10th Annual Circuit Court Boot Camp 2020 (IL) (4-Part Recorded Package)

Audio program! (check our CLE Programs page for live versions)

Our 10th Annual ILLINOIS Circuit Court Boot Camp was held in four parts this year due to Covid-19.

The recorded packages are approved for 11 hours of instruction and CLE, including eight credits of Professional Responsibility (and three of Civility).

Order your Recorded Package – Audio or Video or Both – here. 

With five sitting Illinois Circuit Court judges and speakers from both defense and plaintiff’s side of the aisle, small and large firms, you will come away with invaluable advice and information that you can’t get anywhere else.

You’ll learn the dos and don’ts, the most common mistakes, what judges love and what they hate, and the rules, timelines and tasks at each stage of your case from start to finish!

You’ll get plenty of practical advice and input and there will be lots of time to ask questions – especially of the judges.

Originally two separate programs – we’ve combined them into one 4-part program for less than the price of two.

Learn about everything:

Your Case

  • Themes
  • Pleading
  • Your CMCs
  • Motions
  • Discovery and eDiscovery
  • Depos – including Online challenges

Your Trial:

  • Motions in Limine
  • Jury selection, instructions and verdict forms
  • Your opening statements and closing arguments
  • Getting evidence into trial
  • Your witness examinations and cross-exams (lay and expert)
  • Post trial motions
  • How to preserve your record for appeal.

Last but not least – you’ll learn about how to get attorneys fees and deal with judgments!


See the Agendas tab for all the details and our testimonials to see how fantastic this program really is!


Just a few testimonials from prior boot camps include (see reviews tab above for more):

“Excellent program and extremely beneficial!” – Peter Benke Esq.

“This was one of the best CLE’s I have attended this year.” – John A. Doerrer, Esq.

“Great overview. Great practical, real-life experience, especially for new attorneys.” – Aaron Curry, Esq.

“Excellent. Good job with speakers.” – Thushan Sabaratnam, Esq.

“Extremely helpful to have the judge’s perspective. Ms. Haidostian was also very insightful and organized.” – Kaitlin Cutshaw, Esq.

“This program should be mandatory for all new attorneys.” – Anthony McMahon, Esq.

“This was extremely helpful for my practice.” – Lhea Keller, Esq.

“Very happy with the practical tips and experience that came out of the seminar.” – Jessica Rimkus, Esq.

“Good, well-rounded introduction to basic civil litigation practice.” – Nemura Pencyla, Esq.

“Extremely well organized, informative, interesting and helpful.” – Nancy Pacher, Esq.

“All the speakers were great!” – Amit Patel, Esq.

“Good substantive content, legal updates, and case law.” – David Swiss, Esq.

“The speakers were informative and animated, keeping me engaged. Many wonderful tips I will carry over into my own practice.” – Shanna N. Crafts, Esq.

“Very experienced speakers with practical real-world examples.” – Lisa Clay, Esq.

“Good explanation of limited attorney-client privilege for client corporations in Illinois. Judge Taylor is a quintessential jurist…[Jack Snyder was] Excellent.” – Thorn McClellan Smith, Esq.


Part 1 of 4

Case Themes and Strategies

Complaints & Answers

  • Rules and timelines
  • How to do it
  • Strategies
  • Common mistakes

Motions Attacking Pleadings

Discovery and e-Discovery in State Court

  • Discovery
    • Regular Discovery Types
    • Motions that occur during Discovery, including motions for sanctions
    • Overlooked Deadlines
    • Procedural Issues that are often missed and common mistakes
    • Strategies and choices
      • For Settlements
      • For Trial
    • Superior Court v. Federal Court
    • RFPs
  • E-Discovery
    • Latest Rules
    • Strategies
    • Cost Saving Measures
    • Mistakes not to make
    • Important state cases
  • Motions to Compel

Part 2 of 4


  • Rules Strategies & Timelines
  • State v. Federal
  • Deciding whom to depose
  • Taking good depositions – Mistakes not to make
  • Making effective use of depositions at trial in state court

Motions for Summary Judgment under section 2-1005

  • Timeline
  • Responses and Replies
  • Persuasion tips
  • Organization and effectiveness
  • What is effective and what is not
  • What judges look for
  • Common mistakes not to make

Oral Argument


Part 3 of 4

Heading to Trial

  • Final Status Conference
  • Trial Outline
  • Motions  to Exclude Witnesses from Courtroom

Motions in Limine

Your Jury

  • Jury Selection in State Court
    • Procedure
    • Strategies
    • Questionnaires
    • Voir Dire
  • Jury Instructions, Jury Verdict Forms
    • Rules, form, customs
    • Your tasks and timelines
    • Deadlines
    • Mistakes not to make
    • Advice from the bench


Part 4 of 4

Getting your Evidence in for Trial

  • How to get evidence admitted / submitting exhibits
  • Rules and procedures
  • Strategic Use
  • Evidentiary Objections

Opening Statements

  • Preparation and Approaches
  • Strategies and Advice
  • Delivery Tips

Direct and Cross Examinations of Lay and Expert Witnesses

  • Preparation, Outlines and Approaches
  • Strategies and Advice
  • What to Expect

Closing Arguments

  • Preparation and Approaches
  • Strategies and Advice
  • Delivery Tips

Preserving the Record for Appeal

Post-Trial Motions

  • Motion for a JNOV
  • Motion for a New Trial
  • Attorneys’ Fees
  • Determining “Prevailing Party”
  • Filing Notice of Appeal

Judgments and Recovering Judgments

  • Financial awards
  • Injunctive relief
  • Requirements for entry in jury trials
  • How to enforce


Recorded package fees for this four-part program – 11 hours of instruction and CLE, including:

11.0 general CLE credits CLE.
8.0 Professional Responsibility CLE
3.0 hours of Civility CLE

Audio Package: $425
Video Package: $425

Audio and Video Package: $475



Four sitting Judges and two recently retired Judges!

Hon. Scott D. Larson
Circuit Judge
Circuit Court of Adams County, IL

Judge Scott Larson was appointed Adams County resident circuit judge in July 2015 and elected in 2016. In August 2019, Judge Larson was named as the presiding judge in Adams County. Previously, he was a partner at the Quincy firm of Blickhan, Timmerwilke, Woodworth & Larson. In addition to his duties as Circuit Judge, Judge Larson is a member of the Illinois Judicial Education Conference Civil Track Planning Workgroup where he also serves as a faculty presenter.  Judge Larson has presented on numerous civil topics for the Illinois State Bar Association, Adams County Bar Association and Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation.  Judge Larson graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Valparaiso University School of Law.

Hon. Patricia O’Brien Sheahan
Circuit Judge
Circuit Court of Cook County, IL

Judge Sheahan is a Cook County Circuit Court judge, currently assigned to Law Division, Motions Section, Calendar D, in Courtroom 2207 of the Daley Center. She oversees a call of approximately 1,300 Law Division cases, which include medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, products liability, defamation/libel, premises liability and other general torts.  She previously covered civil non-jury and jury trial courtrooms and a civil jury motion call, as well as the post-judgment and miscellaneous remedies call in the First Municipal District. Judge Sheahan serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Judges Association and serves as a Topic Editor of the Illinois Judicial Benchbook on Civil Law and Procedure.

Prior to her election in 2014, Judge Sheahan served as Associate General Counsel of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), now known as the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab.  In this capacity, she oversaw all litigation and claims, including case investigations, pre-trial discovery and settlement negotiations. Additionally, she handled and defended all employment/labor matters and claims before the EEOC, the NLRB and the IDHR, including fact conferences, mediations and evidentiary hearings. She also represented RIC in a wide variety of other complex disputes ranging from contractual, insurance coverage and probate matters.

Before joining RIC, Judge Sheahan worked as an attorney at Baker McKenzie in its litigation practice group.  She gained extensive federal and state court experience in a wide range of complex civil litigation matters, including medical malpractice, employment, products liability, and class action suits. She also represented clients at the appellate level, including the Illinois Supreme Court and multiple appellate districts throughout the State of Illinois.

Hon. Sanjay Tailor
Circuit Judge
Circuit Court of Cook County, IL

Judge Sanjay Tailor presides over a commercial calendar in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.  Appointed in 2003, his prior assignments include the Domestic Relations and Municipal Divisions of the court.  Sanjay practiced law at Chapman and Cutler; the First National Bank of Chicago; and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, where he supervised attorneys in the torts and civil rights litigation section.  Sanjay has taught Illinois civil procedure at Loyola Law School for the last ten years, and regularly teaches at the Illinois Judicial Education Conference.  He is a member of the Illinois Supreme Court’s Judicial Performance Committee, and chairs the India Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of International Law.  He is a cum laude graduate of Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Hon. Alison Conlon
Circuit Judge
Circuit Court of Cook County, IL

Judge Alison Conlon was appointed to the Circuit Court of Cook County in February 2015 and elected in 2016. She sits in the General Chancery Division. Previously, she was a partner at the Chicago law firms of Barnes & Thornburg and Wildman Harrold and clerked for federal District Judge Charles P. Kocoras. Judge Conlon has served on the boards of the Public Interest Law Initiative (“PILI”); Catholic Charities; and Debate It Forward. She is the Co-Chairperson of the Chicago Bar Association’s Pro Se Advisory Committee and the Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Judicial Education of the Illinois College of Judicial Education. Judge Conlon graduated from Yale University and Duke University School of Law.  

Hon. Russell W. Hartigan (Ret.)
Retired Circuit Judge
Goldstine, Skrodzki, Russian, Nemec and Hoff, Ltd.

Russell Hartigan joined Goldstine, Skrodzki, Russian, Nemec and Hoff, Ltd. as a partner in 2017. Russ served as a judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County in the Law Division and Fifth Municipal District from 2010 through 2017. During his tenure, he received “Highly Recommended” ratings from the Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association.

His trial experience includes representing plaintiffs and defendants in more than 60 jury trials in Illinois state and federal courts. These complex litigation cases have included casualty and municipal defense, workers compensation, and personal injury. Russ is a court certified mediator for the Circuit Court of Cook County and an arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association and Resolute Systems. He is a frequent lecturer on legal topics including jury selection, expert disclosure, cross-examination, post-trial motions and appeals, and has served as an adjunct professor at The John Marshall Law School, DePaul University, and Northwestern University.

Russ actively serves the legal community. He recently completed his tenure as President of the Illinois State Bar Association (2017/2018) and has served on its Board of Governors. Russ has also served as President of the West Suburban Bar Association, and he is a current member of the Illinois Bar Foundation Executive Committee, the American Bar Association House of Delegates, and the Illinois Judges Association. Russ has also been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve on its Committee on Judicial Performance and Evaluation. He is also a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.

Russ is also actively involved in the community. He currently serves as a Board member of the Berwyn PAV YMCA and Pillars, a nonprofit provider of mental health and social services in the Chicagoland area. He has served as the President of the Berwyn – Cicero Council on Aging and in numerous elected positions, including: Township Supervisor of Lyons Township; Lyons Township Trustee; and Trustee of the Village of Western Springs where he also served on its Zoning Board.

Hon. Dorothy French Mallen (Ret.)
Retired Circuit Judge
Webster Egan Mallen Mediations


Upon her retirement from the Bench in July 2020,  Circuit Judge Dorothy French Mallen (ret.) joined Judge Hollis Webster (ret.) and Judge Lynn Egan (ret.) as a senior mediator with Webster Egan Mallen Mediations.  Prior to her retirement, Judge French Mallen (ret.) presided over a civil Courtroom in the 18th Judicial Circuit, DuPage County from 2001-2020. She served in the Law Division over 13 years handling an individual call from the filing of the case through resolution. She handled cases that sought money damages for tort, contract or statutory civil causes of action. 

Judge French Mallen supervised her individual docket from filing the Complaint, through motion practice, discovery, pre-trial/settlement conferences and, if not resolved, conducted either a bench or jury trial. She was committed to assisting the parties and attorneys with a voluntary resolution of the dispute at the earliest possible time. She has facilitated settlements in more than 2000 cases over the last 20 years. As a judge, she has tried to verdict over 225 jury cases. 

Upon retirement, the 18th Judicial Circuit honored Judge French Mallen with an award for judicial excellence. In 2017, the Jury Verdict Reporter recognized her career with the Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013 she was honored by the DuPage Association of Women with the Inspirational Woman Award.  In 2009 the Illinois State Crime Commission honored  Judge French Mallen with its award for Judicial Excellence and in 2008, she received the Bishop Shield Award.  

Throughout Judge French Mallen’s tenure as a judge, she was asked by the Illinois Supreme Court to instruct other judges in the yearly New Judge Seminar, the biannual Education Conference for Illinois Judges, and free-standing seminars on a variety of civil legal topics. 

Judge French Mallen has served as a mentor for new judges and has been a frequent speaker at various bar association seminars and has authored numerous legal articles. She has also acted as the judge for many trial advocacy competitions. 

Judge French Mallen began her career as a judicial law clerk in the 1st District Appellate Court. From 1979 to 1996, she practiced as a civil trial lawyer with French Kezelis & Kominiarek, P.C. becoming a partner in 1983. In 1990, she accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer and became the first female CEO of a top 100 law firm in Chicago. In 1996, she became the partner in charge of the Lisle office of Hinshaw & Culbertson, a law firm headquartered in Chicago with approximately 425 attorneys located in 11 states and London. Prior to being appointed to the bench, she tried close to 30 complex civil jury trials and wrote/argued close to 20 appeals.  Throughout her career as an attorney, Judge French Mallen concentrated her practice on hospital and physician professional negligence. She appeared in courtrooms in Cook, DuPage, Will, Kane, Winnebago, DeKalb, and LaSalle counties, as well as the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Courts. 


Lenny D. Asaro, Esq.
Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Lenny Asaro partners with real estate stakeholders to resolve disputes, protect their assets and move projects forward. In more than 25 years as a real estate adviser and litigator, Lenny has established himself as a trusted source of business-minded counsel for developers and other entities. He works to defend and advance client interests in matters related to land use and zoning, condemnation/eminent domain, tax increment financing (TIF), acquisitions and dispositions, public-private partnerships, government affairs and redevelopment agreements, annexation, title disputes and real estate valuation disputes. He has handled numerous significant real estate development projects in and around Chicago for governmental, private and public-private partnership entities. He has extensive experience with administrative, legislative and judicial proceedings and processes. And when litigation proves advantageous or unavoidable, Lenny is a skilled courtroom advocate. He has first-chaired hundreds of bench trials and numerous jury trials since 1995, written Illinois appellate and Supreme Court briefs, and argued before the Illinois appellate court on multiple occasions. 

Lenny is involved in and committed to diversity and inclusion initiatives at the firm. He is a participant in the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.



Daniel Campbell, Esq.
McDermott Will & Emery

Daniel Campbell focuses his practice on a variety of commercial litigation matters, including collective and class actions, trade secret misappropriation actions, and products liability actions and actions under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Daniel has argued before the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and has first-chaired or second-chaired several bench and jury trials. Daniel recently first-chaired a five-day jury trial in a police brutality case, and first-chaired a stage-three evidentiary hearing in a post-conviction actual innocence case. His commercial trial experience includes cross-examining major executives in federal court, and conducting direct examinations of fact witnesses and key expert witnesses. Daniel also has experience taking and defending party and expert depositions in large commercial actions, as well as managing large-scale discovery and production in numerous cases.

Daniel has vast state court litigation experience, including drafting and filing substantive briefs and arguing key motions, such as motions for summary judgment and motions for temporary restraining orders and trying evidentiary issues. Additionally, Daniel has worked on aviation product liability, bankruptcy, and trust and estate litigation in addition to his work in the class action space. Daniel advises clients on compliance with the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, and represents clients in defense of actions brought under that Act. He serves on the Firm’s Technology Committee and helped to develop a Firmwide program covering deposition preparation and evidentiary issues.

While in law school, Daniel served as associate editor of The Elder Law Journal and as a Moot Court executive editor. He also won various American Bar Association (ABA) client-counseling competitions. In addition, Daniel served as a legal clerk for the Missouri Attorney General’s Office and as lead counsel/advanced clinic student for the University of Illinois College of Law Federal Civil Rights Clinic. In this role, he won a case on a civil constitutional claim after a three-day jury trial in a federal court, as well as obtained a favorable settlement and substantial fee awards in two other cases. Daniel completed a total of four cases and two jury trials in federal court while attending law school.

Daniel has authored a comprehensive guide for clinic students at the University of Illinois College of Law for the Federal Civil Rights Clinic. Daniel also leads a boot camp seminar on impeachment and refreshing recollection, as well as acting as a guest lecturer for the trial advocacy program on the “Use of Technology in the Courtroom” and as part of the Fundamental of Law Practice course at the University of Illinois College of Law.

Brian Eldridge, Esq.
Hart McLaughlin & Eldridge

Brian Eldridge is a trial lawyer who devotes 100% of his practice to civil litigation. Brian has a wide range of experience successfully litigating multi-million dollar, high-stakes cases on behalf of his clients. He concentrates his practice in products liability, construction/construction defect, transportation, premises liability, commercial litigation, mass torts, and class action matters. He has handled numerous cases involving death and catastrophic injuries, including paralysis, traumatic brain injuries, amputations and other significant permanent disabilities.

Within the commercial litigation context, Brian has successfully litigated cases involving breach of contract and allegations of fraud and bad faith. He has also handled numerous consumer class action lawsuits under federal statutes including the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In addition, Brian has litigated cases involving alleged environmental exposure to mold, vinyl chloride, and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB).

Brian was selected for inclusion in the Illinois Rising Stars list for eight straight years, from 2008 to 2015. No more than 2.5% of lawyers under the age of 40 in the state of Illinois are selected for this honor. In 2013, Brian was honored to be named to Chicago Daily Law Bulletin’s “40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch” list. In 2015 and 2016, Brian was named an Emerging Lawyer by Leading Lawyers. The distinction of being named an Emerging Lawyer is reserved for the top 2% of Illinois lawyers who are 40 years old or younger and have been identified by their peers as proving themselves to be professional, ethical, and experienced at an early point in their legal career. In 2017, Brian was selected as an Illinois Super Lawyer, which is limited to 5% of attorneys in the state.

Brian’s practice philosophy focuses on being accessible and responsive to clients at all times. He is on the rapid response team for several clients and is frequently called upon to orchestrate immediate investigations. Through his years of practice, Brian has developed an extensive expert network, having worked with consultants in various specialized areas including medicine, engineering, construction, epidemiology, pharmacology, economics, federal regulations, safety standards, risk assessment and psychology.

Brian lives in Highland Park with his wife, Jodi, and their three daughters.

Nicholas A. Gowen, Esq.
Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C.

Nicholas Gowen is a partner and trial attorney at Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella in Chicago. Nicholas represents Fortune 500 and middle market companies in commercial business disputes in courts and arbitration forums around the country. 

Nicholas is an experienced trial lawyer who has tried cases to verdict or judgment in federal and state courts, multiple arbitration forum, as well as evidentiary hearings before administrative agencies. Nicholas is experienced at handling claims involving shareholder disputes, real estate litigation, trade secrets, employment matters, contract claims, and other business disputes. In addition to trial work, Nicholas has successfully argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Illinois Appellate Court.

In addition to his legal practice, Nicholas served for 12 years as a Visiting Instructor of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Chicago, teaching undergraduate courses focused on the Courts, the Judicial Process, and trial advocacy. Nicholas has published numerous articles in legal journals and magazines and been involved in leadership roles in organizations serving the legal community. Nicholas was honored as one of Chicago’s “Top 40 under 40 Game Changers” by Ariel Investments and The Urban Business Roundtable, and selected by Crain’s Custom Media as one of Chicago’s Notable Minority Lawyers. In 2017, Nicholas was appointed by the Illinois Governor to the Board of Trustees of Chicago State University, eventually serving as the Chairman of the Board. He is a member of the Advisory Board for Project H.O.O.D. (Helping Others Obtain Destiny), an organization focused on establishing community and economic development programing for underrepresented youth in the Woodlawn and Englewood communities of Chicago. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation.

Nicholas received his B.A. in political science with honors from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2000, where he was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa, and his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Illinois College of Law in 2003. He resides in Chicago with his wife and two sons.

John P. Killacky, Esq.
Momkus LLC

John has served in senior positions as both in-house and outside counsel. This potent combination has instilled in John a broad appreciation for how to best partner with clients to achieve their objectives.

Before joining Momkus LLC, John spent over eight years as General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel of a publicly-traded property and casualty insurance holding company. While in-house, John oversaw a number of high-stakes litigation matters and guided the company through several large M&A and financing transactions. John also served as the company’s Privacy and Chief Compliance Officer, charged with ensuring compliance with SEC and NASDAQ regulations, state insurance laws, Gramm-Leach-Bliley and other requirements. John has substantial experience providing practical legal and business advice to clients on a variety of substantive issues. Prior to working in-house, John was a litigation partner with a large international law firm where he gained first and second chair trial experience in commercial, securities, employment, products liability and other complex litigation matters. John has considerable experience conducting internal investigations and has also represented clients responding to subpoenas and investigations by government agencies. John was also a partner with an entrepreneurial litigation boutique in Chicago. In addition to his litigation practice, John provides insurance regulatory and corporate transactional services. Before pursuing a career in law, John attended the United States Naval Academy and served for five years as a surface warfare officer.

Michael I. Leonard, Esq.
Leonard Trial Lawyers

Mike Leonard is a nationally recognized “go to” trial lawyer. His trial practice concentrates in the areas of Federal and State criminal matters, in addition to civil employment, whistleblower, retaliation, qui tam (False Claims Act), commercial and business, and injury matters. He has successfully tried to verdict dozens and dozens of cases in the Federal and State courts, including in Illinois and across the country. Mike has spent his entire thirty-year career as a courtroom trial attorney and litigator. 

Mike is believed to be the only presently practicing attorney to have attained at least six or more complete not guilty jury verdicts on all counts and charges in favor of his clients in Federal criminal prosecutions brought by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. Mike’s recent Federal criminal jury trials include four not guilty verdicts on all counts and charges, a dismissal of all charges during trial, and a mistrial. This includes one of the very few Federal criminal not guilty jury verdicts in the Northern District of Illinois in 2020. 

Mike’s results have been equally impressive in civil trials in the Illinois State courts, including in Cook, Kane, DuPage, and Lake Counties, as well as in Federal courts throughout the country – ranging from Illinois, Indiana, Kansas and Virginia. Mike’s clients have prevailed before juries in those jurisdictions in cases involving employment discrimination, retaliation/whistleblowing, securities fraud, civil rights violations, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and a variety of other commercial claims. 

Mike has been repeatedly recognized as an outstanding trial lawyer by, among others, Super Lawyers, Leading Lawyers, American’s Top Criminal Defense Lawyers, Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and America’s Top High Stakes Litigators.

Mike has litigated or tried to verdict Federal and State cases in at least the following Federal or State jurisdictions outside of Illinois: Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Kansas, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, California, and Oregon.

Mike has appeared, briefed, or argued numerous appeals, including before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit; the United States Court of Appeals for Ninth Circuit; the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit; and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit; numerous Illinois State Appellate Courts; the California Court of Appeals; and the Idaho Supreme Court.  

Mike also regularly represents and advises clients on employment-related matters, ranging from discrimination of all types, retaliatory discharge, False Claims Act/qui tam matters, employment contracts and separation agreements. 

Mike is a long-serving Adjunct Professor of Trial Practice at the prestigious Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

He regularly lectures and instructs on the art and science of trial practice.

Mike is a 1991 graduate of Loyola (Chicago) School of Law, where he was a member of the Trial Team and the Law Journal. Mike completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Iowa.

Jack O. Snyder, Jr., Esq.
Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP

Jack Snyder is a partner in the Firm’s Litigation and Motor Vehicle Groups.

Jack is a trial lawyer, regulatory counselor, strategic advisor, and dealmaker. Jack has emerged as a leader for many of our clients and key project teams. In addition to running several pieces of substantial litigation (among other active cases) for our clients, Jack has also led a team of 10 attorneys on a nationwide program for a major client.

While focusing on manufacturer-dealer disputes, Jack has a broad range of experience across the Firm’s practice areas. Having started at the Firm after a high-stakes career in the government where he handled Senate confirmations, legislation, and Congressional inquiries for the Department of Homeland Security, Jack hit the ground running as a key member of our litigation practice. As a first-year associate, Jack won his first dispositive motion, arguing before a Chancery judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Thereafter, Jack has gained experience trying cases both in court and in an administrative setting, defending witnesses giving testimony in white-collar investigations, and managing cases from pre-litigation counseling through appeal.

Jack also negotiates and advises on dealer-manufacturer and regulatory disputes in the automotive franchise space across the country, and is a regular source of strategic advice and regulatory counseling for automotive clients and clients in other industries.

Jack has handled a substantial number of transactions in the automotive industry, representing manufacturers in working out business solutions with their dealers and in advising on commercial contracts. Jack’s work has facilitated the amicable and voluntary termination of dealerships and the clearing of protest rights so the manufacturer can establish a new dealer and/or realign its local dealer network. Jack has also represented manufacturers in working out approvals for, and rejections of, franchise transfer (dealership buy/sell) agreements. In this work, Jack has served as both lead negotiator and deal architect, designing transaction structures to solve novel problems in a heavily-regulated field subject to a 50-state patchwork of rules.

Johner (JT) T. Wilson III, Esq.
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP

Joh-ner Wilson III (called "J.T.") is a diverse lead trial attorney offering a range of legal services for public and private corporations of various sizes, including Fortune 500 and global companies. J.T. helps his clients manage costs and minimize financial exposure in single and multi-plaintiff, class and collective action Title VII, ADA, ADEA, Federal Employers’ Liability Act, Joint-Employer, OSHA, Retaliation, Wage & Hour, Whistleblower and Worker Misclassification cases at trial in federal and state courts across the country. He also advances his clients’ interests in matters pending before various federal, state and local administrative agencies.


Dennericka Brooks, Esq.
Director, Housing Practice Group
Legal Aid Chicago

Dennericka Brooks is the Director of the Housing Practice Group. Dennericka has spent her career at Legal Aid Chicago, first as a generalist working in diverse areas of poverty law, including family, housing, consumer, and employment. As a supervisor, Dennericka has specialized in subsidized housing law ensuring that tenants live in decent, safe, and affordable housing that is free from discrimination. Dennericka helped to create and manage the Woodlawn Legal Clinic on Chicago’s south side and served as a mock trial coach. Currently, Dennericka serves as an Adjunct Faculty Member teaching trial practice at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Dennericka mentors students at Loyola and has served as a tutor and board member of Minority Legal Education Resources, a not-for-profit bar preparation program. Dennericka has been the recipient of several awards, including The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin 40 Under 40 (2019); Legal Aid Chicago Jerold S. Solovy Equal Justice Award (2018); Chicago Bar Foundation’s Kimball and Karen Public Interest Law Fellowship (2007) and its Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Public Interest Scholarship (2004); Loyola’s Norman C. Amaker Award of Excellence (2014); St. Bellarmine Award (2013) and Mock Trial Coach of the Year (2010). Dennericka earned her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law (‘07) and her undergraduate degree from Grinnell College (‘04).


Megan Cunniff Church, Esq.
MoloLamken LLP

Megan Cunniff Church is a highly accomplished trial lawyer who represents companies and individuals in high-stakes civil litigation and criminal and regulatory matters. She conducts corporate internal investigations in the U.S. and abroad, and she advises clients on crisis and risk management.

As a former federal prosecutor, Ms. Church has extensive experience investigating, litigating, and successfully resolving white collar criminal and regulatory matters. She served as a Deputy Chief of the Financial Crimes section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, where she prosecuted and supervised complex health care fraud, tax fraud, and corporate and financial crimes cases. She also served as a Deputy Chief of the General Crimes section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where she trained and supervised new prosecutors on federal criminal practice.

In her nine years as an Assistant United States Attorney, Ms. Church investigated and prosecuted a wide range of federal crimes, including bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, public corruption, money laundering, narcotics and weapons violations, international drug trafficking, identity theft, cybercrimes, embezzlement, human trafficking, and organized crime. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney assigned to the Public Corruption section, Ms. Church prosecuted and convicted numerous public officials and law enforcement officers for fraud, bribery, extortion, and tax offenses. She has tried 18 cases to verdict, and she has briefed and argued nearly a dozen matters in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Ms. Church has taught trial advocacy at the University of Chicago Law School and Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She currently serves on the Illinois Supreme Court’s Committee on Character and Fitness.


Ian H. Fisher, Esq.
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP

Ian represents clients ranging from small entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 companies in commercial litigation matters involving real estate, antitrust, trade secret misappropriation, restrictive covenant, consumer, contract, and business tort disputes.

Ian has substantial experience defending against class actions and navigating multidistrict litigation proceedings. He has successfully defended on appeal many of his trial court victories and is skilled at identifying strategies that align with his clients’ business goals. Having served as a general counsel for both a law firm and a small company, Ian has a unique understanding of in-house counsel’s perspective.

Ian counsels clients on a wide range of issues central to their business needs, including Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) compliance, the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), insurance policies and claims, risk mitigation, and restrictive covenants.

Among his many accolades, Illinois Super Lawyers ranks Ian as one of its “Top 100 Attorneys” in Illinois and has included him on its Super Lawyers list for a dozen years. For more than 17 years, the Leading Lawyers Network has named Ian as a “Leading Lawyer” in both Commercial Litigation and Class Action/Mass Tort Defense, and he has been ranked more recently in the area of Trade Secrets/Unfair Competition Law. Best Lawyers recognizes Ian for Commercial Litigation. He is also rated AV Preeminent 5/5 by Martindale-Hubbell, its top rating for ethical standards and legal ability.

Clinton Ind, Esq.

Quantum Polymers

Clinton is an experienced litigator having worked in both big and small firms and on both big and small cases throughout his career.  Clinton built IND LAW LLC with the objective of providing superior legal services to each and every client.  Clinton achieves this goal by working cooperatively with each client to understand the client’s objectives in both the case and the client’s greater business strategies.

Clinton practices in a wide range of areas.  He defends commercial and residential cases in contested foreclosure litigation,  represents commercial clients in contested contract litigation, and also prosecutes cases on behalf of injury victims.  Clinton is an experienced litigator and trial attorney.  He has obtained multi-million dollar jury awards for his clients, and effectively litigates cases to obtain favorable settlements prior to trial.

Clinton lives in Chicago with his wife and three small children.

Vivian Tarver-Varnado, Esq.
Managing Partner
AMB Law Group, LLC

Vivian began her professional career as a Registered Nurse. She received specialized training and worked as a critical nurse at some of Chicago’s most prestigious university hospitals. Vivian’s nursing skills landed her in high acuity areas – Medical Intensive Care, Surgical Intensive Care, Neuro Intensive Care, Cardiac Care Unit, Surgical Heart Unit (Open Heart), surgery, emergency room and trauma. Her skill set is very unique. There are only a handful of nurse-attorneys and even fewer critical care nurse-attorneys in Chicago. Vivian is one of them!

After years of advocating for her patients, Vivian developed a burning desire to advocate on behalf victims. As a single mother of three, she returned to school. Vivian worked full time during the day and attended John Marshall Law School at night. In addition to working as a nurse during law school, she also worked as a law clerk for the Honorable Justice Nathaniel Howse, Jr. and the Honorable Judge Samuel J. Betar, III. After graduating from law school, Vivian hit the ground running and has not stopped.

In the practice of law, she put into action her knowledge of both the legal and medical fields in working on personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Vivian’s attention is focused on helping victims find the truth of what occurred and in obtaining recovery to help with a life that may be changed forever. Clients are at ease in her presence, just as patients were years ago.

Vivian is the founding member and Managing Partner of AMB Law Group. Prior to AMB Law Group, Vivian practiced at Clifford Law Offices, the defense firm of Myers, Miller and Krauskoph and for a short stint at Henderson Adam, where she quickly made partner.

Outside the courtroom Vivian is just as engaged. She served as Chair of the Medical Legal Relations Committee and as liaison for the Government Affairs Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. She also served on Governors State University Foundation Committee and is a member of various bar associations.

Vivian sits on the adjunct faculty staff of John Marshall Law School where she teach medical negligence and writing courses based on Illinois Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts and Criminal Law. She is often invited to lecture on a variety of topics before audiences ranging from high school students to nursing and medical professionals. Vivian is also an alumna of Governors State University and Olive Harvey College.

Vivian is a happily married and has three adult children and four grandchildren.



This program is available for Participatory CLE.*

IL General:  This program is approved for 11.0 general CLE credits in Illinois through 11/30/22.
IL Professional Responsibility: This program is approved for 8.0 Professional Responsibility credits in Illinois through 11/30/22.
IL Civility: This program is approved for 3.0 hours of Civility credit in Illinois through 11/30/22.

CA General:  This program is approved for 11.0 units of general CLE in California.

IA General:  This program is approved for 11.0 general CLE credits in Iowa.

*Participatory CLE:  For those states that make a distinction between self-study and Participatory CLE (CA and IL), please write down the Verification Codes read out during the program by speakers or our announcer and email them to us at info@pincusproed.com and we will issue your Participatory CLE certificate. 

Self-Study CLE certificates are already included in your recorded package, in the “Materials” Folder. 


This program is approved for CLE in the states listed above.  Upon request, Pincus Pro Ed will provide any information an attorney needs to support their application for CLE approval in other states other than what is listed above. Many attorneys ask for this and are approved in other states.


“Incredible program that provides valuable insight from judges and practitioners in a way that is accessible to younger attorneys.” – Marc Pawlus, Esq.

“It was very helpful to my practice, especially helpful having judges on the panel. Speakers were very informed and made specific reference to the rules.” – Nathan Nash, Esq.

“This is a great program for new attorneys or well-practiced attorneys looking to brush up on some practice skills. Great content and well presented.” – Matthew Dudek, Esq.

“I thought it was great. The presenters and slides were very informative. I found the pleadings session more relevant to my practice as a legal aid attorney. Everything was clear and the responses to the questions were helpful. Presentations were very clear and full of practice pointers.” – Nathan Nash, Esq.

“I found the program incredibly informational and helpful. I was also very impressed by the smooth transition from in-person to virtual format. It is always great to hear expert insight from practitioners on both sides of litigation as well as from an experienced Judge.” – Kaitlin Cutshaw, Esq.

“It was really great having a judge’s perspective. The other presenters were very knowledgeable.” – Seth McCormick, Esq.

“I found it very informative. I’m new to civil law practice and I found it helpful. I found it helpful to me in preparing a civil case.” – Chandra Smith, Esq.

“Motion for summary judgement presentation was excellent.” – Cheryl M. Polarek, Esq.

“Gave valuable needed information. Presenters explained topics well and had interesting and helpful feedback.” – Chandra Smith, Esq.

“I have nothing but positive comments. Good context, well presented, speakers were all prepared. I thought the program was effectively run- especially considering the circumstances. Well-coordinated amongst the speakers.” – Matthew David Duek, Esq.

“I loved how speaker Dennericka Brooks gave out checklists and concrete logistical advice.” – Caitlin Cervenka, Esq.

“Judge Dorothy French Mallen is a great judge with tremendous insight. Her tips to approaching the trial (not pre-trial aka “settlement conference”) were very useful.” – Marc Pawlus, Esq.

“I have been a practicing lawyer in Indiana for 21 years but am new to Illinois. Very helpful to have the authority, citations, etc.” – Cheryl M. Polarek, Esq.

“Very practical, helpful, and informative.” – Chandra Smith, Esq.

“Helpful to have the judges’ insight.” – Seth McCormick, Esq.

“It was very thorough.” – Jacqueline Olivares-Heidenreich, Esq.

“Helpful information.” – Chandra Smith, Esq.

“Very informative. I’ve never conducted a trial myself and I feel much more prepared for having viewed this program.”

“Excellent and knowledgeable panel.”

“I think the program was excellent and the speakers were top-notch.”

“This as a really great program. I got a lot out of it.”

“Excellent and thorough presentations.”

“Great summary of the practice of law. Clear and practical information.”

“The combination of practitioners and a judge was useful. I appreciated the notes on strategy and the culture of the practice, which are hard to access through reading the rules.”

“I really enjoyed the program. It was great to hear from a judge’s perspective.”

“A well-organized, comprehensive, and practical presentation on the mechanics of IL trial practice. Judge Conlon’s advice was concrete and on point, and she added new information rather than simply endorsing what the presenters were saying–e.g., noting the importance of prepping witnesses on the parameters imposed by in limine rulings. I found her interjections the most helpful of all the judges we heard from over the course of this bootcamp.”

“I appreciated the clarity with which the information was presented, and the combination of big picture advice re: framing and strategy with more detailed advice about specific rules and pitfalls. I’m planning to refer back to the presentation materials as a way of orienting myself next time I write a deposition outline or summary judgment brief.”

“I enjoyed the program and appreciate the practical tips. I thought it was very helpful for the presenters to use examples from their own experience.”

“Judge Larson was fantastic and Judge Sheahan was amazing! I enjoyed Brian Eldridge’s anecdotes. They made nebulous concepts more concrete. John Killacky was very knowledgeable.”

“It was very useful. Judge Tailor had a very valuable perspective on how judges view things. The references to the discovery rules, infrequently used rules, and pitfalls were very helpful. Very practical guidance on e-discovery.”

“I enjoyed the speakers. I appreciated the judge’s practice tips.”

“Good program, knowledgeable presenters. Good basics, including pleading requirements and motion practice.”

“The practical advice and concrete examples from each attorney’s practice made today’s session very useful.”

“It was informative and easy to follow. Lots of good information.”

“Judge Larson’s commentary was informative and insightful.”

“Good, practical tips. Clear and practical information.”

“I appreciate the concrete, practical advice and helpful templates. Clear, digestible breakdowns of trial prep and in limine practice. I appreciated the helpful pretrial checklist breaking down tasks and providing timeframes. Clear presentation on juries. The case law discussions were helpful, as was the orientation to the IPI. Really insightful commentary from Judge Mallen. Helpful to have Judge Hartigan’s perspective.”

“Really great answers on so many practical points from this panel. Both Judge Larson and Judge O’Brien Sheehan gave really excellent advice on briefs (e.g. importance of headers and avoiding overstatement), what not to do on oral argument, and SJ. Eldridge and Killacky were excellent – thorough and practical – and pre-answered a number of questions.”

“Very satisfied.”

“Michael Leonard was very clear and informative and gave excellent supplemental materials. Great judicial perspective. Judge Larson gave good practical guidance. Very nice to hear from a downstate judge. Good perspective and helpful tips from Judge O’Brien Sheahan.”

“I enjoyed Part 2 and feel that I learned a lot. Thank you! Great presentation by Michael Leonard. As a new attorney, the slow pace was great. The examples and mock deposition were a good learning tool.”

“I thought it was a very helpful and practical overview of trial and post-trial proceedings. Megan gave very practical advice on how to structure questions and arguments. I loved Judge Conlon–she was very down to earth and had great comments.”

“These speakers were good, especially the judge! Great intro material.”

“Michael Leonard’s advice was great, and I will use his tip sheet as a resource in the future. I thought the mock deposition was especially helpful. MSJ presentation offered useful information presented clearly and logically. I wasn’t familiar with the mechanics of state court summary judgment practice so this was a great roadmap. It’s helpful to have the model materials in the appendix to refer to.”

“J.T. Wilson was very well-spoken and offered practical tips.”

“Voir dire session is always good. I appreciate hearing tips on this topic.”

“J.T. Wilson had great ideas! Good insight as to questioning of jurors. Vivian Tarver-Varnado gave very good practical advice on getting organized.”

“Ian was very thorough and detailed. I liked how broad Clint’s presentation was, going to executing judgments and taking appeals as well as the nuts and bolts of post-trial proceedings.”

“I thought the presenters were very knowledgeable and conveyed general practice tips. Dennericka had a very solid road map and concrete advice on how to prepare for trial. Judge Mallen’s comments were insightful and relevant. I thought JT and Lenny were great.”

“I thought it was good, well laid out and flowed well.”

“Megan gave a great trial practice refresher, presented in a clear and dynamic way.”

“Judge Conlon was the most helpful to me because she was able to speak to the cases that I am most familiar with. Also, it is always to hear from a judge about their perspective.”

“Very satisfied.”

“It was very informative!”

“Knowledgeable speakers – information solid.”

“Great insights and info.”


The following are testimonials from our previous Circuit Court Boot Camps, held in Illinois with some of the same speakers:

“Excellent program and extremely beneficial!” – Peter Benke Esq.

“This was one of the best CLE’s I have attended this year.” – John A. Doerrer, Esq.

“Great overview. Great practical, real-life experience, especially for new attorneys.” – Aaron Curry, Esq.

“Excellent. Good job with speakers.” – Thushan Sabaratnam, Esq.

“Extremely helpful to have the judge’s perspective. Ms. Haidostian was also very insightful and organized.” – Kaitlin Cutshaw, Esq.

“This program should be mandatory for all new attorneys.” – Anthony McMahon, Esq.

“This was extremely helpful for my practice.” – Lhea Keller, Esq.

“Very happy with the practical tips and experience that came out of the seminar.” – Jessica Rimkus, Esq.

“Good, well-rounded introduction to basic civil litigation practice.” – Nemura Pencyla, Esq.

“Extremely well organized, informative, interesting and helpful.” – Nancy Pacher, Esq.

“All the speakers were great!” – Amit Patel, Esq.

“Good substantive content, legal updates, and case law.” – David Swiss, Esq.

“The speakers were informative and animated, keeping me engaged. Many wonderful tips I will carry over into my own practice.” – Shanna N. Crafts, Esq.

“Very experienced speakers with practical real-world examples.” – Lisa Clay, Esq.

“Good explanation of limited attorney-client privilege for client corporations in Illinois. Judge Taylor is a quintessential jurist…[Jack Snyder was] Excellent.” – Thorn McClellan Smith, Esq.

“I recently made the transition from criminal to civil litigation. This was a great refresher course in smoothing that transition.” – Stephanie Pauly, Esq.

“I very much liked the opportunity for spontaneous questions and resulting discussion.” – Mel Newman, Esq.

“Very good trial advocacy overview.” – Amanda Wendorff, Esq.

“It covered a lot of beneficial [information]. Speakers’ experiences were very helpful.” – Gabriel Borges, Esq.

“Very detailed [and] covered a wide variety of topics.” – Brad Eben, Esq.

“Great investment to my future in trial practice.” – Kevin Borozan, Esq.

“Panel/Speakers were very pleasant. Significant amount of information packed in sessions. The seminar was enjoyable and informative.” – Greg Sandifer Esq.

“Good info in each section. Thank you.” – Eric Chisholm, Esq.

“Really informative and great to hear a judge’s perspective, especially one from the law division.” – Julie Sieracki, Esq.

“Helpful info presented.” – David Mellem, Esq.

“Excellent and hugely helpful. Animated but extremely relevant info…” – Mario P. Carlasare, Esq.

“Great aids. Excellent panel – very informative.” – Anthony O’Neill, Esq.

“Good explanation of discovery requirements.” – Amy Rapoport, Esq.

“Very good. Would recommend to others.” – Bruce Theobald, Esq.

“I liked having both plaintiff and defense counsel on the same panel.  I like the diversity of the forms represented and appreciated the practical tips.” – Natasha Adler, Esq.

“Very satisfied. It was helpful to reinforce things I have forgotten since law school. Judge Tailor’s contributions were very good and helpful. Judge Spratt was lovely! I enjoyed her input. Good outline. I enjoyed and appreciated this program because it reviews the basics that you might forget by not dealing with them every day. Further, it helps you build up the basics without wasting the time of your superiors asking these low-level questions. Looking forward to more programs.”

“Judge Tailor was my favorite. He’s practical, kind and set a good tone for what we should aspire to (to comport ourselves as officers of the court). Michael Leonard was terrific. Judson Graham’s session was very informative with some useful, practical tips. Judge Spratt was fantastic. She’s funny, informative, and smart.”

“Good opportunity for new lawyers. Very knowledgeable speakers. Lots of great material on trial. Very informative post-trial session.”

“Presenters were very knowledgeable and offered practical pointers on specific litigation practice.”

“Enjoyed the deposition presentation. Found value in specific, real-world examples.”

“Really quality content and well-informed speakers.”

“As an attorney who has only been practicing for a year, I found this helpful. Topics were very extensive. You did a great job.”

“Visual aids/demonstrations were helpful.”

“The content was good.”

“The example deposition with objections was one of the most helpful and practical examples I have ever seen; Most presenters tell you what to do or not to do without showing you; this was great!”

“Best part of the seminar was the mock deposition conducted by Leonard and White.”

“I really liked the example of the deposition being acted out.”

“I really enjoyed how the speakers talked about mistakes they’d seen or done. It made it less dry and easier to follow. I really liked the list of objections.”

“Nice to have a judge’s perspective. Judge Tailor was a good speaker. Megan Thibert-Ind was my favorite speaker…very engaging and great advice.”

“Very informative, especially practical pointers.”

”Speakers were very knowledgeable and informative.”

“Everything was covered – jury instructions were very helpful.”

“Very good course especially when they gave specific stories and/or examples.”

”The mechanical aspect of litigation improved my knowledge as a new attorney. Understanding the process from beginning to end.”

“The enumerated lessons (i.e. 10 things to do on direct examination for expert witness) were very valuable!” – Valerie Magnuson, Esq.

“Great discussion of direct and cross.”

“Gave a lot of insight on the inner mechanics of the Circuit Court system at trial. A++!”

“Morning speakers were great and worked well together.”

“The course was very comprehensive…the speakers were all knowledgeable and engaging.”

“Morning panel on pre-trial issues was…strong, particularly on discovery and depositions.”

“[Mike Leonard] was my favorite…I enjoyed the afternoon panel.”

“Very satisfied. Wanted an overview and this was what I was looking for.”

“Engaging, thought-provoking relevant information.”

“Great overview of a lot of topics!”

“Great tips on drafting discovery requests.”

“Excellent examples and analogies.”

“Great suggestions! Good to have a judge’s perspective.”


$425.00$475.00 each

Recorded December 1-10, 2020