2011 Karnival of Karnage
Again this year Pat volunteered at the Karnival of Karnage, a 1-month commitment to a successful fundraiser for the local Tebala Shrine Center which helps support 22 Shriners’ Children’s Hospitals in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Pat was positioned outside at the end of the haunted house in a booth which sold t-shirts and hoodies. She said that selling merchandise was especially challenging because "most guests exited the house at a high rate of speed, screaming and running past the booth to the safety of their vehicles in the parking lot." She noted that some young people "chickened out altogether, too scared to go through the house with their friends or family". She added that "Unfortunately the t-shirt booth was not a haven from the shenanigans of the actors who regularly jumped over the counter, under the counter, through the walls or banged on the booth with a bat."
Pat is looking forward to next year since she has been promised a part as an actor inside the house!
2011 WCBA Seminar
Bill was asked again in 2011 to present an update on the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to local attorneys by the Commercial Law Section of the Winnebago County Bar Association. The seminar was held in November and conducted using the Socratic method, which, for better or worse, reminded attendees of their law school classes.
Bill joined an impressive list of local lawyers and judiciary to help local lawyers and judges to remain current in matters related to commercial law questions.
The course taught by Bill also met the requirements established by the Illinois Supreme Court for attendees to count the course toward their annual continuing legal educations requirements.
Bill spent an afternoon on the radio at WNTA explaining the collaboration of the local Boy Scouts and the local Girl Scouts. The call-in talk show included questions about the building design, site selection, the brick campaign, and the aluminum cans being collected by the youth in order to provide them an opportunity to meaningfully participate in the fundraising campaign.
Bill noted that the call-in format was a lot like moot court in law school, "you just don't know what the next question might be about." He said it was a challenge, but also a lot of fun.
TV for a Great Cause
Bill, as President of United For Youth, was a guest on Rockford's WIFR Morning Blend TV show along with Lisa Breitsprecker, VP of Development and Communications for the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, to discuss the collaboration of the Blackhawk Area Council Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois.
Bill and Lisa explained to Andy Gannon and Aaron Wilson, along with those watching, about the one-of-a-kind collaboration of the local Boy Scout council and the local Girl Scout council to raise funds together to design and construct a shared office headquarters, training and activity space, and stores for volunteers to purchase specialty program supplies. Bill noted that although it may take a while for him to feel comfortable on television, the appearance was for a great cause and he appreciated the opportunity to discuss the project with the northern Illinois community.
2011 Credit Union Attorney Conference
Bill and Elisa attended the annual attorney's conference of the Illinois Credit Union League. They have attended this conference for several years to assist them to remain current with law affecting credit unions.
The conference is especially important because Reilly Law Offices represents many, many credit unions in the Rockford area. Attending the conference helps assure the office provides Quality Law to al of our credit union clients. The multi-day conference also provides opportunities to exchange ideas about legal developments in a small group setting.
Closing a Big Deal
In September Bill and the rest of the office completed a successful closing on large-dollar corporate sale. The transaction involved our client's closely held business being sold to another closely held business in the same industry. Most importantly, the deal was structured to retain the local business operations in the same facility and to retain the jobs of the local employees.
As reported in the Rockford Register Star newspaper, the president of the our client stated “We ... wanted to find a merger partner that was privately owned. Private companies tend to take a more long-term view.” Bill assisted with the legal requirements, negotiations of the terms of sale, and discussions with the employees to help assure a successful closing.
Like any significant closing, the amount of paperwork was weighty. A picture of the closing table with documents ready to be signed is included to the left. Bill noted that the attorneys and parties reduced paperwork by exchanging documents by email, and that only two original copies of the closing documents were created. The other interested parties all received copies of the closing documents on computer discs.
Enjoying the Circus for a Good Cause
The circus came to Rockford in June and is one of the principal annual fundraisers for Tebala Shrine Center. Pat volunteered to assist with crowd control, which had the added benefit of allowing her to watch four of the performances. Pat enjoys the excitement of the kids and their families, and noted that “Everyone is looking forward to next year!”
Next up for Pat’s community service through the Tebala Shrine is the Shriners International Imperial Session in Denver. Pat and her husband Barry will be in charge of a hospitality suite at the Hyatt Regency Denver when not visiting mountaintops and the Georgetown Loop Railway. Cheers!
Amanda Becomes Court Appointed Special Advocate
Amanda recently accepted an invitation to serve the community as a volunteer advocate for children through the Winnebago County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) Program. The CASA program’s mission is to assist the state court in seeking the best interests of abused and neglected children through court-appointed volunteer advocacy. This is certainly a service worthy of high praise.
After a background check, more than 30 hours of classroom presentations, and studies outside of the classroom, Amanda was sworn in by Judge Mary Linn Green as a court-appointed advocate for children. The children, and our community, will be well-served by Amanda’s service.
Assistance to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts
Bill and Elisa assisted United for Youth, the collaborative organization of the local Boy Scout council and the local Girl Scout council, to purchase real estate in Rockford by donating their expertise and firm resources to make the purchase possible without incurring legal fees. The 16,000 square foot building will serve the Blackhawk Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois by providing a shared space for administrative offices and the organizations’ trading posts.
Both Bill and Elisa said that they are strong supporters of all three organizations, and that they anticipate the legal fees that were saved by the organizations will be able to go directly to programs which help the youth of our community to be more responsible leaders in the future.
Alabet Temple No. 31 Patrol and Drums
Pat has long been active with the Daughters of the Nile and the Tebala Shrine Temple’s fundraising activities for the Shriners’ Children’s Hospitals, and this recently turned into an opportunity to also entertain others.
The Temple asked Pat to participate in the Alabet Temple No. 31 Patrol and Drums corps. She agreed and after learning the cadences has enjoyed the opportunity to serve in a different fashion than service in the background.
Here is to marching to the beat of a different drummer! We hope you all have a chance to see and hear her play with the Alabet Temple No. 31 Patrol and Drums corps.
2010 Commercial Law Seminar
In November both Bill and Elisa attended the Winnebago County Bar Association’s seminar designed to update attorneys on new developments in the area of commercial law. The topics included special attention to pitfalls in the organization of new business entities, banking laws, and debt collection. A panel discussion with area attorneys and judges concluded the day.
Bill was asked to speak on recent developments involving the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The Act has received significant attention lately as courts and legislatures react to the continuing economic crisis by increasing the obligations of financial institutions and debt collectors, while at the same time reducing the responsibilities of borrowers. Bill illustrated the changes through court decisions in several recent cases to alert local attorneys of concerns that could be passed along to their clients. The topic was scary, but the presentation was well received.
Tebala Haunted House Fundraiser Support
Par Kasmar and her husband Barry worked tirelessly at the Rockford Tebala Shriners' 2010 Haunted House Fundraiser, better known as the Karnival of Karnage. The activity was located at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Belvidere, and its principal purpose was to raise money for the Tebala Shriners' charities and charitable activities. Pat is active in the Tebala organization and enjoys its many activities, its good works, and the opportunity to meet many wonderful people from all over the country.
The Tebala Shriners are headquartered in Rockford, and are affiliated with the Shriners of North America, an international fraternity of approximately half a million members which is best known for supporting the Shriners Hospitals for Children, a network of 22 hospitals that provide the highest quality care at no cost.
In October things heated up in the office as the fall football classic between the University of Iowa and the University of Michigan approached game day. Bill and Elisa were scheduled to travel with their families to Ann Arbor to see their respective schools battle it out on the field.
On the day prior to the game, both Elisa and Bill wore their school colors to the office, and the rest of the staff smartly showed up in decidedly neutral colors. Good natured ribbing occurred throughout the day as school pride was allowed to flourish. Both teams had similar records, and neither team was a decided favorite.
It was a beautiful day for the game and fun was had by all. The tickets acquired by Elisa were great seats and the action was close at hand even though over 110,000 people attended the game with them at The Big House. (Although, it must be told that a bit more fun was had by the Iowa Hawkeyes.)
2010 Credit Union Attorney Conference
Again in 2010 Bill and Elisa attended the two-day attorney conference sponsored by the Illinois Credit Union League.
The conference focused on updating attorneys for credit unions in Illinois with the multitude of Federal and State, statutory and regulatory changes affecting the operations and activities of credit unions. As speaker after speaker noted, the economic crisis in our country has created fertile ground for the executive branch to modify regulations, the congress and state legislature to pass new laws (sometimes conflicting), and the courts to interpret laws in order to provide protections not previously identified or thought necessary.
Elisa and Bill attend the conference each year in order to be sure Reilly Law Offices practices Quality Law whenever we act on behalf of our clients.
Baby Maxton Arrives
Little Maxton James Carter was happily welcomed to our world by his parents Jessica and Jon Carter.
Max was born on September 13, 2010 at 5:05 pm. He weighed in at 7.7 lbs. His mom, and our former legal assistant, says "He is perfect and I am so happy I got the birth I wanted!"
Jessica will be staying home to care for Max and is anxious to spend her time raising Max with Jon.
Amanda Shadden is Our Newest Legal Assistant
Amanda Shadden joins the office and will be the first voice and smile for clients who telephone or stop at the office. She replaces Jessica, who, with the imminent birth of her first child, elected to be a stay-at-home mom.
Amanda has a BS from Rockford College and an MS from the University of Phoenix. She has long desired to have a career in the legal field and is anxious to learn more about the practice of law. She says she is “thrilled to be a part of this law office, and looks forward to taking care of our clients’ needs.” We are pleased she selected our firm to further her interest in a legal career.
Elisa installed as President of Temple Beth-El in Rockford
At a beautiful ceremony during Temple Services in August, Elisa Whitman was officially named as President of the Board of Directors of her congregation at Temple Beth-El in Rockford. Elisa will preside over the Board as it leads the congregation under the leadership of Rabbi Binah Wing.
She looks forward to her new responsibilities and said she “is flattered to have been chosen to Shepherd the congregation during such difficult economic times.”
Appointment to New Volunteer Position
Bill recently accepted appointment to a new volunteer position with the Boy Scouts of America as the Chairman of Program Impact for the Greater Chicago Metro and Suburban Areas. His task is to identify and implement better methods of Scouting through training, advancement and large-scale activities for the Scouts, their Leaders, and their Families.
Bill has been involved with Scouting since he was a youth, and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 1972. He says he appreciates the opportunity to give something back to Scouting as an adult leader and volunteer. He notes that this year Scouting is celebrating its 100th anniversary and that it remains committed to its mission of preparing young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
What You Should Tell Your Children and Ask Your Parents
Elisa conducted an educational program for the Rockford Chapter of Hadassah, an international women's organization. Her presentation addressed end-of-life and estate planning issues, and included discussion of the rapidly changing area of "spend down" issues.
Elisa noted that the people who attended the session were very interested in the topic and participated in a lively discussion that turned the seminar into an interactive forum with plenty of interesting ideas shared by all the participants.
Elizabeth Black Joins the Office Team
Beth Black was recently welcomed to our office as a legal assistant to support the firm's dedication to Quality Law ~ Personalized Service.
She has been active in the local banking arena, and has a strong business financial background. While working for a bank, Beth had dealings with our firm as a client. When her bank employer closed its local branch our office seized the opportunity to add her to the staff.
Beth says that she looks forward to learning more about the legal field and assisting our clients.
Some Non-Law Continuing Education
To begin the summer Bill travelled to Florida for additional instruction of sailing skills and to practice new anchoring techniques that are necessary for adventures he plans in the future. At the conclusion of the course Bill was certified by the American Sailing Association with “an advanced cruising standard for individuals with cruising experience as being able to skipper and crew a 50 foot sailboat by day in coastal waters. The certification standard specifically includes those skills unique to a 30-50 foot multihull.” Bill also accomplished a separate certification standard designating him as qualified for coastal navigation.
To Bill the sailing is most enjoyable with friends and family, but only when prepared for the unexpected so that everyone on-board feels genuinely comfortable in the sailboat while sailing out on the water.
Ethical Considerations When Establishing a Law Practice
The Illinois Supreme Court recently began requiring attorneys to meet minimum continuing legal education requirements that include an ethics component. On April 30, 2010 Bill assisted more than 60 lawyers meet their ethics education component by presenting a course titled Ethical Considerations When Establishing a Law Practice.
Bill explained that to keep the course relevant to all the attorneys, care was taken when selecting the presentation material to address topics of concern and interest to all attorneys who practice law, not just concerns when first establishing a practice. For example, the presentation contained a component on attorney advertisements which generated a lively discussion.
Bill explained that while he enjoys presenting material as a way to become acquainted with new topics, he was especially pleased when a senior counselor of law complemented him by saying "I thought you had a real sleeper of a topic and yet you were the most interesting presenter of the day. Well done." Bill says he hopes judges hearing his arguments in court feel the same way.
Elisa's Attorney Grandmother
A life in the law, helping people, and working hard for her clients, is family tradition for Elisa. In fact, her grandmother, Estelle Koblin Nelson, was one of the first female attorneys in Michigan. Estelle attended law school from 1933 to 1936. She was admitted to the Michigan Bar in 1936. Hers was a groundbreaking generation and she made extraordinary contributions to the legal community.
Elisa reports that "In a family of many lawyers, Grandma Estelle has always been a special inspiration."
ISBA Member Mark
The Illinois State Bar Association, ISBA, promotes the continuing education and professionalism of Illinois attorneys. Both Bill and Elisa are active members of the ISBA.
In recognition of their membership, the ISBA has proudly authorized the Reilly Law Offices to display the "Member Firm" ISBA trademark.
The firm is also active in the American Bar association, Winnebago County Bar Association and the Illinois Creditor's Bar Association.
Credit Union Attorney's Conference
Bill and Elisa once again attended the 2009 annual Illinois Credit Union League's Attorney Conference.
The two-day conference held brought together expert credit union attorneys in order to share best practices, acquire new skills, and update themselves on evolving issues from outside experts in relevant legal fields. By necessity, this year focused on the enormous volume of changes to the laws regulating credit unions, debt enforcement, and foreclosure procedures, that have resulted from the government's reactions to the global financial crisis.
Bill and Elisa agreed that the conference was excellent, and provided great material to better assist our many credit union clients.
Boeger Leadership Center
Jim and Karen Boeger's generous contribution toward the leadership development of area youth has been translated into an active program with a physical presence in the Boeger Leadership Center located at Blackhawk Area Council's Camp Lowden in Oregon, Illinois. It was dedicated during an impressive ceremony in November, 2009.
Bill was involved as an active member on a small committee that designed the training program and the facility to serve as a center for the leadership development of both Scouts and non-Scouts.
Bill says the project is already contributing to leadership development, and the facility is in high-demand from people ready to put its first class facilities to use.
Continuing Legal Education
At it's annual meeting in June, the Winnebago County Bar Association (WCBA) elected Bill as the chairman of its 2009-2010 Continuing Legal Education Committee.
As Chairman Bill has the responsibility to sit on the WCBA Board of Directors and to coordinate several committees to conduct high quality legal education programs for area attorneys.
Bill reported that it is a great service to the legal community and a way to meet attorneys outside of his typical practice area.
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
On January 22, 2009 the Commercial Law Section of the Winnebago County Bar Association held its annual continuing legal education seminar. Bill Reilly was asked to present a topic of interest to the Bar Association and presented a seminar on the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. His presentation emphasized issues related to the act's applicability to attorneys and law firms in Illinois. The seminar was held at Giovanni's Restaurant and Banquet Center in Rockford.
Bill discussed the types of debt collection covered by the federal act, examples of actions which a debt collector must take while collecting a debt, and examples of things a debt collector should never take while collecting a debt. He also covered several recent court cases further interpreting the act, especially the act's interplay with state court debt collection actions.
Bill said it is a challenge to present this topic to a group of experts, but it is also nice to have the pressure to stay up-to-date with current legal developments.
Jessica Marries Jon
Jessica, the voice of Reilly Law Offices and our administrative assistant, married her love Jon Carter on October 4, 2008, in a beautiful outdoor ceremony under clear skies. The marriage was performed by Justice Kathryn Zenoff, friend of the bride and neighbor to our law office. Wedding festivities continued at a reception with great food and dancing at DiGiovanni's Ristorante in Roscoe, Illinois.
Jessica and Jon were first introduced 4 years ago by a mutual friend who worked with Jessica and is Jon’s best friend. (He later became Jon's best man at their wedding.) Jessica's first date with Jon was 2 days after meeting, and they have been together ever since. Jon proposed to Jessica the night before Valentine’s Day, 2007. She says Jon completely shocked and surprised her, even though their family and friends knew of Jon's plan, when he pulled the ring box out from behind a picture frame. Jessica says she stuttered a bit and then said, "Yes".
The happy couple's honeymoon was in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Jessica says they snorkeled, saw some Mayan ruins, and enjoyed being lazy after such a hectic time in their lives!
Judgment Enforcement Presentation
At the request of the Commercial Law Committee of the Winnebago County Bar Association, Bill Reilly recently developed and presented a seminar on the enforcement of judgments in Illinois State Courts.
Held in a banquet room at Giovanni’s Restaurant in Rockford, his Power Point supported presentation was well received by a large number of attorneys from the Rockford area.
Bill was honored to be asked to make the presentation, and noted that the local bar association of attorneys is a collegial group that is willing to share information and strategies to deal with ongoing developments of the law. Bill has been a member of the Winnebago County Bar Association since 1983 and presented numerous topics to local attorneys in past years.
Adventurer Steve Fossett will be Missed
Recent headlines carry little good news, and the discovery of Steve Fossett's airplane crash site is no exception. His hard earned successes in many areas of adventure, his boundless energy, and his quiet personal life, all reminded us that the spirit of wonder and excitement for stretching the boundaries still exists in America.
He demonstrated to all Americans that having a clear goal and working hard to achieve that goal can lead to success and satisfaction without compromising your integrity.
He set land speed, sailing, ballooning and flying records, but among the accomplishments he cherished the most was attaining the Eagle Scout award from the Boy Scouts of America. He earned the award at the very early age of only 13 years old. A remarkable person, and an American who will be missed.