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The Illinois State Bar Association will be honoring the 2010 Class of Distinguished Counsellors on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, 301 E. North Water. The event will begin with a reception at 11:15 a.m. and a luncheon at noon.

Click here to view the invitation.

Click here to read a recent news article on Distinguished Counsellors Harvey Stephens and Edward Cunningham.

Click below for the list of this year's Class.

Recent Decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, three half-hour programs presented by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), will air on Chicago Access Network Television, Channel 21 in Chicago, at 10 p.m. as follows:  Part I will air on November 2 and 16, Part II will air on November 9 and 23, and Part III will air on December 7 and 21.

Appearing on the shows are (from left) Cecil J. Hunt II, a professor at The John Marshall Law School; Hon. Leonard Murray, an associate judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County; Michele M. Jochner, judicial law clerk to Justice Charles A. Freeman of the Illinois Supreme Court; and program moderator John T. Theis, a Chicago lawyer.

“Illinois Law” is a cable production of the ISBA and programs can be viewed online at www.illinoislawyernow.com/tag/illinois-law-video.  The 33,000-member organization, with offices in Springfield and Chicago, provides professional services to Illinois lawyers, and education and services to the public.


Justice Mary Jane Theis

Former ISBA Board member Mary Jane Theis will take the oath today as the newest member of the Illinois Supreme Court, the fourth woman to sit on the state’s highest tribunal.

Justice Theis, an Appellate Court judge in Illinois for the past 17 years, will be sworn in by Retired Chief Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald. Justice Fitzgerald announced his retirement last month and the Supreme Court appointed Justice Theis to fill his vacancy.

Justice Thomas L. Kilbride was elected by his colleagues to become Chief Justice, an appointment which also becomes effective on Tuesday.

Justice Theis’ ceremony is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. October 26 in the ceremonial courtroom on the lower level of the James R. Thompson Center.

Among those who will be speaking at the ceremony will be Attorney General Lisa Madigan; Retired U.S. District Court of Appeals Judge Abner J. Mikva; Illinois Appellate Court Justice Joy V. Cunningham; and Illinois Senate President John Cullerton.

Justice Theis will join Justices Rita B. Garman from the Fourth Judicial District and Anne M. Burke from the First Judicial District to mark the first time in history three women will sit on the Illinois Supreme Court at the same time.

To the Editor:

A highly regarded justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, Tom Kilbride, is seeking to retain his seat on the court in the November 2 election. He is being opposed by special interest groups that have mounted a misleading advertising campaign. The ad messages focus on a tiny fraction of his many opinions while on the court, and in one case totally misstate his opinion to try to make their point. Their aim is simple - to tilt the judicial system in their favor.

The stakes are high in this election. Justice Kilbride has served with distinction for the past 10 years. His service has been recognized by his fellow judges who selected him to be the next chief justice of the supreme court. A vote against retaining him would be a vote against an impartial judiciary, especially if such a vote resulted from the type of misinformation campaign that is being conducted.

Voters should become informed about the qualifications of Justice Kilbride and should question the misleading information being circulated in an attempt to deny him a seat on the state’s highest court. Information about all judges on the November 2 ballot can be found at isba.org/judicialevaluations

Sincerely,

Mark D. Hassakis

President, Illinois State Bar Association

Mt. Vernon, Illinois

(618) 244-5335

One of our nation's guiding principles is "Justice For All". But for many of our fellow Americans, the promise of equal access to justice has not been fulfilled.

In an effort to bridge the "Justice Gap", ISBA President Mark Hassakis is encouraging ISBA members to consider performing some Pro Bono work. If you can’t afford to donate the time, consider donating money instead. There is no better time to start than during National Pro Bono Celebration Week, which kicks off today.

The ISBA Standing Committee on Delivery of Legal Services has a wonderful website where you can learn more - www.isba.org/probono.   In addition, ISBA is providing members the opportunity to learn pro bono basics and earn CLE credit on a variety of topics including family law and juvenile justice.

The Illinois State Bar Association's Solo and Small Firm Conference continues today at the Springfield Hilton. Plenary speaker Mark Curriden will be presenting "Contempt of Court: A Lynching that Changed the American Justice System" and Dustin Cole will be presenting "Practice Pointers for the Changing Legal Landscape."

Follow all of the action at IllinoisLawyerNow.com or on Twitter at #isbassf.

ISBA's Solo & Small Firm Conference in Springfield (Hilton Springfield) kicks-off today! Interested in going and earning up to 14 hours MCLE credit, including 4 hours PMCLE credit?  On-site registration is still available.  Find out more at www.isba.org/conference.

Follow all of the action at IllinoisLawyerNow.com or on Twitter at #isbassf.

The Illinois State Bar Association will begin running print and online ads statewide for the upcoming judicial elections. The online ad will be running on daily newspaper webites and is shown above.

The message of the print ads includes:

"Vote for Qualified Judges: Our court system relies on informed voters choosing qualified candidates for judicial office. Be an informed voter - visit www.isba.org/judicialevaluations to learn about the judicial candidates on your ballot."

At the Dec. 11, 2010, meeting of the ISBA Assembly, two at-large delegates to the ABA House of Delegates will be elected, one from Cook County and one from the area outside Cook County.  The nominees for these positions must be members of the ISBA in good standing from the appropriate area.  The elected delegates will serve for two-year terms commencing June 2011 and will join the ISBA delegation at the ABA meeting in Toronto in August 2011.

The current incumbents are Timothy L. Bertschy of Peoria and Joseph G. Bisceglia of Chicago. Both incumbents are eligible for re-election.

Nominations must be made in writing by at least 20 ISBA members in good standing from the appropriate area.  Nominations must be filed with the office of the Executive Director not later than Friday, Nov. 12, 2010.  Further information and nominating petitions are available from the office of the Executive Director, Illinois State Bar Association, 424 S. Second Street, Springfield, IL 62701 or by contacting JoAnn Hibbs at (800) 252-8908 or jhibbs@isba.org.

Click here for the nominating petition

The Illinois State Bar Association through the Association’s Standing Committee on Supreme and Appellate Court Judicial Election Campaign Tone and Conduct has been asked to review certain tactics by an entity identified as “JUSTPAC” in opposition to the retention of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride.

The Standing Committee has a role in educating the public on ethical conduct in judicial elections and discouraging campaign activities that are unfair and reflect negatively on the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

The Standing Committee finds that the “JUSTPAC” campaign directed at Justice Kilbride is inappropriate and distorts his record.  As such, it reflects negatively on the integrity and independence of the judiciary. Specifically, based upon the advertisements reviewed by the Standing Committee, we find that “JUSTPAC” has distorted the record and rulings of Justice Kilbride by characterizing him as allegedly soft on crime and criminals.

Voters should become informed about the qualifications of Justice Kilbride. And while the decision regarding the retention of Justice Kilbride or any other judge rests with the voters, that decision should not be based on distortions regarding a judge’s record.

Voters may learn more about Justice Kilbride and all other judicial candidates by visiting:  www.isba.org/judicialevaluations