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Southern Illinois

Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP, one of Chicago’s leading trial firms, has merged with longtime St. Louis and Madison County litigation defense firm Kernell Law Firm, P.C.

The lawyers of the highly regarded Kernell Law Firm have successfully represented insurance companies and private businesses in Asbestos Litigation, Product Liability, Toxic Tort Litigation and Insurance Defense for over 25 years.

“We believe our new St. Louis and Madison County offices will provide the same excellent service that clients have come to expect from Tom Kernell and his team, while expanding the services we offer our present clients,” said Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP Managing Partner Timothy G. Nickels. “We
are very excited about this opportunity.”

Praise for the professionalism of the recently passed Tom Kernell and his team comes not only from the defense bar. Perry Browder, chairman of the asbestos practice group at Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC, observed, “Tom Kernell was one of the most respected lawyers in the Madison County asbestos arena. He was trusted by judges, defense counsel and plaintiffs’ counsel alike, serving as defense liaison counsel for many years. The attorneys at Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP are great litigators with whom we’ve worked for many years. I am happy that Tom’s lawyers and staff are joining Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP to carry on Tom's legacy.”

Kernell Law Firm attorneys joining Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP are:

The Best Practices for Solo and Small Firm Practitioners – Fall 2014 will be held on Friday, September 19, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. at Four Points Sheraton, 319 Fountains Parkway, in Fairview Heights.

Considered the premier event in Illinois dedicated to meeting the needs of solo and small firm lawyers, this full-day seminar offers attendees numerous educational sessions, networking opportunities, and an exhibit hall that showcases services and products to help solo and small firm lawyers expand their careers and improve the efficiency of their law practices.

Roberts Perryman PC is pleased to announce Jason Guerra as the firm’s newest equity shareholder and principal.  Jason engages in civil litigation in Missouri and Illinois, with an emphasis in lawsuits involving bodily injuries, trucking and transportation and insurance defense.  Jason represents a wide variety of clients in business litigation, insurance coverage issues and commercial transportation related matters. He has handled complex issue and multi-party litigation at the state, federal and appellate level.

Jason has been named a “Missouri Rising Star” Super Lawyer, 2011 through 2013, by the publisher Thompson Reuters, and has received a preeminent “AV Rating” from Martindale-Hubbell.  He is a member of the Missouri Trucking Association, Illinois Trucking Association, as well as numerous other industry associations, where he focuses on representing the interests of the transportation industry through state and federal legislation. 

Jason is a graduate of the University of Missouri, BA, with honors, 2000 and Saint Louis University Law School, JD, 2003.

About Roberts Perryman

For over 50 years, Roberts Perryman has provided high quality and affordable legal services throughout Missouri and Illinois.  The firm concentrates in Trucking and Transportation, Premises and Product Liability, Insurance Defense, Automobile Negligence, Insurance Coverage.

The firm has offices in St. Louis and Springfield, MO as well as Belleville IL.

Join us in Collinsville on Friday, June 27 for a comprehensive overview of the federal civil practice addresses the most common issues faced by practitioners and offers advice from the bench and experienced lawyers on how to handle them! Attorneys with all levels of experience who practice law in federal court will gain a better understanding of: the issues that can arise while pleading in federal court, including jurisdiction issues, venue concerns, and removal/remand issues; disclosing electronically stored information during discovery; how to prepare for and conduct successful settlement conferences; the recent developments in admissibility of fact; how to effectively present testimony during the trial; current trends in mass tort and class action practices; and much more!

The program is presented by the ISBA Federal Civil Practice Section and qualifies for 4.0 hours MCLE credit.

Click here for more information and to register.

Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC and Hanly Conroy Bierstein Sheridan Fisher & Hayes LLP, national leaders in mass tort and complex litigation, announced today the two law firms will merge effective July 1 of this year. The firm will be called Simmons Hanly Conroy and have offices in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis and Alton, Ill. The new firm will continue to represent victims of corporate wrongdoing.

“The merger gives us a New York office, expands our attorney depth and creates a streamlined practice with centuries of litigation experience,” said Chairman John Simmons. “Together, we are positioned as a dominant national leader in asbestos, mass tort and complex litigation matters, and we are especially pleased that Jayne Conroy will continue her leadership role as a named shareholder in the merged firm.”

Simmons and Hanly Conroy have been co-counsel partners for over a decade, successfully resolving products liability litigations including Oxycontin, Chantix, Yaz and Toyota unintended acceleration cases. The merger is a natural progression of the firms’ existing relationship, said Simmons.

The Simmons Firm employs more than 60 attorneys and 150 professional support staff spread among five offices in St. Louis, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Alton, Ill. Founded in 1999 by Simmons, the firm quickly developed a national reputation in asbestos litigation by securing a $250 million verdict against U.S. Steel on behalf of a factory worker diagnosed with mesothelioma.

The Supreme Court of Illinois announced Friday the appointment of longtime attorney M. Don Sheafor Jr. as Fayette County Resident Circuit Judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit. He will fill the vacancy created by the appointment of Judge S. Gene Schwarm to the Fifth District Appellate Court.

Mr. Sheafor, 59, currently is a partner with the law firm of Burnside, Johnston, Sheafor & Connor which traces its history in Vandalia to the past 100 years. Mr. Sheafor also served as State’s Attorney for Fayette County, having been appointed in 1983 and serving two full elected terms until 1992. Over the course of his career, Mr. Sheafor has practiced in nearly every area of civil and criminal law and has tried hundreds of cases.

Mr. Sheafor is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University, and received his juris doctor from Thomas Cooley School of Law in Lansing Mich. He was licensed and admitted to the practice of law in Illinois 1981, when he joined the Fayette County State’s Attorney’s office as an assistant prosecutor. He was in private practice at Sheafor & Day in St. Elmo from 1992 to 1996 when he joined the Burnside, Johnston Sheafor and Connor law firm.

Under the Illinois Constitution, the Supreme Court is given the authority to fill judicial vacancies by interim appointment until the next election cycle.

This two-day program in Carbondale on May 22-23 is designed to help those attorneys who represent children. Under Illinois Supreme Court Rule 906(c)**, attorneys should receive 10 hours of education every two years in child development; roles of guardians ad litem and child representatives; ethics in child custody cases; relevant substantive state, federal, and case law in custody and visitation matters; and family dynamics, including substance abuse, domestic abuse, and mental health issues.

Rodney Pitts
Rodney Pitts
Rodney Joseph Pitts, 65, of Lake Tapawingo, Mo., passed away Feb. 27, 2014 at his home.

He was born May 15, 1948 in Litchfield, Il to Bill and Lola (Fensterman) Pitts. Rodney was a graduate of St. Louis University with a Juris Doctorate. He was an Attorney at Law in the Law Office of Rodney J. Pitts in Wood River, IL. He was an Assistant State Attorney in Madison County from (1973-1982). State of Illinois Special Attorney General (1976-1982), attorney for the St. Louis Regional Airport, Bethalto, IL, City Attorney for Village of East Alton, IL (1976-2004), Wood River Township Attorney (1991-2004), Adjunct Professor, Criminal Law, Lewis and Clark Community College, Godfrey, IL (1974-1977). He served as an Alderman in the City of Lake Tapawingo. On December 1, 1982 he was united in marriage to Nicole Kileen. Rodney was a Presbyterian by faith. He enjoyed fishing, guns, target shooting, and spending time with family and friends. Rodney was a tissue donor and encourages others to do likewise. He was preceded in death by his parents and an infant sister, Mary Gaye Pitts.

In addition to his wife Nicole, he is survived by his son, Jason Walter Pitts of Maryland Heights MO; daughter, Alaina Marie Pitts of Wood River IL; grandchild, Haley Marie Monroe, brother, Gregory William Pitts of Lake Tapawingo, MO; sister, Barbara Ann Smith and husband Craig of Brighton, IL; one nephew Craig Smith II, his wife Michelle, and great niece Addyson.

James M. Ruppert
James M. Ruppert
Joshua A. Humbrecht
Joshua A. Humbrecht
The law firm of Hassakis & Hassakis, P.C., with its principal office in Mt. Vernon (yet serving all of
Illinois), is proud to announce Joshua A. Humbrecht has become a partner in the firm and James M.
has joined the law firm as an associate.

Joshua A. Humbrecht

Josh received his J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 2009 and graduated magna cum laude. During law school he was active in trial advocacy and clerked for an appellate court justice and at 2 local firms. Josh began working for Hassakis & Hassakis, P.C. as a law clerk in 2008 and was offered a position as an associate upon graduation. Josh focuses on personal injury and workers’ compensation. In 2005, Josh received his bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University where he double majored in political science and history and was active in the mock trial program. Josh grew up in New Lenox, Illinois where he graduated from Lincoln-Way High School. He is married to Monika Humbrecht and they live in Benton, Illinois with their infant son, Caden.

James M. Ruppert

James hails from Madison County, Illinois, having attended Alton Senior High School. He later studied at Western Illinois University, majoring in political science and graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 2010. James obtained his J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 2013.

Hon. S. Gene Schwarm
Hon. S. Gene Schwarm
The Illinois Supreme Court announced Thursday the appointment of Chief Circuit Judge S. Gene Schwarm to the Appellate Court in the Fifth Judicial District. Chief Judge Schwarm will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Appellate Justice James M. Wexstten, effective January 29, 2014.

The appointment is effective April 1, 2014 and will expire December 5, 2016, when the position will be filled by the winner of the 2016 General Election

“I am honored to be selected to fill the vacancy in the Fifth District Appellate Court," Chief Judge Schwarm said. "My humble thanks go to Justice Lloyd Karmeier and the Supreme Court for giving me this opportunity.

"I am especially pleased to follow retiring Justice Jim Wexstten, an outstanding jurist and colleague."