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Kathryn Baker
Kathryn Baker
Marilyn Barton
Marilyn Barton
A recent law school graduate kicked off the New Year with her grandmother, the first female attorney in LaSalle County, expanding an Ottawa-based law firm.

Kathryn Baker, who graduated from Northern Illinois College of Law and passed the Illinois State Bar in October, said she’s excited to launch Barton & Baker with her “fiery” grandmother Marilyn Barton, the first woman to practice law in Ottawa more than 40 years ago.

“Kate’s the only one of six grandkids I could talk into law,” Barton said with a laugh. “I’m proud she’ll carry on the tradition, and I’m thrilled to start 2015 practicing law alongside my granddaughter.”

Barton started practicing law back in 1970, after serving as a Chicago Public School teacher for more than a decade. She said she likes the idea of adding her granddaughter into her long-standing practice because, with similar strong personalities, the two make a good team.

Baker, who interned at Prairie State Legal Services in 2013 helping low-income clients, had initially sworn off becoming a lawyer in lieu of becoming a counselor. After being the youngest to graduate in her class at Bradley University with B.S. degrees in both Psychology and Sociology, Baker spent three years as a caseworker at the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery at Proctor Hospital in Peoria.

Lane Evans
Lane Evans
Congressman Lane Allen Evans, 63, of Rock Island, died Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, at Hope Creek Care Center, East Moline. He died of complications brought on by the effects of Parkinson’s disease, which he was diagnosed with in 1995.

Lane was born Aug. 4, 1951, in Rock Island to Lee H. and Joycelene E. (Saylor) Evans. He was the second of four brothers, Steve, Doyle and Dave. Lane attended Sacred Heart School in Rock Island and graduated from Alleman High School in 1969. He then joined the Marine Corps and completed boot camp in San Diego. Lane was stationed in Okinawa during the Vietnam War due to the Sullivan Act because his brother Steve was already in Vietnam.

Two years later, he was honorably discharged and began his studies at Black Hawk College. Lane then attended Augustana College and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1974. He completed his education with a Juris Doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center in 1977. During these years, Lane volunteered for the presidential campaigns of George McGovern and populist Fred Harris. He was a field staff organizer for Ted Kennedy’s 1980 presidential campaign. He worked out of his home as an attorney until opening the Community Legal Service Practice with two other attorneys, Dennis Buchneger and Jean Becker, in 1981.

Savant Capital Management, a nationally recognized fee-only wealth management firm headquartered in Rockford, announced today that Michael Cyrs has been hired as Estate and Wealth Transfer Advisor. Cyrs will head up the firm’s newly formed Family Wealth Transfer service.

In this new role Cyrs will work with clients on complex estate and wealth transfer matters. With more than 20 years’ experience as an attorney concentrating on estate and business succession planning and administration, Cyrs’ expertise will be extremely beneficial to Savant clients in need of specific services that includes estate planning, wealth transfer, charitable planning, asset protection, and business succession planning. Cyrs will also work with attorneys as a technical resource to help coordinate legal projects related to their clients’ sophisticated estate and wealth transfer needs.

“I am very pleased to bring Mike on board at Savant,” said Brent Brodeski, CEO of Savant.  “His specialized expertise will further enhance our goal to help our clients build their ideal futures by providing world-class integrated wealth management solutions.”

Alexis Ferracuti
Alexis Ferracuti
Alexis Ferracuti is following in her father's footsteps.

Born and raised in Ottawa, Alexis joined the Law Offices of Peter F. Ferracuti, P.C., her father's firm, in September. The 25-year old recent graduate concentrates in civil litigation and workers' compensation matters.

Alexis Ferracuti received a master's degree from New England Law and a bachelor's degree in political science and philosophy from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.

During her third year of law school, Ferracuti served as a lieutenant governor for the First Circuit Law Student Division of the American Bar Association. She also was the academic co-chairwoman of Phi Alpha Delta, a member of the Business Law Society and a member of the Students Veterans Advocacy Group.

She became an advocate for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and lobbied in Washington, D.C., for both public mental health rights and veterans’ mental health treatment.

Prior to joining the firm, Ferracuti interned with the Massachusetts Human Resources Division doing both workers’ compensation and employment law, as well as with the Normal Cornbelters minor league baseball team in sports law. Additionally, she interned with her father's firm, doing both workers’ compensation and personal injury law for several summers during college and law school.

Ferracuti has been admitted to the Illinois State Bar and also is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the Womens’ Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.

Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. celebrates its three millionth title policy. From left, attorney Richard Fiocchi of Richard Fiocchi of Bernabei, Balestri & Fiocchi, who issued the policy, ATG  President & CEO Peter J. Birnbaum, homeowners William and Jill Thompson, and Jerry Gorman, ATG Senior Vice President – Downstate Operations.
Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. celebrates its three millionth title policy. From left, attorney Richard Fiocchi of Richard Fiocchi of Bernabei, Balestri & Fiocchi, who issued the policy, ATG President & CEO Peter J. Birnbaum, homeowners William and Jill Thompson, and Jerry Gorman, ATG Senior Vice President – Downstate Operations.
In the midst of celebrating its 50th year, title insurance underwriter Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. (ATG®) has issued its three millionth policy. The insureds are William and Jill Thompson of Oglesby, Illinois, and the ATG attorney-member who issued the policy is ISBA member Richard Fiocchi of Bernabei, Balestri & Fiocchi, Spring Valley, Illinois.

Founded in 1964 by a small group of downstate Illinois lawyers, ATG had issued one million policies by 1994 and two million by 2004. “This latest milestone is a tribute to our nearly 4,000 attorney-members and our dedicated staff who provide sellers, purchasers, and lenders with impeccable service each and every day,” said Peter Birnbaum, ATG President and CEO.

Mr. Fiocchi’s firm has been associated with ATG since 1965 through its founding partner Bruno Bernabei (1921-1995); the remaining name partners have been active with ATG for 30+ years. “ATG is the backbone of our law practice, has been for decades. We're so grateful to be a part of this milestone, to help mark the company’s 50th anniversary—and we’re thrilled for the Thompsons, a nice young couple."

Here are the Supreme, Appellate and Circuit results for Tuesday's judicial elections for all circuits outside of Cook. Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier was retained with a 60.7% yes vote in his retention race, according to results in The Southern Illinoisan.

Click here for the 1st District results

Candidates must receive 65% on the question of Meets Requirements of Office in order to be Recommended. Winners in bold


5th District Supreme Retention

CandidateRecommended/ Not RecommendedMeets Requirements of Office

Lloyd A. Karmeier



Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that the Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Philip G. Montgomery and Joseph R. Voiland as associate judges of the Twenty-Third Judicial Circuit.

Mr. Montgomery received his undergraduate degree in 1984 from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, and his Juris Doctor in 1987 from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Mr. Montgomery is currently affiliated with the DeKalb County State's Attorney's Office in Sycamore.

Mr. Voiland received his undergraduate degree in 1974 from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington and his Juris Doctor in 1977 from Loyola University in Chicago. Mr. Voiland is currently engaged in solo practice in Yorkville and as a bankruptcy trustee with the U.S. Department of Justice in Chicago.

Join us in DeKalb on Friday, Oct. 24 for a look at the common construction contact terms that require close attention to detail, as well as the often-recurring construction issues that can have significant consequences. Construction law practitioners, real estate lawyers, and attorneys providing legal advice to project owners, architects, engineers, subcontractors, and contractors – with basic to intermediate practice experience – who attend this seminar will better understand: the various issues that can arise during the performance of a construction contract, including warranty, insurance, and changed conditions; the implications of terminating a contractor or subcontractor; the common damage provisions of construction projects; the importance of paying attention to the details when making compensation claims; change order provisions and the issues that can arise; the contract provisions found in public construction contracts; and how to make your disputed contracts easier to understand and enforce.

The seminar is presented by the ISBA Construction Law Section and co-sponsored by the ISBA Commercial Banking, Collections and Bankruptcy Section and the ISBA Real Estate Law Section. It qualifies for 6.0 hours MCLE credit, including 1.0 hour Professional Responsibility MCLE credit (subject to approval).

Click here for more information and to register.

Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced today that the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit judges voted to select Norma Kauzlarich as an associate judge of the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit.

Ms. Kauzlarich received her undergraduate degree in 1986 from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, and her Juris Doctor in 1994 from the University of Iowa. Ms. Kauzlarich is currently affiliated with the Rock Island County State's Attorney's Office in Rock Island.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride has announced an application process for appointment to an upcoming resident Circuit Court vacancy in Peoria County in the 10th Judicial Circuit. The vacancy will be created upon Judge Michael E. Brandt's retirement, effective December 12, 2014.