YLS Officers and Directors
YLS Chair - Matthew A. Passen, partner with Passen
Law Group, represents plaintiffs in serious personal injury, medical
malpractice and product liability actions. In 2015 alone, he secured a
$10.9 million jury verdict in a strict product liability action against
a chemical company, followed two weeks later by a $1,000,000 recovery at
trial in a medical malpractice action against a surgeon.
Mr. Passen has repeatedly been named a "Rising Star" By Super
Lawyers, and was selected as one of the "Top 40 Under 40" lawyers in
Illinois by The National Trial Lawyers.
In addition to his continued work for the YLS, Mr. Passen also serves
as an investigator for the CBA Judicial Evaluation Committee and member
of the Continuing Legal Education Committee. He is Past-President of the
Chicago Bar Foundation's Young Professionals Board.
Mr. Passen also serves on the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Associate Board, and is a past member of the Board of Directors of the
United Cerebral Palsy Association of Greater Chicago. He is an appointed
member of the Board of Managers of the Illinois Trial Lawyers
Association, and serves as Vice-Chair of the American Bar Association
Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section's Trial Techniques and
Automobile Law Committees.
Mr. Passen 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, he was a litigation associate
at Jenner & Block LLP in Chicago.
First Vice-Chair - 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, Katie attended a
comparative family law course in Granada, Spain, was a dean's scholar,
and authored a published Law Review article. Katie began practicing law
in May, 2007 and has practiced exclusively in the area of family law.
Katie is currently an attorney at the Law Offices of Jean Conde, PC.
Katie 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, divorce proceedings, paternity
matters, orders of protection, and as a Cook County court appointed
Child's Representative, Guardian ad Litem, and Attorney for the Child.
Katie has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, an annual
publication of Thomson Reuters and the publishers of Chicago Magazine,
completed mediation training at Northwestern University as well as
litigation training at the Houston Family Law Trial Institute program.
Katie also teaches adoption law as an adjunct professor at DePaul
University College of Law (as of Aug 2015).
Second Vice-Chair - Jonathan B. Amarilio
focuses his practice in civil appellate litigation and has been involved
in a number of high profile cases. He has experience representing
individuals, small businesses, state and local governments, and numerous
Fortune 500 companies before state and federal appellate courts,
primarily the Illinois Appellate Court, the Illinois Supreme Court and
the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Jonathan has
also served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of
Illinois and as a Special Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of
Chicago in several matters.
In addition to serving as the CBA YLS Second Vice Chair, Jonathan has
served as a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the YLS Journal, a member of the CBA
Record Editorial Board, the Reporter of the CBA Special Committee on
Appellate Practice, the CBA Liaison to the Illinois Appellate Lawyers
Association Rules Committee, a member of the CBA Officer Nominating
Committee, a member of the CBA Special Committee Assisting the Illinois
Supreme Court to Implement Recommendations of the Conference on the
Future of Illinois Courts, Co-Chair of the YLS Moot Court Competition
Committee, Co-Chair of the YLS Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee,
Vice-Chair of the YLS Tort Litigation Committee, Co-Chair of the
Appellate Lawyers Association Speakers Committee, and a member of the
Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association Rules Committee. Jonathan is also
a Scholar Mentor to the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund and a Member of
the University Club of Chicago.
Jonathan has been honored as an Emerging Lawyer by the Leading
Lawyers Network, and has been repeatedly named a Rising Star by Super
Member Service Manager - Trisha Rich is a
litigation attorney in Holland & Knight's Chicago office, where she
practices complex commercial litigation and legal ethics and
Ms. Rich's commercial litigation experience centers on resolving
disputes between businesses. She focuses on actions for breach of
contract, breach of warranty, fraud, consumer fraud, deceptive trade
practices, tortious interference, and all aspects of real estate,
property management and receivership litigation.
Additionally, Ms. Rich sits on the firm's Lawyer Ethics, Risk
Management and Regulation team, where she advises lawyers, corporations
and firms on various issues related to partnership and corporate
structuring, conflicts, confidentiality and privilege, and professional
disciplinary issues. Ms. Rich chairs the Chicago Bar Association's Young
Lawyers Section committee on professional responsibility and is a
frequent speaker and author on a variety of issues related to ethics and
risk management. She is also a member of the Association of Professional
Responsibility Lawyers. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Rich taught
practical and theoretical ethics at two universities.
Public Service Manager - Octavio Duran, Jr.
works at Bekkerman Law Offices, P.C., dedicating his practice to
representing individuals and families in personal injury and wrongful
Octavio got his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and
History from the University of Illinois, receiving the honor of Senior
Top 100. He started Michigan State University College of Law on a
scholarship. He finished as the Class President. During law school, he
also served as Vice-President of the Public Interest Law Society and as
the liaison for the Hispanic Law Society and for Phi Alpha Delta. In
addition, he was a member of the Moot Court Trial and Advocacy Board
where he became a semi-finalist in the National Trial Competition and
the American Association for Justice Competition.
Prior to serving as director of the Chicago Bar Association, he
served as a special project coordinator where he received the "Rising
Star Award", given to YLS leaders with exceptional promise. He currently
sits on the Board of Directors for the Michigan State College of Law
Alumni Association and the Regional Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Long
Beach, CA. He mentors a young teen through the Juvenile Mentoring
Initiative Program, sponsored by the CBA and the Hispanic Lawyers
Association of Illinois. To read more about Mr. Duran, visit his profile
Secretary/Treasurer - Paraisia Winston Gray
Project Officer - Shawna Boothe joined Schiff
Hardin LLP as an associate in 2014. She concentrates her practice in
product liability and complex civil litigation, including commercial
law, white-collar defense, securities, defamation, misappropriation of
the right of publicity, mass tort and multi-district litigation,
consumer product class actions, trade secrets, and estates.
A graduate of the University of St. Thomas, Shawna received her Juris
Doctorate degree in 2013 from the University of Illinois College of Law,
where she received the Rickert Award for Academic Excellence.
Shawna is licensed to practice law in Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota,
District of Columbia, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois.
She is an active member of the Chicago Bar Foundation, where she
currently serves on the Young Lawyers Board and Chicago Appleseed Fund
For Justice, where she served as a Public Interest Law Initiative Fellow
in 2013 and is currently a member of the Board of Directors. Shawna also
currently serves as a member of the Law Alumni Board for the University
of Illinois College of Law.
Shawna sits on the Executive Committee of the Chicago Bar
Association's Young Lawyer Section and is a co-chair of the Chicago Bar
Association's National Moot Court Competition. In 2013, she was awarded
the Rising Star Award for a Chicago Bar Association's Young Lawyer
Section Leader with Exceptional Promise.
Project Officer - Brandon E. Peck is a senior
associate attorney at Peck Ritchey, 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 medical institutions.
Mr. Peck received his undergraduate degree from the University of
Illinois in 2006 and his Juris Doctor from the University Of Illinois
College of Law in 2009. Mr. Peck is authorized to practice law in
Illinois and in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
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; Director from 2012 to 2014; and Public
Service Manager from 2014 to 2015. He is also a current member of the
Alzheimer's Association, Greater Illinois Chapter Junior Board
(2011-Present), currently serving on the Executive Committee as the
Chair of Education and Advocacy (2013-Present). Additionally, Brandon is
a contributor to the book Alzheimer's and the Law, which was published
by the American Bar Association in 2013.
In 2014 and 2015 Brandon was selected by his peers in multiple
statewide surveys of Illinois attorneys as a "Super Lawyer", an attorney
to whom other attorneys would refer their family. Brandon achieved a
10.0 out of 10.0 rating by Avvo a reflection of his experience, industry
recognition and professional conduct. Brandon lectures to colleagues and
professionals in the areas of trust and estate litigation, guardianship,
special needs, and estate planning.
Co-Editor in Chief YLS Journal - Geoffrey T.
Burkhart is an attorney and project director at the American
Bar Association, where he works to improve indigent criminal defense
systems. He previously served as a law clerk to Justice James Epstein of
the Illinois Appellate Court, First District. He also worked for four
years as an Assistant Appellate Defender. In law school, Geoff served as
Editor in Chief of the DePaul Law Review and as an extern to Justice
Anne Burke of the Illinois Supreme Court. Geoff has published several
articles in the CBA Record, where he is a member of the editorial board,
and the Illinois Bar Journal, where he twice received the Lincoln Legal
Co-Editor in Chief YLS Journal - Oliver
Khan is an associate in the Chicago office of Arnstein &
Lehr and a member of the firm's Litigation Practice Group.
Before joining the firm, Mr. Khan served as a judicial law clerk for
the Honorable Michael B. Hyman at the Illinois Appellate Court, First
District, and the Chancery Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.
As a clerk, he drafted over 150 opinions, orders, and dissents at all
stages of litigation.
Those cases involved breaches of contract, breaches of fiduciary
duty, insurance coverage, commercial and residential foreclosure, real
estate disputes, zoning and eminent domain, administrative reviews of
employment and pension decisions, injunctions, personal injury, civil
rights violations, class actions, involuntary civil commitments, and
criminal matters. Additionally, he worked on several cases involving
condominium associations regarding the interpretation of bylaws,
easements and operating agreements, and directors' and officers'
liability insurance policies.
In law school, Mr. Khan participated in the Civil Law Clinic and
Criminal Defense Clinic, where he represented indigent clients in
pretrial and settlement proceedings. He was an issue editor and member
of the editorial board of I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the
Information Society. He also was a member of the ABA Moot Court Team,
and a judicial extern for Judge Sargus at the United States District
Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
He is also a published poet.
Mark M. Abellera - is an Associate at Purcell &
Wardrope, Chtd. Mr. Abellera concentrates his practice on complex
commercial litigation in matters involving construction defect,
transportation negligence, professional liability, insurance coverage,
and commercial loss recovery claims. He has represented clients in
numerous state and federal jurisdictions.
Publications: Co-Author, "Chapter 29: Expert Evidence–Law,
Strategies and Best Practices", PRODUCT LIABILITY LITIGATION: CURRENT
LAW, STRATEGIES AND BEST PRACTICES, Practising Law Institute (2010).
Mr. Abellera received his B.A. in English Literature from DePaul
University, and his J.D. from The John Marshall Law School, where he
served as Lead Articles Editor for the REVIEW OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
LAW. In law school, Mr. Abellera was an intern at the United States
Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois and a law clerk
in the City of Chicago Department of Law's summer honors program.
Mr. Abellera formerly served as Vice-Chair of the CBA YLS Insurance
Coverage Committee (2012-13), Chair of the CBA YLS Insurance Coverage
Committee (2013-14), and a CBA YLS Special Project Coordinator
(2014-15). He currently serves as a CBA YLS Director for a two-year term
Alexis Crawford Douglas
||Kalisa R. Gary is a commercial real
estate attorney at the law firm of Dubin Singer P.C. She represents
developers on all aspects of projects nationwide including negotiations
of purchase and sale agreements, planning, zoning, leasing, borrowing
and due diligence matters. She also serves as a primary contact for all
individual and portfolio site conveyances, and coordinates mechanic lien
claim and litigation responses.
Prior to working at Dubin Singer P.C., she was a top billing attorney at
Richmond Breslin LLP, where she represented prominent clients in the
commercial real estate sector, and well as high wealth individuals on
private residential transactions.
She has served as a chairperson of the YLS Real Estate Law Committee for
five (5) bar years. As a descendant to CBA President Elbert H. Gary
(served 1893-1894), Kalisa considers The Chicago Bar Association her
Alma Mater - alongside Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she studied the Liberal
Arts and majored in all things French, and Chicago Kent College of Law
where she received her Juris Doctor in May 2005.
In her spare time, Kalisa can be found riding her bicycle across the
States of Iowa and Illinois, spinning, dancing and doing yoga, and
learning about Abraham Lincoln.
||Svetlana Gitman is an associate at
Bruce Farrel Dorn and Associates where she focuses her practice on civil
Svetlana received her Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. While working towards her
undergraduate degree, Svetlana studied abroad at Queen Mary University,
in London and returned to London to work at the Honourable Lincoln's Inn
upon graduation. After working in London for a year, Svetlana returned
to Chicago to attend The John Marshall Law School.
While in law school, Svetlana became involved with the Chicago Bar
Association- Young Lawyer's section immediately. She served as the
co-chair of the Law Student Committee, helping to organize numerous
events. Svetlana also served as a staff editor of The John Marshall Law
School Law Review, and her comment, titled (Dis) service of Process: The
Need to Amend Rule 4 to Comply with Modern Usage of technology, was
published in Spring of 2012.
After graduating law school, Svetlana remained involved with the
CBA-YLS, serving as a special project coordinator from 2012 – 2013
and as a co-chair for the Public Service Committee from 2013-2015. In
her capacity as the public service co-chair Svetlana helped facilitate
the Wills for Heroes Clinic, which brought together attorneys and
non-attorneys to help draft wills and power of attorneys for first
responders. Svetlana remains active with the Wills for Heroes
organization and received the State Farm Pro Bono award this past March
in recognition of her work.
||Nick Holland is an attorney practicing
in Chicago. Before becoming director he was the YLS Corporate Practice
Committee Co-Chair for four years. During this time he has participated
in many YLS events including the annual Texas Hold em Tournament, Law
Week, moot court competition, and Constitutional Rights Foundation of
Chicago video project. Nick has also volunteered with CARPLS and the
Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.
Nick earned his law degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2009. As
an undergraduate at Illinois Wesleyan University he majored in both
economics and business administration before graduating in 2006.
||Daniel Hwang is an associate with
K&L Gates LLP. Daniel assists clients on a variety of intellectual
property matters including patent litigation, trademark and copyright
litigation, trademark portfolio management, registration and enforcement
issues, and information technology contracts. 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.
||Yana Karnaukhov works for the U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Fair Housing and
Equal Opportunity, where she handles matters related to investigations
of potential violations under Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of
1968, as amended, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504
of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with
Disabilities Act, and other related statutes. She also serves as the
Region V expert for HUD on its Equal Access in Housing Regardless of
Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity rule. In this role, she regularly
provides trainings for HUD staff and presents at professional
conferences throughout the Midwest. She is a recipient of a 2014 HUD
Secretary's Award for her work in this area. Yana has also served as a
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney at the U.S. Attorney's Office in the
Northern District of Illinois, where she litigated fair housing and ADA
related matters. She has also detailed at the Consumer Federal
Protection Bureau with the Office of Fair Lending and Equal Opportunity
where she worked on Equal Credit Opportunity Act and Regulation B
matters. Yana is a summa cum laude graduate of Loyola University
Chicago, where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration. She is
also a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law, where she
earned her Juris Doctorate and was recognized as a public service star
for her volunteer work. While at Northwestern, Yana served as a federal
judicial extern for the Honorable Matthew Kennelly in the Northern
District of Illinois. Yana also externed for the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission in Chicago. She volunteered as a certified mediator
with the Center on Conflict Resolution and mediated cases at the Cook
County Circuit Court. She was also a senior law student at the
Northwestern Center on Wrongful Convictions and volunteered for First
Defense Legal Aid.
Yana has served as a Vice Chair and Legislative Liaison (2012-2013) and
later as the Co-Chair (2013-2014) of the Chicago Bar Association's Young
Lawyers Section Civil Rights Committee. She is also involved with
several committees which promote social justice, such as the Equal
Access to Justice Medical Legal Partnerships Committee. Yana is fluent
in Hebrew and Russian.
||Lindsay Margolis is a family law
attorney at Beermann Pritikin Mirabelli Swerdlove LLP. She advises her
clients in all areas of family law including divorce matters, premarital
and postnuptial agreements, child support, child custody, visitation,
maintenance, property valuation and division, orders of protection,
paternity matters, and post-decree issues such as enforcement and
modification of judgments. Lindsay worked as an associate attorney at
the Law Offices of Scott Tzinberg, a boutique family law firm, from
March 2012-June 2015.
Lindsay received a Juris Doctor from Chicago-Kent College of Law in May
2010 and was admitted to the Illinois bar in November 2010. Throughout
law school, Lindsay clerked at various domestic relations firms in the
loop and for Chicago-Kent's distinguished Family Law Clinic. She
received the prestigious CALI award for academic excellence in both
Trial Advocacy and Mediation. She was also on the Dean's List from Fall
2008 through Spring 2010.
Lindsay graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Emory University in 2007, where
she received a B.A. in Spanish.
Dedicated to public service and being an active member of the legal
community, Lindsay served on the CBA's Young Lawyers Section Executive
Council as Special Project Coordinator from 2012-2015, and will be
serving the YLS as a Director for the bar year 2015-2016. Lindsay also
provides pro bono representation to minor children in contested domestic
relations cases (divorce and parentage) as a Child Representative
through Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS) and is volunteers her
time as a mentor to law students through Chicago-Kent's Society of Women
in Law program.
||Jeffrey M. Moskowitz is a trial
attorney with a broad knowledge of criminal law. He is a graduate of
DePaul University, College of Law, where he received a certificate in
criminal law and the prestigious CALI award for excellent trial
litigation skills. Jeff has handled hundreds of criminal cases and has
primarily focused his practice on felonies. He has successfully
represented clients charged with murder, attempted murder, criminal
sexual assault, possession of controlled a substance with intent to
distribute, aggravated battery, assault, felony DUI, armed robbery,
unlawful use of a weapon, theft and residential burglary. Jeff has
achieved favorable outcomes for clients in Cook, DuPage, Lake and Will
Prior to working as a private defense attorney, Jeff clerked for the
Cook County Public Defender's Office for two and a half years.
Outside of work Jeff is very active within the community. He is a
recipient of the Benjamin Hooks' Distinguished Public Service Award for
his extensive pro bono work. Prior to being a Chicago Bar Association
YLS Director he was a Co-Chair of the YLS Mock Trial Committee. He is a
member of the Lawndale Christian Legal Center's Young Professional's
Counsel, coached the Little Village High School mock trial team and did
volunteer expungements for Cabrini Green Legal Aid.
Adam Sheppard is a partner
at Sheppard Law Firm, 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 Sheppard Law Firm, 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
Bar/Professional Organizations: Young
Lawyers Section/Chicago Bar Association (Co-Editor of YLS Journal; YLS
Officer; Editorial Board; Criminal Law Committee), Constitutional Rights
Foundation (Lawyers 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
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 3/11/11