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isbaletterbudgetcutsISBA leaders have sent a letter to Gov. Quinn and four legislative leaders in a bid to prevent cuts of up to 50% for legal aid in the current State budget. Read the letter from ISBA President Jack Carey and ISBA President-elect John G. O'Brien.
The Supreme Court ruled today that Texas is entitled to a Voting Rights Act exemption, parents who remove their disabled children from public school can be reimbursed for a private education, and the Army Corps of Engineers can issue permits for dumping dredge into waterways. From On the Docket.
Ray Koenig
Ray J. Koenig III
Ray J. Koenig III has become a member of the Litigation Practice Group in the Chicago office of Clark Hill PLC. Koenig practices in the areas of probate litigation, trust litigation, fiduciary litigation, elder law, estate planning and estate administration -- with a special emphasis on will, trust, guardianship, advance directive contests and other fiduciary litigation. He graduated from DePaul University School of Law in 1999 and Michigan State University in 1995. Clark Hill prides itself on more than 110 years of successful litigation experience in Illinois and throughout the United States. Its Litigation Practice Group includes more than 60 attorneys and support professionals committed to a tradition of integrity, experience and hard work in the service of its clients and communities. 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 mug shot in  the JPG file format may also be included. Send information to
Illinois Bar Foundation Grants Committee Member Tony Romanucci presents a $5,000 grant to Modesto Tico Valle, Executive Director for the Center on Halsted.
Illinois Bar Foundation Grants Committee Member Tony Romanucci presents a $5,000 grant to Modesto Tico Valle, Executive Director for the Center on Halsted.
The Illinois Bar Foundation Board of Directors is pleased to announce a $5,000 grant to the Center on Halsted for its Legal Information Center, one of 32 grants awarded this year totaling $304,995. The Legal Information Center consists of the Legal Advice Clinic, offering a weekly advice clinic and providing pro bono attorney consultation an indicated; Legal Education Workshops, comprised of nine workshops on such topics as individual and couple legal agreements, family legal issues, transgender rights, LGBT violence and others; Internet-based resources; and Crisis Line/Information Line Resources. The Center currently maintains a pool of 14 volunteer attorneys. Specifically, this grant will allow the Center to develop podcasts of its legal education workshops and post those as well as relevant handouts on their website. Serving Chicago’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community since 1973, Center on Halsted (COH) began as an information clearinghouse and meeting space.
Firm principal Laurel Bellows
Firm principal Laurel Bellows
Bellows and Bellows is a boutique business firm located in the historic Rookery Building at 209 S. La Salle. The firm is nationally renowned for its leadership and advocacy. Longtime ISBA member and firm principal Laurel G. Bellows is a business lawyer with over 30 years of expertise in employment law, counseling of senior executives and corporations worldwide in connection with executive compensation issues. The firm moved into new space at the Rookery, built in 1888, four years ago. The Rookery is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark. "We get to start each day with [building architects] Daniel Burnham and Frank Lloyd Wright in this beautiful and sunny place," Bellows said. "The sheer beauty of it can bring a smile and make even a rainy day worthwhile." And the building has also been a big hit with clients. "We are an international practice and this building is known everywhere in the world.
The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, which advocates for and distributes the state apporpriation for civil legal aid, faces a 50 percent cut in its appropriation if the budget bill passed by the General Assembly on May 31 becomes law. The appropriation would drop from $3.5 million to $1.75 million. In 2008, the $3.5 million appropriation helped over 68,000 low-income families address their legal needs. The General Assembly is going into a special session on Tuesday, June 23. The IEJF asks that voters call their state senators and state representatives and tell them that legal aid is important. Click here for more information.
Kathryn Kennedy
The Internal Revenue Service has named Kathryn J. Kennedy, Associate Dean for Advanced Studies and Research at The John Marshall Law School, to its Advisory Committee on Tax Exempt and Government Entities (ACT).  She is the only current member of the panel to be associated with a law school. Kennedy, one of 10 new members of the 21-member panel, was introduced - and began serving a two-year term - June 10 at a public meeting in Washington D.C. ACT members are appointed by the Secretary of the Treasury. Established in 2001, the panel advises the IRS on operational policies and procedures – and provides an organized forum for discussion of relevant issues. In addition to Kennedy’s role as an associate dean at The John Marshall Law School, she also serves as the Director of the school’s Center for Tax Law and Employee Benefits program. In this role, she established the first LLM program in the nation for employee benefits, and has since developed the curriculum for more than 20 employee benefits courses at The John Marshall Law School. Kennedy has also served on the Department of Labor’s ERISA Advisory Council, and co-authored an employee benefits textbook.
By a 4-2 vote in Maddux v. Blagojevich. Justice Freeman delivered the judgment with Chief Justice Fitzgerald and Justices Kilbride and Burke concurring. Justices Karmeier and Garman dissented. Justice Thomas was not part of the decision. From the case summary:
William Maddux is the presiding judge of the law division of the Cook County circuit court. He will be 75 years old before his current term expires in 2010. He would like to serve beyond that time, but wants to do so by running for retention, rather than in a contested election. The Illinois Constitution of 1970 states criteria for eligibility for judgeships which do not include age, but also states that the “General Assembly may provide by law for the retirement of Judges *** at a prescribed age.” The Compulsory Retirement of Judges Act states that “a judge is automatically retired at the expiration of the term in which the judge attains the age of 75.” In 1992, the Act was construed by the appellate court as precluding a judge from running for retention after age 75, but as allowing a candidate for judgeship to run in a contested election at any age, thus reaching a compromise between the constitutional absence of age as an eligibility requirement and the legislature’s constitutionally granted power to set a retirement age. This judicial interpretation, now 17 years old, has not been altered by the legislature. This declaratory judgment action seeking summary judgment was brought as an attempt to secure for Judge Maddux the right to run for retention. It was claimed that the statutory scheme now in place is constitutionally invalid. The circuit court dismissed the action.