CDEL 3-1-21,ph01
(Left to right) Attorneys Kenneth S. Shiner, Karen J. Boyd, Elizabeth “Libby” C. Wood and Catherine S. Taylor Cappel volunteers at an outdoor workshop with Center for Disability and Elder Law. The four were recognized for their efforts at CDEL’s annual Light Up the Loop benefit last week. – YouTube screenshot/Center for Disability and Elder Law

CDEL honors its innovative volunteers

The Center for Disability and Elder Law held its annual Light Up the Loop benefit Wednesday, honoring community members who stepped up to help those severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dickerson Award winners talk justice, legacy

The Chicago Bar Association honored four attorneys at its annual Earl B. Dickerson Awards ceremony on Wednesday, recognizing individuals who have advocated for racial justice in their legal careers.

Pritzker signs criminal justice reform bill

SPRINGFIELD — Gov. JB Pritzker signed a criminal justice omnibus bill backed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus Monday, abolishing cash bail, overhauling police certification and reforming use-of-force standards among numerous other provisions.

Madigan resigning from House

SPRINGFIELD — State Rep. Michael J. Madigan, a Chicago Democrat who virtually set Illinois’ political agenda as House speaker before he was ousted last month, announced Thursday that he is resigning his seat in the legislature.

United must face suit over COVID-19 cancelled flights

The COVID-19 pandemic is not a catch-all excuse for United Airlines to refuse to pay refunds to passengers whose flights are cancelled, a federal judge held.

Trial highlights: Harrowing footage, focus on Trump’s words

WASHINGTON — House Democrats opened their first day of arguments in former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with searing footage of the U.S. Capitol riot as they painted Trump as an “inciter in chief” who systematically riled up his supporters and falsely convinced them the election had been stolen, culminating in the deadly attack.

CTU dues check-off suit tossed

The Chicago Teachers Union is not violating the First Amendment by limiting its members to the month of August to revoke their authorization to have dues deducted from their paychecks, a federal judge held.

Taft starts public affairs group

As one of America’s historic political dynasties, the Taft name is nothing new in D.C. Now, the Midwestern firm bearing the same name is headed to Washington and launching a lobbying wing.

TikTok owner ByteDance to pay $92M in BIPA settlement

SAN FRANCISCO — TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance has agreed to pay $92 million in a settlement to Illinois users who are part of a class-action lawsuit alleging that the video-sharing app failed to get their consent to collect data in violation of a strict state privacy law.

Mel Katten, namesake at Katten Muchin Rosenman, retires

According to Melvin L. Katten, founding partner of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, building one of the biggest law firms in the country required the “hard work and unswerving determination of a few entrepreneurial lawyers” — and also a bit of luck.

Courts & Cases

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Trial Notebook


First Amendment issue of ‘ballot selfies’ brought to court

Trista Oettle wanted to take a “ballot selfie” when she voted in Clinton County, 37 miles east of St. Louis, on Nov. 6, 2018. But she backed off after an election judge told her she “would go to prison” if she did. This warning was based on Section 29-9 of the Illinois Election Code. Under Section 29–9 (“Unlawful observation of voting,”) “any person who knowingly marks his ballot or casts his vote on a voting machine or voting device so that it can be observed by another person” is guilty of a Class 4 felony. In a state court case that relied on 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, Oettle alleged that Section 29-9 violated her right of free speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Legal History


March 1

See if you know what happened on this date in Legal History with Karen Conti.

Cotter's Corner


High court’s continual use of shadow docket draws concern

We have often written over the last few years about the increasing use of the “shadow docket” by the Supreme Court and concerns over it. Last week, while taping “The Podium and Panel,” we discussed a recent Slate article about the topic. The court resumed hearings last week and issued several orders and decisions, one of which drew fire for its dissent by Justice Clarence Thomas.

Family Law


Proactivity can be key for a successful surrogacy experience

Since the month of March is Surrogacy Awareness Month, it is an important time to review the steps that will result in a successful and positive surrogacy experience. Every state’s laws concerning surrogacy are unique, so it is important to work with legal counsel in your state of residence to ensure you are following the appropriate steps for your location.

Opening Statement


Making us laugh is essential work

Congratulations, America! It looks like our yearlong pandemic nightmare may finally be coming to an end.

Lex Sportiva


The plot thickens in players’ defamation suit over PEDs report

When a professional baseball player is accused of using performance-enhancing drugs (“PEDs,” inclusive of hormones for purposes of this article), the implications can be catastrophic.

Opening Statement


Impeachment trial wouldn’t work on stage

A few weeks back I wrote that if you were longing for exciting live theater, you would find it in the upcoming televised impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

Sports Marketing Playbook


Sports world found silver linings amid turmoil

It goes without saying that 2020 proved to be a year like no other. The COVID-19 pandemic upended the sports world, forcing leagues and governing bodies to shut down in March and cancel or delay their events and entire seasons.

Opening Statement


Magician brings the wonder in Hulu doc

A few weeks ago I wrote a column about an online magic show I found disappointing.

Social Scene


Legal ethics on TV

A panel looked at the lawyering by famous fictional attorneys during a virtual CLE program Thursday, “Legal Ethics and Professionalism of Your Favorite TV Shows, Yada, Yada,” hosted by Clifford Law Offices. The panel included Jayne Rizzo Reardon, executive director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism; Lake County Circuit Judge Daniel B. Shanes, chair of the Illinois Judicial College Board of Trustees; and James P. Doppke, a partner at Robinson Stewart Montgomery & Doppke LLC and a former ARDC litigator. The panel was moderated by Robert A. Clifford. Screenshot provided by Clifford Law Offices

CBA panel on motion practice

The Chicago Bar Association hosted a CLE program, “Motion Practice in Cook County Circuit Court’s Law Division,” on Jan. 14 over Zoom, moderated by. Sarah F. King and Charles R. Haskins of Clifford Law Offices. Law Division Presiding Judge James P. Flannery talked about the pandemic’s impact on the division; Circuit Judge John H. Ehrlich addressed remote case management; Circuit Judge Christopher E. Lawler shared details on remote pre-trials; Circuit Judge James E. Snyder offered tips on the commercial calendar and Circuit Judge Lorna E. Propes explained Zoom jury selection and trials. Screenshot provided by Clifford Law Offices

Vaughan takes 5th District Appellate Court seat oath

Illinois Supreme Court Justice David K. Overstreet (right) administers the oath of office to 5th District Appellate Court Justice Barry L. Vaughan on Jan. 4. Vaughan, who was a 2nd Judicial Circuit Court judge, is on temporary assignment until the 2022 election. Photo provided by Barry L. Vaughan

Justice Martin takes the oath

Justice LeRoy K. Martin Jr. takes the oath of office Monday to join the 1st District Appellate Court. His appointment follows Justice Shelvin Louise Marie Hall’s retirement last month. While a circuit judge, Martin served as the presiding judge of Criminal Division starting in 2015. Photo courtesy of the Illinois Supreme Court

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