Young Lawyers Section Executive Council

The YLS Executive Council, chaired by the Chair of the Section, is composed of approximately 100 volunteer attorneys. The  Council aims to address the needs and interests of attorneys during their first 10 years of practice. It also sets the policy and exercises general supervision and control over the Section subject to the provisions of the YLS By-Laws. The Executive Council is comprised of the Officers, the Immediate Past Chair, the Directors, the Chairs of each of the various YLS Committees, and Special Project Coordinators. The Executive Council meets on the third Wednesday of every month and at additional times when called by the Chair.  

Officers and Directors

The Section’s officers consist of a Chair, First Vice-Chair, Second Vice-Chair, a Member Service Manager, a Public Service Manager, a Secretary/Treasurer, two Project Officers, two Editors-in-Chief of the YLS Journal section of CBA Record and ten Directors. The Chair, First Vice-Chair, Second Vice-Chair, Member Service Manager, Public Service Manager, Secretary, Treasurer, and Project Officers serve one-year terms. The Editors-in-Chief of the YLS Journal section of CBA Record and the Directors serve two-year terms. The Chair is not eligible for re-election. The Second Vice-Chair automatically success to the position of First Vice-Chair and the First Vice-Chair automatically succeeds to the position of Chair at the conclusion of his or her term.

Octavio Duran, Jr.
Chair


Octavio 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. Octavio has had much success in his young career. He has acquired millions of dollars for his clients and has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers from 2013-Present. Octavio is an active member in the legal community. He formerly served as the Parliamentarian for the Alumni Association Board for Michigan State University College of Law and is currently the First Vice Chair for the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section. Through both organizations, Octavio has launched several fundraising functions that will benefit law school students and the legal community. He formerly served as the chair of the Tort Litigation Committee for the CBA and currently serves as the social chair for the YLS. When he is not spending his time volunteering for political candidates, he spends his time running and biking. He recently placed in the top 1% of all runners in Race Judicata, a race that raises funds for the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services.

Jeffrey Moskowitz
First Vice Chair


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 a controlled 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, Kane, Lake and Will County
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 a controlled 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, Kane, Lake and Will County. 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. Jeff also serves on the DePaul University, College of Law's Dean's Advisory Counsel and is a member of the Lawndale Christian Legal Center’s Young Professional’s Counsel. Additionally, he is a member of the Chicago Bar Foundation's Young Professional's Board and is an attorney mentor for the Chicago Bar Foundation's Justice Entrepreneur's Project. He also coached the Little Village High School mock trial team and did volunteer expungements for Cabrini Green Legal Aid.

Tracy Brammeier
Second Vice Chair

Tracy is an attorney at Clifford Law Offices, P.C.  Her practice focuses on aviation, transportation, premises, and construction liability in addition to other areas of personal injury and wrongful death litigation.  She obtained a certificate in advocacy from Loyola University Chicago School of Law and has served as a judicial extern in the Northern District of Illinois. Previously, Tracy has been involved in the YLS as Public Services Manager and enjoys participating in the YLS Wills for Heroes project. She also serves on the Board of Managers of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.






Kate Schnake
Secretary / Treasurer

Kate Schnake devotes her practice to representing and advising lawyers and law firms on all aspects of the laws governing lawyers. Her professional liability defense experience includes defending lawyers and law firms against actions for civil liability and professional ethics and responsibility. Kate is a former adjunct professor at The John Marshall Law School. Prior to joining Hinshaw as an attorney, she was a summer associate with the firm, as well as a paralegal. During law school, Kate was a member of the Dean's List, and was a teaching assistant for a first-year torts course.


Chastidy Burns
Member Services Manager

Chastidy Burns has been an Assistant Public Defender in the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender since July of 2013. She is currently assigned to the Felony Trial Division. Prior to joining the office, she was an Associate Attorney for the Shiller Preyar Law Offices where she practiced criminal defense and civil rights litigation. She graduated with a degree in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 2008, and she received her Juris Doctorate with a certificate in Public Interest Law from the DePaul University College of Law in 2012. In addition to being the Member Services Manager of the Chicago Bar Association Young Lawyers Section, Chastidy is the Immediate Past President of the Black Women Lawyers' Association of Greater Chicago, Inc., a member of the Just the Beginning - A Pipeline Organization Associate Board, a founding member and Past President of the DePaul Law Alumni Engagement Board, and a member of the University of Chicago Alumni Club of Chicago Board of Directors.


Lara Wagner
Public Services Manager

Lara Wagner is the owner and principal attorney of the Law Offices of Lara Wagner, LLC.. Her practice focuses on helping people navigate the complex immigration system and build a life in the United States. Lara earned her Juris Doctor from University of Michigan Law School in 2014. In addition to the YLS, Lara is a member of the Chicago Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Chicago Bar Foundation’s Young Professionals Board, and the National Immigrant Justice Center's Junior Leadership Board. She also volunteers with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, where she helps run a monthly immigration clinic. 






Kenneth Matuszewski
Project Officer and Co-Editor in Chief of the@theBar Blog

Kenneth “Kenny” Matuszewski is a Patent Attorney who concentrates his practice in patent litigation. Kenny has extensive experience litigating software, electrical and mechanical patents in federal court and the PTAB. He also advises clients about design rights and trademarks. A firm believer that learning is a lifelong process, Kenny will graduate with a B.S. in Computer Science from Oregon State University in December 2019. Previously, he double-majored in Biological Sciences and Spanish at the University of Notre Dame and earned his J.D. at Chicago-Kent College of Law. In addition to serving as a Project Officer, Kenny is one of the Head Editors for the @theBar blog and a Co-Chair for the YLS IP Committee. He also received the YLS’ Rising Star Award for Leaders with Exceptional Promise in 2019. In his spare time, Kenny plays tuba and euphonium in the CBA’s Symphony Orchestra and Barristers' Big Band. 



John Risvold
Project Officer

John, a trial lawyer at The Collins Law Firm P.C., has dedicated his career to fighting those responsible for injuring his clients. He exclusively represents individuals and their families who are victims of personal injury or wrongful death. John works tirelessly to get the best outcome for his clients and has recovered millions of dollars for his clients. He has tried cases to verdict in Illinois and handled cases throughout the country. Prior to joining The Collins Law Firm, John defended large multi-national corporations in multimillion dollar litigation, giving him a unique insight into how cases are handled by the companies and individuals responsible for catastrophic injury.





Dan Berkowitz
Co-Editor in Chief of the YLS Journal

Daniel Berkowitz is an associate attorney at Aronberg, Goldgehn, Davis & Garmisa. His practice focuses on representing insurers in complex insurance coverage litigation arising under general liability, director and officer, and professional liability policies. He also handles matters involving claims of bad faith and provides strategic counseling to clients regarding potential liability and strategies for handling underlying liability matters.







Kruti Patel
Co-Editor in Chief of the YLS Journal

Kruti J. Patel is an associate attorney at Charles Wintersteen and Associates and practices exclusively in the area of U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law, with a particular focus on healthcare immigration. Prior to joining Charles Wintersteen & Associates, Kruti founded a practice focusing on providing immigration services for small businesses, startups, and individuals under the umbrella of the Justice Entrepreneurs Project, the Chicago Bar Foundation’s non-for-profit incubator for innovative law practices. Kruti earned her Juris Doctor from the Chicago-Kent College of Law in Chicago, IL with the highest honors in 2011, and  is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Chicago Bar Association, the  International Medical Graduates Taskforce, the American Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association. Kruti has a deep interest in community service and has volunteered with ENLACE/CALA, CVLS, Midwest Asian American Center, and the Chicago Legal Clinic. She is admitted to practice law in Illinois, New York, and New Jersey and is fluent in Hindi and Gujarati.    

Jack Sanker
Co-Editor in Chief of the @theBar Blog

Jack Sanker is an associate with the law firm of SmithAmundsen LLC. As a member of the firm’s Construction Practice Group, Jack partners with clients to resolve breach of contract issues, risk mitigation, indemnity disputes, and insurance liability matters. He focuses his practice on tort and insurance litigation, property loss and personal injury. Jack is an aggressive litigator with a mind towards dispute resolution. Jack received his J.D. from the Loyola University College of Law and his B.A. in History and Religious Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.