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The national law firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP announced that Judge Richard E. Eagleton has retired from private practice. Judge Eagleton, formerly of counsel in Hinshaw's Government Practice Group, joined the firm in 1990 and practiced with Hinshaw until his retirement.

Judge Eagleton previously was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Peoria from 1961–1964 and the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of Illinois from 1965–1969. He is the only Peorian to have served as a U.S. Attorney. After that, he was a circuit court judge in Illinois' 10th Judicial Circuit for 20 years, including three years as chief judge. His long and storied career also includes 34 years of service in the U.S. Naval Reserve, including two years as Chief Judge of the Naval Reserve Trial Judiciary. Judge Eagleton retired from military service as a captain in the JAG Corps.


Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita B. Garman (left) swore-in Springfield attorney Jennifer M. Ascher as a Sangamon County Associate Judge on Monday. Ms. Ascher was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the impending retirement of Associate Judge Steven H. Nardulli.

Ascher received her undergraduate degree in 1999 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Juris Doctor in 2003 from Saint Louis University School of Law. She is currently a partner at Sorling Northrup, where she has practiced family law nearly exclusively for the past 12 years. During her tenure, she represented clients in Sangamon County and surrounding counties. She is a Springfield native where she resides with her family.

Ms. Ascher previously served as president of the Central Illinois Women’s Bar Association and the Sangamon County Bar Association.

The law firm of Denby, Meno, Bloomer & Denby is pleased to announce that Nicole K. Thomas has joined the firm as an associate attorney.

Nicole is a graduate of Carlinville High School and obtained her undergraduate degree from SIU Carbondale and law degree from St. Louis University. She is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association and Macoupin County Bar Association, and is available for client appointments in the firm's Carlinville and Staunton offices.


Fourth Circuit Judge Ronald Spears (left) was honored at a retirement party Dec. 18 in Taylorville. Judge Spears retired after 22 years of service in Christian County. ISBA Past President J. Timothy Eaton (right), Judge Spears' law school roommate, spoke in his honor.

When Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita B. Garman asked William McCleery to speak at the 2015 Admission Ceremony for the Fourth Judicial District in Springfield on November 6, he humbly accepted. Among the fifty-two lawyers to be sworn in from the fourth district, was his son, Daniel McCleery. William said “I was honored to address this talented group of young men and women and take great pride knowing Daniel was one of them.”

Chief Justice Rita B. Garman of the Supreme Court of Illinois has begun an application process for an At-Large Circuit Court vacancy in the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

The vacancy is created by the resignation of Judge William O. Mays, Jr., effective January 15, 2016. Judge Mays has been an At-Large Circuit Judge in the Eighth Judicial Circuit since 2006.

Under the Illinois Constitution, judicial vacancies are filled by Supreme Court appointment. The application process will lead to the final Court approval. Applicants will undergo an evaluation and screening process.

Notice of the vacancy has been posted in the courthouses throughout the Circuit. The application form and instructions may be obtained by visiting the Illinois Supreme Court's website at www.illinoiscourts.gov and following the instructions in the "Latest News" scroller announcing the Eighth Judicial Circuit vacancy.

The Illinois Supreme Court has announced that effective January 1, 2016, Quincy attorney James A. Rapp will chair the Supreme Court’s Minimum Continuing Legal Education Board.

The Supreme Court adopted minimum continuing education requirements for Illinois attorneys in September, 2005. The board is composed of nine members including attorneys, judges, and a non-lawyer member. Rapp is a charter member of the governing board and has served as Vice Chair and on the board’s rules and regulations as well as finance committees. There are approximately 106,000 attorneys in Illinois subject to the requirements.

Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith
Thomas R. Smith, 76, of Danville passed away at home on Monday (Nov. 23, 2015).

Thomas was born Aug. 6, 1939, to Kenneth and Naydean (Phillips) Smith. He married Nancy (Underwood) Nixon on June 6, 1975; she survives.

Also surviving are a stepdaughter, Melissa (Matthew) Muirhead of Danville; his children, Kenneth Smith of Milwaukee, Thomas Smith of Zionsville, Ind., Melinda Smith of Zionsville, Michele (Mark) Jones of Monrovia, Ind.; and eight grandchildren, including a very special grandson, Grant Thomas Muirhead.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Jack Smith.

As a youth, he was active in Boy Scout of America, earning his Eagle Scout badge and representing his council several times in both national and international gatherings. He was a member of the Danville Jaycees, serving a term as president. He was an avid sports fan, especially Illini sports and the Indianapolis Colts.

Thomas graduated from Danville High School in 1957, DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind. where he was a member of the golf team in 1961, and the University Of Illinois College Of Law in 1964.

He practiced law in Danville for 50 years and was a partner in the law firm of Acton & Snyder. Thomas was also a member of both the Illinois and Indiana State Bar Associations, as well as the Vermilion County Bar Association.

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that the 10th Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Suzanne L. Patton as an associate judge of the 10th Judicial Circuit.

Ms. Patton received her undergraduate degree in 1996 from Illinois State University in Normal and her Juris Doctor in 1999 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Ms. Patton is currently affiliated with the Peoria County State's Attorney's Office in Peoria.

Chief Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit Kenneth Deihl is pleased to announce that Springfield attorney Jennifer M. Ascher has been appointed as Associate Judge and will be assigned to Sangamon County. Ms. Ascher was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the impending retirement of Associate Judge Steven H. Nardulli. Ms. Ascher will take her oath of office and start on January 11, 2016.

Commenting on the selection, Chief Judge Kenneth Deihl states, “Ms. Ascher is a talented and respected family attorney. Her extensive trial practice and professional demeanor makes her well suited for judicial office. We look forward to her service in our justice system.”

Ms. Jennifer Ascher received her undergraduate degree in 1999 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Juris Doctor in 2003 from Saint Louis University School of Law. She is currently a partner at Sorling Northrup, where she has practiced family law nearly exclusively for the past twelve years. During her tenure, she represented clients in Sangamon County and surrounding counties. She is a Springfield native where she resides with her family.

Ms. Ascher previously served as president of the Central Illinois Women’s Bar Association and the Sangamon County Bar Association.