Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans has proposed a statewide will registry that would allow individuals to file wills for a nominal fee. – Shutterstock

Chief judge proposes voluntary registry for filing wills in Illinois

A proposal from the Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County that seeks to establish a state registry for filing wills has reached the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Elder Law and could be on a path to approval through a rule change.

Supreme Court offers bonuses, debt relief to lure police hires

Supreme Court police officers last fall staffed a table at Washington’s armory, where runners picked up their numbers and T-shirts for the Army 10-Miler road race. The officers were promoting an entirely different kind of competition, seeking to recruit new officers in a tight employment market.

Foxx says ‘justice has been served’ by R. Kelly’s previous sex-abuse convictions

A Cook Circuit judge dismissed sex-abuse charges against R&B singer R. Kelly on Tuesday based on the recommendation of county State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

How I Did It

Chicago attorney Brian Wallach uses legal, political skills to fight for ALS patients

After being diagnosed with ALS in 2017, Brian S. Wallach resolved to use his experience in the courtroom and presidential politics to advocate for life-saving treatment answers for others suffering from the progressive neurological disease.

Worker gets $17M after injury at Chicago construction site

A man whose skull detached from his spine when he was hit by construction equipment while working on a West Side job site accepted a $10 million settlement with one defendant last week, following an earlier $7 million pact with another.

Judges Propes, O’Hara depart Cook County Circuit bench

Judges Lorna E. Propes and James N. O’Hara have retired from the Cook County Circuit Court in recent weeks, each after a decade-plus on the bench and each after presiding over high-profile cases in the past year.

Hinsdale to pay $800,000 to settle lawsuits over group home

The village of Hinsdale agreed to pay $800,000 to settle two lawsuits accusing it of violating the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act by trying to block a group home for people struggling with addiction from operating in a residential neighborhood.

Illinois gun-ban incites challenges to legislative shortcuts

For all the fanfare and the legal rigmarole of Illinois’ ban on semiautomatic weapons, it might come as a surprise to learn the legislation was titled “Insurance Code-Public Adjusters.”

Courts & Cases

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Trial Notebook


Savings provision didn’t rescue medical malpractice claim

Denise Evans had two arguments for preventing her medical malpractice claim against the United States from being tossed out as tardy under the Federal Tort Claims Act: the Westfall Act’s savings provision and equitable tolling.

Insurance Matters

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Appeals court gives expansive treatment to ‘insured’ as used in policy exclusion

The 1st District Appellate Court recently held that the term “insured” in an auto exclusion for a commercial general liability policy should be given expansive treatment.

Cotter’s Corner

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The continued Supreme Court conflicts condition: Questions keep coming

As a reminder, U.S. Supreme Court justices are the only federal judges who are not bound by the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. Two items last week continue to cast a dark shadow over the Roberts court, which seems to have determined that it can do as it pleases. It does not appear to have deep concerns about what the general populace thinks.

For the Defense

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Petition grants highlighted by insurance coverage, arbitration and BIPA questions

The quarterly column in this space on the Illinois Supreme Court’s rulings on petitions for leave to appeal is here. On Jan. 25, the state high court allowed 12 petitions and denied multiple more.

Opening Statement


‘Andy Warhol in Iran’ takes a fictional look at the iconic artist’s life

In the play “Andy Warhol in Iran,” there’s a moment when Warhol wonders if the encounter he had with a young Iranian revolutionary, who attempted to kidnap him for publicity for the revolution’s cause, really happened.

Opening Statement


‘Cabaret’ rocks Porchlight Music Theatre

Congratulations to Chicago’s Porchlight Music Theatre at the Ruth Page Dance Center for the Arts. Once again, artistic director Michael Weber and his creative team have taken a classic musical and made the production as good, if not better, than the original.

Opening Statement


‘Tick, Tick ... Boom!’ features trans take on Jonathan Larson story

Famous for writing hit musicals such as “Rent” and “Tick, Tick … Boom!,” American composer Jonathan Larson died Jan. 25, 1996, at the young age of 35 after being misdiagnosed at a hospital. It was the day of the first off-Broadway preview performance of “Rent.”

Opening Statement


‘Bald Sisters’ adds to nation’s onstage immigration tales

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free…” So go the famous lines by Emma Lazarus inscribed on the pedestal of our great ‘lady of the harbor’ — the Statue of Liberty — encouraging people seeking refuge from tyranny or just a better life to come to America.

Opening Statement


Looking back at this year’s notable Chicago shows

When I started writing this column in the 80s, many of my entertainment critic colleagues were using stars as a rating system for reviewing a theatrical performance.

Social Scene


Honorees receive Solidarity Awards

More than 300 people attended the 2023 Green Book CLE and Solidarity Awards at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center on Sunday. Honorees and planning committee members included Joel B. Bruckman, from left, Judge Rena Van Tine, Judge Steven G. Watkins, Pamela Saindon, Bobby Rush, Judge Abbey Fishman Romanek, state Sen. Laura Fine, Justice P. Scott Neville Jr., Judge Sheree D. Henry, Judge Megan E. Goldish and Cristin K. Duffy. Rush, Romanek, Fine and Neville received Solidarity Awards for their commitment to combating antisemitism, racism and bigotry. Photo courtesy of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers

Firm names winners in oratory

Harper Williams, a fifth-grade student from Robert A. Black Magnet Elementary School in Chicago, won first place Friday in the fourth annual Foley & Lardner MLK Jr. Oratory Competition. Williams took on the persona of Dr. King to call for a renewed focus on the “culture of excellence” in the Black community. “Let [hope] serve as the energy necessary to move us into a stronger, more positive direction of unity and respect for one another, regardless of our skin tone,” he said. “Let’s allow hope to spark action and change mindsets.” Photo by Debbie Vyskocil

Cosgrove speaks at ITLA seminar

Bradley M. Cosgrove, partner at Clifford Law Offices, spoke at the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association’s annual Medical Malpractice Seminar at the Westin Chicago River North. He addressed “Aggressive Cross Examination of the Less Than Truthful Witness.” The seminar last month was sponsored by the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Education Fund. Photo courtesy of Clifford Law Offices

ABOTA honors Judge Budzinski

Illinois Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates President-elect Jill M. Webb, from left, of the Law Offices of Jill M. Webb, and President William J. Rogers of Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP presented Cook County Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth M. Budzinski with a framed War of 1812 American flag. Budzinski was recognized as 2022 Judge of the Year at ABOTA’s fall luncheon at the Union League Club. Photo courtesy of ABOTA

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