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ISBA News

The Illinois State Bar Association welcomed a delegation from Ukraine last Friday to discuss the U.S. justice system. The visit was titled "Legislative Reform in the Criminal Justice System" and took place before a scheduled meeting of the ISBA Bench and Bar Section.

Among those on hand for the meeting included ISBA member Alexandria Bell, of Johnson & Bell, Ltd., who immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine and the age of 19.

Bell is pictured at right with members of the Ukrainian delegation and ISBA President Mark Hassakis (from left): Rostyslav Gerasymov, senior counsel to the chairman of the Committee on Justice; Bell; Elina Shyshkina, a member of Parliament; Iryna Mostova, head of the Department of Legistlation on Justice and President Hassakis.

The Illinois State Bar Association will have a tent at the upcoming Illinois State Fair in Springfield. The fair opened Thursday night and runs through Sunday, Aug. 22.

The tent offers legal brochures for the public, a Legal Eagle quiz on Illinois legal history (prize for 80% and better) and an Abraham Lincoln photo opportunity for state fair patrons who want to put their face in Lincoln's image. There is also a laptop connected to the Illinois Lawyer Finder site that visitors can try out. Visitors can also receive giveaways including: the infamous gavel pencils, small notepads and Lincoln coloring books.

More information on the state fair is available at www.agr.state.il.us/isf/

The Illinois State Bar Association’s Lawyer Finder Service provides referrals to local lawyers Mondays through Fridays.  The Service makes referrals in a number of areas of law.  For the month of July, ISBA helped people in need of legal services find lawyers in the following areas:

  • Administrative Law - 4
  • Animal Law - 2
  • Bankruptcy - 9
  • Business Law - 10
  • Civil Disputes - 63
  • Civil Rights - 29
  • Collection - 31
  • Consumer Protection - 11
  • Contracts - 13
  • Criminal Law - 38
  • Education Law -8
  • Elder law - 4
  • Employment Law - 96
  • Estate/Probate Law -17
  • Family - 106
  • Government Benefits - 16
  • Health Law - 3
  • Immigration - 1
  • Insurance Disputes - 3
  • Intellectual Property -7
  • Miscellaneous - 1
  • Municipal Law - 4
  • Personal Injury - 72
  • Real Estate - 42
  • Social Security - 16
  • Tax - 4
  • Workers Compensation - 8

These numbers do not include additional referrals made through the online Lawyer Finder service.

Want to be part of the ISBA Lawyer Finder Service?  Call (800) 252-8908 and ask for the Legal Department, or visit www.illinoislawyerfinder.com

Clients should call (800) 922-8757.


Cheryl Niro

Cheryl Niro, long a leader of Illinois’ legal community, today became a member of the American Bar Association Board of Governors.

Niro is a principal in the law firm of RobinsonNiro, LLC, which provides advice, expert witness services and training on issues involving legal ethics.

Just beginning a 3-year term as one of only 38 members of the Board of Governors, Niro will help oversee administration and management of the ABA.  She represents the association’s Seventh District, comprising Illinois and Ohio.  The association represents lawyers from every corner of the country, practicing in every field of law and working in every professional capacity.

Niro has worked in legal circles in Illinois since 1981, with her career alternating the private practice of law with public service.  She was executive director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism during 2006-09; a special counsel to the Attorney General of Illinois in 1996-99; and the executive director of the Illinois Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, a project of the state supreme court, in 1985-88.  While practicing in a law firm under her own name, she also founded the National Center for Conflict Resolution Education, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education.

Niro is a past president of the Illinois State Bar Association, and has chaired or been a member of state bar entities devoted to a range of issues, from meeting the legal needs and interests of children in the state to the impact of international trade agreements on the practice of law.  As a hands-on leader, she worked with the state bar’s participation in national high school mock trial competitions and supported a project to revise and update the Illinois Revised Statutes.  She worked on issues of internal bar significance, but also those affecting the public, such as developing alternatives to litigation for resolving legal disputes.  She also is as past president of the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation, which works to meet the legal needs of the county’s indigent, and of the Illinois Supreme Court Legal Historical Society.

During 2010, the ISBA is offering non-member* lawyers the opportunity to sign up for a FREE 6 month trial membership.

The trial membership includes all the benefits of regular membership, including FREE online legal research through Fastcase, discounts on CLE programs, daily delivery of the E-Clips bulletin, monthly delivery of the award-winning Illinois Bar Journal, and much more!

Not a member? Learn more and sign up for this opportunity.

Already a member? Find out how to present this offer to a non-member and be eligible to earn a discount on your future dues!

* Eligibility Requirement: This offer is good for any lawyer listed as “active” with the ARDC and who has not been a member of the ISBA within the last 2 years.

Just the Beginning Foundation is dedicated to developing and nurturing interest in the law among young persons from various ethnic backgrounds underrepresented in the legal profession and supporting their continued advancement. Just the Beginning Foundation's long-term goal is to increase racial diversity in the legal profession.

Just The Beginning Foundation is seeking volunteers for the upcoming Summer Legal Institute, Advanced Summer Legal Institute, and Middle School Law camp, hosted by the DePaul College of Law in Chicago. 2010 is the fourth year for the Summer Legal Institute programming, and it is through the participation of volunteers like you that we continue the connection with hundreds of diverse students each year.

The following volunteer opportunities are available and in most need of assistance:

Summer Legal Institute:

  • Friday, August 6th: 9-11 a.m. (small-group Oral Argument preparation)
  • Friday, August 13th: 10 a.m.-11:30 a.m. (act as judges for Oral Argument presentations)

Volunteers are also encouraged to join us for a celebration lunch on Friday, August 13th from noon-1:30 p.m. at Edwardo's Pizza (521 S Dearborn).

Middle School Law Camp:

  • Monday, August 23rd: 12:00-1:45 p.m. (Lunch Roundtable: Intro To The Legal Profession)
  • Wednesday, August 25: 8:30-9:30 a.m. (Breakfast Panelist: What's it like to be a lawyer?)
  • Wednesday, August 25th: noon-1:30 p.m. (Lunch Panel: "What Can You Do With a Law Degree?")
  • Thursday, August 26: 12:00-1:00 p.m.


Appearing on the “The Law School Experience” will be (from left) Rory D. Smith, MacKenzie A. Hyde, Gilda Hudson-Winfield and Julie A. Neubauer.


Appearing on “The Life of a Lawyer” will be (from left) Daniel R. Saeedi, MacKenzie A. Hyde, Gilda Hudson-Winfield and Sandra M. Blake.

“So You Want to Be an Attorney,” two half-hour programs presented by the Illinois State Bar Association, will air on Chicago Access Network, Channel 21 in Chicago, during the month of August. Part I, “The Law School Experience,” will air on Tuesdays, Aug. 10 and Aug. 24 at 10 p.m. Part II, “The Life of a Lawyer,” will air on Tuesdays, Aug. 17 and Aug. 31 at 10 p.m.

Appearing on “The Law School Experience” will be moderator Gilda Hudson-Winfield, Rory D.


Liz Driscoll

Liz Driscoll, Grants and Development Coordinator for the Illinois Bar Foundation, took first place in the Women's division at Race Judicata last Thursday. Liz finished with a time of 19:54, which was good for 43rd overall. She has also run the Chicago Marathon twice and did the Boston Marathon for the first time this year.

Judge Stephen Pacey of Paxton, a member of the Illinois State Bar Association's Board of Governors, finished first in the 60 and over age group with a time of 21:01.

Proceeds from Race Judicata benefit Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation, an organization of nearly 3,000 volunteer attorneys who donate free legal services to thousands of low-income Chicagoans annually.

Click here to view a photo gallery from this event.

Note: This letter was sent to editorial page editors around the state.

The appointment last week of a new state juvenile justice chief – a veteran of the state’s child welfare system – signals a new era in juvenile justice reform. Mr. Arthur Bishop is on record favoring a different treatment model for troubled youth that emphasizes rehabilitation and second chances. That is good news, not only for the youth and their families, but for all Illinois citizens.

As president of the Illinois State Bar Association, I will work closely with our members to concentrate on the very important issue of juvenile justice reform.  For too long, we have largely employed a system that has failed our youth, spending a staggering $100 million annually to lock them up in state correctional facilities or in detention centers while they await trial. It’s not working – for them or for us.

Fortunately, we are beginning to see a reversal of this past trend.  Research from the MacArthur Foundation, a partner in our effort, shows that half or more of our youth sent to prison for lesser crimes return to our communities after discharge from prison without rehabilitation having occurred.  The last thing we want to happen is increased exposure of our youth to hardened criminals as their role models.

We already know what works. Leaders in Illinois communities of all sizes, including lawyers, prosecutors and judges, have implemented alternative treatment options that are producing results.  During my presidency, many of our lawyer and judge members of the bar will focus on and celebrate the good work already underway.  In the process, we hope to raise further awareness of this timely issue.

The next few years will be crucial ones for juvenile justice reform.