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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

ISBA member Elizabeth M. Ellis recently joined Botto Gilbert Lancaster's McHenry County office. She will focus her practice in the areas of family law, family mediation and estate planning.

Attorney Elizabeth M. Ellis graduated from Loyola University, Chicago, in 2001 with a bachelor of science degree. She earned her law degree from DePaul University, graduating in 2003 with a certificate in the law of taxation. Ellis was admitted to the bar in Illinois 2005 and the Northern District of Illinois in 2012.

Prior to joining Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, Ellis maintained a solo legal practice concentrating on the areas of family law, family mediation, estate planning, and tax matters. Her professional history also includes experience as a tax advisor and financial planner. For several years she served her alma mater, directing business operations for Loyola University’s College of Arts and Sciences, while providing career direction to students as a pre-Law advisor and adjunct instructor.

Margaret Walsh
Margaret Walsh
ISBA member Margaret M. Walsh was elevated from staff attorney to associate at Chuhak & Tecson, P.C., where she started as a law clerk. Walsh’s practice includes secured lending, commercial real estate, and corporate transactions. She spends a majority of her time conducting diligence along with negotiating and drafting documents for secured finance transactions for commercial real estate, asset and stock purchases, and construction. When Walsh isn’t working on a financial transaction, she provides legal advice to business owners in entity structuring and ownership issues and prepares organizational documents and agreements.

Walsh received her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from DePaul University College of Law, and received her Bachelor of Arts from Governors State University.

ISBA member Ariane M. Janz recently joined the Chicago office of Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC. 

Ms. Janz concentrates her practice in civil litigation with an emphasis on commercial disputes and business & corporate law.

Prior to joining Howard & Howard, Ms. Janz served as a law clerk for the Honorable C.J. Williams, Chief United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Iowa.  As a law student, she gained extensive experience as a summer associate at an Am Law 100 firm, as an intern in the Economics Section of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, and as an intern at a German law firm specializing in business law in Cologne.  Ms. Janz is a native German speaker.

Ms. Janz received her B.A., summa cum laude, from Syracuse University in 2011, and her J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2015 where she served as an articles editor for The Journal of Corporation Law. She is licensed to practice in Illinois and Minnesota.

ISBA member Joshua J. Muench recently became a partner in the firm Stellato & Schwartz, concentrating in general tort litigation. Mr. Muench is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Susan T. Bart
Susan T. Bart
ISBA member Susan T. Bart recently joined Schiff Hardin LLP in Chicago as a partner in the Private Clients, Trusts and Estates Group.

Ms. Bart's practice focuses on estate and gift tax planning, trust and estate administration, charitable planning, and fiduciary counsel. Her clients include wealthy individuals and families, family business owners, corporate executives, banks and trust companies, trustees and executors, and private foundations.

Susan is a fellow, regent, and former Illinois state chair of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel (ACTEC), the leading national association for trust and estate lawyers. She was the Reporter of the Uniform Trust Decanting Act, which is now being enacted in several states. She has also been active in Illinois trust law legislation.

A recognized industry thought leader, Susan has written extensively on trust and estate law topics with more than 30 published articles and two books. She has lectured to professional groups around the country, such as the Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning (University of Miami), ACTEC, the Notre Dame Trust & Estate Planning Institute, ALI-ABA, the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), and the American Bankers Association.

Valentine Austriaco & Bueschel, P.C., a law firm formed last year by seasoned attorneys and ISBA Susan Valentine, Lydia Bueschel, and another attorney, has established its practice in commercial litigation and real estate matters. The firm has already experienced significant growth, adding new client engagements, and hiring its sixth attorney in May.

Operating from newly remodeled and expanded offices at 105 W. Adams, VAB also recently became certified as a women-owned business by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and was admitted for membership in the National Association of Minority and Women-Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF.)

“We’re excited about the growth we’ve seen in less than a year both in terms of new engagements and additional attorneys whom we’ve added to support our growing client base,” said shareholder Susan Valentine. “And, we’re thrilled to be certified as a women-owned business and to be admitted to NAMWOLF membership. In addition to serving our clients with excellence, one of our core values is to provide employment opportunities for women and minorities, and we are committed to the advancement, promotion, and recognition of minorities and women.”

Josette C. Allen
Josette C. Allen
ISBA member Josette C. Allen recently joined Momkus McCluskey Roberts LLC after having operated her own family law practice in Naperville, Illinois.

Ms. Allen will continue that focus as an associate attorney with the firm, and she brings over twelve years of experience handling family law matters. She can handle complex financial litigation and is a court approved guardian ad litem on behalf of children of divorce.

Ms. Allen was formerly employed by the Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., a family law practice in Wheaton, Illinois. She has experience in school law involving special education matters as a due process hearing officer with the Illinois State Board of Education and has served as the Chair of the DuPage County Bar Association School Law Committee. She has criminal litigation experience as a public defender for DuPage County.

Ms. Allen received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern University in 1989 and a juris doctorate from the Indiana University School of Law in 1992. She was admitted to the Illinois State Bar in 1992 and is also a member of the DuPage County Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, American Bar Association, and Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.

Gerald Cassioppi
Gerald Cassioppi
ISBA member Gerald A. Cassioppi, with Momkus McCluskey Roberts LLC, was recently installed as the president of the DuPage County Bar Association’s Board of Directors. Cassioppi officially took on the leadership role during the DCBA’s Presidents’ Ball and Installation Dinner June 9 at the Drake in Oak Brook. 

Cassioppi provides businesses with legal counsel on various topics, such as commercial contracts, executive compensation, employee contracts and real estate. He has worked with businesses ranging in size from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. Cassioppi is currently the chairman of the DuPage County Ethics Commission and has served as general counsel to the DCBA and as a member of the Naperville District 203 School Board and Naperville Transportation Advisory Board. The DCBA named him its 2012 Lawyer of the Year.

Cassioppi received his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law and is a certified public accountant. He is an active member of the Illinois State Bar Association.

 


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.