"The Brief" - The ALA Blog

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  • September 18, 2022 9:57 AM | Carson Griffis (Administrator)

    Justice Daniel J. Pierce of the Illinois Appellate Court, First Judicial District, will retire from the court effective September 30, 2022.  The Illinois Supreme Court has announced that Judge Sanjay Tailor of the Circuit Court of Cook County will fill the vacancy left by Justice Pierce's retirement effective October 3, 2022.  Judge Tailor will be the first Indian American to serve on the appellate court.

    Justice Pierce has served on the appellate court since 2013.  Before then, he served on the Circuit Court of Cook County from 2008 to 2013.  Justice Pierce received his undergraduate and law degrees from DePaul University in Chicago.

    Judge Tailor was first appointed to the bench in 2003 as an associate judge, and was appointed as a circuit judge in 2021.  He has served in the Domestic Relations, Law, and Chancery Divisions of the circuit court.  Before his appointment to the bench, Judge Tailor served in the Civil Actions Bureau of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and worked in private practice.  He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Delaware and his Juris Doctor with honors from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.

    The Illinois Supreme Court's announcement of Judge Tailor's appointment may be found here.

    The Appellate Lawyers Association thanks Justice Pierce for his dedicated service on the appellate court and congratulates Judge Tailor on his historic appointment to the appellate court.

  • September 12, 2022 5:16 PM | Carson Griffis (Administrator)

    The Appellate Lawyers Association extends its congratulations to Justice Mary Jane Theis, who has been selected to serve as the next Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. Her three-year term will begin on October 26, 2022.  Justice Theis will be the fourth woman to serve as the Court’s Chief Justice, following the late Justice Mary Ann McMorrow, Justice Rita B. Garman, and current Chief Justice Anne M. Burke.

    Justice Theis has served on the Illinois Supreme Court since 2010.  From 1983 to 1993, she served as an associate judge and circuit judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County, when she was assigned to the Illinois Appellate Court, First Judicial District.  Justice Theis was elected to the appellate court in 1994 and served there until her appointment to the State’s highest court.  Before serving on the bench, Justice Theis served as an Assistant Public Defender in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office.  She earned her Juris Doctor from the University of San Francisco School of Law in 1974 and Bachelor of Arts Degree from Loyola University in 1971. 

    While on the bench, Justice Theis has chaired both the Committee on Judicial Education and the Committee on Judicial Conduct of the Illinois Judicial Conference, and was a member of the Supreme Court Rules Committee.  She also previously served as the Supreme Court liaison to the Illinois Judicial College, President of the Illinois Judges Association, President and founding member of the Illinois Judges Foundation, and President of the Appellate Lawyers Association.  Justice Theis has also served on the Board of Governors of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Board of Managers of the Chicago Bar Association, and is a member of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois.

    The Illinois Supreme Court’s announcement regarding Justice Theis’s selection may be found here.

  • September 12, 2022 4:58 PM | Carson Griffis (Administrator)

    The Illinois Supreme Court has announced that it is appointing Justice Joy V. Cunningham, currently serving on the Illinois Appellate Court, First Judicial District, to the Court effective December 1, 2022, filling the vacancy that will be created by Chief Justice Anne M. Burke’s retirement.  Justice Cunningham will be the second Black woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court, following Justice Lisa Holder White’s appointment to the Court earlier this year.

    Justice Cunningham began her legal career in 1982 as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.  She went on to serve as a law clerk to Justice Glenn T. Johnson in the appellate court and later worked as Associate General Counsel and Chief Counsel for HealthCare at Loyola University.

    In 1996, Justice Cunningham was sworn in as an Associate Judge in Cook County Circuit Court, where she was assigned to the civil trial division.  Four years later, she left the bench to serve as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, returning to the bench in December 2006 as an elected Appellate Court Justice in the First District.  She was retained by voters in 2016.

    Justice Cunningham was the first African American woman elected President of the Chicago Bar Association, the nation’s largest municipal bar association. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Loyola University Health System, the Chicago Bar Association’s Strategic Planning Committee, the Governor’s Commission for Eradicating Poverty, the Board of Directors of the James R. Jordan Foundation, the Board of Directors of the Chicago Bar Association Media Organization, and as the Chair of the Associate Commissioners of the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission.  She also is a member of the Chicago Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Cook County Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, the Black Women Lawyers Association, the Illinois Judicial Council, the Illinois Judges Association, the Economic Club of Chicago, the Chicago Network, the CBA Past Presidents’ Council, the American Law Institute, and the American Bar Foundation.

    The Illinois Supreme Court's full announcement regarding Justice Cunningham’s appointment may be found here.

    The Appellate Lawyers Association congratulates Justice Cunningham on her historic appointment to the Illinois Supreme Court.

  • September 12, 2022 4:24 PM | Carson Griffis (Administrator)

    Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne M. Burke has announced that she is retiring from the bench, effective December 1, 2022.  Chief Justice Burke has served on the State’s highest court since 2006 and has served as its Chief Justice since 2019, guiding the Court and the Illinois judiciary through the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Chief Justice Burke’s judicial career began in 1987, when she was appointed as the first female judge on the Court of Claims.  In 1994, she served as the Governor’s Special Counsel for Child Welfare Services and, the next year, was appointed to the Illinois Appellate Court, First Judicial District.  In 1996, Chief Justice Burke was elected to the appellate court for a full term and served there until her appointment to the Illinois Supreme Court in 2006.  She was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court for a full term in 2008 and retained in 2018.

    Before serving on the bench, Chief Justice Burke practiced law on the South Side of Chicago, frequently representing families and serving as a guardian ad litem for children.  She received her Juris Doctor from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago-Kent College of Law in 1983, and her undergraduate degree in education from DePaul University. 

    Before attending law school, Chief Justice Burke taught physical education at the Chicago Park District and was instrumental in the creation of the first Chicago Special Olympics in 1968, which later grew to become the International Special Olympics.  She later served as the Director of the International Special Olympics and, to this day, remains involved in the Chicago Special Olympics.

    Chief Justice Burke’s full statement announcing her retirement may be found here.

    The Appellate Lawyers Association thanks Chief Justice Burke for her distinguished, groundbreaking career and tireless commitment to public service, and wishes her the best in her retirement.

  • August 27, 2022 8:56 AM | Carson Griffis (Administrator)

    By:  Carson R. Griffis*

    In Highland Management Group, LLC v. Society Insurance, 2022 IL App (5th) 210348, the Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth Judicial District, clarified the scope of Illinois Supreme Court Rule 306(a)(4), which allows for interlocutory appeals from the grant or denial of a motion to transfer venue.

    The plaintiff in Highland brought a declaratory judgment action against its insurer and insurance broker in the circuit court of Madison County, Illinois, seeking coverage for business income losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  The plaintiff alleged that venue was proper in Madison County because its president and sole member resided there, and section 2-103(e) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 735 ILCS 5/2-103(e), allows actions to be brought against an insurance company "in any county in which the plaintiff or one of the plaintiffs may reside."  The defendants filed a motion to transfer venue, arguing that Madison County was not the plaintiff's county of residence, which the circuit court denied.  The defendants then filed a petition for leave to appeal under Rule 306(a)(4).

    The appellate court dismissed the defendants' interlocutory appeal because it lacked jurisdiction.  The court noted that Rule 306(a)(4) only allows for interlocutory appeals of the grant or denial of a motion to transfer venue "based on the assertion that the defendant is not a resident of the county in which the action was commenced."  That language tracks the language of section 2-101 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 735 ILCS 5/2-101, which states that venue is generally proper "in the county of residence of any defendant." 

    But, the appellate court explained, the plaintiff brought its action in Madison County under section 2-103(e), which allows an action against an insurance company to be brought in the county of the plaintiff's residence, rather than section 2-101.  And the defendants argued that venue was improper because the plaintiff did not reside in Madison County, not because they were residents of a different county.  Because the defendants' motion was not based on the assertion that they were not residents of Madison County, the appellate court lacked jurisdiction over their interlocutory appeal under Rule 306(a)(4).

    *Carson Griffis is an Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Appeals Division of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.  No comments made in this post are made on behalf of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, nor do they reflect the views or opinions of the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.

  • July 29, 2022 4:30 PM | Carson Griffis (Administrator)

    Justice Eugene Doherty of the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth Judicial District, is seeking to fill two positions in his chambers in Rockford, Illinois.  

    Justice Doherty is seeking a Law Clerk to perform legal research, analysis, and writing, to review and assist in the drafting of judicial opinions, orders, and other legal documents, and to perform other duties as needed.  Applicants should possess excellent research, case analysis, and writing skills, and experience as a law clerk in a reviewing court is strongly preferred.  The annual salary for this position is $96,754.  Instructions on how to apply, as well as other details about the position, may be found here.

    Justice Doherty also is seeking a Law Clerk/Judicial Secretary to conduct legal research and assist in drafting memoranda, orders, and opinions, as well as perform administrative duties such as corresponding with the Springfield courthouse and other chambers, tracking the status of motions and cases, paying bills, maintaining case files, and keeping the library up to date.  Applicants should have outstanding academic records and superior research and writing skills, and those with prior experience as a judicial law clerk or in appellate practice will be given preference.  The annual salary for this position is $87,391.  Instructions on how to apply, as well as other details about the position, may be found here.

    Both positions will remain open until filled, but applicants submitting their materials by August 5, 2022, will be given first consideration.

  • July 13, 2022 10:29 PM | Carson Griffis (Administrator)

    The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Judge Eugene Doherty to the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth Judicial District, effective July 14, 2022.

    Judge Doherty has served on the bench in the circuit court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit since 2007.  He won election in 2008, retention in 2014 and 2020, and served as Chief Judge from 2018 to 2021.

    Before joining the bench, Judge Doherty practiced with a law firm in Rockford for 16 years and served as a law clerk to Justice Philip G. Reinhard on the Appellate Court, Second District.  Judge Doherty earned his Juris Doctor from Northern Illinois University College of Law.

    Judge Doherty has served on several Illinois Supreme Court Committees, including as the current Chair of the e-Business Policy Board, as Vice-Chair of Court Operations During COVID-19 Task Force and Chairman of the Task Force’s Evictions Subcommittee, and as a member of the Weighted Caseload Task Force and the Statutory Court Fees Task Force. During his time as Chief Judge in the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, he served as Chairman for the Technology Committee and the Supreme Court Article V Committee of the Conference of Chief Judges.

    The Illinois Supreme Court's announcement of Judge Doherty's appointment may be found here.

  • July 13, 2022 10:22 PM | Carson Griffis (Administrator)

    The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Judge Lance Peterson, who is currently serving on the circuit court for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit, to the Illinois Appellate Court, Third Judicial District, effective August 1, 2022.

    Judge Peterson earned his Juris Doctor from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of The John Marshall Law Review.  Before joining the bench, Judge Peterson served as Grundy County State's Attorney from 1996 to 2001 and as a clerk for Justice Mary Ann McMorrow of the Illinois Supreme Court and Justice Tobias Barry of the Third District. 

    Judge Peterson began his service on the bench as an Associate Judge from 2001 to 2010.  Since 2010, he has served as a Circuit Judge.  Judge Peterson is a member of the Illinois Courts Commission and the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Jury Instructions in Civil Cases, as well as a past member and Chairman of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Coordinating Committee of the Illinois Judicial Conference.

    The Illinois Supreme Court's announcement of Judge Peterson's appointment may be found here.

  • July 11, 2022 6:21 PM | Carson Griffis (Administrator)

    Justice Daniel Schmidt of the Illinois Appellate Court, Third Judicial District, passed away Tuesday, July 5, 2022, after a two-and-a-half battle with ALS.  He was 71.

    After receiving his bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in 1974, Justice Schmidt served as a police officer in Peoria, Illinois, for nine years.  He received his Juris Doctor from Washington University in St. Louis and practiced as a trial attorney for 19 years, trying cases to verdict across Illinois.  He was elected to the appellate court in 2002 and retained in 2012.  Justice Schmidt also was an avid sportsman and conversationist.  

    Information on the services honoring Justice Schmidt may be found here.  The Appellate Lawyers Association expresses its deepest condolences to Justice Schmidt's colleagues and family.

  • June 17, 2022 5:55 PM | Carson Griffis (Administrator)

    Yesterday, Judge Michael S. Kanne of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit passed away.  He was 83 years old.

    Judge Kanne earned his bachelor's degree in 1962 from Indiana University and, after his graduation, served as a lieutenant in the United States Air Force.  Following his military service, he attended Indiana University's Maurer School of Law, where he received his Juris Doctor in 1968. 

    From 1968 to 1982, Judge Kanne worked in private practice, served as a City Attorney for the city of Rensselaer, Indiana, and served as a judge on the Indiana Circuit Court, Thirtieth Judicial Circuit.

    In 1982, President Reagan appointed Judge Kanne to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana and, five years later, to the Seventh Circuit.  During his tenure on the Seventh Circuit, Judge Kanne held several important positions in federal-court administration and governance, including as chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on Space and Facilities and the Committee on Judicial Security.

    The ALA extends its deepest condolences to Judge Kanne's family and colleagues.

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