Advisors Needed for Summer Interns and Fellows


Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) is actively seeking Advisors for their 2018 Advising Program, which matches current Law Student Interns and Graduate Fellows with members of PILI’s Alumni Network or Board of Directors.

PILI’s Advising Program is flexible, and allows Advisors to fit the program into their schedule. Advisors are required to communicate with their Advisee, and meet at least twice during the summer. Advisors often serve as an introduction to the Illinois legal community by providing career guidance, networking inroads and valuable insights.

PILI will provide additional support and tips to assist with making the relationship beneficial for both Advisor and Advisee. Those interested in serving as an Advisor should complete the registration form before Friday, April 27th, which allows PILI to make matches based on areas of practice and alma maters.

Mercedes Badia-Tavas is our Latest Featured Speaker!


Our latest Featured Speaker is Mercedes Badia-Tavas from Barnes & Thornburg!

We are thrilled to have Mercedes on the faculty panel at our Immigration 101: Family, Business and Citizenship In-Depth seminar in Chicago on May 11, 2018! Mercedes specializes on immigration and naturalization law, focusing on immigration matters for Fortune 500 companies and small businesses.

M. Mercedes Badia-Tavas is a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg, where she is a member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Law Department and the Immigration and Global Mobility Services Practice Group. Ms. Badia-Tavas regularly counsels clients on the employment of foreign nationals, the permanent residency process, and immigration compliance issues.

Prior to joining Barnes & Thornburg, Ms. Badia-Tavas owned her own legal practice, Badia-Tavas Law Group, Ltd. As the founding partner of Badia-Tavas Law Group, Ms. Badia-Tavas represented U.S. corporations and foreign individuals throughout the U.S. with employment visas and in the permanent residency process.

Ms. Badia-Tavas is on the Executive Board of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) Chicago Chapter, and a member of AILA’s Congressional Advocacy and several government Liaison Committees. In addition, she is a member of the American Bar Association-International Section, the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and the UNO Metropolitan Leadership Institute of Chicago.

Since 2017, Ms. Badia-Tavas was recognized by The Best Lawyers in America for her work in immigration law.

Her published works include “Observations on Argentine Arbitration” , American Review of International Arbitration, Parker School of Comparative and International Law, Columbia University as well as a contributing author to several articles in various volumes of AILA’s Immigration & Nationality Law Handbooks, including articles on “Employer Sanctions” , “Visa Options for Trainees” and “Proper Uses of the B-1 Visa.”

Ms. Badia-Tavas earned her J.D. from Tulane Law School in 1993, and in 1986 earned her B.A. from Agnes Scott College, where she was an economics and Spanish major. She is fluent in Spanish and conversational in French, and has traveled and lived throughout Latin America.

Ms. Badia-Tavas is admitted to practice in Illinois.

Amy Furness is our Latest Featured Speaker!

amy furness

Our latest Featured Speaker is Amy Furness from Carlton Fields!

We are excited to have Amy on the faculty panel at our Personal Injury Law seminar in Florida on April 20, 2018! Amy is a trial lawyer who has dedicated her career to defending diverse clients, including both domestic and foreign corporations, in complex civil litigation, particularly product liability and commercial litigation.

Ms. Furness defends product manufacturers in all forms of cases in the pharmaceutical, aviation, chemical, tobacco, and consumer products industries. In addition to her extensive pharmaceutical and medical device litigation defense experience, she has defended manufacturers of cigarettes, yacht engines, automobile and aircraft engines, and propane tanks.

Amy has served as national coordinating counsel on numerous mass tort matters, including a significant litigation for a pharmaceutical company involving nearly 14,000 plaintiffs, with over 10,000 cases pending in federal courts and nearly 4,000 cases pending in state courts. She also has served as regional counsel on a variety of complex civil matters.

Prior to joining Carlton Fields, Ms. Furness served as in-house counsel with the environmental claims division of a national insurance company. That experience offered her unique insight into the corporate demands of an in-house legal department, and she remains mindful of the needs and pressures clients face daily.

Before entering law school, Ms. Furness was a research engineer. That scientific education and technical experience informs her law practice today.

Ms. Furness is a frequent lecturer on product liability and professional liability matters. She serves as the Miami office co-managing shareholder.

Jonathan Amarilio is our Latest Featured Speaker!


Our latest Featured Speaker is Jonathan Amarilio from Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP!

Jonathan is on the faculty panel for our upcoming Appellate Practice Boot Camp in Chicago on May 10, 2018. Jonathan is highly skilled in civil appellate litigation and critical motion practice, and we are pleased to have him speak!

Jonathan Amarilio regularly represents individuals, small businesses, state and local governments, and 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 a number of matters.

Jonathan has been honored as an Emerging Lawyer in 2015 – 2016 by the Leading Lawyers Network, and as a Rising Star by Illinois Super Lawyers in 2014 – 2017.

Before joining Taft Stettinius & Hollister, Jonathan clerked for Justice James R. Epstein on the Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, and for Justice James R. Epstein and Justice Michael B. Hyman in the General Chancery Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Jonathan received his B.A., cum laude, from American University and earned his J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law. During law school, he was captain of the school’s National Trial Advocacy Team and was the recipient of the International Academy for Trial Lawyers Award for Distinction in Trial Advocacy Skills.

Jonathan is a contributor to the Illinois Appellate Lawyer Association’s blog “The Brief” on topics such as recent rule changes, developments in appellate law and other issues of interest to appellate practitioners.

“The Rise of the #MeToo Movement: An Opportunity, Not an Obligation” on Lexology


We wanted to pass on this article The Rise of the #MeToo Movement: An Opportunity, Not an Obligation by Kramer Levin‘s Kevin B. Leblang, Izabel P. McDonald, Samantha Kagan in Lexology on improving your and your client’s workplace environment and sexual harassment rules and responses.

They offer concrete, positive suggestions that go beyond the typical “here is the law and here is how you should update your employee manual,” that can improve every company’s environment related to more than just sexual harassment. Their suggestions are practical and easy to implement and we highly recommend it, not just for employment attorneys, but for all attorneys.

Kelly O’Keefe is our Latest Featured Speaker!

Kelly O'keefe

Our latest Featured Speaker is Kelly O’Keefe from Stearns Weaver!

We are excited to have Kelly speak for us at our upcoming Probate Litigation 101: The Nuts and Bolts seminar in Fort Lauderdale on April 13, 2018! Kelly brings with her a wealth of knowledge, and we know our attendees will benefit greatly from the information she’ll share.

Kelly is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell and represents persons and entities involved in business disputes and trust and estate matters.

She has represented both trustees in defending and beneficiaries in pursuing various breach of fiduciary duty claims, including challenges to investment management decisions, challenges to discretionary decisions, claims of self-dealing and conflict of interest, removal claims and claims for accounting. Kelly has litigated over the scope of creditor protection that certain trusts afford beneficiaries and she has experience in often emotionally-charged will contests and will construction matters, including determination of heirs, undue influence and lack of capacity matters.

A large portion of her practice involves litigating real estate matters, including commercial foreclosures, which involve guaranty, deficiency, lender liability and fraudulent transfer issues. In addition, she arbitrated one of the first cases against Bear Sterns, challenging its process for valuing collateralized mortgage obligations. She also litigates condominium and community association disputes, commercial landlord/tenant disputes, real estate purchase-related disputes, and disputes among business partners.

Kelly has also served as counsel to an array of Florida businesses, appearing before the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings to challenge government decisions, including licensure and permitting decisions, as well as the award of state contracts.

She has experience handling these matters in Florida’s probate, civil and federal courts at the trial level, and throughout appellate review. When cases require creative solutions that cannot be achieved in court Kelly has experience handling the matters via negotiation, mediation, arbitration, and the legislative process.

Noelle Brennan is our Latest Featured Speaker!

noelle brennan

Our latest Featured Speaker is Noelle Brennan from Noelle Brennan & Associates!

We are excited to have Noelle speak for us at our upcoming Federal Court and Litigation Boot Camp in Chicago on April 6, 2018! Noelle has been a pleasure to work with while planning the program and we are excited to have her speak.

Called a “bulldog fighter for civil rights and fairness in the workplace” by The Chicago Tribune, Noelle Brennan is a veteran employment attorney and litigator with a long track record of success.

A 1995 graduate of DePaul University College of Law, Noelle spent seven years as a trial and supervisory attorney at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), where she litigated major class actions including EEOC v. Dial Corporation and EEOC v. Misubishi, the latter being the largest sexual harassment settlement ever reached by the EEOC. Noelle also served as co-counsel in a race discrimination case against Nike Retail Services, Inc. that eventually settled for $7.6 million dollars and in a disability and age discrimination case that resulted in one of the highest jury verdicts in an individual disability discrimination case in Illinois history.

In 2005, Noelle Brennan was selected by a federal judge to monitor the city of Chicago’s compliance with the Shakman Decree.  In that role she works with the city to identify, address and prevent employment discrimination on the bases of political affiliation.

Noelle was recognized in Crain’s Chicago Business’ annual top “40 under 40” in 2005.  This honor is bestowed each year upon 40 individuals who are “rising stars” in Chicago and under 40 years old.

Jeremy Leathe is our Latest Featured Speaker!

jeremy leathe

Our latest Featured Speaker is Jeremy Leathe from Dunwody White & Landon, P.A.!

We are excited to have Jeremy speak for us at our upcoming Probate Litigation 101: The Nuts and Bolts seminar in Fort Lauderdale on April 13, 2018! Jeremy has been heavily involved in planning the program and is terrific to work with.

Jeremy P. Leathe is an attorney in the Coral Gables, Florida, office of Dunwody White & Landon, P.A. Mr. Leathe specializes exclusively in the areas of Wills, Trusts, Estates, and Guardianships. His practice is divided equally among estate planning, probate and trust administration, and probate and trust litigation matters.

Mr. Leathe was born and raised in Miami. He graduated from DartmouthCollegewith an A.B. in History (cum laude), and received his J.D. (magna cum laude) and LL.M. in Estate Planning from the University of Miami School of Law. While in law school, Mr. Leathe served as Articles and Comments Editor for the University of Miami Law Review, received the American Jurisprudence Book Award (highest grade in the class) in Property I, was elected to the Order of the Coif (top 10% of the graduating class), and was inducted into the Phi Delta Phi legal honor society. Upon graduation, Mr. Leathe served for two years as Judicial Clerk to the Honorable Lenore C. Nesbitt, U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of Florida.

Mr. Leathe has significant experience in drafting wills and trusts, including revocable, irrevocable, and charitable trusts. He also appears regularly in probate court with regard to probate administration, trust administration, and guardianship proceedings.

In addition to his experience as an estate planning lawyer, Mr. Leathe has extensive litigation experience. After his federal clerkship, he was an associate in the litigation department at Greenberg Traurig PA, and a shareholder in the litigation department at Akerman Senterfitt, P.A. Mr. Leathe also spent six years litigating complex civil matters in state and federal courts as an Assistant County Attorney forMiami-DadeCounty. He has tried numerous jury and non-jury cases in both the state and federal courts, and has argued appellate cases before the Third District Court of Appeals (state) and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (federal). As a trusts and estates lawyer, he has had considerable experience with will contests, trusts contests, and breach of fiduciary duty cases.

Mr. Leathe is a member of the Estate Planning Council of Greater Miami, the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar, and the Probate and Guardianship Committee of the Dade County Bar Association. He speaks frequently on topics related to Wills, Trusts, and Estates, such as homestead law, will and trust contests, and estate and trust administration.

Mr. Leathe is also active in his community, serving on the Board of Directors for Temple Beth Am, one of the largest Reform congregations in the southeast United States. In addition, he serves as a member of the Professional Advisors Council of the Foundation of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. A continued supporter of his alma mater, Mr. Leathe works as an interviewer for candidates applying to Dartmouth College.

Mr. Leathe lives in Pinecrest with his wife and three children.

Michael Delrahim is our latest Featured Speaker!

michael delrahim

Our newest Featured Speaker is Michael Delrahim from Brown, Udell, Pomerantz & Delrahim, Ltd!

Michael will be speaking at our Introduction to Commercial Real Estate Seminar in Chicago on September 14, 2018. He previously spoke for us at our Marijuana Law seminar held in Chicago in 2017. Seminar attendees appreciated Michael’s practical and well-informed presentation.

Michael J. Delrahim is the Managing Partner of the law firm of Brown, Udell, Pomerantz & Delrahim Ltd. He has an expansive practice counseling institutions, opportunity funds, sponsors and investment managers with respect to partnerships, debt and equity placement, and real estate and leasing transactions. He also serves in-house as counsel to nationally operating real estate companies.

Complementing his transactional practice, as a member of the federal trial bar, he brings a unique perspective to representing clients in real estate acquisition, development and management, debt and equity source documentation, troubled asset workouts, and partnerships. Michael’s representation of managers, sponsors, partners and lenders is comprehensive.

Michael is a member of the Chicago Advisory Board of BBVA Compass. In recognition of his accomplishments, Michael was inducted as a Fellow into the American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA) and is a member of their Diversity Committee.

He is the founder of the Chicago Real Estate Professionals, a monthly networking group that brings together nearly 1000 of the most seasoned real estate professionals to attend a facilitated panel discussion on thought-provoking topics of interest to real estate professionals. An adjunct professor of law at Chicago-Kent College of Law – IIT, he teaches Real Estate Fundamentals and Syndication and lectures extensively before business and legal forums on real estate and related topics.  He is a frequent lecturer, writer and commentator on real estate topics for the local and National media.

He is licensed to practice in Illinois and the District of Columbia. He earned a Juris Doctorate degree from Chicago-Kent College of Law – IIT and a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

James Robinson is our Latest Featured Speaker!

james robinson

Our latest Featured Speaker is James Robinson of White & Case LLP!

Jim will be speaking at our 7th Annual Circuit Court Boot Camp in Fort Lauderdale on June 1, 2018.

In past years, Jim was on the faculty panels for our Expert Witnesses, Mastering the Deposition, and Persuasive Brief Writing seminars in Florida. Attendees raved about his clear, articulate delivery, and engaging demeanor.

Drawing on his significant experience in state and federal courts handling virtually every type of civil case, Jim’s practice is primarily focused on commercial trial work. He works to limit his clients’ exposure and to protect their interests.

Jim has particular experience of representing regional and national law firms in legal malpractice lawsuits. In such cases he takes a thorough, hands-on approach, managing all aspects of the lawsuits.

Many of Jim’s recent commercial cases include representation of clients connected to the banking industry. Such cases include representation of financial technology (fintech) companies involved with merchant services and credit card processing in both domestic and international disputes. In addition, Jim has represented a series of banks against multimillion-dollar lender liability lawsuits, most of which were resolved with summary judgment in Jim’s clients’ favor. For banking clients, Jim also brings his experience of prosecuting dozens of commercial foreclosure lawsuits on loans totaling over US $ 1.5 billion. Jim represents foreign and domestic corporations in contract disputes, regulatory and compliance matters, and consumer class actions at various stages, including appeals. He has successfully defended numerous director and officer liability actions, and has successfully represented real estate developers and contractors in real estate disputes throughout the United States.

Jim is an active member of a number of professional associations, including the Federal Bar Association, the Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar, the International Law Section of The Florida Bar, the Miami-Dade County Bar Association and the J. Reuben Clark Law Society.

He has taken lead roles in a significant number of professional committees, including as the Chair of the International Litigation and Arbitration Committee (2008), the Chair of the International Litigation and Arbitration Committee Conference (2007), a Steering Committee Member on the International Litigation Update (2005–2006), and as a Chair of the FGCU Alumni Association Board of Directors (2009–2011). He has also served on the Law Alumni Council, University of Florida Levin College of Law.