Monday, June 6, 2011

Passing the Gavel at the YLS

On June 2, 2011, Jill Eckert McCall, Chair of the CBA Young Lawyers Section, passed the gavel to new Chair, Justin Heather at the YLS’ Annual Meeting. Jill led the YLS through a terrific program year in 2010-11. A shining light of the YLS’ work this past year has been the terrific assistance that YLS members provided to hundreds of Chicago’s “first responders” by drafting wills and other estate planning documents for Chicago Police Officers and Fire Fighters. One of the Police Officers who was helped by the YLS this year, Sgt. Jon Hein, came in person to thank the YLS on behalf of himself and his comrades for, as he put it, “giving [them] peace of mind.”

Congratulations to the CBA YLS Wills for Heroes committee for its work on the program, which earned the chairs the Milton H. Gray Award for outstanding project leadership: Brian Jones, Rowschaun Jones, Tracy Lyerly, and Jason Metnick. Kudos also to the CBA YLS Environmental Law Committee, chaired by David Johnson, David Scriven-Young, and Allison Torrence, who walked away with the David C. Hilliard Award for outstanding committee leadership. And finally, we’ll keep an eye on Donald “Pat” Eckler, a new chair of CBA YLS Tort Litigation Committee, who won the CBA YLS Rising Star award.

Justin Heather, who takes the reins as Chair for this coming year, has been active in the YLS for many years, and was one of the architects of the “Serving Our Seniors” program, created by the Chicago YLS last year under Past Chair Scott Henry’s leadership. Justin brings great experience and enthusiasm to the job of Chair, and we look forward to great things from him in the coming year.

It was my pleasure to serve with Jill McCall this year. We in the “Big Bar,” as they refer to us in the YLS, look forward to more good things from Jill as she “graduates” to serve on the CBF Board of Directors this coming year and then returns to the CBA Board of Managers for the following three years.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Terri Mascherin (left) is shown with Christmas Spirits cast
members Joseph Stone, Sonja Johnson, Corey Berman,
Mary McNichol and Julian Frazin.
 Each December for each of the past 87 years, the talented writers, performers and directors of the Chicago Bar Association’s Christmas Spirits show have entertained audiences in Chicago with their music and wit. The show is a wonderful vehicle for lawyers to laugh at ourselves, and at those in the judicial, political and business communities with whom we deal every day. Over the years the show has raised the ire of the judiciary, prompted a ringing defense of the importance of free speech from the Chicago Tribune and made many, many audiences laugh.

Today, the Chicago Bar Association Board of Managers adopted a Resolution saluting the members, past and present, of the Christmas Spirits show. The Resolution comes at a time when three key members of the show who have led productions for the past several years pass the microphone to new leaders and prepare to take their seats in the audience (or so they say). Special kudos go to Sonja Johnson, Corey Berman and Mary McNichols upon their retirement from Christmas Spirits. The text of the Board Resolution follows.
This Resolution honors the past and present members of The Chicago Bar Association’s Annual "Christmas Spirits" show, and memorializes the Board of Managers’ heartfelt appreciation to these extraordinary men and women who have entertained us, and have provided us with so much laughter and so many fond memories for eighty seven years (and counting):

WHEREAS, the annual production of the "Christmas Spirits" Bar Show is a cornerstone of holiday entertainment for Chicago Bar Association members and their clients, families and guests;
WHEREAS, "Christmas Spirits" was organized in 1924 by John D. Black, the first Chairman of The Chicago Bar Association's Entertainment Committee, along with Entertainment Committee members, Russell Whitman, Edwin C. Austin, Homer H. Cooper and Richard Bentley;WHEREAS, Using their keen wit and freewheeling sense of humor, the founding members of the Chicago Bar Association's Entertainment Committee charted an ageless course for this "rollicking, impudent and uninhibitively perceptive annual frolic known as Christmas Spirits";
WHEREAS, Since its debut performance in 1924, the curtain has continuously opened on a brand new "Christmas Spirits" production every year for 87 consecutive years;

WHEREAS, on December 7-11, 2010, the 87th Annual Performance of "Christmas Spirits" was presented by a cast of 58, including choreographers, directed by Mary McNichols, lyrics and book by Art Garwin and Julian Frazin, and a Writers Committee consisting of John Corkery, Clifford Berman, Sonja Johnson (who also served as Business and Road Show Manager for many years), David Miller, Joseph Stone, Richard Vittenson, and accompanist Corey Berman;

WHEREAS, "Christmas Spirits" has withstood and weathered the harshness of critics for its impertinent and satirical assaults on important local, national and international figures - - - In 1930 George Packard prophetically wrote:

"Bootleg liquor and Christmas Spirits grow deadlier every year, but the stouter they are the better their patrons seem to enjoy them…The perpetuation of Christmas Spirits as a yearly event seems assured.";

WHEREAS, President Frank Greenberg wrote following considerable criticism of a number performed by John Tucker in the 1969 Christmas Spirits show:
"The show is either worth keeping as a free expression by the Entertainment Committee without censorship by the Board of Managers, or it is not worth keeping at all. We have seen the risks. But it seems to me that you either take the risk of the kind of reaction we have just had or you take an even less acceptable risk of reducing the show to a level of cautious banality, guaranteed to offend nobody and to interest few.";
WHEREAS, in 1929 George Swain, who was described as "an inveterate lyricist," penned the show’s most famous and enduring song "The Junior Partners," which has been performed annually by the cast at every Christmas Spirits show since 1929;
WHEREAS, year after year, the "Christmas Spirits" cast delivers a finely tuned, professional quality performance, with cleverly crafted lyrics poking fun at the legal profession, government at every level, and the sports and entertainment industries, while at the same time reminding us that the "Junior Partners" are the aces who win the cases, and are the ones who bring in all the fees;
WHEREAS, The Chicago Bar Association is fortunate to have had, and have, within its own ranks the most creative, talented, and dedicated members of a professional association of lawyers anywhere in the world.

I, the undersigned, do hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and complete copy of a Resolution adopted at a meeting of the Board of Managers of The Chicago Bar Association duly called and held at the quarters of the Association, 321 South Plymouth Court, Chicago, Illinois, on the 26th day of May, 2011, a quorum being present, and said Resolution is now in full force and effect.
Dated: May 26, 2011
Terri L. Mascherin
The Chicago Bar Association

Our special thanks also to all the Chairs of the Entertainment Committee (listed below) for their outstanding leadership.
1924 John D. Black
1925 Edwin C. Austin
1926 Edwin C. Austin
1927 Edwin C. Austin
1928 Ernest Palmer
1929 Franklin E. Vaughan
1930 George W. Swain
1931 Holman D. Pettibone
1932 Henry G. Miller
1933 John R. Heath
1934 Don Kenneth Jones
1935 Ralph D. Shanesy
1936 Ralph D. Shanesy
1937 Warren D. Buckley
1938 Warren D. Buckley
1939 Cranston Spray
1940 Chester R. Davis
1941 Thomas R. Mulroy
1942 L. Duncan Lloyd
1943 L. Duncan Lloyd
1944 Pressly L. Stevenson
1945 Thomas J. Underwood
1946 John Jones Sharon
1947 Charles R. Sprowl
1948 Allen D. Holloway
1949 Edwin R. Eckersall
1950 William H. Murphy
1951 Norman B. Eaton
1952 Gene C. Davis
1953 Russel M. Baird
1954 Arlindo S. Cate
1955 Vernon A. Peterson
1956 Robt. W. MacDonald
1957 Edward Hershenson
1958 Robt. F. Gudmundsen
1959 Farrington B. Kinne
1960 Robert F. Hanley
1961 Melvin C. Holmes
1962 Richard G. Kahn
1963 Fred Lane
1964 Gilbert H. Hennessy, Jr.
1965 Charles H. Scholfield
1966 Robert Jay Nye
1967 John H. McDermott
1968 Graham E. Heniken
1969 Royce Glenn Rowe
1970 Joseph L. Stone
1971 Phillip M. Citrin
1972 James R. Dowdall
1973 Julian J. Frazin
1974 E. Leonard Rubin
1975 J. Timothy Ritchie
1976 Joseph Winslow Baer
1977 Leonard Kravets
1978 Howard I. Wittenberg
1979 Dean M. Trafelet
1980 John E. Corkery
1981 Geoffrey A. Anderson
1982 Charles N. Goodnow
1983 Nathan G. Brenner, Jr.
1984 Chloe Arlan
1985 Stanley Zimmerman
1986 Frank T. Steponate
1987 Frederic S. Lane
1988 Gary S. Saipe
1989 Amy T. Dickinson
1990 Evan B. Karnes, II
1991 Chester R. Davis
1992 Mary J. McNichols
1993 Brian R. Gilomen
1994 Jeffrey M. Marks
1995 Sonja R. Johnson
1996 Allen S. Gabe
1997 Arthur H. Garwin
1998 Nandia P. Black
1999 Robert Canel
2000 Clifford Berman
2001 Corey Berman
2002 Loretto Kennedy
2003 Edith Schiller
2004 Richard L. Nagle
2005 Daniel Teinowitz
2006 Keri-Lyn Krafthefer
2007 Diana Vargo-Lewandowski
2008 Larry H. Aaronson
2009 Kathryn A. Kelly

2010 Richard J. Vittenson

Terry Mascherin (left) is pictured with cast members of Christmas

Spirits: Joseph Stone,Sonja Johnson, Corey Berman, Mary

McNichols and Julian Frazin.

that the Chicago Bar Association’s Board of Managers hereby recognizes, and proudly supports, the extraordinary contributions of past and present cast members who have written and performed "Christmas Spirits" through the ages, making it a wonderful holiday entertainment tradition that continues to make us laugh and smile at ourselves and our world. The Board of Managers extends its profound thanks, gratitude, and appreciation to the supremely talented men and women of the legal profession who make "Christmas Spirits" possible. They're each and every one of them a credit to the Bar.



Friday, March 11, 2011

Learning to Live in Italian Time

Chancery Court, Rome
Alore! Today we got to experience an Italian institution – the “general strike.” More on that in a couple of minutes.

We started the day with three great CLE programs. In the first, Professor Francesco Francioni of the European International Institute spoke on “Investment Arbitration and Human Rights.” Those are two topics which one would not normally think are corrected. But, as Professor Francioni explained, as more national governments enter into contracts and joint ventures with foreign investors, issues usually found in the realm of Human Rights litigation – like protection of the environment, the right to earn a livelihood and indigenous peoples’ rights to land – are creeping into disputes in international arbitration. Some international legislation – like the Vienna Convention – specifically allows for the consideration of International law, which may include human rights law. 

At the Chancery Court
 The second panel was a rousing participatory session on ethics, moderated by our Conference Chair Tim Eaton, and featuring commentary from Judge Sophia Hall, Ian Fisher and Dan Kotin. That discussion was made more interesting because Professor Francioni stayed with us and offered his thoughts about EU ethics law – which is in many ways very different from our Code.
Finally, Bishop Danieli, Secretary of the Apostolic Signatura (the Vatican court of last resort) spoke about that Court and the types of cases that it hears.

 We then headed out for a tour of the Apostolic Signatura. Due to the aforementioned “general strike,” with which our private charter bus drivers were in sympathy, we piled into about 15 taxis. That was well and good, until we discovered that all the main streets had been closed for a parade of protestors who were part of the general strike. After 45 minutes of circling Rome by taxi, we gave up and walked the rest of the way to the Signatura.

 A reception room at the Chancery Court
 The roundabout travel was worth it – the Apostolic Signatura, along with the other Vatican or Chancery Courts – are located in a beautiful palazzo – the first Renaissance palace built in Rome. Originally built as the home of a Cardinal who came from a wealthy family, the palace was eventually taken over by the pope, and in the 19th century the Vatican Courts were moved there. We toured two of the public re caption rooms in the palace, guided by a priest from New Jersey who has worked in the courts for several years. It was a special experience to be able to visit the Vatican Courts.

Our special thanks to CBA member and long-time supporter Bishop Tom Paprocki of Springfield for arranging both for Bishop Danieli’s talk and for the tour of the Vatican Courts, and for joining us here in Rome.

The General Strike

Thursday, March 10, 2011

When in Rome . . .

The main courtroom of the Court di Cassazione,
the Italian Supreme Court.

On March 9 a group of 65 members and friends of the Chicago Bar Association kicked off the CBA’s fifth annual CLE Abroad trip in Rome, Italy. We began in regal style with a wonderful reception hosted by the Italian law firm Gianni, Origoni, Grippo & Partners. Gianni, Origoni’s Rome office occupies three floors of a 15th Century Palazzo (palace) at the Corner of Four Fountains in Rome. The Palazzo is still decorated as it was when a 15th century Bishop and his family occupied the building. The law firm greeted us with a buffet of Italian delicacies worthy of a State visit. Our sincere thanks to Francesco Gianni, name partner in the firm, for so generously and graciously hosting us.

The next morning, March 10, we hosted four different CLE sessions, which included distinguished guests from the Rome Bar and from the faculty of Loyola University Chicago’s Rome campus, including Emilio Iodice, Claudio Lodici and Alexander Guttieres. CBA members and friends who participated included Judge William J. Bauer, Judge Timothy C. Evans, Judge Cheryl Cesario , YSL First Vice Chair Justin Heather, John H. Morrison, Carrie DiSanto, Willie Miller, Saverio Mirarchi, and Notre Dame Law Professor Douglass Cassel.

Our group with officers of the Rome Bar at the Court di Cassazione

With our Italian colleagues
on the staircase at the Court di Cassazione

Following the CLE sessions, we gathered at the Court di Cassazione, the highest court in Italy, and the equivalent of the United States Supreme Court. There we met with officers of the Rome Bar, then toured the Courthouse. We were honored to meet with a panel of judges from the Court (except in extraordinary cases the Court sits in three separate 5-judge panels). We learned that there is a right of appeal to the Court di Cassazione in all cases, civil and criminal. The criminal division of that court alone disposes of over 4,000 cases each year, and the judges have no clerks or assistants – they write all of the decisions themselves. The Court reviews only errors of law – unlike the Italian appellate courts, which can when they see fit conduct a retrial in any case. We also learned that because of this three-level court process and the absolute right to appeal at each level, cases can take many years to be resolved.

We are making many friends here in Rome. As always when we make trips abroad, we are finding that there is much to be learned – good and bad – from our brothers and sisters in the law in Italy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

CBA Members Admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar

This morning, I ran my record in the United States Supreme Court to three and one – in motions to admit attorneys to the Bar of that Court. Today, I had the pleasure of moving the admission of 11 Chicago Bar Association Members into that Bar. Kimberly Taylor moved the admission of another four of our members.

We assembled in the East Conference Room of the Court.
Our group assembled bright and early in the morning for photos on the steps of the Supreme Court, then enjoyed a breakfast in the East Conference room of the Court. That Conference Room, used for official Court functions, is decorated with portraits of past United States Supreme Court Justices, including Rehnquist, Warren, Burger and Taft. We heard from retired Major General William Suter, the Clerk of the Court, who regaled us with stories about oral arguments past.

Our group on the steps of the Supreme Court building.
 Then the highlight of the day – we filed into the Supreme Court Courtroom, where, before arguments began, I got to stand before the justices and move the admissions of our members. I am happy to say that the Court granted my motion without a moment’s hesitation (and with no difficult questions).

We then settled in to watch two oral arguments – in Camreta v. Green and Schindler Elevator Corp. v. United States ex rel. Kirk. The Camreta case is a closely-watched case coming out of the Ninth Circuit, in which the court below held that a child abuse investigator with the State of Oregon violated the Fourth Amendment by failing to obtain either a warrant or parental consent before pulling a child from class at school and questioning her about whether her parents were abusing her. The Court was very lively during argument, and appeared to be very interested in whether the case is now moot and whether it should simply vacate the portion of the Ninth Circuit’s decision finding a Fourth Amendment violation. The second case presented the question whether a FOIA response can fall within the exception to the right to bring qui tam actions under the False Claims Act where a claim is based upon information discernable from a government “report.” On that issue, as well, the Court engaged in very active questioning.
Justice Alito greets my mother, Kathryn Mascherin,
and me in his chambers

A highlight of the morning for me (and my mother, Kay, who was my guest for the morning) was the opportunity to visit briefly after the morning court session with Justice Samuel Alito, the son of family friends, who attended the same high school that I attended back in Hamilton, N.J.

It’s always a pleasure to be able to visit the Supreme Court. Whenever I see the Court in action I am convinced that we have the best justice system in the world, and I am proud to be a part of it.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Who Wants to Be a Lawyer?

The Chicago Bar Association is honored this week to participate in tours of the Daley Center Courthouse in celebration of Black History Month. This week, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans of the Circuit Court of Cook County is hosting visits by groups of students from Chicago middle and high schools. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to three groups of students.

I engaged the students in a discussion about the skills that lawyers need to bring home to them that they can become lawyers. “Who likes to argue?” I asked the students. “Who likes to dress up and perform?” “Who likes to write?” These are the kinds of things that lawyers need to like to do, I explained. The students showed a good knowledge about our court system – explaining to me who both Justice Sonya Sotomayor and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor are, and why they are important. I shared with the group the url for Justice O’Connor’s civic education website,, which includes several good computer games designed to teach students about the Constitution, the court system and government.

The session yesterday was hosted by Judge Evans, and the other speakers included Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Judge Leonard Murray, Chair of the Illinois Judicial Council, Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago President, Tonya Wilkes Moore, and Cook County Bar Association President Lawrence Hill. Later this week, CBA officers Aurora Abella-Austriaco and Dan Cotter, and YLS leaders Jill Eckert McCall and Justin Heather will take turns speaking to the students. The CBA is delighted to be involved in this important civic education program.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Keys to the Ritz

One of my favorite quotations about access to justice, often attributed to a Justice Sturgess, goes like this:

“Justice is open to everyone in the same way as the Ritz Hotel.”

A group of Chicago lawyers, working through the Chicago Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Foundation, are getting ready to pass out lots of keys to the Ritz Hotel in the courtrooms of the First Municipal District of the Circuit Court of Cook County. The CBA and the CBF, in partnership with the Circuit Court, the Judges of the First Municipal District, and CBF grantees CARPLS and the Chicago Legal Clinic, have formed a new Municipal Court Pro Bono Panel Program to provide pro bono counsel to indigent litigants who face mandatory arbitrations or jury trials in the First Municipal District. Today I was privileged to address a group of about 70 lawyers who have volunteered to be the charter members of that Panel.

Four law firms have answered the call to provide lawyers for the Municipal Court Pro Bono Panel pilot program: Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, Segal, McCambridge, Singer & Mahoney, Winston & Strawn LLP, and my own firm, Jenner & Block LLP. Our thanks to those four firms for supporting this program, to the willing associates from those firms who have volunteered to represent Municipal Court litigants, and to the partners from those firms who have agreed to provide supervision and guidance to their associates.

Our thanks also to CARPLS for supporting our training and agreeing to screen cases for pro bono placement, to the Chicago Legal Clinic for supporting our training and providing volunteer support, to Megan McClung and Scott Henry, both former CBA YLS Chairs, for putting in lots of legwork to get the program organized, and, especially, to former YLS Chair Judge Thomas Donnelly for bringing the need for pro bono representation in Municipal Court to the CBA/CBF’s attention and for conceiving the idea for the Pro Bono Panel.

Thanks to this wonderful group of lawyers, access to justice is about to become a reality for many, many litigants in the First Municipal District.