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ISBA President Hon. Russell Hartigan and CBA President Hon. Thomas Mulroy
ISBA President Hon. Russell Hartigan and CBA President Hon. Thomas Mulroy
ISBA President Hon. Russell Hartigan attended the Chicago Bar Association's Justice John Paul Stevens Award Luncheon on Tuesday, October 10, 2017, at The Standard Club in Chicago. The event honored Hon. Ruben Castillo, Robert A. Clifford, Hon. Nathaniel R. Howse, Jr., Hon. Joan Humphrey Lefkow, Richard J. Prendergast, Larry R. Rogers, Sr., Ronald S. Safer, Hon. Mary Jane Theis, and Dan K. Webb. 

Laura Inns
Laura Inns
Laura B. Inns has joined Bruning & Associates, PC in Chicago. A graduate of Creighton University School of Law, Laura Inns’ legal career began with general civil litigation with her cases including real property disputes, eminent domain defense, agriculture litigation, and estate litigation. She decided to focus her practice on family law because she is compassionate for clients in traumatic times and tenacious about protecting children. Clients appreciate her candor and patience in guiding them through the legal system. Her family law work has included complex employment income structures, removing children from unsafe parents, and creative settlement negotiations. 

Michael Lied
Michael Lied
Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC's Michael R. Lied has been appointed co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Trial Evidence Committee for the 2017-2018 bar year.  Mr. Lied will be working to promote the goals and core values of the Section of Litigation, as well as advancing the Section’s work through commitment to engaging the diverse members of the divisions, committees and task forces within the Section.

As an attorney, Mr. Lied focuses his practice in the areas of labor and employment law and related litigation and immigration law, representing employers. He has been a member of the American Bar Association since 1983.


ISBA and DuPage Bar presidents participated in memorial ceremony for Hon. John (Jack) Darrah at a DuPage County Board meeting held Tuesday, Oct. 10, at the County Board Room in Wheaton. 

Judge Darrah passed away on March 23, 2017. He was elected to serve in the state court in 1986, assigned to the Chancery Division of the 18th Judicial Circuit, DuPage County. He served in this capacity until 2000, when he was appointed to the United States Federal District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by President Bill Clinton. 

Hon. John Darrah's full obituary is available on Illinois Lawyer Now

Peter J. Birnbaum, president and CEO of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. has thrown his hat in the ring to help support Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, an organization that provides homes, education and support systems to Chicago’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged youth.

Along with other contenders from the financial services and legal professions, Birnbaum will participate in a boxing match at Mercy Home’s fundraiser, “Ringside for Mercy’s Sake,” on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. He is matched up against Quarles and Brady Managing Partner Paul Langer.” The black-tie gala, which takes place from 6 p.m. to midnight at The Chicago Marriott Grand Ballroom, 540 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, also features premium cocktails, fine dining, celebrity appearances from boxing legends and Chicago media celebrities, dancing to The City Lights Orchestra, and exclusive live and silent auctions. 

While ATG is a longtime supporter of Mercy Home for Boys & Girls, this is the first time one of its executives has duked it out at the annual fundraiser. One expects to see attorneys of Birnbaum’s caliber in the boardroom or in the courtroom, but in the boxing ring?

Hon. David J. Watt Jr.
Hon. David J. Watt Jr.
Retired Judge of the 1st Judicial Circuit Court David W. Watt, Jr., 74, of Murphysboro, passed away at 2:04 a.m. Monday, October 2, 2017, at his residence in Murphysboro in the company of his wife and sons.

David was born on April 19, 1943, in Springfield, Illinois, to David W. Watt, Sr. and Marietta (Cullen) Watt.

David was a 1961 graduate from the Springfield High School in Springfield, Illinois. He did his undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, graduating in 1965. He was a member of the Theta Delta Chi Fraternity and served as the business manager of the University of Wisconsin Daily Cardinal. He received his law degree from the University Of Illinois College Of Law in 1968 and was admitted to the Illinois Bar that same year. He was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1977. From 1968 to 1970, he served with the Jackson County State’s Attorney’s Office and from 1970 to 1980 with Hendricks and Watt; and from 1980 to 1982, a partner with Hendricks, Watt and Grace.

Professor Mark Wojcik of The John Marshall Law School in Chicago has been working at the Jigme Singye Wangchuck School of Law — the first law school in the history of the Kingdom of Bhutan, a country of 750,000 people located between China and India — in Thimphu, Bhutan since July.

Wojcik's work at the law school is part of the Fulbright Specialist Program, which sends U.S. faculty and professionals to serve as expert consultants on curriculum, faculty development, and institutional planning at academic institutions abroad. Leading up to the beginning of classes, Wojcik helped teach a month-long orientation program.

“It’s an incredible honor to help launch the first law school in Bhutan, a country that went from being an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy less than ten years ago,” Wojcik said. “The Bhutanese Constitution entered into effect in 2008 and this new law school is going to train the lawyers that the country will need to implement that Constitution.”

The law school’s first class has a total of 25 students—13 women and 12 men—from all parts of Bhutan. Students were chosen from a national pool of 499 applicants. Successful applicants then took a special version of the LSAT. The top 50 candidates were then interviewed, and 25 were admitted based on their scores, grades, and a personal interview.

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) will receive the 2017 Distinguished Award for Excellence from the Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF) at the organization’s 19th annual black-tie Gala, presented by Simmons Hanly Conroy, on Friday evening, October 20, 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Place, Chicago. The event begins with a cocktail reception at 6:30, followed by dinner, dancing, and remarks by Senator Durbin. The mission of the IBF, the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association, is to ensure meaningful access to the civil justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who can no longer support themselves due to incapacity.

Senator Dick Durbin is the 47th U.S. Senator from the State of Illinois and also serves as the Assistant Democratic Leader, the second highest position among the Senate Democrats. He is the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and the Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee.

Benjamin Hooker Watts, 55, died at 5:45 a.m. Tuesday (Sept. 19, 2017) at Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana. He was born March 1, 1962, in Urbana, to Emily Stipes Watts and Robert Allan Watts. He married Judith Diane Argentieri on Oct. 25, 1997, in Chicago. They have a daughter, Olivia Argentieri Watts (18), and a son, Samuel Argentieri Watts (16).

Ben is survived by his wife and two children. He is also survived by his mother and brothers, Edward and Thomas, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his father.

Ben graduated from Champaign Central High School and Dartmouth College and played football for both CHS and Dartmouth. He later graduated from the University of Michigan School of Law, going on to practice law with Gardner Carton & Douglas, Chicago. He returned to Champaign to join Stipes Publishing where he was a partner in the publishing business.


Elmer Clyde Rudy, 86, of Rockford, died at Mercy Health/Rockford Memorial Hospital at 1:25 p.m. Wednesday, September 13, 2017. He was born in Elgin, IL April 10, 1931; the son of Elmer Rudy and Bernice Tobin Rudy. His family moved to Marengo, IL in 1942, where he attended the Marengo public schools. He graduated from Beloit College Magna Cum Laude in 1953, where he was a member of the 1951 NIT basketball team, the Washington Semester Program, President of the SAE fraternity, and where he was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa honorary fraternities. He married Margaret Meyer in Marengo on July 5, 1953.