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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


A member Jessica L. Defino recently joined Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC's Wheaton, Illinois, divorce and family law offices. Defino provides services to her clients in the areas of domestic relations and employment law, including discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliatory discharge, and wrongful termination.

Ms. Defino graduated with honors from the University of Iowa in 2013 with a BA in communications, and a double minor in Spanish and human rights. While attending the University of Iowa, she co-founded the Students for Human Rights group. She continued her education at John Marshall School of Law, graduating in June 2016, and was admitted to the Illinois Bar the following November.

While attending law school, she was a law clerk at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, focusing on family law and employment law. During her final year, she was an extern with presiding Judge Pamela Loza in the Cook County Domestic Relations Parentage Division. Jessica earned Dean’s List honors throughout her time at John Marshall Law School.

Jessica L. Defino is an active member of the Justinian Society of Lawyers, the DuPage County Bar Association, the Kane County Bar Association, and the Illinois State Bar Association.

Cynthia F. Tolan
Cynthia F. Tolan
Cynthia F. Tolan, a Morton Grove attorney with more than 15 years experience in estate and trust administration, estate planning, and elder law, has joined the ATG Trust Company as trust officer. 

Most recently, Tolan worked closely with families, guiding them through the estate and trust administration process, as an attorney at Huck Bouma in Wheaton. She represented both fiduciaries and beneficiaries in the administration of decedent estates and trusts created for the ongoing benefit of beneficiaries. She also represented clients in initiating and managing guardianships for minor children and disabled adults.

As co-chair of the firm’s Elder Law Group, Tolan also advised on the proper planning to assist elder clients or family members in making health care decisions, dealing with guardianship, and protecting and preserving assets. She also has experience as in-house counsel for a real estate development company.

Tolan is a former Iowa assistant attorney general and worked as human rights officer for the Missouri Commission of Human Rights. She is a frequent speaker on issues relating to estate planning, powers of attorney, and transfers of assets at death. She has also been an instructor at Durham Technical Community College in the paralegal technology program, and an instructor of mock trial classes at St. Louis University.

As a member of the Oncology Council of Advisors at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Children’s Hospital, Tolan is helping to implement a cancer survivorship program.

Karen Munoz
Karen Munoz
Karen Munoz has been promoted to a partner at Dolan Law Offices, a personal injury boutique firm. Ms. Munoz has been an attorney with Dolan Law since 2008. She will continue to represent and advocate for clients in the areas of wrongful death, personal injury and crime victim lawsuits. 

ISBA member Christopher J. Maurer, associate attorney at Anderson & Associates, P.C., was elected treasurer of the DuPage Bar Foundation on May 23, 2017.

The DuPage Bar Foundation is the charitable division of the DuPage County Bar Association. It awards scholarships to law students, and it also awards grants to organizations, such as the Family Shelter Service and National Alliance on Mental Illness, which serves disadvantaged communities.

Earlier in May, Mr. Maurer also received the DuPage Legal Assistance Foundation’s Pro Bono Service Award at the DuPage Bar Association's Annual Law Day Luncheon. He is one of two attorneys to have received the award for volunteering over 100 hours of pro bono time representing low-income clients in the community.

Mr. Maurer has been a licensed and practicing attorney since 1997. He joined Anderson & Associates, P.C. in 2002, and he has extensive experience in family law, including divorce, custody/parenting disputes, grandparent rights, and complex financial litigation. He also has experience handling contested probate matters and preparing estate plans for his clients. Attorney Maurer is also a licensed and practicing mediator in family law cases, and he has been appointed by the courts to represent the rights of children as a guardian ad litem in contested cases involving minor children.

Justice Rita B. Garman and the Illinois Supreme Court have announced that Justice Thomas M. Harris has been assigned as an appellate court judge in the Fourth District. The assignment, which will fill the vacancy created following Just M. Carol Pope's retirement, takes effect on August 1, 2017, and will conclude on December 3, 2018, when the vacancy will be filled by the winner of the November 2018 general election.

Justice Harris was first appointed as a judge in 2007 and was elected as resident circuit judge of Logan County in 2008. He has served for the Fourth District Appellate Court since January 3, 2013. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Harris had served as a civil trial lawyer since 1988.

Justice Harris currently serves on the Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice and previously served on the Special Supreme Court Committee to Study Courtroom and Judicial Security. He is a member of the Illinois Judges Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Logan County Bar Association, and the Lincoln-Douglas Inn of Court. He has previously served as chair of the Allerton Conference, Civil Practice and Procedure Section, and Tort Law Section of the Illinois State Bar Association.

Justice Harris is a past member of the board of directors of the Illinois Bar Foundation and previously served on the editorial board of the Illinois Bar Journal and as the publication's editor-in-chief. He is a frequent speaker at professional seminars and guest lectures at the University of Illinois College of Law.

Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP welcomes several lateral attorneys to add more strength and expertise to the firm’s toxic tort litigation, asbestos litigation, and product liability practices.

Partner Drew M. Schilling joins Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP from Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen,
where we was also a partner. He received his J.D. in 1996 from Southern Methodist University Dedman
School of Law and his B.S. in 1993 from Northern Illinois University.

Partner Gary C. Pinter joins the firm’s Madison County (Edwardsville) office from Heyl, Royster, Voelker
& Allen, where we was also a partner. He received his J.D. magna cum laude in 2007 from Northern Illinois
University College of Law and his B.A. in 1999 from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Associate Meg F. Hogan, who practices in the Chicago office, was formerly an associate at Heyl, Royster,
Voelker & Allen in Chicago. She received her J.D. with honors in 2013 from Northern Illinois University
College of Law and her B.A. in 2010 from Illinois State University.

Jacqueline Pesenko
Jacqueline Pesenko
Stephanie Tang
Stephanie Tang
ISBA members Jacqueline S. Pesenko and Stephanie L. Tang recently joined Kogut & Wilson, LLC.

Jacqueline Pesenko focuses her practice in the areas of matrimonial and family law. She prosecutes cases on behalf of victims of violence, abuse, neglect, and felony crimes. She brings an extensive background in social work, psychology, and counseling services. Jacqueline received her bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law, where she earned a certificate in child and family law, the President’s Award for Service, and  the Benjamin Hooks Distinguished Public Service Award.

Jeffrey D. Shelley
Jeffrey D. Shelley
Sugar Felsenthal Grais & Hammer LLP (“SFGH”) announced Monday that Jeffrey D. Shelley has joined the firm as counsel in its Chicago office.

Jeff focuses his practice on estate planning, estate and trust administration, charitable planning, tax matters, business transactions, and intellectual property. His scientific, tax, and business background gives him unique insights when providing individuals, entrepreneurs, business owners, and family offices with personal and business solutions.

Before joining SFGH, Jeff was the principal estate planning attorney at another law firm, where he also worked on business and intellectual property matters. Prior to entering private legal practice, Jeff worked as a Big Four professional services firm consultant, where he advocated for clients in complex business tax credit matters. He has also prepared patent applications before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Before practicing law, Jeff gained extensive business experience as a research scientist for a Fortune 500 company that manufactures and markets consumer and health care products worldwide. During his career there, he developed and launched next-generation products and manufacturing processes and was granted several product and process patents. Jeff has been named as an inventor in multiple utility patents.

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.