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New ISBA treasurer, secretary elected

Posted on June 23, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Albert E. DurkinAngelica WawrzynekThe Illinois State Bar Association's Board of Governors elected a new secretary and treasurer at its meeting June 18 in Rosemont. President Vincent F. Cornelius held the Board's organizational meeting in conjunction with the Annual Meeting.

Angelica W. Wawrzynek, of Mattoon, will serve as treasurer. She is an associate at Tapella & Eberspacher LLC. She focuses primarily on civil litigation and especially personal injury cases. In 2012, Wawrzynek received the ECIWAA Award for Service to the Community and the following year she was honored with the ISBA Young Lawyer of the Year Award. She graduated cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law.

Albert E. Durkin, of Chicago, was elected secretary. Durkin is the managing partner and founding member of Miroballi Durkin & Rudin, LLC in Chicago, Illinois. He has over 35 years of experience as an active personal injury litigator. He is a 1977 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan to be honored at IBF Gala

Posted on June 23, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Attorney General Lisa MadiganIllinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will receive the 2016 Distinguished Award for Excellence from the Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF) at the organization’s 18th annual black-tie Gala on Friday evening, October 14, at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Place, Chicago. The event begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30, followed by dinner and dancing. The IBF is the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association.

Attorney General Madigan became the first woman elected to serve as the Illinois Attorney General and one of only a handful of female Attorneys General in the country when she was elected to the position in 2002. In 2014, she was elected to her fourth term and is now the senior-most female Attorney General.

Attorney General Madigan has brought a high level of activism to the Office of Illinois Attorney General. She has demonstrated principled leadership, putting policy before politics and focusing her work as the state’s top legal advocate on protecting the people and communities of Illinois.

Justice Mary Jane Theis announces Cook County vacancy in 3rd Subcircuit

Posted on June 23, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis has begun an application process for a vacancy in the Third Judicial Subcircuit of Cook County.

The vacancy is created by the upcoming retirement of Cook County Circuit Judge Maureen Leahy Delehanty. Judge Delehanty has been a judge since 2009 and is set to retire on July 31, 2016.

Drew appointed associate judge in 21st Circuit

Posted on June 23, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced that the 21st Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Joann I. Drew as an associate judge of the Twenty-First Judicial Circuit.

Ms. Drew received her undergraduate degree in 1975 from Illinois State University, Normal, IL, and her Juris Doctor in 1982 from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA. Ms. Drew is currently affiliated with the Kankakee County Public Defender's Office in Kankakee, IL.

Stepping to center court

Posted on June 22, 2016 by Mark S. Mathewson

Looking out the windows of his 7th floor corner office in downtown Joliet, ISBA President Vincent F. Cornelius is surrounded by his roots.

Cornelius can stand in one spot and point to Washington Junior High School, which he attended and where his mother taught for 34 years; out another window is the former location of Joliet Catholic High School, where he graduated in 1982 and which has since merged with sister school Saint Francis Academy; and at a slightly different angle is the University of Saint Francis, where he graduated in 1986 as an Academic All-American basketball player.

Cornelius - whose agenda as ISBA president includes working to brighten the future of young lawyers, advocating for diversity and inclusion in the profession, and offering relevant continuing legal education for small-firm members - says he once set foot in his office when it housed another firm and had his eyes on it for awhile.

"I wanted this suite because the space and all of [the surroundings] meant so much to me," he says. "I can kind of walk all around my suite here and see all over town - the neighborhoods that I lived in, the memories that I had."

Read more about President Cornelius and his plans for the coming bar year in the July Illinois Bar Journal.

Best Practice: Associate satisfaction and retention

Posted on June 22, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Asked and Answered

By John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC

Q. I am the owner of a 20-attorney litigation firm in Seattle. The 19 associates are all in the same tier or category and are paid a salary plus bonus. Their time with the firm ranges from 1-15 years. I enjoy sole ownership but I realize that to continue to grow and prosper I must make some changes. I have recently lost several associates that I would have liked to have stayed with the firm. I am also getting stressed having all of the management responsibility since I currently make all of the decisions. Several associates have told me that the morale is low. I welcome your thoughts.

Illinois Bar Foundation promotes innovation with 3-year $105,000 grant to Illinois Legal Aid Online

Posted on June 21, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

 The Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF), the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association, will provide a three-year, $105,000 special-project grant to support an innovative new program of Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO). The announcement was made following its April 1 board of directors meeting in Chicago. The funding is in addition to a $15,000 operating grant from the IBF.

With the funding, ILAO will launch the American Bar Association-sponsored Legal Answers, which is an online portal to allow people with civil legal problems to submit their questions securely to be reviewed by volunteer attorneys and receive brief legal advice. The program originated in Tennessee as Online Tennessee Justice and has been adopted by the ABA with the goal of expanding it to all 50 states this year.

The IBF’s grant will enable ILAO to hire an attorney part-time to launch the Illinois effort. ILAO, which is a national leader in using technology to help people understand their legal issues and enhance access to justice, will make the Illinois version of Legal Answers a new national standard, according to Lisa Colpoys, ILAO executive director.

Submissions being accepted for Lincoln Award Legal Writing Contest

Posted on June 21, 2016 by Chris Bonjean

Dear YLD Member:

You're out in the know the hot topics in your field – the new statutes, the important new cases, the legal developments that you and your colleagues grapple with in the real world of lawyering.

We invite you to share your hard-won knowledge, and maybe win $2,000 in prize money by entering the Annual Lincoln Award Legal Writing Contest.

We're looking for useful, practical articles on topics important to practicing lawyers. The highest scores will go to manuscripts that Illinois lawyers can use in their practices, written in a no-nonsense, plain-English style.

If you're an ISBA lawyer member under age 36 as of July 1, 2016 or admitted to the bar fewer than five years as of that date, you're eligible to compete for a share of the $3,500 in Lincoln Award prize money and a handsome plaque for your office. And even if you don't win, yours may be among the many Lincoln Award entries to appear in the Illinois Bar Journal.

The deadline for filing a notice to enter the contest is July 15, 2016; use our online form. A brief outline of the article must be submitted on or before August 15, 2016; email the outline to Jean Fenski at The final deadline for manuscripts is noon Wednesday, September 28, 2016; manuscripts should be emailed by noon to Jean Fenski at