Account Number

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 Lawyers.


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 professional responsibility.


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 death actions.


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 at


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 Illinois.


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 Writing Award.


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.


YLS Directors


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 (2015-17).




Alexis Crawford Douglas

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.
gitman Svetlana Gitman is an associate at Bruce Farrel Dorn and Associates where she focuses her practice on civil litigation defense.

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 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.
margolis 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.
moskowitz 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 Counties.

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 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 (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 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 3/11/11 (Co-Lecturer).