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James F. Graves
James F. Graves
Best Lawyers of America has named James F. Graves the "2012 Lansing Personal Injury Litigation-Plaintiffs Lawyer of the Year" for the second consecutive year.

Graves, a partner with the Sinas Dramis Law Firm, has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America in the field of personal injury litigation each year since 2006. He is licensed to practice in Michigan and Illinois. He received the Leo A. Farhat Outstanding Attorney Award from the Ingham County Bar Association in 2004. Graves is the Past President of the Ingham County Bar Association and the Ingham County Bar Foundation. He is a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

The Sinas Dramis Law Firm represents personal injury clients throughout Michigan and Illinois. Jim Graves and other members of the Sinas Dramis firm can be reached at (517) 394-7500. Firm bios can be viewed at

John and Terry Thies
John and Terry Thies

Book by April 27 and save $500 per couple!

Dear ISBA members,
We invite you to join us on our Fall 2012 ISBA President’s Trip – a magnificent tour of China!

Take a moment away from your busy day, close your eyes and picture yourself in a land steeped in thousands of years of history. Picture a place where the echoes of distant empires can still be heard above the urban roar of modern technology, where natural landscapes stand in stark and beautiful contrast to contemporary cityscapes. You are in a land rich in tradition and ripe with possibility.

J. Gordon Henry, age 95, passed away in Naples, Fla. on Dec. 6, 2011.

Before moving to Marco Island in 1981, Gordon worked as Senior Vice President and Trust Counsel at the Northern Trust Company in Chicago.

His principal avocation was teaching and he devoted significant time organizing and teaching courses in estate planning and business law in numerous states throughout the country. His most important legal advocacy was as a member of a five-member Federal Taxation Section Committee which succeeded in causing Congress to repeal a complex law that would have had a devastating effect on the administration of decedents' estates.

Gordon assumed multiple leadership positions throughout his lifetime in community, church, athletic, and school-based committees and Boards in Illinois and Florida. He served as Commander of the Marco Island Power Squadron, Commodore of both the Marco Cruise Club and the Marco Bay Yacht and Sailing Club, and Director of the Marco Island Yacht Club and YMCA. With his wife Coke Henry, he became cruise planner extraordinaire and a backwater specialist navigating through dense mangrove islands in the Everglades.

His family thanks all of Gordon's friends and acquaintances on Marco Island who helped provide him with a deeply satisfying and happy retirement. Gordon was predeceased by his first wife of 41 years, Aileen Wilson; and his second wife of 24 years, Carol Seaman Sudler.

Gordon is survived by a daughter Laura Henry of Zion, IL; and two stepchildren Carroll and Elizabeth Sudler of Los Angeles, CA and Sag Harbor, NY.

Indiana Tech has chosen Peter C. Alexander as the founding dean of the university’s law school, which is slated to open in fall 2013 in Fort Wayne.

Alexander will officially begin work on January 9, 2012. He is currently a professor at the Southern Illinois University School of Law in Carbondale, Ill., where he served as dean from 2003 until 2009.

“Peter Alexander shares our vision for law school education in the 21st century and has the qualifications and experience to help us achieve our goals,” said Dr. Arthur E. Snyder, Indiana Tech president. “I look forward to working with him as we continue our curriculum development and begin recruiting students for our first class.”

Alexander has more than 25 years of experience in teaching and practicing law. Prior to his position at Southern Illinois, he was on the faculty of The Dickinson School of Law at Penn State University for 11 years, where he served as associate dean for research and faculty development for two years. Alexander teaches in the areas of bankruptcy law, evidence, and trial practice.

Before joining the Penn State-Dickinson faculty, Alexander was in private practice in Champaign, Ill., for seven years. He also served as a law clerk to the Hon. Larry L. Lessen, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Central District of Illinois, and the Hon. Harold A. Baker, U.S. District Judge for the Central District of Illinois.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected as the founding dean of Indiana Tech’s new law school,” Alexander said. “I appreciate Dr. Snyder’s confidence and support. Together, we will create an institution that will prepare men and women for success in the practice of law or any field they choose.

Baker & Daniels LLP and Faegre & Benson LLP today announced the combination of their law firms following a vote by partners in both organizations. The combined firm will begin operations as Faegre Baker Daniels on Jan. 1, 2012.

"We embarked on this journey from the beginning with our clients in mind," said Andrew Humphrey, managing partner at Faegre & Benson. "Both firms identified strategic expansion as important to continue providing the high-quality services and expertise required by our clients. And that remains our focus: meeting the needs of our clients."

In addition, B&D Consulting, a division of Baker & Daniels, will become FaegreBD Consulting on Jan. 1, 2012. The combination will give the organization a total of 815 lawyers and consultants.

"The size and added capabilities of the combined firm will give us the ability to devote more resources to larger projects, bring deeper and broader experience to complex matters and transactions, and provide greater expertise in certain niche areas," said Tom Froehle, chief executive partner at Baker & Daniels. "We also believe this more visible platform will help attract and retain the highest caliber talent. Ultimately, this will help us provide better value to our clients."

Retired Judge Charles James Perrin, 91, of Venice, Fla., died Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011, in Sarasota, Fla.

He was born May 21, 1920, in Chicago, the son of Charles and Margaret Perrin. He married Marion Zapfe in 1945. She preceded him in death in December 2006.

His daughter, Mary, and sons, Thomas and James, also preceded him in death.

Judge Perrin is survived by his children, Chuck (Nona) Perrin and Patti (Greg) Keller, both of San Diego, Calif., Rita (Brian) Lyons of Heath, Texas, John Perrin of Mesquite, Texas, Teri (Tom) Brodbeck of Stillwater, Minn., Nancy (Mark) Bacher of Summerville, S.C., Chris (Amy) Perrin of Springfield, Ill., Ann (Steve) Strasser of Mishawaka, Ind., and Melanie (Brian) Ohlenbusch of New Braunfels, Texas; 19 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Judge Perrin was a pilot in the United States Air Force during World War II. He was twice awarded the Air Medal for combat service.

Judge Perrin was a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and received his law degree from the University of Notre Dame law school in 1951. He was admitted to the Indiana Bar and the Illinois Bar in 1951. After admission to the bar, he began his career as legal counsel for the Chicago Motor Club and also engaged in the private practice of law. He was appointed as an Associate Circuit Judge for the Tenth Judicial Circuit in Illinois in 1977.  

Judge Perrin served on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Judges Association. He served on the Public Affairs Committee of the American Bar Association and the Illinois Criminal Justice Commission. He also was a member of the Tazewell County, Peoria County and Illinois State Bar Associations.

ISBA President-elect John E. Thies (left) and ISBA President John G. Locallo spoke with retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor at the National Summit on Defending Merit Selection held earlier this week in St. Louis.
ISBA President-elect John E. Thies (left) and ISBA President John G. Locallo spoke with retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor at the National Summit on Defending Merit Selection held earlier this week in St. Louis.
ISBA President John G. Locallo and ISBA President-elect John E. Thies attended the National Summit on Defending Merit Selection earlier this week in St. Louis. The ISBA has been on record in support of the merit selection of judges since 1987.

The purpose of this conference was for bar leaders from around the country to meet and discuss strategies for advancing and preserving merit selection of judges in their respective states as a way to keep politics out of the courtroom. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was the keynote speaker, and attended one of the plenary sessions.

Former Kankakee County Judge Frederic Scott Carr Jr. was born Aug. 28, 1936 in Kingston, N.Y., the oldest son of Frederic Scott Carr Sr. and Cornelia Dwyer Carr. He peacefully passed away July 9, 2011 in Virginia Beach.

Fred joined the Marine Corps in 1955 and served honorably until he retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1976. He served two tours in Viet-nam where he earned two bronze stars for valor. After a short time working in the business world, he decided to attend John Marshall Law School in Chicago. At age 50 he was awarded a law degree.

After practicing law for five years, he was selected to be a circuit judge in Kankakee County. He contributed his talents and knowledge of the law to the judiciary for 10 good years.

ISBA Council member Michael G. Bergmann took the gavel as the new president of the ABA Young Lawyers Division on Saturday, August 6 at the ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto. Bergmann is the Executive Director of the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) in Chicago. Bergmann is pictured (second from right) with fellow ISBA Section Council members (from left) Tarek Fadel, Kenya Jenkins-Wright and Bob Fink (ISBA YLD Immediate Past Chair).

Melanie Riley
Melanie Riley
Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard P.C. welcomes Joshua Davis and Melanie Riley to the firm as new associates.

Josh is a member of the firm’s Products Liability Practice Group. Prior to joining Sandberg Phoenix, Josh practiced for several years with an insurance litigation firm in St. Louis where he was responsible for all aspects of insurance law, focusing on fire and explosion litigation. Josh is a member of the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Subrogation Professionals. He also serves on the firm’s Associate and Charitable Efforts Committees.

Melanie is a member of the firm’s Health Law and Products Liability Practice Groups. Prior to joining Sandberg Phoenix, Melanie practiced for several years with a defense firm in Edwardsville, Illinois. She is a member of the American Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Madison County Bar Association, the Missouri Bar, and the Lawyers Association of St. Louis, Missouri. She also serves on the firm’s Associate, Charitable Efforts, and Wellness Committees.

About Sandberg Phoenix

At Sandberg Phoenix, our culture sets us apart from other firms. Guided by strength, character and personality, we believe that collaboration and mutual respect are essential to the success of our firm and our clients.  This commitment has positioned our firm as one of the premier full-service law firms in Missouri and Illinois, with 75 attorneys and nearly 100 staff.  As we continue to grow, so will our commitment to delivering superior client service.