Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Polish Supreme Court justice to give probate lecture next Wednesday

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Elder Law will welcome Justice Mariusz Zalucki of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland to the Supreme Court Courtroom, 160 N. LaSalle St., 18th Floor, on Wednesday September 7, from noon to 1:30 p.m., for a lecture on "the challenges of present will formalities," addressing the handling of probate matters in the EU and providing observations about U.S. cases with, of course, an emphasis on Illinois law. A panel discussion will follow.

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke will provide a welcome for Justice Zalucki. Justyna H. Regan of Miller Canfield will provide an introduction. The subsequent panel discussion will be moderated by McHenry County Circuit Court Judge Michael J. Chmiel. The other panelists are Kerry Peck, the Chair of the Supreme Court Commission on Elder Law; Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Jr., Presiding Judge, 1st Municipal District; Judge Daniel B. Malone, the Presiding Judge of the Probate Division; and Agnes Ptasnik of Chuhak & Tecson, P.C.

There is no charge to attend the lecture and discussion, but seating is limited and advance registration is required. Registrants can also choose to attend via Zoom; a link will be provided upon registration. MCLE credit will be available for this program.

To register, email In your email, specify whether you wish to attend in person or via Zoom. Persons seeking MCLE credit will need to provide their ARDC numbers.

Miller Canfield, Peck Ritchey, and Chuhak & Tecson are underwriting this event. Co-sponsoring the event, along with the Supreme Court Commission on Elder Law, are the Advocates Society, the International Network of Boutique and Independent Law Firms, the Illinois Judges Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Upcoming Illinois House Democratic fundraisers that may be of interest to prospective Cook County judicial candidates

As I mentioned earlier today, there never will be a shortage of politicians ready, willing, and eager to separate the wannabe judge from any discretionary income he or she may have. What follows in this post is by no means an exhaustive list of the opportunities for the hopeful candidate to diminish his or her estate.

For the most part, I have tried to edit out most non-Cook County representatives and all non-Cook County venues. Not that a Downstate representative would not also be grateful for your support -- but his or her clout among the local judicial slatemakers would presumably be minimal, at best. Attendance at any or all of these events will not accord you a heavier political presence; the only thing guaranteed is a lighter wallet. But if you, by dint of your magnetic personality, can charm indifferent, if not hostile, strangers with snappy patter or sparkling small talk, here are some of the upcoming opportunities helpfully provided by politicians eager to hold elected office:
Rooftop Fundraiser with Rep. Nick Smith
Tuesday, September 13 | 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Joy District Rooftop | 112 W Hubbard St, Chicago
Sponsorships: $5,000 | $2,500 | $1,000 | $500
Make checks payable to:
Friends of Nicholas Smith
P.O. Box 286152
Chicago, IL 60628

Rep. Jones and Rep. Mayfield's Baseball Fundraiser
Saturday, September 17 | 6:10 p.m.
Wrigley Field | 1060 W. Addison, Chicago (Left Field Porch Area)
Sponsorship: $5,000 | $2,500 | $1,500 | $1,000 | $500 | $250
Make checks payable to:
Friends of Rita Mayfield, PO Box 344, Waukegan, IL 60079
Jones for State Representative, 289 Paxton Ave, Calumet City, IL 60409
RSVP before September 10 by calling (847) 975-3491

Rep. Bob Morgan Fall Brewery Social
Tuesday, September 20 | 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.
District Brew Yards | 417 N Ashland Ave, Chicago
Young Professional Ticket: $100
Sponsorship: $2,500 | $1,000 | $500 | $250
Online contributions:
For more information or to RSVP directly, please contact Erin Schuler at or (312) 448-8014

Rep. Fred Crespo Re-Election Fundraiser Tuesday, September 20 | 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Chicago Chop House | 60 West Ontario, Chicago (valet parking provided)
Individual Ticket: $150
Sponsorship: $1,500 | $500
Make checks payable to:
Citizens for Fred Crespo
313 Ronnie Drive
Buffalo Grove, Illinois, 60089-1149.
To RSVP contact Corryn Bradley at or call 708-490-9964

Speaker Welch Fall Fundraiser Wednesday, September 21 | The Old Post Office | 433 W. Van Buren St., Chicago
VIP Reception: 5:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Event: 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Individual Ticket: $250
Sponsorship: $20,000 | $12,000 | $6,000 | $3,000 | $1,000
You may also make checks payable to:
People for Emanuel "Chris" Welch
10055 W. Roosevelt Rd, Suite D
Westchester, IL 60154
Online contributions:

Courts of Appeals and District Courts in Seventh and Eighth Circuits host 3rd Annual Bill of Rights Day Contest for students in grades 5-12

Admittedly, this runs a little far afield for FWIW fare, but the court sponsorships are the hook that makes this post relevant to FWIW readers.

We probably don't have too many students in grades 5-12 stopping by here on a regular basis, although surely some teachers do, and a number of FWIW readers have teachers in their lives with whom this post might be shared.

The idea is to get kids thinking about, and creating art and essays about, the importance of the Bill of Rights. That is a good and useful thing to do.

One grand prize winner from each of two age groups, grades 5-8 and grades 9-12, will recieve a $500 cash prize and the opportunity to take part in a vitrual event on Wednesday, December 7 with Federal judges and other experts, and have their name and submission shared on the websites of the participating United States District Courts. Semi-finalists from each District Court will receive a $50 prize.

The deadline for submissions is 5:00 p.m. Sunday, October 30.

Semi-finalists from each district will be notified before Thanksgiving and grand prize winners will be announced at the December 7 virtual event.

Teachers have an additional incentive to encourage their charges to enter this contest: When a teacher's name is included on the student's submission, the teacher will be entered into a gift card raffle. Teachers get additional chances in the raffle for each submission made by one of their students.

Of course there are a host of rules and regulations that contestants will have to navigate in order to make their submissions. But this page will provide that information for interested students and teachers.

LIC volunteers sought; September training sessions announced

The Chicago Bar Association's Edward J. Lewis II Lawyers in the Classroom Program has placed attorney voluneers in grammar school classrooms for over 30 years now, helping students "to better understand the U.S. Constitution, our legal system, and law-related careers," according to the program webpage.

To prepare for the academic year just underway, the LIC is requesting all interested attorneys (and returning volunteers) to sign up for one of two Attorney Information and Training Sessions. Both will be conducted online, one on September 9, and the other on September 16. The links in the preceding sentence will take interested persons to registration forms for the specific date.

According to the LIC, these sessions are intended "to prepare attorneys for their classroom assignments, [and] will focus on classroom standards, curriculum, collaboration with teacher partners, useful teaching strategies and how the program will be administered this school year."

For questions about the program, contact LIC Director Tiffani Watson at

Illinois Bar Foundation Chicago-area presidential reception set for September 21

The Illinois Bar Foundation is planning a Chicago-area presidential reception on Wednesday, September 21, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Rolling Green Country Club, 2525 East Rand Road, Arlington Heights.

The IBF will honor Anna P. Krolikowska (ISBA President 2021-22) and Lisa M. Nyuli (IBF President 2020-2022) at this event.

Tickets for the event are $50 apiece and include "heavy hors d’oeuvres and open bar."

Sponsorships are also available:
  • Friend - $250
    Includes 2 event tickets, recognition during the formal presentation, name/logo on promotional materials and signage;

  • Patron - $500
    Includes 5 event tickets, recognition during the formal presentation, name/logo on promotional materials and signage;

  • Benefactor - $1,000
    Includes 10 event tickets, recognition during the formal presentation, name/logo on promotional materials and signage.
Proceeds from the event benefit the IBF. The IBF's mission, according to its website, "is to ensure meaningful access to the justice system, especially for those with limited means, and to assist lawyers who have fallen on hard times."

To obtain tickets, or register as a sponsor, click here.

The IBF will also have a Downstate reception, honoring Dennis J. Orsey and the late Jack C. Carey, on Wednesday, September 28, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Collinsville. Click on the link in this sentence for more information about the Downstate event.

Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Walk set for September 17 at Montrose Harbor

Oh, sure, there are political events upcoming, and I'll have a post up about some of these soon, if time permits. There will never be a shortage of politicians willing to take your discretionary income.

But if you, Mr. or Ms. Judicial Wannabe, are looking for a different way to increase your 'brand awareness' or whatever we're calling these things currently, you may wish to consider participating in the Out of Darkness Chicagoland Walk, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on Saturday, September 17, at Montrose Harbor.

There are -- just as there are in political fundraisers -- sponsorship opportunities:
  • Hope - $1,000
    Your logo on event materials, including official t-shirt, website, and e-newsletters;

  • Support - $2,500
    All Hope benefits plus metnions in social media and in event announcements and Talk Saves LivesTM Suicide Prevention for Workplace Settings for your workplace;

  • Prevention - $5,000
    All Support benefits plus featured placement of logo/sign on walk route, featured social media posting and email outreach;

  • Change Maker - $10,000
    All Prevention benefits plus onsite walk tent with permission to distribute materials.
And, if you've really got some spare cash laying around, ask whether the Lifesaver sponsorship opportunity is still available. Persons working for big firms or companies may find that there are matching donation opportunities -- or you could set one up. All sponsorship information is available at this link. For more information about the September 17 Chicago walk, visit this page or email Diana Cazares at

Saturday, August 20, 2022

A few small changes have been made to this site's Sidebar

The 2022 candidate lists have been purged: All the unsucessful primary candidate websites have been removed, as have the websites of all successful candidates who face no opponent.

Get out your magnifying glasses, folks: The remaining list is very, very short. Because only in the far northwest suburban 13th Judicial Subcircuit is there any remaining judicial race for Cook County voters to decide.

When all the votes were counted in the race for the Democratic nomination for the Groebner vacancy in the 13th Subcircuit, Joe Gump edged out James "Jack" Costello by 161 votes, 11,789 to 11,628.

Gump, pictured at left, will face Republican nominee Gary William Seyring, shown below, in November.

So the new Sidebar candidate list is only two names long.

With the sole exception of this one race, people who didn't bother to vote in the Democratic primary in June were effectively denied the opportunity to participate in this year's Cook County judicial elections.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Decalogue and AABAR present 7th Annual Building Bridges Awards Ceremony September 13

The Decalogue Society of Lawyers and the Arab American Bar Association of Illinois will cohost the 7th Annual Building Bridges Award Ceremony on Tuesday, September 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the offices of Freeborn & Peters LLP, 311 South Wacker Drive, Suite 3000.

Two "Champions of Voting Rights" will be honored at this year's presentation, Jan Schwartz. of the National Council of Jewish Women, and Atour Sargon, a member of the Lincolnwood Board of Trustees.
Admission to the event is free, but registration is required. To register, click on this link.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Advocates Society Annual Scholarship Fundraiser set for September 8

The Advocates Society, the Association of Polish-American Attorneys, will hold its Annual Scholarship Fundraiser on Thursday, September 8, from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., at Maggiano's Little Italy, 516 N. Clark Street.

The event will feature a family-style, sit-down dinner starting at 7:00 p.m., with beer and wine included. The program and live auction will begin at 8:00 p.m. There will also be a silent auction, which closes at 9:00 p.m. All proceeds benefit the Polish-American Advocates Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization.

The theme of this year's fundraiser is "A Salute to Polish Judges" and the Advocates will confer its President's Award on former Judge Joan Smuda (pictured at right) at the event.

Early bird tickets for the event are available (until August 26) for $150 apiece. After August 26, tickets will cost $175 apiece. To obtain tickets, visit this page of the Advocates website.

And, of course, there are sponsorship opportunities.

For $250 a sponsor receives one ticket, mention in the program book (name or logo), a logo placement on the Advocates website, a "shout-out on social media," and "verbal recognition" at the event. Click here to register as a sponsor. Persons looking to donate an item for the silent auction should complete this form and return it as directed. To just make a straight donation to the scholarship fund, click here. Questions about the event should be sent to

It is unlikely that any regular FWIW readers would be eligible to apply

But some FWIW readers may know people with whom this information may be profitably shared:
All the details are available at this page of the Diversity Scholarship Foundation website; conveniently, the application begins on that page as well. Here are some of the requirements:
  • Applicants must have completed two semesters of law school coursework to qualify for a scholarship unless applying for the LSAT scholarship as an undergraduate student.
  • Failure to be present during the December 1 award presentation and through the end of the program will result in forfeiture of the scholarship.
  • As part of the application, prospective scholarship recipients will will have to provide a résumé and a school transcript.
  • Individuals who have previously received a scholarship from DSF may not be eligible, but applications will be accepted for consideration.
The deadline for scholarship applications is 5:00 p.m. Friday, September 30. Questions not answered by the website may be addressed to

CCBA, SSBA offer free domestic relations webinar

You can't beat the price.

The Cook County Bar Association and the South Suburban Bar Association have teamed up to offer a free CLE presentation, available via Zoom on Wednesday, August 24, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., entitled "Appearing Before Hearing Officers in Domestic Relations Matters."

Three judges are scheduled to speak at the program, Lionel Jean-Baptiste, Fredrick H. Bates, and Ericka Orr. A hearing officer based in the 6th Municipal District, Bob Stokas, will also present. While the program is free, advance registration is required. To register, visit this link.

Here is the flyer for the program:

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Decalogue Society announces upcoming CLE presentations

The Decalogue Society is offering members at least 18 hours a year of free CLE. Of course, it's not entirely free if you have to buy a membership... but let's not quibble. This link will take interested persons to the Decalogue membership application.

Featured among the Decalogue's upcoming CLE presentations is a program entitled "Government Funding and the Separation of Church and State." This Zoom webinar will be held on Tuesday, September 20, from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. Here's the flyer for the event:

Registration for this event is required by September 16.

Fundraiser for the Polish Museum of America at August 27 Chicago Fire match

I don't believe I've ever plugged a soccer game (sorry -- I meant match) on FWIW, but Audrey Cosgrove, the President of the Advocates Society, asked if I might promote the Saturday, August 27 match between the Chicago Fire and CF Montreal, at 7:00 p.m. at Soldier Field. Still, it's not as much of a stretch as you might think: One of my many ex-partners, Mark Boyle, was at one time the Soccer King of the South Side. Or at least a contender for the throne.

The match will be a fundraiser for the Polish Museum of America, with a portion of ticket proceeds to be donated to that institution.

This link will give interested persons all the information they need, including a variety of ticket options.

(Things sure have changed, though. The last time I saw the Chicago Fire play at Soldier Field, Virgil Carter was the quarterback....)

Monday, August 15, 2022

Fall Rush? All Bar Networking Social set for August 25

The All Bar Networking Social will take place on Thursday, August 25, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Hubbard Inn, 110 W. Hubbard St.

Why did I mention "rush" in conjunction with this event? Well, according to event organizers, "Each association in attendance will have a representative who will be available to explain their respective legal organization’s goals and benefits of membership."

Unlike the fraternity or sorority rushes you may recall from your undergraduate days, however, you, the prospective attendee, will be able to pledge more than one bar association. In fact, that's kind of the whole idea: Meet representatives of a whole bunch of bar associations and join a new bar group, or two, or 10 -- and without fear of hazing.

Participating bar groups include the Advocates Society, the Alliance of Illinois Judges, the Arab American Bar Association of Illinois, the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago, the Black Men Lawyers' Association, the Black Women Lawyers' Association of Greater Chicago, the Chicago Bar Association, the Cook County Bar Association, the Decalogue Society, the Filipino American Lawyers Association, Hellenic Bar Association, the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, the Illinois State Bar Association, LAGBAC (Chicago’s LGBTQ+ Bar Association), the Northwest Suburban Bar Association, the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois, the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago, the Seventh Circuit Bar Association, and the Women's Bar Association of Illinois.

Also, the American Arbitration Association is on the list. It's not a bar association, but someone will be there from that group, too.

Back in the day, did Student Council get a booth at Fall Rush?

Regardless, tickets for the event are $40 apiece and are available at this link.

IVI-IPO 78th Annual Independents' Day Dinner set for Thursday

The Independent Voters of Illinois - Independent Precinct Organization will hold its 78th Annual Independents' Day Dinner on Thursday, August 18, at Maggiano's Little Italy, 516 N. Clark. A reception will begin at 6:00 p.m.; dinner will follow at 7:00.

Fortieth Ward Ald. Andre Vasquez will emcee the event, at which the IVI-IPO will confer the following awards:
  • Legal Eagle Award: April Preyar,
  • Barbara Merill-Rudy Lozano Labor Award: El Milagro Worker Committee,
  • Harold Washington Award: Drs. Alison Arwady and Ngozi Ezike,
  • Saul Mendelson Social Justice Award: Sean Tenner, Founder, Abolition Institute,
  • Kit Pfau Voting Rights Award: Jan Schwartz, Promote the Vote Illinois, and
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Jesus Salazar.
Tickets for the event are $90 per person for members and $130 per person for non-members. The non-member price includes a year's membership in the IVI-IPO. Tickets are available at this link.

Courthouse insecurity? July incident, Supreme Court committee suggest new concerns about judicial safety

Someone sent me the link to the August 3 Dan Mihalopoulos article on the WBEZ website, "A Cook County judge expressed fears before a ‘very serious breach’ at the Daley Center."

The article refers to a letter, written in June by Associate Judge Joseph D. Panarese to the Illinois Supreme Court, which warned, "The vast majority of my colleagues do not feel safe at work or at home anymore," and asked the justices "not [to] overlook the dangerous situations that we as Judges are confronted with every day."

The WBEZ article uses Judge Panarese's letter as an omen, or foreshadowing, of an incident that occurred on the 4th floor of the Daley Center on Thursday, July 28.

According to a July 29 letter from Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans to Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart, the incident involved "someone who was walking through the public hallways loudly and belligerently demanding to see ajudge and who then pulled a locked courtroom door open breaking into the courtroom, eliminating all physical obstacles to the private areas where judges and judicial staff work." According to a memo sent by Judge Evans to all judges, the incident was resolved without any "physical harm" when 'quick-thinking' Traffic Division judges pulled courtroom "staff into their chambers and called for assistance."

What makes the incident particularly unsettling is the fact that it occurred in the middle of the day, at approximately 1:00 p.m., according to the Chief Judge's memo, and, according to the Chief Judge's letter to Sheriff Dart, there "appeared to be no deputies available to respond."

In the letter to Sheriff Dart, Evans wrote, "The gradual decrease in staffing in recent years seems to have left all courtroom floors in the Daley Center and other courthouses with the same degree of vulnerability."

Apparently the decrease in the number of courtroom deputies is not a new problem.

Indeed, on July 6, after the Panarese letter but three weeks before the Daley Center incident, the Illinois Supreme Court entered an order establishing a new Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Security and Safety.

In a press release announcing the new Committee, Chief Justice Anne M. Burke is quoted as saying, "Threats to the judiciary continue to increase and the Committee will help us address them."

The Chair of the new Committee will be Jim Cimarossa, the Marshal of the Supreme Court of Illinois. Appointed as members of the Committee are First District Appellate Court Justice Mathias W. Delort, Second District Appellate Court Justice George Bridges, Twelfth Circuit Court Judge Susan T. O’Leary, Cook County Circuit Judge E. Kenneth Wright, Twenty-Second Circuit Court Michael J. Chmiel, and retired Judge Mark A. VandeWiele.

Additional appointed members will include the Executive Director of the Attorney Registration and Discipline Commission (ARDC), a representative of the Illinois State Police, a representative of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, and a representative of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

What to do about impaired judges: A Ken White story about events nearly 30 years ago

Ken White is a California attorney and podcaster. His Twitter account, @Popehat, is active, pungent, and often enlightening. And he also has a Substack. His most recent Substack piece, "Who Judges the Judges?" is a powerful remembrance about his ultimately unsuccessful efforts to help a federal judge confront his alcoholism.

Lawyers don't usually write about these things. I do not believe that Mr. White was employing some rhetorical device in confessing his reluctance, even now, after all of the principal parties involved are dead; I believe his reluctance was sincere -- and deeply ingrained in most of us.

Most of us, that is, if one excludes the anonymous trolls who would see this post as an opportunity to try and smear sitting judges in the comments to this post, were I to permit comments.

Which I won't, thank you.

Instead, I'll offer a commercial for the Illinois Lawyers’ Assistance Program (LAP). The services provided by LAP are entirely confidential. Quoting now from the LAP website:
Illinois Supreme Court Rule 1.6(d) mandates confidentiality for all information received by LAP volunteers and trained interveners during interventions and related meetings. Both the volunteer and client are assured that anything disclosed is specifically protected by the attorney client privilege. The only exception relates to a client signing a release of information asking LAP to report on his or her behalf to another organization or individual. Additionally, the Interveners and Reporter Immunity Law guarantees immunity for LAP Volunteers and those who participate in its work.
It's a conundrum, I realize. The more we care, the more reluctant we may be to talk about a judge's, or a colleague's, alcohol or drug abuse. Gossips may snipe about this judge or that one knocking back more than a couple of barley pops at a golf outing, or slurring just a bit when making small talk at an awards dinner. But if someone is important to us -- a dear friend, a family member -- we are first inclined to look the other way, or even make excuses when we hear damaging rumors. But these persons most inclined to be silent are often those best equipped to determine whether a person has developed a real problem.

As in so many things, the helpful thing is not to say nothing, but to say the right thing, at the right time, to the right people. Mr. White tried, a generation ago, and failed. Sadly, failure is always a possibility because, ultimately, the person who is drinking too much, or abusing medication, must take responsibility for his or her own problems. No matter how much people around him or her may care. Or plead. Or even beg.

LAP is no magic bullet. But it is a powerful tool. It might have been helpful for Mr. White 30 years ago. Mr. White's willingness to come forward now might provide that last necessary nudge for someone to seek help now. For yourself, perhaps, or for someone about whom you care. LAP's email address is