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Member Peter Birnbaum Supports Mercy Home for Boys

Posted on October 9, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Peter J. Birnbaum, president and CEO of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. has thrown his hat in the ring to help support Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, an organization that provides homes, education and support systems to Chicago’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged youth.

Along with other contenders from the financial services and legal professions, Birnbaum will participate in a boxing match at Mercy Home’s fundraiser, “Ringside for Mercy’s Sake,” on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. He is matched up against Quarles and Brady Managing Partner Paul Langer.” The black-tie gala, which takes place from 6 p.m. to midnight at The Chicago Marriott Grand Ballroom, 540 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, also features premium cocktails, fine dining, celebrity appearances from boxing legends and Chicago media celebrities, dancing to The City Lights Orchestra, and exclusive live and silent auctions. 

While ATG is a longtime supporter of Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, this is the first time one of its executives has duked it out at the annual fundraiser. One expects to see attorneys of Birnbaum’s caliber in the boardroom or in the courtroom, but in the boxing ring?

Hon. David W. Watt Jr. 1943-2017

Posted on October 3, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Hon. David J. Watt Jr.Retired Judge of the 1st Judicial Circuit Court David W. Watt, Jr., 74, of Murphysboro, passed away at 2:04 a.m. Monday, October 2, 2017, at his residence in Murphysboro in the company of his wife and sons.

David was born on April 19, 1943, in Springfield, Illinois, to David W. Watt, Sr. and Marietta (Cullen) Watt.

David was a 1961 graduate from the Springfield High School in Springfield, Illinois. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, graduating in 1965. He was a member of the Theta Delta Chi Fraternity and served as the business manager of the University of Wisconsin Daily Cardinal. He received his law degree from the University Of Illinois College Of Law in 1968 and was admitted to the Illinois Bar that same year. He was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1977. From 1968 to 1970, he served with the Jackson County State’s Attorney’s Office and from 1970 to 1980 with Hendricks and Watt; and from 1980 to 1982, a partner with Hendricks, Watt and Grace.

John Marshall Law School Professor Helps Open First Law School in Bhutan

Posted on October 2, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Professor Mark Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago has been working at the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law — the first law school in the history of the Kingdom of Bhutan, a country of 750,000 people located between China and India — in Thimphu, Bhutan since July.

Wojcik's work at the law school is part of the Fulbright Specialist Program, which sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, and institutional planning at academic institutions abroad. Leading up to the beginning of classes, Wojcik helped teach a month-long orientation program.

“It’s an incredible honor to help launch the first law school in Bhutan, a country that went from being an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy less than ten years ago,” Wojcik said. “The Bhutanese Constitution entered into effect in 2008 and this new law school is going to train the lawyers that the country will need to implement that Constitution.”

The law school’s first class has a total of 25 students—13 women and 12 men—from all parts of Bhutan. Students were chosen from a national pool of 499 applicants. Successful applicants then took a special version of the LSAT. The top 50 candidates were then interviewed, and 25 were admitted based on their scores, grades, and a personal interview.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin To Be Honored at Illinois Bar Foundation Annual Gala on October 20

Posted on September 29, 2017 by Sara Anderson

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) will receive the 2017 Distinguished Award for Excellence from the Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF) at the organization’s 19th annual black-tie Gala, presented by Simmons Hanly Conroy, on Friday evening, October 20, 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Place, Chicago. The event begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30, followed by dinner, dancing, and remarks by Senator Durbin. The mission of the IBF, the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association, is to ensure meaningful access to the civil justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who can no longer support themselves due to incapacity.

Senator Dick Durbin is the 47th U.S. Senator from the State of Illinois and also serves as the Assistant Democratic Leader, the second highest position among the Senate Democrats. He is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and the Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee.

Benjamin Watts 1962-2017

Posted on September 29, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Benjamin Hooker Watts, 55, died at 5:45 a.m. Tuesday (Sept. 19, 2017) at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana. He was born March 1, 1962, in Urbana, to Emily Stipes Watts and Robert Allan Watts. He married Judith Diane Argentieri on Oct. 25, 1997, in Chicago. They have a daughter, Olivia Argentieri Watts (18), and a son, Samuel Argentieri Watts (16).

Ben is survived by his wife and two children. He is also survived by his mother and brothers, Edward and Thomas, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his father.

Ben graduated from Champaign Central High School and Dartmouth College and played football for both CHS and Dartmouth. He later graduated from the University of Michigan School of Law, going on to practice law with Gardner Carton & Douglas, Chicago. He returned to Champaign to join Stipes Publishing where he was a partner in the publishing business.

Elmer Clyde Rudy 1931—2017

Posted on September 29, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Elmer Clyde Rudy, 86, of Rockford, died at Mercy Health/Rockford Memorial Hospital at 1:25 p.m. Wednesday, September 13, 2017. He was born in Elgin, IL April 10, 1931; the son of Elmer Rudy and Bernice Tobin Rudy. His family moved to Marengo, IL in 1942, where he attended the Marengo public schools. He graduated from Beloit College Magna Cum Laude in 1953, where he was a member of the 1951 NIT basketball team, the Washington Semester Program, President of the SAE fraternity, and where he was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa honorary fraternities. He married Margaret Meyer in Marengo on July 5, 1953.

Mark Kowalcyzk 1943-2017

Posted on September 29, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Mark KowalcyzkMark Kowalczyk, 73, a criminal defense Attorney In Glen Ellyn, IL. died on Friday, September 1, 2017 surrounded by family and friends. Beloved fiancé of Patricia (Pattie) Murray, Step-father of Steven (Eleanor) Horvath and grandfather of Teddy "Rocco"  Horvath. Beloved son of the late Irene and Edmund Kowalczyk. Loving step-son of Rozanne "Posy" K. Robertson. Dear Brother of Madeleine Rapsey, Mary (Howard) Rittgarn, and the late Michael Kowalczyk.

Mark led a full and colorful life. Zealous "justice-seeker" and defender of the accused. Always generous to a fault, he often represented many pro-bono. A big game hunter and admirer of beautiful woods, Mark enjoyed collecting and restoring long guns of all kinds. Mark's many hobbies included rebuilding vintage trucks and woodworking. In his spare time, Mark was a nature lover, avid reader, small town wanderer and world traveler.

Anthony W. Summers III

Posted on September 29, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Anthony W. Summers, III; at rest September 1, 2017. Loving husband of Bernadine L. Summers (nee: Lawrence). Cherished father of Laura (Michael) Peterson, Victoria (John) Hosdpoka and step-father of Jeffrey Poska. Devoted grandfather of Erik Peterson. Dear brother of Terry (Roxie) Summers. Anthony was a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law. He was an accomplished attorney who practiced law in Oak Brook for over 50 years as well as being a member of many legal associations.

Thomas P. Marnell 1957-2017

Posted on September 29, 2017 by Sara Anderson

Thomas P. MarnellThomas P. Marnell, 60, passed away on Sunday Sept. 3, 2017 after battling kidney cancer. Tom was married to the love of his life, Christy (Sallas). The couple lived in Oak Park and Naperville and raised four amazing children, Colleen (Tom) McManigal (Naperville, IL), Anthony (Brooklyn, NY), Tommy (Los Angeles, CA), and Kara (San Francisco, CA). A man of humility and generosity, and who faithfully lived his values, Tom was devoted to his family and devout in his Catholic faith. By his own quiet example, Tom taught his children the importance of honor, empathy, friendship, and the inherent joy in serving others and his spirit will live on in them.

Tom loved to spend time with family and friends at Big Sand Lake, hike in the Arizona mountains with his sweetheart and wife of 36 years, Christy, and defeat his children at Scrabble. As a grandfather, a role he cherished, Tom never missed an opportunity to make his grandchildren smile and was never more content than with a baby in his arms. He will be deeply missed and never forgotten by the many whose lives he touched. 

George Weldon Hamman 1934-2017

Posted on September 29, 2017 by Sara Anderson

George HammanGeorge Weldon Hamman, 83, USAF Vet-Korea, beloved husband of the late Merrill nee Hubbell; loving father of James (Molly) Hamman; cherished grandfather of Susan and Stephen; dear brother of Nora (Tony) Velasquez, Linda (Michael) Struble, Jerry (Julie) Hamman and Dan (Juanita) Hamman; fond uncle to many. He was preceded in death by his brothers, James (Betty) and Murray (Pat) Hamman, and by his niece, Julie (George) Fogel. A practicing attorney in Chicago for over 50 years, his interests included golf and history.