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Ratings of all candidates for judicial office in Illinois in the November 2 election are available on the ISBA web site  –

“The Illinois Constitution gives voters an important responsibility in deciding who should serve in the office of judge,” said Mark D. Hassakis of Mt. Vernon, president of the ISBA. “Judges make decisions affecting the rights and responsibilities of all citizens, and it’s crucial that qualified individuals serve in these positions.”

Candidates for election to judicial vacancies and sitting judges seeking retention in office were rated by two methods. All candidates in Cook County and candidates for the Supreme and Appellate courts statewide were reviewed in a comprehensive evaluation process. All judicial candidates outside of Cook County were rated in a poll of lawyers conducted by ISBA.

The comprehensive evaluation process involves a detailed background investigation by members of the ISBA Judicial Evaluations Committee, followed by an in-person interview of the candidate. The Committee then decides whether to recommend the candidate for the judicial office being sought.

“Our members volunteer countless hours away from their busy law practices to complete these evaluations, which represent the opinion of the Illinois State Bar Association,” said Hassakis. “Other lawyers are given the opportunity in the judicial advisory poll to express their own opinions. I urge voters to consider these ratings in choosing how to vote in judicial elections.”

The Illinois State Bar Association provides professional services to lawyers, and education and services to the public.

The Illinois Bar Foundation will be receiving $421,486.52 in unclaimed funds from a nationwide class-action settlement involving a rate increase on life insurance policies.

Miller v. Royal Maccabees Life Insurance Company, 97 CH 04324 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty.) - Schad, Diamond & Shedden recovered $127.6 million including $93 million in cash and $34.6 million savings on future cost of insurance charges. The plaintiff policyholders filed a class action complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County against an insurance company charging that the company breached its contract with policyholders, violated consumer fraud laws and breached its fiduciary duty to policyholders by illegally raising cost of insurance (COI) rates. The court appointed Schad, Diamond & Shedden class counsel in this action. The judge is Mary Ann Mason.

There was a total of $3.9 million in remaining funds to be distributed, and 5 Illinois legal aid organizations were the recipients of half of that amount, with the rest designated for other states.

Appearing on “LGBT Marriage and Family Issues” will be (from left) Cook County Associate Judge Cheryl Cesario, Richard A. Wilson, Jennifer Shaw and Rachael N. Toft.

Appearing on the “Violence Against LGBT Persons" will be (from left) Daniel A. Kirk, Cook County Associate Judge Cheryl Cesario, Jennifer Shaw and Anthony E. Rothert.

“LGBT Marriage and Family Issues” and “Violence Against LGBT Persons,” half-hour programs presented by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), will air on Chicago Access Network Television, Channel 21 in Chicago, on Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

“LGBT Marriage and Family Issues” will air on Tuesdays, October 5 and 19 at 10 p.m. Appearing on the show will be Cook County Associate Judge Cheryl Cesario, who moderates the program; Richard Wilson, of Law Offices of Richard A.

Phil Hablutzel, Latham William, Betty Anne Waters and film director Tom Goldwyn

By Nancy Hablutzel

Phil and Nancy Hablutzel and Latham Williams were privileged to represent the ISBA at a pre-screening event for the new film "Conviction" due to be released on October 22, 2010. The film tells the true story of Betty Anne Waters, a high school dropout and mother of two boys, whose older brother, Kenny, was convicted of murder in 1982 in Massachusetts. Betty Anne was positive that he was innocent, and put herself through college and law school over the next 16 years, in order to be able to represent him and win his freedom, supporting herself by tending bar in a nearby pub.

The film, starring Hilary Swank as Betty Anne, follows her through school, as a working mother under considerable stress, and finally to the time when she and her law school classmate Abra Rice (played by Minnie Driver) and who is now in real life an assistant public defender in Connecticut, are working on freeing Kenny. Working with Barry Shreck and the Innocence Project, they are able to finally track down the evidence from the original trial and have DNA tests done, which eliminate Kenny as a suspect and lead eventually to his freedom.

Russell Hartigan

Illinois State Bar Association Board member Russell W. Hartigan has been appointed Circuit Judge of Cook County, at Large, to the vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. John J. Moran. This appointment is effective on Oct. 14, 2010, and terminates on Dec. 3, 2012.

Mr. Hartigan is a partner with the firm of Hartigan and O'Connor P.C. He graduated from DePaul University and received his J.D. from the John Marshall Law School.

Bloomington attorneys Scott Kording (left) and Mick Hall (second from right), as well as Thomas McClure, a professor and director of legal studies at Illinois State University in Normal, display the “Lawyers Care” plaques they received from Illinois State Bar Association President Mark D. Hassakis (right) at a reception on September 9 at the Bone Student Center on the university campus.

Kording, Hall and the university were honored for their many hours of pro bono service to the ISU Mock Trial Program.

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 August 2010 ISBA helped people in need of legal services find lawyers in the following areas:

  • Administrative Law - 11
  • Animal Law - 1
  • Bankruptcy - 23
  • Business Law - 11
  • Civil Disputes - 97
  • Civil Rights - 31
  • Collection - 23
  • Consumer Protection - 28
  • Contracts - 10
  • Criminal Law - 80
  • Education Law - 14
  • Elder law - 3
  • Employment Law - 138
  • Estate/Probate Law - 33
  • Family - 150
  • Government Benefits - 22
  • Health Law - 3
  • Immigration - 2
  • Insurance Disputes - 12
  • Intellectual Property - 4
  • Miscellaneous - 2
  • Municipal Law - 2
  • Personal Injury - 105
  • Real Estate - 52
  • Social Security - 23
  • Tax - 6
  • Workers Compensation - 13

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

Clients should call (800) 922-8757.

RtI – Response to Intervention and Basics of Special Education Law, two half-hour programs presented by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), will air on Chicago Access Network Television, Channel 21 in Chicago, during the month of September. Response to Intervention will air on Tuesdays, Sept. 7 and 21 at 10 p.m., and Basics of Special Education Law will air on Tuesdays, Sept. 14 and 28 at 10 p.m.

Appearing on the shows are (from left) John A. Dively, Jr., J.D., Ed.D., associate professor and chair of educational leadership at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston; program moderator Nancy Z. Hablutzel, a Chicago lawyer; Deborah E. Decker, an attorney at Tabet DiVito & Rothstein, LLC, in Chicago; and Mary Kay Klimesh, an attorney at Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago.

“Illinois Law” is a cable production of the ISBA, and can now be viewed online at