Member Groups

Mental Health Matters
The newsletter of the ISBA’s Mental Health Law Section

October 2016, vol. 3, no. 1

Letter from the Chair

Joseph T. MonahanWelcome to the 2016-2017 Mental Health Law Section Council newsletter! It will prove to be a very busy year for the Mental Health Law Section Council as we tackle new legislative initiatives to improve the delivery of mental health services to individuals, provide mental health training to the legal community and provide regular updates through this newsletter.

The Mental Health Law Section Council is composed of thought leaders and mental health lawyers from across the state who serve in a number of capacities.  The council includes assistant state’s attorneys, assistant public defenders, Department of Human Services lawyers, not-for-profit lawyers, academics, a public guardian and lawyers in private practice, all of whom have a vested interest in mental health issues. This outstanding group represents the entire State of Illinois and works diligently to complete meaningful work which impacts individuals with diagnosed mental health and intellectual disabilities, their families and the professionals who work with them. 

During this bar year I have invited a host of diverse professionals to present to the Section Council at our monthly meeting, with the stated purpose of giving us unique perspectives on the issues of mental health to guide us in our important work.  Our first speaker was Pulitzer Prize winner David Jackson, who is a reporter from the Chicago Tribune.  (See the article written by Patricia Werner in this issue.) Additional speakers who will present at our monthly meeting include a psychiatrist, a psychologist, policy makers from NAMI, the Kennedy Forum, the judiciary and legislature. 

I believe these speakers will challenge us to look at legislative, policy and legal issues in different ways and inform our judgment as we undertake our work throughout this bar year. 

Depending on space availability, ISBA members may attend these monthly meetings in person. There is also a call-in option for those interested in attending.  Contact Mary Grant at for monthly call-in information.

Thank you for your interest in our committee!  Please do not hesitate to contact me with your questions or comments.


Joseph T. Monahan, MSW, JD, ACSW is the founding partner of Monahan Law Group, LLC, in Chicago, which focuses its practice in mental health, confidentiality, guardianship, probate, and health care law. His clients include hospitals, outpatient mental health clinics, and mental health professionals. He may be contacted at