YLS Officers and Directors
||YLS Chair - Natacha D. McClain
is currently Chair of The Chicago Bar Association’s Young Lawyers
Section (YLS). Natacha is a senior associate at Segal McCambridge
Singer & Mahoney and focuses her practice on products liability,
construction, employment, and general civil litigation matters in both
state and federal court. She also has experience in commercial
litigation matters with the American Arbitration Association.
Natacha grew up in Lake Forest, Illinois and attended Lake Forest
College where she received her degree in Economics and French. She
began her legal and bar career with the CBA after receiving her JD and
MBA from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio in
As YLS Chair, Natacha introduced the 2012-2013 bar year theme,
“Get Involved in Your Community,” and will launch dozens of
member and public service projects throughout the coming year. She
is an active pro bono volunteer and oversees Segal McCambridge’s
Homeless Experience Legal Protection Program (HELP) in the firm’s
Chicago office, coordinating efforts with the Chicago Coalition for the
Homeless. Natacha also serves on the Chicago Bar Foundation Young
Natacha lives in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago with her husband,
Justin, and two children, Lance and Sienna.
||First Vice-Chair - Mary K. Curry
received her B.A. from the University of Iowa in 1999 and graduated from
Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2005. Immediately following
law school she clerked for the Honorable Patrick E. McGann followed by a
clerkship with James F. Henry in the Chancery Division of the Circuit
Court of Cook County for two years. In 2007, Mary began clerking for the
Honorable Susan E. Cox, a United States Magistrate Judge in the Northern
District of Illinois, where she is currently.
Mary's involvement in The Chicago Bar Association began in 2005 when she
served as the Young Lawyers Division Chair for the Mental Health &
Disability Law Committee for two years. Following that position, Mary
joined the Young Lawyers Division's board serving as Secretary, Special
Project Coordinator, Project Officer, and as Vice-Chair.
||Second Vice-Chair - Paul
Ochmanek has assisted condominium associations with
collections, foreclosure actions, building code violations and rule
Paul's association work includes:
- Declaration and rule enforcement
- Assessment collection as well as forcible entry and detainer
- Representing Associations at administrative hearings on building
- Representing Associations in foreclosure actions
- Assisting with "turn-over" from the Developer to the newly formed
- Chicago Bar Association, 2005-present
- Young Lawyers Section, Co-Chair Real Estate Committee 2007-2008
- Young Lawyers Section, Committee Director 2008-2010
- Young Lawyers Section, Secretary, 2010-201
Honors and Awards
- The Young Lawyer Section (YLS) of the Chicago Bar Association (CBA)
"Rising Star Award" for a YLS leader with exceptional promise - June 5,
- The YLS of the CBA David C. Hilliard Award for "Outstanding
Committee Service (Real Estate Committee 2007-2008).
||Member Service Manager - Brian K.
Jones is a Partner at Harrison & Held, LLP. His practice is
centered on estate planning and administration, which includes business
succession planning. He has attained an AV Peer Review Rating from
Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating attainable for ethical standards
and legal ability, and for the past two years, he has been recognized by
Super Lawyer and Chicago magazine as an Illinois
Rising Star. In 2011, Brian received the Milton H. Gray Award from the
Chicago Bar Association for Outstanding Project Leadership. He is an
active member of the Chicago Bar Association, where he currently serves
on the Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee as the Member Service
Manager. Previously, he served as Secretary/Treasurer and earlier,
Director, with oversight of the Estate Planning Committee and the Wills
For Heroes Foundation.
Brian is also a member of the Chicago Estate Planning Council, the
Lawyers Club of Chicago, the American Bar Association and the Illinois
Bar Association. He is actively involved with the Wills For Heroes
Foundation - which provides free estate plans to first responders no
less frequently than every other month during the year. He is a member
of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and remains closely involved with the
Brian received his B.A. from Eastern Illinois University in 2000. He was
a four year letterman in football, a member of the Dean's List, and was
recognized as a Merit Scholar Athlete in 1999 and 2000. He received his
J.D. from The John Marshall Law School in 2006, where he was a member of
the Dean's List.
||Public Service Manager - Vikram R.
Barad is an associate with the Maxwell Law Group, LLC. He
concentrates his practice in the areas of bankruptcy litigation,
restructuring and creditors' rights. He has counseled debtors, trustees,
and secured and unsecured creditors in a variety of bankruptcy matters
including chapter 11 bankruptcy cases, out-of-court workouts, and
related transactions. In addition, Mr. Barad has experience in all
aspects of bankruptcy proceedings, including plan formulation and
confirmation, contested use of cash collateral, modification of the
automatic stay, preference and fraudulent conveyance litigation, and the
purchase and sale of assets out of bankruptcy. For the last several
years, Mr. Barad has been recognized by Illinois Super Lawyers
magazine as an Illinois Rising Star.
Mr. Barad has been actively involved in the legal community for over
seven years, particularly with the Chicago Bar Association, Young
Lawyers' Section. Prior to his current role as Member Service Manager,
Mr. Barad served as Treasurer and prior to that position, as Director
for three years. In addition to his involvement with the Chicago Bar
Association, Mr. Barad is also active with the Credit Abuse Resistance
Education program, a volunteer national financial literacy initiative
that teaches the importance of financial education and illuminates the
dangers of credit abuse, to educators, students and to the general
Mr. Barad received his undergraduate degree from University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign, where he double majored in Psychology and Finance.
He received his law degree from the University of Wisconsin School of
||Secretary/Treasurer - Ashly A. Iacullo
Boesche is an associate at Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury,
Hilliard & Geraldson LLP, an intellectual property boutique in
Chicago. Ms. Boesche focuses her practice on litigation and
counseling in the areas of trademark, and copyright law, and on global
brand development and trademark prosecution.
Ms. Boesche is active in the intellectual property legal community.
She is a member of the Young Professionals Board for the Chicago Bar
Association and has served with the Chicago Bar Association, Young
Lawyers' Section in a variety of roles including as the vice-chair
(2007-2008) and co-chair (2009-2010) of the Chicago Bar Association,
Young Lawyers' Section, Intellectual Property Committee. In 2010,
Ms. Boesche was awarded with the David C. Hilliard Award for
Outstanding Committee Chair by Chicago Bar Association and was
recognized as a Rising Star by Law and Politics. Ms. Boesche currently
serves as a Director of Chicago Bar Association, Young Lawyers' Section
and also chairs the Technology and Education Committee for the Chicago
Intellectual Property Alliance.
Ms. Boesche received her Bachelor of Arts. from DePaul University
and her Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law.
||Project Officer - Matthew A. Passen,
attorney with Passen Law Group, represents plaintiffs in serious
personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death actions. He
received his B.A., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in
Economics from the University of Michigan in 2002, and law degree,
summa cum laude, Order of the Coif, from DePaul University
College of Law in 2006. Prior to joining Passen Law Group, Mr. Passen
was an associate in the litigation department of Jenner & Block LLP
Mr. Passen was named a "Rising Star" By Super Lawyers in 2012, and is
recognized by Martindale-Hubbell as an AV® rated attorney, the
highest such rating available to any individual lawyer. He also received
a "Rising Star Award" from the CBA YLS in 2010.
Mr. Passen serves on the editorial board of the CBA Record, and
previously held the position of Co-Editor-in-Chief of the YLS
Journal. In addition to his role as Officer of the YLS, he is a
member of the CBA Judicial Evaluation Committee, CLE Committee and
Membership Committee. Mr. Passen is also a member of the Chicago Bar
Foundation’s Young Professionals Board, and was recently appointed
Vice President of the Board.
Mr. Passen is also a member of the Rehabilitation Institute of
Chicago’s Associate Board, and served on the Board of Directors of
the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Chicago. He was
recently appointed to the Board of Managers of the Illinois Trial
Lawyers Association, and also serves on the Board of Governors of the
American Association for Justice, New Lawyers Division.
||Project Officer - Martin V. Sinclair
Jr. is an associate attorney with the law firm of Skadden,
Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. He is a member of the firm's
litigation practice group with a focus in complex corporate litigation,
including securities fraud claims, international arbitration,
shareholder demands, and appellate advocacy. As a part of his practice,
Mr. Sinclair is also devoted to pro bono work. Prior to joining Skadden,
Arps, Mr. Sinclair served as a law clerk to the Honorable William J.
Bauer of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Sinclair has also
taught appellate advocacy at the Loyola University Chicago School of
||Co-Editor in Chief YLS Journal - Adam
J. Sheppard is a partner in the Law Office of Barry D. Sheppard
& Associates, P.C., a firm which specializes in defense of criminal
cases. In addition to serving as Co-Editor-in-Chief of the YLS Journal,
Mr. Sheppard serves on the editorial board of the CBA Record. Mr.
Sheppard has published a number of legal articles that have appeared in
the CBA Record and other legal periodicals. Mr. Sheppard has
also lectured at the Young Lawyers Section Criminal Committee.
Mr. Sheppard graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2005, where
he had been the recipient of a Chicago-Kent Merit-Award Scholarship. Mr.
Sheppard was also the recipient Northwest Suburban Bar Association Merit
Award Scholarship, the CALI Award for excellence in the area of
Futures-Commodities Regulations, and a finalist in the Charles Evans
Hughes Oral Advocacy Competition. Prior to joining The Law Office of
Barry D. Sheppard & Associates, Mr. Sheppard gained extensive trial
experience with the Cook County Public Defender's Office as the
recipient of the Jack Carey Merit Award Scholarship.
Bar Admissions: Federal Trial Bar, U.S. District Court; Northern
District of Illinois, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of
Wisconsin; State of Illinois.
Law School: Chicago-Kent College of Law, 2005
Bar/Professional Organizations: Young Lawyers Section/Chicago Bar
Association (Co-Editor of YLS Journal; YLS Officer; Editorial Board;
Criminal Law Committee), Constitutional Rights Foundation (Lawyer in the
Classroom), National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Illinois
State Bar Association, Decalogue Society of Lawyers, Shomrim Society of
Illinois Inc.: Chicago Police Branch.
Other Relevant Employment Experience: Clerk of the Cook County
Circuit Court; Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office.
Recent Publications: Co-Editor/Contributing Author of 2011 YLS
40th Anniversary Book: "Celebrating 40 Years Service, A Brief History of
the Young Lawyers Section," May/June 2011, "Working in a Family-Run Law
Practice," CBA Record, February/March 2011, "A Trail Blazing
Opinion - Justice Stevens' Role in Making Federal Sentencing Matters
More Flexible," CBA Record, September 2010, "Hey Teachers,
Leave Them Kids Alone," [re: school searches], CBA Record,
July, 2010, "10 Tips for Young Lawyers," CBA Record, April, 2010, "The
Hits Just Keep Coming: PLEA: The Chicago Bar Association's 87th Annual
Christmas Spirits Show," CBA Record, 2011, "The 2009 Chicago
Bar Association's 86th Annual Christmas Spirits Show," CBA
Record, January 2010, "Back to School: What Parents and Students
Should Know About Extracurricular Activities," The Tablets
(Decalogue Newsletter), Fall 2009.
Lectures: Practicing Law in a Family-Run Law Practice,
CBA/YLS Criminal Law Committee, 1/7/11; Production of
Non-Transactional Informants, CBA/YLS Criminal Law Committee
||Bibek Das is an associate at Tribler
Orpett & Meyer, P.C. He concentrates his practice in construction
litigation, general tort and coverage matters. He received a B.A. from
the University of Chicago in 1999 and graduated from DePaul College of
Law in 2003.
Mr. Das has been involved in the Chicago Bar Association since 2010 as a
Chair and Vice-Chair for the Racial and Diversity Committee. He is also
active in other professional organizations including the Illinois Bar
Association, Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, and as a
Licensed Arbitrator Chairperson for the Circuit Court of Cook County. He
has been recognized in Illinois as a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyer
||Malcolm "Skip" Harsch works for the
American Bar Association as an Associate Director in the Center for
Continuing Legal Education. He designs and implements distance-learning
courses for ABA Members and other legal professionals. His areas of
focus are mainly the Intellectual Property, Education, and Labor &
Skip is a native of Illinois with strong ties to the Midwest. Skip
received his bachelor of science from the University of Iowa and his JD
from DePaul University College of law. While at DePaul, Skip began his
association and non-profit crusade as a summer intern for Lambda Legal.
In addition to his service for the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers
Section, Skip is a board member for the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association
of Chicago and the National LGBT Bar Association. He is also the
President of the Board for Lights Out Theatre Company, a company of
multi-disciplined artists dedicated to serving Chicago audiences with
fresh and provocative theatrical productions.
||Daniel Hwang is an associate with
Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP. Daniel
assists clients on a variety of trademark portfolio management,
registration and enforcement issues. He has experience assisting clients
with domain name enforcement, international trademark registration and
enforcement campaigns, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings, and
federal litigation. Daniel is also a registered U.S. Patent Attorney and
an active officer of both local and national intellectual bar
associations including the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section
and the International Trademark Association.
Daniel graduated from the University of Illinois School of Law, where he
served as an Articles Editor for the Journal of Law, Technology &
Policy, and President of the Student Bar Association. Daniel earned his
Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from Washington University
in St. Louis
||Jennifer P. Irmen is a trial attorney
at the Chicago law firm of Anesi Ozmon Rodin Novak & Kohen where she
prosecutes construction negligence, products liability, medical
malpractice, premises liability, and auto liability matters. Jennifer
recently joined Anesi Ozmon Rodin Novak & Kohen after practicing law
at Bruce Farrel Dorn & Associates for the past 7 years. While
practicing at Bruce Farrel Dorn & Associates, Jennifer acted as the
lead defense attorney for countless jury trials, bench trials,
arbitration and ADR proceedings involving premise liability, negligent
hiring, dog bite, fire, auto, and construction cases, all of which
resulted in thirty not guilty verdicts in her favor. Moreover, for the
past two years, Jennifer has been an adjunct law professor for the
nationally acclaimed legal writing program at The John Marshall Law
Before joining the law firm of Bruce Farrel Dorn & Associates,
Jennifer clerked for Beermann Swerdlove, where she drafted legal
memoranda regarding child support, property division, and maintenance.
Prior to clerking there, Jennifer clerked in the Employment Litigation
Division of the Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago. The summer
and fall after Jennifer's first year of law school, Jennifer served as a
judicial extern to the Honorable Judge Guzman of the U.S. District Court
for the Northern District of Illinois where she drafted legal opinions
concerning employment and racial discrimination as well as deportation
and removal proceedings.
Upon graduation from The John Marshall Law School, after being the
President of John Marshall's Student Bar Association, Jennifer was
appointed a member of the John Marshall Alumni Association's Board of
Directors; she has served as a member of that board for the past seven
years. This bar year, Jennifer received The John Marshall Alumni
Association's coveted Presidential Service Award for her dedication to
the organization, JMLS students, and the school as a whole. Jennifer
will serve on the Executive Board of The John Marshall Law School Alumni
Association as Secretary in the 2011-2012 bar year.
Jennifer is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Women's Bar
Association as well as the Women's Bar Foundation.
||Kathryn Carso Liss is a graduate of
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio and holds a law degree from DePaul
University in Chicago. While in law school, Kathryn attended a
comparative family law course in Granada, Spain, was a dean's scholar,
and authored a published Law Review article. Kathryn began practicing
law in May, 2007 and joined Griffin McCarthy & Rice LLP as an
associate attorney in August, 2008.
Kathryn focuses in domestic relations with the goal to competently
assist families through difficult transition periods while attempting to
educate clients and minimize the length of the process. She assists
clients with the adoption process and is actively involved in the
Chicago Bar Association Adoption Law Committee. Kathryn is also involved
in the Chicago Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section Executive
Committee as a Director of the Family Law Committee and Real Law
Committee. Kathryn was named a Rising Star in 2010 & 2011 by Super
Lawyers, completed mediation training at Northwestern University, and is
a Fellow of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois.
||Jonathan M. Mraunac concentrates his
practice in the areas of commercial and construction litigation. Mr.
Mraunac brings experience in representing clients in both litigation and
transactional settings. During his career, he has handled matters at all
stages of litigation, including arbitration, trial, and appeal. His
litigation experience has involved commercial disputes on behalf of
contractors, landlords, hospitality and media companies.
Mr. Mraunac also has substantial experience representing clients in
transactions involving mechanics liens, the purchase and sale of
businesses, commercial real estate, and service agreements. Notably, he
recently represented an information technology client during negotiation
of a $25 million software services agreement.
Mr. Mraunac earned his B.A. degree in Kinesiology from the University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor in 2004 and his J.D. degree from Thomas Jefferson
School of Law in 2007.
Mr. Mraunac is authorized to practice law in Illinois and in the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Professional Associations Mr. Mraunac is a member of The Chicago
Bar Association. He has served as Chair of the Health & Wellness
Committee since 2009 and currently serves as a Director for the
Young Lawyers Section.
||Brandon Peck is a litigation associate
at Peck Bloom, LLC, who practices in the areas of trust litigation,
probate litigation, fiduciary defense litigation, elder law, and estate
administration with an emphasis on contested trusts and estates. Mr.
Peck represents individuals, families, financial institutions, and
Mr. Peck received his undergraduate degree from the University of
Illinois in 2006. He obtained his Juris Doctor from the University Of
Illinois College Of Law in 2009, where he was actively involved with
providing pro bono service to the community. Mr. Peck has been a member
of the Chicago Bar Association, Young Lawyer's Section since 2009,
serving as co-chair of the Estate Planning Committee from 2011 to 2012.
He is also a current member of the Alzheimer's Association, Greater
Illinois Chapter Junior Board (2011-Present). Mr. Peck is authorized to
practice law in Illinois and in the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois.
||Rebekah Rashidfarokhi is a Staff
Attorney with the Access to Justice Program of the Chicago Volunteer
Legal Services Foundation (CVLS), where she has worked since her
admission to the Illinois bar in 2007. She has experience working at a
non-profit immigration clinic at the US-Mexico border, the United
Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Bogota, Colombia, and at
two international firms in Madrid. In addition to her involvement with
the CBA, Rebekah is a member of the Junior Leadership Council of the
National Immigrant Justice Center, and serves as the Chicago Chapter
Representative to the National Board of Directors of the
Iranian-American Bar Association.
The University of Georgia (B.A., Spanish, 2003) (B.B.A., Marketing,
The University of Georgia School of Law (J.D., 2007)
||Dave Scriven-Young is an associate in
the Chicago office of Peckar & Abramson, P.C., where he practices
commercial litigation, environmental law, and construction law. Dave's
environmental expertise includes handling Superfund cases and wrongful
death, personal injury, and property damage claims arising out of
underground storage tank leaks, spills of chlorinated solvents, and
other chemical releases. He has represented clients before the U.S. EPA
and state environmental agencies in enforcement matters. He has
counseled clients on compliance and/or permitting issues under the Clean
Air Act, Clean Water Act, Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know
Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and Toxic Substances
Control Act. He has also helped clients take advantage of state and
federal audit policies. In addition, he has advised clients on mergers
and acquisitions concerning environmental liability and permitting
issues, and conducted due diligence and prepared representations and
warranties for corporate transactions. He is the author of the Illinois
Environmental Law Blog (http://illinoisenvironmentallaw.com), which provides
news and updates on cases, laws, and regulations involving Illinois
environmental issues. Dave's construction expertise includes prosecution
and defense of mechanic’s lien actions, payment and performance
bond claims, breach of contract actions, breach of warranty claims,
delay and inefficiency claims, contract terminations, and other matters.
He also has significant expertise defending clients against actions
involving personal injuries at job sites.
Dave holds several leadership positions in bar associations and the
community. He served as Co-Chair of the YLS Environmental Law Committee
from 2010 to 2012. He is serving his second stint as a Committee and
Liaison Director of the American Bar Association Young Lawyers Division,
and was formerly Chair of the ABA YLD Law Practice Management Committee
and the Environment, Energy, and Resources Law Committee. Dave's awards
include being named a "Rising Star" by Illinois Super Lawyers
Magazine in 2011 and 2012 and being selected by DePaul University
to a list of 14 successful alumni under 40 years old and profiled in
DePaul Magazine. In 2011, the YLS awarded Dave with the David
C. Hilliard Award for Outstanding Committee Service.
Dave received a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from
Marquette University, and a Juris Doctor, summa cum laude, from
DePaul University College of Law. While at DePaul, He was on law review
and an extern for The Honorable Blanche M. Manning, U.S. District Court
for the Northern District of Illinois
||James B. Sowka is a senior associate
in the Chicago office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP. He practices in the areas of
bankruptcy law, creditor rights, and commercial and real estate
litigation in both federal and state court. His client representations
include secured lenders, trade creditors, insurers, real property
lessors, chapter 7 and chapter 11 bankruptcy trustees, and avoidance
action defendants. Prior to joining Seyfarth Shaw, Mr. Sowka worked as a
trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the U.S.
Trustee in both Chicago, Illinois and Miami, Florida where he gained
significant experience with bankruptcy asset sales, chapter 11 plan
confirmations, chapter 11 trustee and examiner appointments, and
investigation and prosecution of bankruptcy fraud and abuse.
Prior to assuming his current position as Director, Mr. Sowka served as
Co-Chair for the Young Lawyers Section Bankruptcy Committee for three
years beginning in 2008. In 2007-2008, Mr. Sowka served on the
Bankruptcy Court Liaison Committee, Northern District of Illinois as a
Representative of the Office of the U.S. Trustee.
Mr. Sowka received his undergraduate degree from the University of
Illinois at Chicago where he graduated with College Honors. He received
his law degree from the University of Arizona. Mr. Sowka is an active
member of the bar in Illinois and Florida.