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Transitions

Illinois Lawyer Now is happy to announce transitions for ISBA members. Please include name, position, law firm, practice areas, education information and former employer. A head shot in the JPG file format may also be included. Send information to sanderson@isba.org

Norman Berger
Norman Berger
Gensburg Calandriello & Kanter, P.C. announces the addition of Norman Berger as senior counsel, a transition that will strengthen the firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group and add a specialty in environmental law. Berger brings more than 30 years of experience to GCK’s boutique law practice.   

A member of the firm’s commercial litigation practice, Berger has served as lead trial counsel in dozens of jury and bench trials across multiple jurisdictions and industries including real estate, retail, heavy manufacturing, chemicals, and recycling. He represents clients in state and federal courts nationwide and before state and federal agencies, as well as in arbitration and mediations. He has served as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.

Berger will also advise clients on matters involving real estate, manufacturing, employment, environmental, class action, corporate, securities, closely held business, ERISA, and insurance issues. He has in-depth experience with complicated technical and regulatory issues and with matters involving scientific and other technical experts. He will counsel clients on insurance coverage, permitting, enforcement and administrative matters.

Berger serves as a member and past chairman of the Dean’s Advisory Council at DePaul University College of Law, as a faculty member of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy, and a founding participant in the Pro Bono Committee for Representation of Indigent Defendants. In 2013, Berger won the Outstanding Service to DePaul University Award.

David Navarro
David Navarro
Justice Mary Jane Theis and the Illinois Supreme Court have announced the appointment of David Navarro as a Cook County Circuit Judge in the 4th Subcircuit.

Mr. Navarro was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Thomas Davy.

The appointment takes effect May 25, 2017, and will conclude on Dec. 3, 2018, when the position will be filled by the 2018 General Election.

"I am grateful to Justice Theis and the Supreme Court for this appointment," Navarro said. "I am honored to have this opportunity and look forward to serving the people of Cook County."

Mr. Navarro has served as the Chief of the Public Integrity Bureau for the Office of the Illinois Attorney General since 2009, and previously served in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office as an Assistant State's Attorney and Supervisor of the Professional Standards Unit.

Justice Theis recommended Mr. Navarro's appointment after candidates were reviewed by bar associations and a special judicial screening committee. Mr. Navarro received qualified or recommended ratings from a dozen bar groups. The special judicial screening committee was established by Justice Theis in 2013 and is co-chaired by retired U.S. District Court Judge Wayne R. Andersen and retired Illinois Appellate Court Judge Michael J. Gallagher.

Mr. Navarro earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Chicago and his juris doctor from the University of Iowa College of Law.

Debra A. Seaton
Debra A. Seaton
Justice Mary Jane Theis and the Illinois Supreme Court have announced the appointment of Debra A. Seaton as a Cook County Circuit Judge in the 2nd Subcircuit.

Ms. Seaton was appointed to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Camille Willis.

The appointment takes effect May 18, 2017 and will conclude on Dec. 3, 2018, when the position will be filled by the 2018 General Election.

"After practicing law for many years, I am humbled and honored to be appointed to one of the most esteemed positions in the legal profession: the office of Judge," Seaton said. "I thank Justice Theis and the other members of the Illinois Supreme Court for providing this wonderful opportunity to serve."

Ms. Seaton has been an Attorney Supervisor for the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender since 2010. She worked as a solo practitioner for 10 years and previously served as an Assistant Public Defender for Kane and Cook counties for 13 years.

Justice Theis recommended Ms. Seaton's appointment after candidates were reviewed by bar associations and a special judicial screening committee.

Ms. Seaton received qualified or recommended ratings from a dozen bar groups. The special judicial screening committee was established by Justice Theis in 2013 and is co-chaired by retired U.S. District Court Judge Wayne R. Andersen and retired Illinois Appellate Court Judge Michael J. Gallagher.

Ms. Seaton earned her Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Iowa and her juris doctor from the University of Iowa College of Law.

Thomas Canepa
Thomas Canepa
Gensburg Calandriello & Kanter, P.C. announces the addition of Thomas V. Canepa as senior counsel in a move that strengthens the firm’s tax exempt and nonprofit, real estate, sports and entertainment, intellectual property, and venture & emerging companies practices. Canepa brings more than 25 years of experience to GCK’s boutique law practice.   

The addition of Canepa’s career-long achievements and breadth of experience in the areas of corporate, business, M&A, technology and new business start-ups, joint ventures, real estate, and tax law continues GKC’s recent growth to better serve client needs. 

As a trusted outside general counsel, problem-solver and client advocate, Tom guides and advises business owners, entrepreneurs, management and corporate officers, directors and shareholder/members. The scope of his counsel includes the areas of business, corporate, transaction and finance matters incorporating strategy, entity management, commercial and venture funding, tax planning, intellectual property and trade secret protection, and real estate matters. Canepa also brings a unique international perspective and experience to his work on behalf of churches, foundations, not-for-profit entities, and other strategic initiatives for his clients in Asia, Europe, and Central Asia.

Nicole Simmons
Nicole Simmons
The law firm of Momkus McCluskey Roberts LLC is pleased to announce the hiring of attorney Nicole L. Simmons. Prior to joining Momkus McCluskey Roberts LLC, Simmons practiced at a full-service Chicago law firm. As an experienced litigator, she will handle business transactions and commercial litigation matters.

Attorney Nicole L. Simmons is admitted to practice law in Illinois, Missouri, and Massachusetts. She graduated with her J.D. from Boston College Law School, where she participated on the school’s National Moot Court Team. Simmons has experience in all phases of litigation, appeals, and alternative dispute resolution. She has represented clients in federal and state courts across the country. She handles cases related to commercial disputes, products liability, employment, proprietary information, and trade secret.

Simmons also effectively represents business clients in litigation, contracts, risk management, and compliance matters. Additionally, she handles contract matters, including negotiations, drafting, and a variety of agreements including RFPs, subcontracts, licensing, vendor, and professional consulting agreements. 

Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. (ATG®) recently promoted three ISBA members with a combined 50 years of experience at the company: Christine Sparks to senior vice president – chief operating officer; Arden K. Miner to vice president – underwriting, support, and development; and Tania M. S. Stori to vice president – claims and litigation.

“One of ATG's biggest strengths is the loyalty and longevity of its staff and member agents,” said Peter J. Birnbaum, ATG president and CEO. “Christine, Arden, and Tania are all talented lawyers who have come up through the ranks at ATG. They possess in-depth experience in many aspects of our business and are uniquely qualified to lead us to future success and business growth.”

An employee since 2003, Sparks brings a deep understanding of ATG operations, agent operations, risk assessment, and compliance to her new position as a result of her experience in the training and procedures, support and development, claims, and underwriting departments. She is well-versed in title insurance and lending industry practices and the regulatory environment. In her most recent role as vice president and managing attorney, Sparks assessed the insurability of real estate transactions as they relate to claims analysis and investigated and resolved title insurance claims. She also provided direction and support to training and procedures department personnel in resolving member compliance issues.

James M. Grant, Murphy C. Hart, and John (Jay) M. Huetsch were re-appointed to the board of directors of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. (ATG®) for a three-year term beginning January 2017. In addition, ATG Trust Company (ATG Trust), an ATG subsidiary, has appointed Steven K. Norgaard chair of the board of directors and Patrick D. Owens a board director.

As the owner of James Grant Law in Charleston and Casey, Ill., Grant brings experience in real estate, title insurance, probate, and income tax law. He serves on the ATG board’s audit and claims committees, and on the board of directors of ATG subsidiary, ATG LegalServe.

Hart has practiced with Hart Cantrell (formerly Hart & Hart) in Benton, Ill., since 1983, with a concentration on real estate, creditor collections, title insurance, and traffic violation. His firm has been a top-issuing member agent of ATG for many years. He is a member of the Illinois and Franklin County Bar Associations and serves on the board of directors of ISBA Mutual Insurance Company.

Huetsch is a real estate attorney and owner of Mon-Clair Title Company of Waterloo, Ill. He serves on the ATG board’s audit and claims committees, and on the board of directors of ATG subsidiary, The Judicial Sales Company.

Tony Valukas
Tony Valukas
Anton R. “Tony” Valukas has decided to step down from the honorary role of chairman of Jenner & Block, and will continue as an active, senior partner of the firm. “In the coming years, I intend to remain an active practitioner, helping our firm to develop opportunities representing our clients and mentoring the next generation of lawyers, but I believe now is an appropriate time for me to continue a natural transition of my practice,” Mr. Valukas said. “I am very confident in the direction the firm is taking. We are firmly committed to our core values, have a clear strategy for the future, and a talented and committed leadership team.”

Various firm leaders commented on Mr. Valukas’ career. Craig C. Martin, chair of the firm’s Litigation Department said, “Tony has been and will continue to be a tremendous asset to our firm. He not only has practiced at the highest levels of our profession, but time and time again has embraced and embodied our commitment to pro bono work, community service and assisting those who do not have meaningful access to the legal system.”

The law firm of SmithAmundsen recently promoted the following attorneys to partner based on professional achievement: Thomas Hayden, Yesha Sutaria Hoeppner, and Kay Weiler.

Thomas Hayden
Thomas Hayden
Thomas Hayden is a member of the Construction and Product Liability practice groups in the firm’s Chicago office. He focuses on a wide range of areas including products liability, construction negligence, transportation, retail claims, and municipal tort liability. He has represented clients in matters involving commercial litigation, real estate, regulatory issues, civil rights, and numerous other areas of law, and has experience defending personal injury and insurance subrogation claims.

Yesha Sutaria Hoeppner
Yesha Sutaria Hoeppner
Yesha Sutaria Hoeppner is a member of the Class Action, Commercial Litigation and Toxic Tort & Environmental practice groups in the firm’s Chicago office. She defends clients ranging from small businesses to publicly traded, multimillion dollar companies in a wide variety of class action cases in federal and state courts across the country. Yesha regularly serves clients dealing with consumer fraud and marketing related issues, product defect, breach of contract, and violations of statutes and regulations.

Jennifer Bunker
Jennifer Bunker
Attorney Jennifer Bunker has joined the law firm of Reilly Law Office, LLC. Jennifer Bunker is a native of Oglesby and presently lives in Peru, Illinois. She has worked in the Illinois Valley legal community for the past seven years handling many litigation related matters, including will contests, property tax appeals, breach of contract, and personal injury claims. Prior to joining Reilly Law Office, she clerked for Justice Robert L. Carter of the Third District Appellate Court.

Jennifer Bunker is actively involved in the Illinois State Bar Association Trusts and Estates Section Council. She is the editor of the Council’s monthly publication distributed to members throughout Illinois. She also assists the Council in providing continuing legal education to attorneys, determining the need for new legislation, and reviewing and suggesting changes to current legislative proposals affecting wills, trusts, and estates. She has developed and drafted will and trust-based estate plans and administered probate and trust estates. Jennifer Bunker teaches an advanced master of laws (LL.M) class at The John Marshall Law School in estate planning and tax law. She also has experience in Municipal Law representing local governmental agencies and has experience in representing closely held businesses.