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IBF to honor Birnbaum with Distinguished Award for Excellence at 16th Annual Gala

Posted on September 15, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Peter J. BirnbaumThe Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF) will present its Distinguished Award for Excellence to Peter J. Birnbaum, president and CEO of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. on Oct. 17 at the 16th Annual Gala.

The 2014 Gala will take place at the Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago. The event is co-chaired by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke, Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton, and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. IBF board co-chairs are Deane B. Brown, Beermann Pritikin Mirabelli Swerdlove LLP, and Shawn S. Kasserman, Tomasik Kotin Kasserman, LLC.

The award, selected by the Illinois Bar Foundation’s board of directors, celebrates one attorney each year for making a major contribution to law and society. Past winners include Mayor Richard M. Daley, Scott Turow, Mary A. Dempsey, Jerold S. Solovy, Joseph A. Power, Jr., Bernard M. Judge, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, Illinois Supreme Court Justice Burke, and Newton N. Minow. IBF is the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association,

Illinois Supreme Court disbars 9 lawyers, suspends 21 in latest disciplinary filing

Posted on September 15, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

The Supreme Court of Illinois announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on Sept. 12, 2014, during the September Term of Court. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.


  • Paul M. Daugerdas, Wilmette

Mr. Daugerdas, who was licensed in 1974, was disbarred on consent after he was found guilty of federal charges of tax evasion, mail fraud, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and obstructing tax laws. He was sentenced to a 15-year term of imprisonment.

  • Norton Helton, Chicago

Mr. Helton, who was licensed in 1993, was disbarred on consent. He was convicted of bankruptcy and wire fraud in federal court and was sentenced to a prison term of 180 months and ordered to make $3,277,475 in restitution. He participated in a scheme to obtain money from homeowners facing foreclosure by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and material omissions.

  • Clarence Contee Jones, Jr., Tacoma, Wash.

Mr. Jones was licensed in Illinois in 1994 and in Washington in 1997. He was disbarred in Washington for sexually exploiting office staff over whom he had supervisory authority. He also entered guilty pleas to four misdemeanor counts of assault in the fourth degree with sexual motivation. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and disbarred him.

Creswell elected Chief Judge of DuPage County

Posted on September 12, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

The Circuit Judges of the 18th Judicial Circuit Court, DuPage County, unanimously elected Judge Kathryn E. Creswell to the position of Chief Judge. Judge Creswell's term as Chief Judge will commence on Dec. 1, 2014. Judge Creswell will succeed Chief Judge John T. Elsner.

Judge Creswell is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law. She was appointed as an Associate Judge in 1995 and was elected a Circuit Judge in 2002. Prior to her selection as Chief Judge, she had served as Presiding Judge of the Felony Division of the 18th Judicial Circuit.

Juvenile Justice Initiative to honor Preckwinkle, Colman

Posted on September 12, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

The Juvenile Justice Initiative will honor Cook Couny Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Jenner & Block Partner Jeffrey D. Colman for their work ensuring individualized and proportionate justice for every child in conflict with the law.

The event will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 8 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Jenner & Block LLP, 353 N. Clark, 45th floor, Chicago. RSVP is required and no tickets will be sold at the door. Tickets are $100 each ($50 for students and nonprofit). Sponsorships and ad space are available. Please visit for more information and to buy tickets.

Schorsch appointed associate judge in 15th Circuit

Posted on September 11, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Glenn R. Schorsch as an associate judge of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Schorsch received his undergraduate degree in 1981 from Bradley University in Peoria, IL, and his Juris Doctor in 1988 from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, IL. Mr. Schorsch is currently affiliated with the Stephenson County Public Defender's Office in Freeport, IL.

Geisler appointed associate judge in 6th Circuit

Posted on September 11, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that the Sixth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Jeffrey S. Geisler as an associate judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Geisler received his undergraduate degree in 1982 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and his Juris Doctor in 1986 from Memphis State in Memphis, Tennessee. Mr. Geisler is currently affiliated with Geisler Law Offices in Decatur.

Debt Collectors Beware: Venue Provision of FDCPA Reinterpreted

Posted on September 11, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

Recent federal court decision reinterprets the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and may create venue defense for current or future debtor defendants in debt collection suits.

By: Joseph R. Marconi 1

In Suesz v. Med-1 Solutions, LLC, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 12562 (7th Cir. 2014), the Seventh Circuit recently reinterpreted the venue provision of the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). The issue for the court was whether township small claims courts in Marion County, Indiana (Indianapolis) constituted separate “judicial districts or similar legal entities” for purposes of section 1692i of the FDCPA. The en banc majority held that debt collectors must file collection actions in the “smallest geographic area that is relevant for determining venue in the court system in which the case is filed.”

Implications for Cook County Lawyers
In doing so, the Seventh Circuit not only overruled its own 1996 precedent in Newsom v. Friedman, 76 F.3d 813 (7th Cir. 1996), but also applied the en banc Suesz decision retroactively. Debt collectors previously relied on Newsom to file collection actions in a court in the debtor’s county — but not in the township or intra-county small claims court in the area where the debtor resided or where the debtor contract was signed. Per Suesz, for those of us in Cook County, collection lawsuits should be filed in the Municipal District where the debtor resides or where the contract was signed. For lawsuits that are already pending, an immediate motion to transfer to the appropriate Municipal District is most prudent.

POAs in Paradise: Properly executed Illinois POAs for property are valid in Florida

Posted on September 11, 2014 by Mark S. Mathewson

Here's a reminder of how useful ISBA electronic discussion groups are for getting quick answers when you need them most (find out more and join here).

"I have a client who has a valid Illinois POA for property," Kurt Dittmer of La Harpe said in a recent post to the ISBA general discussion group. "The client has some property in Florida and needs to have the agent (his wife) execute some documents. The Florida attorney told me that Florida requires two witnesses and a notary and has requested I re-execute with another witness." [An Illinois POA for property requires only one witness.] [S]houldn't the valid Illinois POA be good enough? If not, how could we anticipate where the POA may be comply with that state's rules?"

Eric Hasselberg of Peoria answered by saying, "[This is why I have been using two witnesses and a notary on all POAs for more than 30 years. It avoids the conflict-of-law situation where another state requires more than Illinois."

Sherwin Abrams of Chicago agreed. "When I know that a client has property in another state or spends a good deal of time there, I make sure that POAs comply with the laws of Illinois and those other states." But as for Florida law, Abrams said, "tell the lawyer there to read his/her state's statute [709.2106, Validity of power of attorney….]," which says [quoting the statute] "a power of attorney executed in another state which does not comply with the execution requirements of this part is valid in this state if, when the power of attorney was executed, the power of attorney and its execution complied with the law of the state of execution…."

President Felice to receive NIU Law Alumnus of the Year Award

Posted on September 10, 2014 by Chris Bonjean

ISBA President Richard D. FeliceISBA President Richard D. Felice will receive the Alumnus of the Year Award from NIU College of Law on Wednesday, Sept. 17. The ceremony will be held at the University Club of Chicago, 76 E. Monroe from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

The 2014 award recipients were selected based on outstanding achievements in their careers, demonstrated service to the NIU College of Law, demonstrated service to their community, and professional integrity.

During his year as president, President Felice is placing special emphasis on three projects. The first is the formation of a Task Force on the Impact of Law School Debt on the Future of the Profession to address the tremendous challenges facing new lawyers, including staggering law school debt and a stifling job market. The second initiative is the formation of a Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute Series, offering educational programs to solo and small firm practitioners in five settings throughout the state. The third program focuses on civics education. Working with the ISBA’s Law Related Education Committee, the organization is expanding its civics education programming to high school students and will also work with Illinois Judges Association on its “Courtroom in the Classroom” project.