oral arguments at various locations throughout Illinois to better inform the public on the work it does. According to statements made by Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier in a press release issued by the court, inviting community residents to attend helps demystify the the appellate process, which is often poorly understood — sometimes even by lawyers. He also noted that holding arguments outside of the Illinois Supreme Court Building in Springfield reminds court members that rulings have a direct and real impact on the state's citizens.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee to Hold Public Hearing on March 26

Posted on February 5, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, March 26, 2018, at the Michael A. Bilandic Building, 160 N. LaSalle Street, in Chicago.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules proposals or proposed rule amendments are offered by the bench, bar, or public. They are then reviewed by the Rules Committee and placed on the agenda for public hearing if the proposal is determined to have merit. Public comments on the proposals are invited. Written comments and testimony scheduling requests should be submitted to the committee secretary by e-mail at jzekich@illinoiscourts.gov or mailed to Committee Secretary, Supreme Court Rules Committee, 222 N. LaSalle Street, 13th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601.

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Three, Suspends Five, Censures Two in Latest Disciplinary Filing

Posted on January 16, 2018 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on Jan. 12, 2018. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Mary Katherine Burgess, Oak Brook

Ms. Burgess, who was licensed in 1993, was disbarred on consent. She misappropriated $32,849.34 in settlement funds that she was holding in her trust account pending distribution to the heirs of an estate. She also falsely advised the estate's prior attorney that she continued to hold the funds in her account.

  • Rajesh Kanuru, Chicago

Mr. Kanuru, who was licensed in 2005, was disbarred on consent. He misappropriated at least $700,000 belonging to multiple clients. Mr. Kanuru also falsely informed an attorney with whom he shared office space that he had paid her office rent on her behalf, and he accepted "reimbursement" from her in the amount of $5,400. In reality, he never paid her rent.

Illinois Supreme Court Rule Amended to Allow Good Cause E-Filing Exemption for Self-Represented Litigants

Posted on December 13, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Illinois Supreme Court Rule 9(c)(4) was amended to allow a good cause exemption to e-filing for self-represented litigants (SRL). The rule change is effective immediately for proceedings in the supreme court and appellate courts. For proceedings in the circuit courts, the amended rule is effective on Jan. 1, 2018.

The amended rule defines the good cause exemption, which must be shown by certification and filed with the court before or with an initial pleading, that exempts SRLs from the e-filing requirement. It also specifies the procedures that must be followed to properly obtain the exemption.

The rule change comes less than three weeks before electronic filing in civil cases will be mandatory across Illinois, and reflects the Illinois Supreme Court's commitment to ensuring access to justice for everyone, including vulnerable SRLs.

Under the amended rule, good cause exists where a self-represented litigant is not able to e-file documents for the following reasons:

  • No computer or Internet access in the home and travel represents a hardship 
  • A disability, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, that prevents e-filing
  • A language barrier or low literacy (difficulty reading, writing, or speaking in English)
  • If the pleading is of a sensitive nature, such as a petition for an order of protection or civil no contact/stalking order

Judges retain discretion to determine whether good cause is shown, or if, under particular circumstances, good cause exists without the filing of a certificate.

Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Three, Suspends 13 in Latest Disciplinary Filing

Posted on November 21, 2017 by Sara Anderson

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on Nov. 21, 2017. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • Lance Haddix, Chicago

Mr. Haddix was licensed in Illinois in 1967 and in California in 1989. The Supreme Court of California disbarred him for violating multiple probation conditions after he had been suspended for one year in favor of a five-year period of probation, subject to a 30-day period of actual suspension, and other conditions. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

  • Beth Courtney Otero, Chicago

Ms. Otero, who was licensed in 2005, was disbarred. She misappropriated over $20,000 that she had been holding in escrow from two real estate transactions and engaged in a conflict of interest by representing opposing parties in a real estate transaction. Additionally, Ms. Otero fabricated court pleadings and engaged in the unauthorized practice of law after her name was removed from the Master Roll of Attorneys.

  • Jeffrey Lee Schlapp, Chicago

Mr. Schalpp, who was licensed in 2006, was disbarred on consent. He misappropriated more than $600,000 from at least nine different clients who had filed claims against nursing homes.

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