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Central Illinois

Harry Sonnemaker, Jr.
Harry Sonnemaker, Jr.
Harry H. “Hank” Sonnemaker, Jr., of Dunlap passed away at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 21, 2015, at his residence.

Harry was born on Dec. 6, 1926, in Peoria to the late Harry Sr. and Grace (Reiferscheid) Sonnemaker. He married Dorothy Boyer on June 12, 1948, in Peoria. She survives.

Harry attended Spalding Institute. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he obtained his undergraduate education from St. Ambrose and Bradley Universities and later graduated from the University of Illinois with his law degree.

He first entered the Navy in November 1944 and served on active duty until 1946, principally in Hawaii, the Marianas and Guam. He was commissioned Ensign in 1950 and served in various line and security-intelligence billets until 1955. When the JAG Corps was established, he became a JAGC Officer, serving for over 30 years including a two-year term as the Judge Advocate General for the Navy. When he retired, he was the senior most captain in the Navy Reserve in the United States.

Harry was admitted to the Illinois State Bar in 1955. He served as the first legal aid counselor for Peoria in 1957. He was in private practice for 50 years. From 1974 to 1986, he shared his office with his son. Other attorneys that either he either shared an office with or worked for him were Judge Robert Manning, Lou Benassi, Judge Mike O’Brien, Jerry Serritella, and Judge Joe Vespa.

The Village of Chatham, Illinois, is seeking outside counsel to serve as its Village Attorney. Interested attorneys/law firms should submit a letter of interest, resume(s) and firm brochure outlining the candidates municipal law experience and retainer/fee  proposal. Please send 10 copies of requested documents. Responses should be sent to Jill Butler at the Village of Chatham, 116 Mulberry, Chatham, IL 62629. The submission deadline is May 12, 2015.

McLean County attorney Mike McElvain and McLean County Judge Elizabeth Robb (Ret.) will be honored by the Fellows of the Illinois Bar Foundation at a reception Thursday, April 30 from 5 to 6:30 pm at McLean County Museum of History (Old Courthouse), 200 N. Main St., in Bloomington.

The Illinois Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association, is honoring attorney McElvain and Judge Robb for their professionalism and commitment to assist the legal profession in serving the public.

The mission of the Illinois Bar Foundation is to ensure meaningful access to the justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who have fallen upon hard times.

Individual tickets are $35 per person. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (312) 726-6072 or visit The Illinois Bar Foundation is located at 20 S. Clark St., Suite 910, Chicago, IL  60603. Information also is available at

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

The vacancy is created by the retirement of Judge Scott H. Walden on June 30, 2015. Judge Walden has been a Resident Circuit Judge in the Eight Circuit since 1996.

Judge April Troemper
Judge April Troemper
Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita B. Garman swore in Judge April G. Troemper as Circuit Judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Carlinville on April 2. Following an in-depth selection process, Judge Troemper was appointed by Chief Justice Garman to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Circuit Judge Patrick Londrigan. Judge Troemper, 43, was an Associate Judge for the past 5 years hearing all types of cases including, felonies, DUIs, family law cases, orders of protection, juvenile matters, guardianships, mental health court, and a wide variety of civil cases. Currently, Judge Troemper is the President of the Sangamon County Bar Association, serves on the Illinois Judicial Education Committee, and has been a guest speaker on a variety of legal topics. 

Judge Troemper said, “It is a true honor to serve the citizens of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, and I look forward to my continued service in this new position. I understand every case is individual and very important to the litigants involved. I will continue to work very hard to ensure that each case and every litigant believes they were given a fair opportunity to have their cases heard. I promise to respect this position, the duties that go along with it, and all those who appear before me.” 

The Seventh Judicial Circuit includes the counties of Green, Jersey, Macoupin, Morgan, Sangamon, and Scott.

Robert W. McCarthy
Robert W. McCarthy
Robert W. McCarthy, 90, of Decatur, IL passed away on Thursday, March 19, 2015 in his residence.

Robert was born in Lincoln, IL on May 28, 1924 to James and Anna McCarthy. Robert served proudly in the U.S. Army. Following his service in WWII, Mr. McCarthy graduated from Lincoln College and the University of Illinois, College of Law 1947, where he was affiliated with Phi Delta Theta Social Fraternity.

He commenced his practice of law in Lincoln, IL the same year and moved his practice to Decatur in 1965. He was the senior named partner prior to his retirement in 2008 in the Decatur Law Firm of McCarthy, Rowden and Baker, and he was an acknowledged authority on worker’s compensation law.

As a state legislator in 1957 he overrode Governor Stratton’s veto of the public administration bill. This was the first override in 22 years. He was active in labor legislation and the chief sponsor of the revised worker’s compensation law of 1975. In 1959 he was the organizer of a campaign event in Decatur for John F. Kennedy, then a United States senator in Massachusetts and later President of the United States. McCarthy was active in Democratic politics and served in the Illinois General Assembly as a representative from 1954-1960 and senator from 1961-1977.

He was a member of the Decatur Athletic Club, Decatur Symphony Guild, Club at Pelican Bay at Naples, FL, Decatur Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association and Ss. James and Patrick Catholic Church in Decatur, IL. Robert married Mary Fielding on September 6, 1952 in St. Joseph’s Church, Springfield, IL.

The next ISBA Solo & Small Firm Practice Institute will be held in East Peoria on April 16. The focus of this seminar is Building Your Practice and Preparing for the Future. The program runs from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and provides 6.50 MCLE hours, including 6.50 Professional Responsibility MCLE credit hours (PMCLE credit subject to approval).

Get the best practice tips and practical tools you need to run your office efficiently and profitably with this full-day seminar! As an attendee, you will:

The Hon. Lloyd A. Karmeier, Illinois Supreme Court Justice, 5th District, will be honored at the 2015 Lawyers’ Assistance Program Joseph R. Bartylak Award Dinner on Friday, April 17, at the Sangamo Club in Springfield. The keynote Speaker will be the Hon. Robert J. Anderson, incoming President of the Illinois Judges Association. The reception begins at 6 p.m. and dinner is at 6:30 p.m.

The Lawyers’ Assistance Program has been confidentially assisting Illinois lawyers, judges, law students and their families with alcohol, substance abuse and mental health issues since 1980. LAP created the Joseph R. Bartylak Award to be awarded annually to deserving ‘downstate’ volunteers. Joe Bartylak served LAP since its inception as an incorporator, volunteer, Board member and as the Associate Director from 2002-2007. Joe also served as Director of Land of Lincoln Legal Services for many years.

For more information or to receive an invitation please contact Bridget McLaughlin at 312-726-6607 or

Join us at either of our two locations - Springfield volunteers especially needed!

Saturday, April 25, 2015
9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Please consider volunteering to help the public with their legal questions and, at the same time, enhance the image of the profession.

Each year, to recognize and celebrate Law Day, the Illinois State Bar Association sponsors "Ask A Lawyer Day," a day during which volunteers respond to telephone calls from the public and answer general legal questions free of charge. This is a state-wide public relations effort that receives considerable attention from the public and the media.

"Ask A Lawyer Day" volunteer lawyers in Springfield will answer calls at the Illinois Bar Center offices from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Volunteer lawyers in the Chicago area, will volunteer in the Chicago Office from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

If you are interested in volunteering, please complete the online form at

Please let us know by April 3 if you would like to participate.

The Fourth District Appellate Court will hear oral arguments in two criminal cases on Monday, March 30, 2015 at the University of Illinois at Springfield. Arguments are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in the Public Affairs Center, first floor.

"The University of Illinois students and those interested in the law have a unique opportunity to observe oral arguments before the Appellate Court in person", said Chief Justice Rita B. Garman of the Supreme Court of Illinois. "I am extremely pleased UIS is hosting the Fourth District Appellate Court's oral arguments on their campus this spring."