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Southern Illinois

By Michael Fiello, ISBA Committee on the Delivery of Legal Services

Barry Bloch is an in-house pro bono attorney with the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance office in East St. Louis, Illinois.  He received a BSBA degree from Drake University in 1970.  After graduating he received a fellowship in labor economics at Cornell University and was planning on entering that program.  That all changed when he received a notice to show up at Ft. Bragg for basic training.  During what he describes as his “very short stint on active duty” he was accepted into a number of law schools and ended up at Northwestern University. He received his JD cum laude from Northwestern University in 1974.

Before attending law school Barry did not have a specific idea of what type of law he wanted to practice.  Barry told me that “the only thing I knew about the law was what I saw on the Perry Mason show.” Upon graduating, all of his job offers were for tax related jobs.   He and his wife wanted to stay in Chicago so he accepted a job as a tax attorney at Jewel Companies, at the time a three billion dollar grocery, drug, and restaurant conglomerate headquartered in Chicago.  That job was a planning position with occasional appearances before administrative bodies.

All of Barry’s jobs since have been tax related.  In addition to Jewel, he was also an attorney with the Regional Counsel of the Internal Revenue Service, and first a tax attorney and then Vice President for Employee Benefits with the Kimberly-Clark Corporation.  After Kimberly-Clark, he worked for a private corporation for about 25 years where he very rarely became involved in legal matters.

Although he worked at a legal aid office in St. Louis for one summer during law school, he was not involved in pro bono work during his career.  He has been a pro bono volunteer with Land of Lincoln since June of 2010.

Q: When did you retire from practice?

A: It depends what you mean by practice.  A lot of lawyers might say what I did was never really the practice of law.  I never was in a “real” courtroom until my pro bono service with Land of Lincoln.  I stopped my paid work in March 2009.

Q: What made you decide to do pro bono work after you retired?

A: About five or six years ago, while still working, I began to realize that my life was primarily self-centered.    Other than making cash contributions to various charities, I had spent fifty plus years really ignoring the needs of others.  I then started looking for things I might do.  Luckily, my wife of thirty-eight years is a successful attorney so I had the freedom to consider options that other people might not be able to consider.  One of the areas I looked at was volunteering as a non-compensated attorney at a non-profit.

Q: Were you influenced by the new Supreme Court Rules about pro bono practice by retired attorneys?

No, I wasn’t even aware of it until after I had reactivated my license and completed all my continuing legal education requirements.  The ARDC should send out yearly letters about this to retired and inactive status attorneys.

Q: How did you come to choose Land of Lincoln as the place to do pro bono?

A: It’s not easy trying to work for free.  Before I retired, I sent more than one letter to the Immigration Project in Granite City offering to work as a pro bono attorney.  They never responded.  After I retired, I wrote to the Midwest Pension Rights Project about working as a pro bono attorney.  I never heard from them.  I then wrote Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and volunteered to work as a researcher or paralegal since I am not licensed in Missouri.  The only thing I received from them was a brochure or letter soliciting a contribution.  I then called the assistant dean at Washington University’s law school, who is responsible for connecting students with pro bono projects.  I left a message that, while I was not an alumnus, I hoped she could suggest some nonprofits where I might volunteer.  I never heard from her.  Finally, I wrote Land of Lincoln and received an email, snail mail, and phone call, all indicating that they were looking for volunteers.  It’s a long story, but that is how I ended up at Land of Lincoln.



Chicago area

Southern Illinois

This post is updated with breaking news throughout the day.

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Southern Illinois

This post is updated with breaking news throughout the day.

More Daily Legal News available at

The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that the Fourth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Jeffrey M. “Marc” Kelly as an associate judge of the Fourth Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Kelly received his undergraduate degree in 1996 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and his Juris Doctor in 2000 from John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Mr. Kelly is currently affiliated with Burnside, Johnston, Sheafor & Kelly, PC in Vandalia, Illinois.

Hon. April Troemper

By Alice Noble-Allgire, Professor, SIU School of Law

“Set your sights high, realizing that when life throws you an obstacle, there’s always Plan B and sometimes Plan C” — that was the message Judge April Troemper delivered to students at a Women in Leadership Workshop hosted by Southern Illinois University School of Law last month.

A 1998 graduate of the SIU law school, Judge Troemper was asked to give the opening day’s luncheon address on January 13 to inspire students to follow in her footsteps as a successful attorney, a member of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Board of Governors and, most recently, among the esteemed ranks of the state’s judiciary as an Associate Circuit Judge for the Seventh Judicial Circuit in Springfield.

Judge Troemper used her own experience to demonstrate that hard work, perseverance, and creating genuine relationships are the pathway to leadership.  After describing a number of personal and financial obstacles that threatened her ability to attend college, Judge Troemper said that’s when she learned an important life’s lesson: “When life throws a huge obstacle in the way, come up with a Plan B and go around it.”

Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard P.C., a full-service law firm headquartered in St. Louis, announced that it has opened its fourth office in O’Fallon, Illinois.  The firm already has a strong Southern Illinois presence with two fully-staffed offices in Edwardsville and Carbondale. “The firm is excited about expanding our footprint in Southern Illinois by adding our fourth office in O’Fallon, Illinois. We believe, as we have for the last 31 years, that client service is our number one priority, and we will continue to grow to meet the needs of our clients,” said the firm’s Managing Partner, John Sandberg.

With the expansion, the firm has hired Joel Green, Sue Schultz and Lori DaCosse to practice in the O’Fallon office which will be managed by Bhavik Patel, a Shareholder who practices in the firm’s Business and Business Litigation Groups. While the three newly hired attorneys will focus their practice in the Business and Business Litigation Groups, the O’Fallon office will provide the full range of services that Sandberg Phoenix offers. “This expansion was a big step for the future of our firm.  We now have the resources and man-power to provide timely and quality legal services to our Southern Illinois community,” said Patel.

Sandberg Phoenix has added 15 attorneys in the past two years, which includes the new O’Fallon office.

Karl D. Dexheimer, 68, of O'Fallon, IL, born May 16, 1942, in St. Louis, MO, died unexpectedly Thursday, November 25, 2010, at St. Louis University Hospital in St. Louis MO, surrounded by his loving family.

Mr. Dexheimer was Of Counsel to the law firm Greensfelder, Hemker and Gale, P.C.. He graduated from Millikin University in 1964, and from Washington University School of Law in 1967. He was admitted to practice in Illinois, Missouri, and numerous federal courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

He was a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation (life member), a Fellow of the Illinois State Bar Association, a sustaining member of the Product Liability Advisory Council, a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon and a Founding Member of its Levere Memorial Foundation.

Mr. Dexheimer served on the McKendree University Board of Trustees for 22 years where he was Treasurer of the Board, Chair of the Adminstration and Finance Committee and member of the Executive Committee. He also served as treasurer and vice president on the Board of the Belleville Area Humane Society.

Theodore R. Scott, Jr. of Deerfield, passed away on Nov. 13. Mr. Scott was born in Mt. Vernon in 1924 and served in WWII as a B-24 navigator. On his 20th mission, he and his crew were shot down over West Hungary and became prisoners of war in Germany for 89 days.

Mr. Scott graduated Phi Betta Kappa and earned his juris doctor from the University of Illinois. He became an intellectual property litigator spending much of his career as named partner in the firm of McDougall, Hersh & Scott in Chicago - which later merged with Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue. Mr. Scott remained of counsel to Jones Day until 1998.

Read the full obituary in the Chicago Tribune.

Carolyn Smoot

The Supreme Court of Illinois announced Wednesday that Carolyn B. Smoot, an attorney for 27 years, has been appointed a resident circuit judge in the First Judicial Circuit.

Ms. Smoot was appointed to fill the Circuit Court seat which became vacant upon the November 1, 2010 retirement of Circuit Judge Ronald Eckiss. Her appointment is effective December 15, 2010 and will expire December 3, 2012, when the position will be filled by the winner of the 2012 General Election.

"I am very honored and humbled by this appointment. I deeply appreciate the confidence that Justice Karmeier and the Illinois Supreme Court have placed in me. I look forward to serving the people as a circuit judge; becoming the first woman judge in Williamson County makes my appointment that much more special.”

The Illinois Supreme Court announced today that Thomas J. Dinn, III, received a majority of the votes cast by the circuit judges in the Second Judicial Circuit and is declared to be appointed to the office of associate judge.

Mr. Dinn received his undergraduate degree in 1991 from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and his Juris Doctor in 1995 from Southern Illinois University. Mr. Dinn is currently affiliated with the Franklin County State’s Attorney’s Office in Benton.