Alumni On the Move
Alumni of the NIU College of Law are an accomplished and driven group, comprising a nationwide community of legal practitioners, judges, public servants, and educators. We are proud to highlight their distinguished achievements and activities. Check back regularly for updates and see how NIU Law alumni exemplify excellence in their professions.
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- Chris Nickels ('88) was named as a Top 100 Litigator in the state of South Carolina by the American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA).
- Vincent Cornelius ('89) was elected Third Vice-President of the Illinois State Bar Association.
- Richard D. Felice (‘79) will succeed to the office President-Elect of the ISBA.
- Steven A. Andersson (’92) was elected to the ISBA Assembly for the 16th Circuit.
- Susan W. Rogaliner (’91) was elected to the ISBA Assembly for the 16th Circuit.
- Colleen G. Thomas (’94) was elected to the ISBA Assembly for the 16th Circuit.
- Dick B. Williams (’96) was elected to the ISBA Assembly for the 10th Circuit.
- Robert Handley (’78) was elected to the ISBA Assembly for the 18th Circuit.
- Rhonda L. Rosenthal (’95) was elected to the ISBA Assembly for the 22nd Circuit.
- Kenya A. Jenkins-Wright (’03) was elected to the ISBA Assembly for Cook County.
- Julie A. Neubauer (’07) was elected to the ISBA Assembly for Cook County.
- Hon. John A. Wasilewski, ret. (’78) was elected to the ISBA Assembly for Cook County.
- The DeKalb (IL) County Board voted to appoint Riley Oncken ('04) to its open District 3 seat on March 20.
- Alumnus and Board of Visitors member Rich Lenkov ('95) was named to the Advisory Board of Legal Prep Charter Academy, Chicago's first and only legal-themed charter high school.
- Melissa Olivero ('97) was appointed as an Administrative Law Judge by the National Labor Relations Board.
- Hon. Mary Beth Bonaventura ('81) was appointed Director of the Indiana Department of Child Services.
- Brad Antonacci ('02)--Rockford, IL office--and Andrew Keyt ('02)--Peoria, IL office--made partner at the firm of Heyl Royster Voelker & Allen.
- Hon. Charles Weech ('88) was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to the Special Supreme Court Advisory Committee for Justice and Mental Health Planning.
- Rich Lenkov ('95) became the first President of the newly-formed Greater Chicago Chapter of the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM), a trade group including risk and litigation managers, insurance and claims professionals, corporate counsel, outside counsel and vendors to those occupations. CLM features 20,000 members nationally, and 1,345 in the Chicago area chapter.
- Timothy Cusack ('88) and Bradley J. Waller ('88) were appointed judges. Waller joined the bench as an Associate Judge in the 23rd Judicial Circuit in DeKalb County, IL, while Cusack was appointed an Associate Judge to the 10th Judicial Circuit in Peoria, IL.
- Tim Conklin ('04) and Tait Lundgren ('04) made partner with The Foster and Buick Law Group in Sycamore, IL effective January 1, 2013.
- Katherine Haskins Becker ('11) announced the opening of Haskins Becker, P.C. in Wheaton, IL, concentrating its practice in the areas of Divorce and Family Law.
- Dave Neal ('80) has been appointed Special Prosecutor by the Illinois State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor. Special Prosecutors step in, upon appointment by the county's Chief Judge, when an elected State's Attorney is in a position of potential conflict. Neal, a two-term Grundy County State's Attorney, is a Past-President of the Illinois State's Attorneys Association and former Member of the Board of Directors of the National District Attorneys Association. Neal concentrates on cases occurring in Illinois' Second and Third Appellate Court Districts.
- Sonni Williams ('99) has been promoted to Interim Corporation Counsel position for the City of Peoria, Illinois.
- Rene Cruz (’97), Chrystel L. Gavlin (’96), and John Benjamin “Ben” Roe IV (’00) were all appointed judges. Cruz became the newest Associate Judge in the 16th Judicial Circuit of Illinois, Gavlin became an Associate Judge in the 12th Judicial Circuit, and Roe was selected as Resident Circuit Judge of Ogle County, Illinois, 15th Judicial Circuit.
- Ron Matekaitis ('85) was elected Circuit Judge to the newly-created 23rd Circuit Court of Illinois on November 6, 2012.
- Julie Proscia ('03) was selected as one of “40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch” for 2012 by the Law Bulletin Publishing Company.
- Alice Johnson ('02) was recently appointed as the Executive Director of the Illinois Nurses Association, the largest nursing union in the state of Illinois.
- Brian Covert ('09) opened a new law office in Warrenville, IL. Brian's firm focuses on foreclosure defense, loan modification and short sales.
- Craig L. Boston (’09) was hired as an Assistant State’s Attorney in DuPage County, Illinois.
- Matt Pfeiffer ('00) started his own firm, Pfeiffer Law Offices, P.C. in Naperville, IL. He handles a broad range of civil litigation, arbitration, and mediation matters for individuals and small- to medium-size business entities in DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, Lake, McHenry, and Kendall Counties as well as various transactional matters throughout those regions.
- Amy Colby ('04) opened her own practice, Amy Colby Law Firm, in Gonzales, Louisiana after four years as the Executive Counsel for the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services. She will be providing legal counsel in the areas of the Child Welfare System, Adoptions, Family Law, Civil Service Appeals, and Civil Rights Violations.
- John C. Redington ('90) was selected as an associate judge of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit (Lee, Ogle, Carroll, Stephenson, and Jo Daviess counties). Redington, with the Rochelle and Oregon law firm Tess & Redington, is a former Ogle County assistant state’s attorney.
- The 2012 NIU College of Law Alumni Council Award ceremony was held June 8 at River Heights Golf Course in DeKalb. Award recipients included alumni Kenneth C. Chessick (’84), Alumnus of the Year; Tom Kelly (’05), Young Alumnus of the Year; Hon. Carmen Goodman (’95), Distinguished Service Award; and John Monical (’94), Outstanding Service Award.
- Leonardo Castro ('92) was appointed a District Court Judge in the Second Judicial Circuit of Minnesota.
- Ronald F. Wittmeyer, Jr. (’82) was elected Second Vice President of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association.
- Joseph J. Hylak-Reinholtz (’09) moved to Holland & Knight LLP.
- Janet Pioli ('84) elected President of the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago.
- Congratulations to NIU Law alumni James J. Laraia ('01) for being elected Third Vice President and Patrick L. Edgerton ('96) & Matthew J. Pfeiffer ('00) for being elected to the Board of Directors of the DuPage County Bar Association. They were installed as officers on May 11.
- Diana Law ('04) was featured in a Chicago Sun-Times publication as the next Kane County public guardian.
- Congratulations to NIU Law alumni Cherilyn Murer ('78) and Hon. Anthony Iosco ('78). Cherilyn was re-elected as the Chair of the Board of Trustees for fiscal year 2013 and Judge Iosco as a member of the executive board.
- Carolyn Janson (’01) was elected to the Kane County Bar Association Board of Managers.
- Heather Wier Vaught ('05) and her role as Chief Legal Counsel for Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan were featured in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
- Rebecca Dobbs ('06) made partner at the St. Charles office of SmithAmundsen LLC on March 16th. Rebecca is a member of the firm’s Labor and Employment Practice Group where she focuses her practice on employee benefit compliance, administration, and litigation.
- Janet Pioli (’84) was named a Shareholder at Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione.
- Rick Law ('83) and his daughter Diana Law ('04) of Law ElderLaw LLP in Aurora, IL were voted to the list of the Top Ten Illinois Elder Law Attorneys.
- Heather M. Wier Vaught ('05) was was named Chief Legal Counsel to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
- Brad Antonacci ('02), Michael Denning ('02), and Kenya Jenkins Wright ('03) were selected as 2012 Illinois Super Lawyers Rising Stars.
- John Elsner was selected Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit in Illinois.
- NIU Trustee Chair Cherilyn Murer ('78) Gives Lecture on Ethics in Law and Business
- Rick Law (’83) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Elder Law.
- Nancy Chausow Shafer (’80) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Family Law.
- Gregory W. Hoskins (’95) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Real Estate Law: Residential.
- Steven A. Greenberg (’86) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Criminal Defense Law: Felonies and Misdemeanors and Criminal Defense Law: White Collar.
- Peggy D. Gerkin (’88) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Criminal Defense Law: Felonies and Misdemeanors; Family Law; and Worker’s Compensation Law.
- Mr. Joseph G. Feehan (’88) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Personal Injury Defense Law: General; Products Liability Defense Law; and Transportation Defense Law: Including Aviation/FELA/Maritime.
- Lisa M. Nyuli (’89) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Family Law.
- Carol L. Hill (’93) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Family Law.
- Diana M. Law (’04) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Elder Law.
- Kathleen T. Zellner (’81) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Civil Rights/Constitutional Law; Criminal Appellate Law; Criminal Defense Law: Felonies and Misdemeanors; Personal Injury Law: General; and Personal Injury Law: Professional Malpractice.
- James A. Scheer (’78) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Intellectual Property Law.
- John E. Stevens ('78) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Governmental, Municipal, Lobbying & Administrative.
- Nancy Hyzer (’84) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Real Estate Law: Associations & Condominiums; Real Estate Law: Commercial; and Real Estate Law: Residential.
- Mr. Richard S. Lauter (’81) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Bankruptcy & Workout Law: Commercial.
- James R. Patton (’84) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Personal Injury Defense Law: General and Products Liability Defense Law.
- D. Renee Schroeder (’85) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Governmental, Municipal, Lobbying & Administrative Law; Public Finance Law; and Worker’s Compensation Defense Law
- David A. Herman (’92) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Commercial Litigation.
- Gordon W. Gates ('86) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Closely & Privately Held Business Law; Commercial Litigation; Land Use, Zoning & Condemnation Law; and Real Estate Law: Commercial.
- Julie L. Galassi (’87) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Employment Law: Employee and Military Law
- Gabriel M. Rodriguez (’84) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Environmental Law.
- Jeffery T. Kubes (’81) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Commercial Litigation; Personal Injury Defense Law: General: Products Liability Defense Law; and Prof’l Malpractice Defense: Incl. Legal/Technical/Financial.
- Joseph E. Kolar (’85) was named a 2011 Leading Lawyer in Personal Injury Law: General and Personal Injury Law: Professional Malpractice.
- Diann K. Marsalek ('89) was appointed Circuit Judge of Cook County by the Illinois Supreme Court.
- Nerino J. Petro (’88) was named to the “Fastcase 50” in recognition of his leading efforts in advancing legal technology.
- John E. Sebastian (’95), a Partner in the Chicago office of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, was named a member of the prestigious Society of Illinois Construction Attorneys.
- Honorable Joseph G. McGraw (’85) elected Chief Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit Court.
- Brian D. Moore (’92) opened a solo practice in Naperville, IL.
- John T. Elsner ('78) was elected Chief Judge of the Court of the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit of Illinois.
- Marcy L. Buick ('90) Appointed Associate Judge in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit of Illinois
- David P. Olson ('85) of Quarles & Brady in Milwaukee, WI was was named one of The Best Lawyers in America for 2012.
- Dr. Kenneth ('84) and Ellen Chessick Give $3 Million to NIU Athletics
- Cherilyn Murer ('78) Elected Chair of NIU Board of Trustees