CBA Officers & Board of Managers 2019-2020


President Maryam Ahmad

Maryam Ahmad is the Chief of the Juvenile Justice Bureau for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and a former Cook County Circuit Court Judge, Cook County Assistant Public Defender, and senior academic administrator for several universities.  Ms. Ahmad began her professional career in higher education, serving as Assistant Director of Admissions at Bucknell University; Director of Minority Recruitment at Yale University; Assistant Dean of Multicultural Affairs and Affirmative Action at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Special Assistant to the President on Diversity at DePaul University.  

She began her legal career as an associate attorney specializing in corporate, civil, Title VII, and intellectual property litigation.  She transitioned to criminal law, representing Cook County’s indigent residents facing misdemeanor and felony charges as a public defender and then becoming an Assistant State’s Attorney representing victims of crime in both juvenile and adult court. 

In 2014, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Ms. Ahmad Circuit Court Judge.  She served on the bench until December 2016, hearing civil and criminal cases in the Circuit Court of Cook County.  In February 2017, Ms. Ahmad was appointed to lead the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Juvenile Justice Bureau where she oversees child protection services and juvenile delinquency operations. 

Ms. Ahmad was elected to a two-year term on the Chicago Bar Association’s Board of Managers in 2011 and served as a member of the CBA’s Judicial Evaluation Committee (JEC) from 2005 to 2014 and 2016 to 2018.  She has held several leadership positions on the CBA’s JEC including General Chair (2017 to 2018).  

Ms. Ahmad received her bachelor’s degree from Chatham College, her master’s degree from Bucknell University, and her J.D. from DePaul University.

First Vice President E. Lynn Grayson

Recognized as one of the nation’s leading environmental lawyers, E. Lynn Grayson is a partner in the environmental law firm of Nijman Franzetti LLP.  She is the immediate past chair of the Environmental and Workplace Health & Safety law practice at Jenner & Block LLP, where she served as lead environmental counsel in U.S. and international transactions and counseled corporate leadership on the management of material environmental risks and liabilities.

Ms. Grayson also advises clients on critical enforcement, regulatory and litigation matters, conducts environmental internal investigations and defends clients in criminal, whistleblower and qui tam actions.   She has significant experience defending against natural resource damage claims and performing due diligence including water scarcity concerns. 

Prior to her career at Jenner & Block, Ms. Grayson was the Chief Legal Counsel for the Illinois Emergency Services and Disaster Agency and the State Emergency Response Commission.  She has also prosecuted federal and state environmental cases as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois.

Ms. Grayson has made significant contributions to promote diversity in the legal profession, including the advancement of women.  She is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law Firms and a past chair of the Illinois State Bar Association’s standing committee on Women and the Law, as well as the Chicago Bar Association’s Alliance for Women.  She has received numerous awards and honors including the CBA’s Alta May Hulett Award, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois’ Women with Vision Award, the ISBA’s Diversity Leadership Award and the 2017 Best Lawyers’ Women of Influence Award.

Ms. Grayson earned her bachelor’s degree from Franklin College and her J.D. from Indiana University’s School of Law.

Second Vice President Timothy S. Tomasik 

Timothy Tomasik is a founding member of Tomasik Kotin Kasserman LLC where he has distinguished himself as one of Chicago’s elite trial attorneys. Prior to joining the firm, Tim practiced for 15 years at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago and also served as an Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney in the Bureau of Special Prosecutions.

Mr. Tomasik has tried over 100 jury and bench trials to verdict and has handled and successfully resolved hundreds of millions of dollars in claims in a variety of practice areas, including complex premises liability, aviation litigation, medical negligence, medical liability, hospital liability, and mass disasters. 

As a trial attorney, Mr. Tomasik has handled significantly complex and high profile and cases including serving as a lead counsel of the Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee in the World Trade Center litigation against the airlines industry for security breaches that led to the tragic 9/11 hijackings and air crashes in which he helped to secure a $1.2 billion settlement.

Mr. Tomasik is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including being inducted by his peers into the International Society of Barristers, an honor society of outstanding trial lawyers. He has also been inducted into the American Board of Trial Advocates and in 2018 became a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in North America. Mr. Tomasik is a member of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation, American Bar Association Torts Committee, and chair of the Sub-Committee on Experts and Evidence.  He also served for 15 years on the Chicago Bar Association’s Judicial Evaluation Committee. He is also a Chair of Lawyers Lend-A-Hand, a foundation that provides grants to Chicago’s underprivileged youth and is a Board Member of the Western Springs Foundation for Educational Excellence.

Mr. Tomasik received his undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and his J.D. from the University of Denver. 

Secretary Ray J. Koenig III

Ray J. Koenig III is a member in Clark Hill’s Litigation and Tax & Estate Planning groups.  He also serves in leadership roles within the firm, which include serving as the Managing Member of Clark Hill’s Chicago office and on the firm’s Executive Committee.  

Mr. Koenig’s areas of experience are vast, including will, probate, trust, fiduciary and guardianship litigation as well as elder law and estate planning.  He has represented individuals, families, financial institutions, medical institutions and governmental organizations in all areas of his practice.  Mr. Koenig is frequently appointed Guardian Ad Litem and defense counsel by judges in complex guardianship matters and is also appointed Special Administrator by judges in problematic probate matters.  He is also retained as an expert witness in guardianship and probate matters. 

A frequent author and lecturer, Mr. Koenig is an active member and past member of many legal and social service organizations including serving as a Commissioner on the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations, Equality Illinois PAC, Chicago House Social Service Agency, the Lambda Legal Education and Defense Fund and the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs and Human Rights.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and a member of the Board of Directors at the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education.  

Mr. Koenig received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and his J.D. from the DePaul University College of Law. 

Treasurer John S. Sciaccotta

John C. Sciaccotta is a member of Aronberg Goldgehn.  He has nearly 35 years of trial and litigation experience advocating for clients in complex civil litigation, arbitration, mediation and business counseling matters with a special emphasis on complex civil trial and appellate cases brought in federal and state courts and tribunals throughout the United States.

Mr. Sciaccotta represents publicly and privately held domestic and foreign business entities, lenders, employers, municipalities, government bodies and individuals in transactional matters and disputes He has substantial experience representing real estate owners/developers, business owners in a wide array of industries, professional service organizations, partnerships, limited liability companies, manufacturing, construction, technology, professional sales
companies, professional sports leagues, professional sports owners, professional athletes, municipalities, hedge funds and broker/dealers, governmental bodies, banks and lending institutions,  In addition,  Mr. Sciaccotta has been appointed as a Neutral Arbitrator and Mediator for many years to resolve and arbitrate business related disputes. He serves on the Commercial Panel of the American Arbitration Association's National Roster of Arbitrators and Mediators.

Mr. Sciaccotta is an active member of many legal and community organizations in addition to the CBA, including the American Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Justinian Socieyt of Lawyers, National Itallian American Foundation, The Lwyers Club of Chicago, the City Club of Chicago, and Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity.  He was co-founder of the CBA Business Divorce and Complex Ownership Committee, had has served as vice chair of the CBA CLE Committee and the CBA Mediation Program Committee.

Mr. Sciaccotta received his undergraduate degree from Creighton University and his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.

Immediate Past President Jesse H. Ruiz

In January 2019, Governor JB Pritzker appointed Jesse Ruiz Deputy Governor for Education.  Jesse oversees the state’s education system from early childhood through higher education, as well as the Illinois Student Assistance Commission and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Prior to joining the Office of Governor JB Pritzker, Jesse was a partner in the Corporate & Securities Group of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, where for 22 years he focused his law practice on business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and private equity investments, equity and debt offerings, financings and a variety of commercial transactions.  Jesse is also the 1st Vice President of the Chicago Bar Association and a Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School.  

Throughout his law career, Jesse also dedicated time to public service.  He served as President of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners, Commissioner on the Public Building Commission, Vice President of the Chicago Board of Education, Interim CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, Commissioner on the U.S. Department of Education Equity and Excellence Commission, Commissioner on the Illinois Supreme Court Character and Fitness Committee, and Commissioner on the Chicago Public Schools Desegregation Monitoring Commission.  In 2018, Jesse was also a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Illinois Attorney General.

Jesse received his J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School, where he served as an editor of the University of Chicago Law School Roundtable, and studied under then-professors Barack Obama and Elena Kagan.  He received his Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The proud son of Mexican immigrants, Jesse is a life-long Chicagoan and is married to fellow attorney Michele Ruiz.  They have two sons, Jonathan and Benjamin.

Board of Managers:

Jonathan Amarilio

Jonathan Amarilio is a partner at Taft, Stettinius & Hollister where he practices appellate law representing individuals, businesses and state and local governments in the Illinois Appellate Court, the Illinois Supreme Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  He also serves as a Special Assistant Corporate Counsel for the City of Chicago and has served as a Special Assistant Attorney General.  

Mr. Amarilio regularly works on high-profile appellate cases for both sides of the bar. His work on these cases has set precedents and driven change in a wide range of areas including administrative and antitrust law, complex asbestos and insurance liability, constitutional law, construction law, contract disputes, defamation claims, election law, energy market regulation, gaming law, governmental immunity, investment and tax shelter litigation, medical malpractice and hospital liability, multi-district class action employment claims, personal injury and railroad liability.     

A former Chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section, Mr. Amarilio also serves as Treasurer of the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association and sits on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association, the Chicago Bar Foundation, and the Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth foundation.  He is also the host of the CBA’s podcast “@theBar,” a contributor to the Illinois Appellate Lawyer Association’s blog “The Brief,” and regularly publishes on appellate topics.  

A graduate of American University, he received his J.D. from the University of Iowa College Of Law.

Octavio Duran

Octavio Duran is a partner at Hart David Carson LLP where he dedicates his practice to representing individuals and families in all areas of personal injury including automobile collisions, construction negligence, wrongful death, medical malpractice, and premises liability. 

An active member of the legal community, Mr. Duran has served as the Parliamentarian for the Alumni Association Board for Michigan State University College of Law and has assumed the Chairmanship of the Chicago Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section for the 2019-2020 Bar Year.  Through both organizations, Mr. Duran has launched several fundraising initiatives to benefit law school students and the legal community. 

He formerly served as the chair of the Tort Litigation Committee for the CBA.

Mr. Duran received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois and his J.D. from Michigan State University. 

Sharon L. Eiseman

Nina Fain

Nina Fain is an experienced corporate attorney who is a pioneer in the field of law.  As one of the first African American women in Chicago to become a partner in a major firm, Fain has been a champion of diversity and inclusion in the legal industry.  Moreover, Nina has embraced the use of technology in the practice of law, focusing her interest in technology to learn about IP, licensing and the myriad of software programs which assist lawyers in the administration of law firms and in the management of complex transactions, litigation and arbitration matters in a global world. With clients in the U.S. and Europe, Fain has learned about changes in EU regulation and compliance related to GDPR and other countries’ laws related to data privacy and security.  She is a member of the International Association of Data Privacy Professionals (“IAPP”).

Today, Fain is Trust Counsel to a prominent Pasadena, CA family, overseeing their commercial and real estate interests in the U. S. and Europe. She is also a former partner in the AM Law 100 firm of Holland & Knight LLP in Chicago where she worked in the firm’s Local Government Section for Executive Partner and CBA President Steven Elrod. Prior to that time, Fain had been a Partner and Economic Development Department Chair at the regional law firm of McBride Baker and Coles LLC. Among her clients at McBride were British Petroleum (“BP”), Fluor, and the state of Illinois Office of the Treasurer. As such, Fain oversaw the resolution of legal issues of more than 20 billion dollars of business risk for those entities.  Fain has also served as a Hearing Officer and Arbitrator in the public and private sectors. 

Currently, Fain is a member of the Chicago Bar Association Board of Managers and serves on the CBA’s Editorial Board working alongside Illinois Appellate Justice Michael Hyman to promote the achievements of CBA members and provide articles on the emerging trends in Illinois law. She has been an Adjunct Professor at both Roosevelt University and DePaul University, where she taught Master level and Ph.D. students in in public policy, real estate and not- for- profit law. Fain holds three academic degrees, including a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign and a Bachelor of Science in Education and Master of Science in Education Administration from Northern Illinois University.  She was also a Leadership America Fellow at the University of Texas -Dallas’ Graduate School of Management Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance, in its Women on Corporate Boards program, specializing in corporate strategy.

Charles P. Golbert

Charles P. Golbert is the Cook County Public Guardian whose office represents approximately 6,000 children in abuse and neglect cases in Juvenile Court as well as hundreds of children in contested divorce and parentage disputes in Domestic Relations Court.  The Public Guardian also serves as guardian for approximately 700 mostly elderly individuals with disabilities, and manages $100 million of estate assets.  

A 28-year veteran of the office, Mr. Golbert has worked in nearly every area including as a trial attorney in the Juvenile Division, a supervising attorney in the Special Litigation Division, the head of the Appeals Division, and as the Deputy Public Guardian and director of the Adult Guardianship Division.  He has represented thousands of children and individuals with disabilities in state, federal and appellate courts in a variety of matters including Juvenile Court abuse and neglect proceedings, Probate and Domestic Relations proceedings, federal civil rights actions, money damages lawsuits on behalf of children harmed in foster care, and complex financial exploitation recovery litigation.  

Mr. Golbert has authored numerous law journal articles, essays and book reviews and has served as Articles Editor, Executive Editor, and Editor in Chief of the Journal of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA Journal).  He is the primary author of a state law that provides protections to people with disabilities from abuse and financial exploitation.  He is also a longtime faculty member of the ChildLaw intensive trial advocacy course at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. 

Mr. Golbert received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Northwestern University and his J.D. from the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

Hon. LaShonda A. Hunt
Hon. LaShonda A. Hunt is a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Illinois.  She previously served as General Counsel of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, Chief Legal Counsel of the Illinois Department of Corrections, and an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois. 

Judge Hunt began her legal career as litigation associate at a national law firm, followed by service as a staff attorney for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and a law clerk to the Honorable William J. Hibbler, United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois. She also worked as in-house counsel in the utility industry overseeing commercial litigation and bankruptcy matters and later transitioned to regulatory affairs. 

Judge Hunt is an active member of the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, serving previously as president, vice president and a board member.  She is also a leader in the Chicago Bar Association, where she was co-vice chair of the Federal Civil Practice Committee and on the Judicial Evaluation Investigations Committee. 

Judge Hunt is a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow (Class of 2013) and she has served on the board of Just the Beginning and chaired Youth Programs for the 2012 Biennial Conference. In addition, she previously oversaw the JTBF Schools Project and was responsible for developing and implementing a national Summer Legal Institute for underrepresented high school students interested in legal careers. 

Judge Hunt received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

Hon. Diane Joan Larsen

Hon. Diane Joan Larsen is a Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County assigned to the General Chancery Section of the Chancery Division having previously served in the Law Division for 14 years. Before being elected to the bench, Judge Larsen was Chief of Policy Litigation at the City of Chicago’s Law Department.  During her 15-year career at the city, she specialized in the defense of civil rights policy challenges and class actions in both federal and state court.  She has participated in the implementation of several law enforcement and criminal law procedures, including development of probable cause hearings for the local courts.  

Judge Larsen has lectured on various constitutional, civil, and criminal law procedure issues at the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Police Foundation in Washington, D.C., the Chicago Police Academy, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Hispanic Institute of Law Enforcement.  

Judge Larsen has been an adjunct professor for 28 years at Loyola University Chicago Law School, where she teaches Illinois Civil Litigation Practice and Appellate Advocacy.  She has also taught classes for the Police Training Institute of the University of Illinois.  Judge Larsen has been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve as a Judicial Education Faculty Member. 

Judge Larsen serves as chair of the Illinois Supreme Court’s Civil Justice Committee.  She currently serves on the board of directors for Women Everywhere Partners in Service Project, Inc., where she has been a volunteer for the past 19 years.  She has also served on the board of directors for the Illinois Judges Foundation, where she was chair of the Harold Sullivan Scholarship Committee.  Judge Larsen was a 2008 recipient of the Hooten award given by the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois.  

Judge Larsen received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from DePaul University and her J.D. from Loyola University of Chicago Law School. 

Hon. Lori E. Lightfoot

Following a distinguished career as an attorney, a manager and an advocate for reform, Lori E. Lightfoot was elected Mayor of the City of Chicago in April of 2019.  Her campaign’s call for an ethical and responsive government and opportunities for all Chicagoans resonated in every ward of the city.

Before she joined the race for Mayor, Ms. Lightfoot served as a senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown LLP, where she managed large, complex litigation matters with teams of attorneys, expert witnesses and others in defense of client matters. While at Mayer Brown, she also took on two critical tasks for the City of Chicago, chairing the Police Accountability Task Force, and serving as president of the Chicago Police Board.

Ms. Lightfoot held other key positions in City government as well, as the Interim First Deputy of the Chicago Department of Procurement Services and Chief of Staff and General Counsel of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
Prior to that, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois criminal division, managing large-scale investigations involving criminal drug conspiracies, political corruption and bankruptcy fraud.

Ms. Lightfoot is a member of the American Constitution Society’s Board of Advisors and has been a board member with numerous organizations concerned with the administration of social justice including the Center on Wrongful Convictions, the Better Government Association, ACLU Illinois, NARAL Illinois, and the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.   
Mayor Lightfoot received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Michigan and her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

Kathryn C. Liss

Kathryn Liss is the Director of the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center and a law student advisor at DePaul University College of Law.   Prior to working at DePaul, Ms. Liss practiced solely in the area of family law for over ten years handling cases involving divorce, paternity matters, adoptions and orders of protection.  She also served as a court appointed child representative and Guardian ad Litem in Cook County. 

Ms. Liss has completed mediation training at Northwestern University as well as the Houston Family Law Trial Institute program.  While in law school, she attended a comparative family law course in Granada, Spain, was a dean's scholar, worked in the International Human Rights Law Institute, and authored a published Law Review article.

Ms. Liss is actively involved in the Chicago Bar Association and previously served as chair of the Young Lawyers Section. She founded and currently serves as chair of the CBA’s Human Trafficking Committee. Ms. Liss also serves on the Chicago Bar Foundation's Board of Directors and previously served as a past member of the Chicago Bar Foundation's Young Professional Board and the Center for Conflict Resolution's Board of Directors.  She also teaches adoption law as an adjunct professor at DePaul University College of Law.

Ms. Liss received her bachelor’s degree in in psychology from Miami University (Ohio) and her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.

Michael R. Lufrano

Michael R. Lufrano is Executive Vice President of Community Affairs and Chief Legal Officer for the Chicago Cubs, responsible for community affairs, government relations, communications, neighborhood relations and charitable activities.  He also serves as Chief Legal Counsel.

Since joining the Cubs organization in 2004, Mr. Lufrano has led efforts to develop and maintain positive relations with the community around Wrigley Field, including businesses, residents and elected officials.  

Prior to joining the Cubs organization, Mr. Lufrano worked as an attorney in the Chicago office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal where his practice focused on intellectual property, media and First Amendment law, internet law and commercial litigation.  He has also worked in the office of the Corporation Counsel for the city of Atlanta.  

From 1993 to 1995, Mr. Lufrano served in the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Advance.  He helped coordinate and implement daily and long-term schedules for the President and the First Lady and helped produce and design White House trips and events, including the President’s trip to Normandy in 1994 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of D-Day. 

Mr. Lufrano received his undergraduate degree in Economics from the University of Illinois and his J.D. from Harvard Law School.  

Lauren Novak

Lauren Novak is a partner and Deputy Practice Group Leader of Schiff Hardin’s Labor and Employment Practice Group. Previously serving as in-house counsel for a labor union, Ms. Novak has expertise in all areas of labor and employment law. 

In her current practice, Ms. Novak represents management issues related to collective bargaining, labor disputes, discrimination, harassment, retaliation, biometric information privacy, non-compete agreements, OSHA compliance, leaves of absences, and wage and hour complaints.

She advises across a diverse range of industries, including food and beverage, automotive, construction, gaming, manufacturing, outsourcing, education, telecommunications, and staffing services, including security staffing. 

Ms. Novak is a founding member of Schiff Hardin’s Workplace Investigations Team which assists clients with investigations, compliance and resolution as the focus on sexual harassment in the workplace has increased. She regularly contributes insights to Schiff Hardin’s labor and employment blog, Employment Law Landscape, and frequently speaks on topics related to labor and employment law, women in the legal workforce, and workplace ethical issues. 

Ms. Novak is a past Co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Bar Association’s Alliance for Women and the CBA’s Young Lawyers Section Career Assistance Committee. She also provides labor and employment advice on a pro bono basis for several non-profit organizations in the Chicago community.

Ms. Novak received her bachelor’s degree from The George Washington University and her J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Hon. Nichole C. Patton

Nichole Patton is a Cook County Circuit Court Judge assigned to the County Division where she presides over cases involving mental health law, adoptions, election law, civil asset forfeitures, name changes and real estate tax objections.  

Prior to her role in the judiciary, Judge Patton was an Assistant State’s Attorney with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office where she worked in the Mental Health Unit of the Special Prosecutions Bureau prosecuting cases seeking civil commitment and treatment orders for individuals who were involuntarily detained at mental health hospitals in Cook County. 

From 2003-2010, Judge Patton was a sole practitioner with a concentration in real estate, civil litigation, criminal and securities law.  She is the former general counsel for Capital Management Group Securities, LLC where she was responsible for structuring and negotiating business transactions, performing due diligence and drafting transactional documents. 

She was also an associate with the law firm of Iwan Cray Huber Horstman & VanAusdal where she concentrated in medical malpractice and transportation defense and a staff attorney with Liberty Mutual Insurance Company where she specialized in personal injury defense and strict liability matters.  Judge Patton also served as an Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney from 1996 to 2001 working in several divisions including appeals, traffic, child protection, delinquency and real estate taxation. 

In addition to her service on the CBA Board of Managers, Judge Patton is a member of the Board of Directors for The Lawyers Club of Chicago, and a member of the Chi Omega Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the South Suburban Chapter of Jack and Jill of America and the West Towns Chapter of The Links. 

Judge Patton received her bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University, her master’s degree from Chicago State University and her J.D. from The John Marshall Law School.

Trisha Rich

Trisha Rich is a Chicago litigation attorney and a member of Holland & Knight's Litigation and Dispute Resolution practice, focusing on complex commercial litigation, legal ethics and professional responsibility matters. Ms. Rich represents a wide variety of clients in litigation and other disputes, including national and international companies, small businesses, municipalities and state agencies, and individuals. 

As a member of the firm's Legal Profession Team, Ms. Rich advises lawyers, law firms, and in-house counsel on a variety of issues related to professional responsibility and legal ethics, including professional responsibility, malpractice, partnership and corporate structuring, law firm management and employment issues, fee disputes, conflicts, confidentiality, and privilege, as well as all areas of legal ethics.

Ms. Rich is active in the legal ethics community and founded the Attorney Defense Initiative, the first privately sponsored pro bono initiative in the nation that focuses on assisting impaired lawyers facing disciplinary charges. She is also a member of the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers, and a frequent speaker and author on a variety of issues related to ethics and risk management. 

She is a member of the Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois, has argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and is a 2012 graduate of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy's national trial practice program.
Ms. Rich obtained her undergraduate and her Master’s degrees from Western Michigan University and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.  

Federico M. Rodriguez

Federico M. Rodriguez is the Principal of Rodriguez Legal Group, LLC, a firm he founded that specializes in civil and criminal defense work.  Since opening his first firm he has handled numerous high profile cases and secured significant judgments and settlements for his clients. 

Prior to starting his firm in 2005, Mr. Rodriguez worked as an associate with Lawrence H. Hyman & Associates, a firm focusing on personal injury litigation and national high profile criminal cases.  

Born and raised in Mexico City, Mr. Rodriguez came to Chicago as a teen and went on to work as a Spanish-language interpreter for the Circuit Court of Cook County while attending college at night at DePaul University.  

Mr. Rodriguez is an active member of numerous bar associations including the CBA, the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Puerto Rican Bar Association and the Hispanic Lawyers Association.  He served as Executive

Co-Chair for the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening from 2013-15 and serves on the Illinois Supreme Court’s Character and Fitness Committee by appointment.

He has received numerous awards including being the first recipient of the University of Illinois College of Law Latino Law Student Association ‘Legacy Award’ in 2015 for his work funding a $100,000 scholarship endowment, and the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois Latino of the Year Award in 2018. 

A frequent speaker and lecturer, Mr. Rodriguez also makes regular media appearances on Univision on behalf of the ABA’s Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities and is frequently interviewed on news programs both locally and nationally.  

Mr. Rodriguez received his undergraduate degree from DePaul University and his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law.  

Ajay Shah

Ajay Shah is the CEO of Globetrotters Engineering Corporation, a full-service government sector architect / engineering company in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to becoming CEO, he was COO & General Counsel at Globetrotters. 

Mr. Shah’s private practice has included federal civil rights, federal criminal defense appeals, commercial real estate, and general corporate law.

Mr. Shah has extensive service to the Bar including serving on the Board of the South Asian Bar Association, the Illinois Supreme Court Committee for Character and Fitness, and the Criminal Justice Act Panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  He has also been recognized on the Honor Roll of Appointed Counsel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.; Prior to joining the Board of the Chicago Bar Association, he served on the Judicial Evaluation Committee for the CBA.

Mr. Shah received his undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Purdue University, his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law, and his OPM Certificate from Harvard Business School.

Adam Sheppard

A third-generation criminal defense attorney, Adam Sheppard is a partner at Sheppard Law Firm, P.C. where he concentrates in defense of serious criminal cases. 

Mr. Sheppard is a member of the Federal Defender Panel and was recently named to the Board of Directors for the Center for Conflict Resolution.  Mr. Sheppard is a frequent lecturer at CLE seminars on criminal law issues and well as Title IX proceedings. 

Mr. Sheppard is a former officer of the CBA Young Lawyers Section and has served on the CBA Editorial Board for nearly 10 years.  He also serves as lawyer in the classroom for the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago (CRFC) and on the Decalogue Society’s board of managers and editorial board and formerly served on its executive board.  He also serves on the junior board of the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind.

Mr. Sheppard also serves as a pro bono attorney for JUF Community Legal Services providing representation for indigent defendants.  He has been admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar), the Central District of Illinois, and the Eastern District of Wisconsin. He is a lifetime member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and member of the Federal Bar Association, Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Illinois State Bar Association. 

Mr. Sheppard received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law.

General Counsel: Howard S. Suskin

Howard S. Suskin is a partner in Jenner & Block’s Litigation Department and Co-Chair of the firm’s Securities Litigation Practice and its Class Action Practice.   Mr. Suskin has substantial first-chair experience representing individuals and business entities in civil and criminal securities matters, including class actions alleging securities fraud and misrepresentation claims, derivative actions claiming breach of fiduciary duty, contests for corporate control, insider trading investigations and broker-dealer issues.  

Mr. Suskin serves as an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association, and for self-regulatory organizations including the Chicago Board Options Exchange, FINRA and the National Futures Association.  

Mr. Suskin is an active member of the ABA Securities Law Committee, including serving as co-chair of the Class and Derivative Actions Subcommittee.  He currently serves as general counsel for the Chicago Bar Association and served previously as chairman of the CBA’s Class Action, Bench and Bar, Financial and Investment Services and Securities Law committees.    

Mr. Suskin is a member of the Advisory Board of Board IQ, a Financial Times publication, and The Deal, and he has served as a member of the Securities Editorial Advisory Board of Law360.   He has lectured extensively and has published numerous treatises and articles on issues relating to arbitrations, class actions and securities law, including serving as editor and co-author of the West Publishing Illinois Civil Litigation Guide, Moore’s Federal Civil Motion Practice and Pretrial Civil Litigation, the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education Treatise on Class Actions, and the ABA’s Annual Survey of State Class Action Litigation.  

Mr. Suskin received his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, where he was a member of the Michigan Law Review.