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Ellis E. Leighty passed away late last month passed away at the Wesley Village Healthcare Center in Macomb. Mr. Leighty served in World War II and graduated from the University of Illinois in 1948. He received his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 1951.
Ellis' most famous legal client was Burl Ives, when Ellis served as local counsel to Burl and wife, Helen, in the purchase of Warren County, Ill., farmlands and again a few years later when they sold those lands as a part of their divorce proceedings.
Click here to read the full obituary in the Peoria Journal Star.
Former DuPage County Chief Judge Edward W. Kowal passed away late last month in Lombard after a battle with cancer and Parkinson's disease. Judge Kowal was a DuPage County Circuit Court Judge in 1985 when he presided over the three trials and numerous courtroom hearings involving the Nicarico case.
Judge Kowal "was the kind of person you'd want as a judge," said Wheaton attorney Joe Laraia, who worked under Judge Kowal in the DuPage state's attorney's office during the 1960s and '70s. "He was extremely fair, always kept his cool and used sound judgment," Laraia said. "He had a strict code of ethics that always prevailed."
Click here to read the full obituary in the Chicago Tribune.
Katherine Amari (left) the President of the John Marshall Law School Alumni Association Board photographed with her father, ISBA Past President Leonard F. Amari, President of the John Marshall Law School Board of Trustees, at the 166th commencement ceremonies at the law school held on January 17, 2010.  Both are associated with the real estate tax reduction law firm of Amari & Locallo. The Amaris are life-long residents of the Sauganash community.

Jenifer Caracciolo

Tracey Salinski
Arnstein & Lehr LLP is pleased to announce that two of its attorneys have been promoted to partnership in the Chicago office. Jenifer Caracciolo has been promoted to partner in the Chicago office. Caracciolo practices in Arnstein & Lehr’s Litigation and Labor & Employment practice groups. She focuses her practice in employment, municipal and commercial litigation. In the employment area, Caracciolo has extensive experience representing employers in a wide variety of employment-related lawsuits, including the enforcement of restrictive covenants, employment discrimination and retaliation claims, and wage and hour disputes. As a municipal litigator, she has defended various municipalities in Illinois against Section 1983 and tort litigation, challenges to municipal incorporation and actions of municipal officials, and numerous petitions for municipal disconnections. She received a J.D.

Rick Michaels
Baker & Daniels LLP has announced its top leadership positions for 2010, including the election of Rick Michaels to a three-year term on the law firm's strategic and policy board. Michaels is the managing partner of the Chicago office and practices business and corporate finance. Baker & Daniels LLP provides advice and counsel to regional, national and international clients with transactional and litigation needs. With more than 370 attorneys and legal professionals, the full-service law firm has offices in Indiana, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Beijing. B&D Consulting, a national advisory and advocacy firm focused on key sectors of the economy and based in Washington, D.C., is a division of Baker & Daniels. For more information about Baker & Daniels or B&D Consulting, visit www.bakerdaniels.com or www.bakerdconsulting.com.
Amy Gardner
Amy Gardner
Ungaretti & Harris LLP Litigation Partner Amy M. Gardner has been selected by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) to receive one of its prestigious 2010 Marshall Memorial Fellowships. Ms. Gardner is one of 54 emerging American leaders who were chosen for distinguishing themselves in their respective professions while demonstrating a commitment to enhancing relationships between the United States and Europe.  She is one of four from Illinois and the only Illinois attorney to receive the honor this year.  Since its inception 28 years ago, the program has attracted more than 1,650 of the best and brightest American and European professionals. During a 24-day European travel program, Ms. Gardner and other Fellows will explore political, economic and social institutions and issues impacting the United States and Europe.  They will meet formally and informally with policymakers and prominent members of the business, government, political, non-governmental organizations and media communities who will provide a local perspective on transatlantic and domestic issues. Following the Fellowship, Ms. Gardner intends to use the knowledge she gains to educate Ungaretti & Harris attorneys and clients on conducting business, particularly related to commercial and intellectual property litigation matters, in foreign jurisdictions. At Ungaretti & Harris, Ms.

Bryan Sims
On February 1, 2010, Bryan Sims, a member of the Illinois bar since 1996, has started his own firm, Sims Law Firm, Ltd., in Naperville. Bryan is a 1996 graduate of Loyola University Chicago and was most recently a partner at Thompson, Rosenthal & Watts, LLP. Bryan will focus his practice on commercial litigation matters, commercial collections , mechanics liens, residential real estate, and landlord/tenant issues. More information about Bryan can be found at his blog The Connected Lawyer. Contact information:
  • Bryan M. Sims
  • Sims Law Firm, Ltd.
  • 1755 Park St.  Suite 200
  • Naperville, IL 60563
  • 630-344-9267
  • 630-689-9072 (fax)
Frank Sommario
Frank Sommario
Frank A. Sommario, an associate attorney at the Chicago law firm of Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, was elected and installed treasurer of the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Association (WCLA), Ltd., at a dinner meeting held January 23 at the Drake Hotel. Sommario was first elected to the WCLA Board of Directors in 2008 and served in that capacity for fiscal years 2008-09.  He became a member of the organization in 2001. The WCLA was established to promote fellowship among members of the bar engaged in the trial of workers’ compensation matters; promote, foster and sponsor legislation relating to workers’ compensation and its administration; aid, assist and cooperate with judicial tribunals and administrative bodies in matters relating to the administration of workers’ compensation laws; and improve quality of service to the general public for workers’ compensation legal services. Prior to joining Romanucci & Blandin, Sommario was a partner in a firm which represented petitioners in their workers’ compensation claims, and while in law school, was a law clerk for the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.  A certified public accountant, as well as a registered investment advisor, he received his J.D. degree from DePaul University College of Law in 2000 and his B.S.
Edward J. Downs, a lawyer described as having a soft tough for those in need, passed away from pancreatic cancer last week. Mr. Downs spent five years with the Cook County Public Defender's Office before becoming McHenry County's first public defender.
"I think he really semi-adopted his clients," said Chuck Murphy, a criminal defense attorney who met Mr. Downs 37 years ago. "He took an interest in that [client's] case, but also in what was going on in the person's life."
Mr. Downs received his master's degree from Loyola University and his law degree from DePaul University. Click here to read the full obituary in the Chicago Tribune.
Former Cook County prosecutor and legal consultant Mike Rogers of LaGrange recently passed away. Mr. Rogers was a 1981 graduate of Fenwick High School. He graduated from Regis University in Colorado and received his law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
"Mike was the best at bringing new technology to the courtroom - in graphics, audiovisuals and re-enactments," said Chicago attorney John Lyke, who worked with Mr. Rogers in the Cook County state's attorney's office. "He was a hard-charging professional, and someone who was great at training other trial lawyers."
Click here to read the full obituary in the Chicago Tribune.