Circuit Court Boot Camp (8th Annual): The Nuts and Bolts (IL)

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

Pincus Professional Education has put on its annual Circuit Court Boot Camp for eight years for a reason – it’s that good.

Year after year attendees rave about the program.

Year after year we tweak the agenda based on input to make it even better.

Year after year we invite the same speakers back because their ratings are so good and attendees learn so much from them.

We cover everything from complaints to discovery to case management conferences, motion writing and tricks, trial prep, and trial techniques.  Faculty will teach both specific skills, tasks, rules and timelines related to Circuit Court as well as providing general litigation skills tips and advice.

We have multiple judges as well as experienced attorneys teaching, from both sides of the isle, so you get a variety of perspectives. Several of the judges have taught for many years and are a terrific resource for q/a at our program.

This is a program for newer attorneys or attorneys new to litigation in Circuit Court. This is a lecture style course – due to time constraints the faculty does not have the time to include exercises during the program.

The program recording date is December 7, 2017.

There is no better litigation and Circuit Court primer CLE in Illinois. Our testimonials (see tab below) can speak to that claim.


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What You Will Learn

The following agenda is tentative. Please check back soon for more details.

The Early Stuff: Case Theories, Complaints, Answers, Motions to Dismiss, Motions to Strike and CMCs

  • Case Theories
  • Complaints and Answers
    • Rules and timelines
    • How to do it
    • Strategies
    • Common mistakes
  • MTDs/Motions to Strike
  • MTDs v. Answers
  • Case Management Conference / Scheduling Your Case

Non-Oral Discovery & E-Discovery

  • Regular Discovery
    • Key Rules and Timeline
    • Overlooked Deadlines
    • Procedural Issues that are often missed or common
    • Strategies and choices
    • Circuit Court v. Federal Court
    • RFPs
  • E-Discovery
    • Key Rules and timeline
    • Strategies
    • Cost Saving Measures
    • Mistakes not to make
    • Important state cases

Oral Depositions

  • State v. Federal rule differences
  • Deciding whom to depose
  • Taking good depositions / Mistakes not to make
  • Making effective use of depositions at trial

Motions for Summary Judgment

Other Motions

  • Reconsideration
  • Motions to Compel / Motions for Protective Order
  • Motion to Exclude Expert Testimony

Oral Argument

Heading to Trial

  • Final Status Conference
  • Trial Outline
  • Motions in Limine

Your Pre-Trial Tasks, Selecting and Dealing with Your Jury

  • Jury Selection in State Court / Procedure, Strategies and Questionnaires
  • Jury Instructions, Jury Verdict Forms
  • Evidence Issues

Your Trial

  • Opening Statements
  • Direct and Cross-Examinations of Lay
  • Direct and Cross-Examination of Expert witnesses
  • Evidentiary Objections
  • Closing Arguments

Post-Trial Motions and Judgments

  • Post-Trial Motions
  • Judgments


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

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

“Good explanation of limited attorney-client privilege for client corporations in Illinois. Judge Tailor 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.

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

“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.”

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

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

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

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

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

“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.”

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

”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.

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

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

”Very informative, especially practical pointers.”

”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.

”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.”

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

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

“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 extememly 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.

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

“Good content!” – Michael Lightfoot, Esq.

“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.”



Hon. Patricia S. Spratt
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois

Patricia S. Spratt was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court as a Judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County as of September 8th, 2015.

Prior to her appointment, she had a successful litigation practice with a focus on appeals and commercial and business litigation. Prior to joining private practice, Ms. Spratt clerked for then Chief Judge William J. Bauer of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Ms. Spratt has also taught Appellate Advocacy at Loyola University, where she previously received her law degree and served as Editor for the Loyola University of Chicago Law Journal.

Hon. William Sullivan
Circuit Court of Cook County

On June 11, 2015, Hon. William B. Sullivan was installed as a Cook County Judge and has since handled a diverse array of court calls, including traffic, misdemeanor, d.u.i., license suspension, and supervision and conditional discharge violation cases.

Prior to becoming a judge, he practiced law independently for 22 ½ years and established significant court experience, demonstrated administrative ability, broad personal experience, and the capacity to understand people from diverse backgrounds. His private law practice was broad and substantial. He handled hundreds of residential and commercial real estate transactions, many complicated business asset sale transactions, negotiation and preparation of commercial and residential leases, preparation of simple and complicated estate plans and trusts, administered decedent’s and guardianship estates and trusts, handled family law issues, and litigated many criminal and civil matters.

With regard to his court experience, he has personally tried many civil, criminal, and traffic cases that were both fact-based witness cases and paper-based documentary evidence cases. Judge Sullivan has practiced in all Cook County courts, including all suburban districts, and all of the collar counties.

He’s also litigated before the Federal Merit Systems Protection Board, Illinois Department of Labor, Social Security Administration, Illinois Department of Public Aid, Cook County Board of Elections, Cook County Board of Review, the National Association of Realtors Ethics Panel, and the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation.

He has litigated felony, misdemeanor, and traffic cases, torts, commercial matters, property rights issues, family law cases, constitutional concerns, decedent’s and guardian estates, and statutory causes of action.

Hon. Sanjay Tailor
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.

Michael I. Leonard, Esq.
Leonard Meyer LLP

Mike is a nationally recognized trial lawyer who has successfully tried to verdict a wide variety of cases in Federal and State courts across the country. He is a “go-to” trial lawyer who has represented individuals in single plaintiff actions; individuals and companies in class and collective actions; some of the nation’s and region’s largest corporations; and individuals in Federal and State criminal trials. 

Mike has been recognized as a top trial lawyer and commercial and criminal litigator by the following: The National Trial Lawyers; America’s Best Attorneys; Super Lawyers; Leading Lawyers Network; American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys; and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Mike’s extraordinarily diverse practice has seen him successfully take to verdict cases ranging from securities fraud, employment discrimination, sexual harassment, breach of contract, ERISA, personal injury, and Federal and State criminal matters, among others.

Mike has also arbitrated a wide variety of cases, including international arbitration. Many of his cases have been the subject of national and local media attention, stirring recognition in publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Los Angeles Times, CBS News, Law 360, and Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Mike has a keen interest in the craft and science of trial practice, and he is a frequent lecturer on trial and litigation related subjects. He is an instructor in Northwestern School of Law’s prestigious trial practice program, where he has also coached some of its Mock Trial teams.

John Ruskusky, Esq.
Nixon Peabody LLP

John Ruskusky, a partner in Nixon Peabody’s Commercial Litigation practice group, is a trial attorney who represents companies and individuals in their business disputes. 

John Ruskusky has more than eighteen years of trial, arbitration and counseling experience involving the management of complex business disputes and disputes involving law firms. He counsels businesses and their executives, members and owners in a wide range of disputes, including large business transactions (such as distribution and purchase agreements), medical devices, fiduciary duty claims and dissolution and valuation.

In 2016, he tried a week-long case in which a .8 million judgment, plus attorneys’ fees and expenses, was awarded in favor of his clients under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act and for unjust enrichment.

He also recently obtained the dismissal of two lawsuits (one on a motion to dismiss – which was not appealed – and one on summary judgment) in favor of a deceased client, the former majority owner of a real estate auction company, and his probate estate, claiming that more than million was misappropriated by the decedent. The summary judgment decision was affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court.

John also recently obtained a defense verdict at trial for a Fortune 200 company against claims of national origin discrimination seeking more than million in damages. He also successfully argued the Seventh Circuit appeal.

He also represents business clients with pre-litigation resolution of claims against their former professionals, including a recent case that settled with a multimillion-dollar payment to the client relating to faulty tax and transactional advice.

False Claims Act and Qui Tam

John Ruskusky represents corporate clients in a variety of False Claims Act cases, including those at the pre-intervention stage. My experience includes Department of Defense, Department of Education and General Services Administration matters. 

He also represents clients in government investigations and proceedings, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service.

Real Estate and Construction Litigation

John represents corporate clients in a variety of construction and real estate disputes, including construction defect and delay, property management, general contract, indemnity, Fair Housing Act and zoning matters.

Judith S. Sherwin, Esq.

Roetzel & Andress

Ms. Sherwin focuses her practice on transactional, regulatory and litigation matters, with specialized expertise in the long-term care/nursing home sectors. She has extensive health care law experience in HIPAA compliance, which includes drafting and review of compliance plans, business associate agreements, counseling on potential data breaches and mandatory statutory and regulatory notifications. Her practice also includes contract review for Stark and Anti-Kickback issues, as well as drafting and monitoring of corporate health care compliance plans relating to corporate governance of health care organizations. 

Ms. Sherwin has served as lead counsel on internal investigations to respond to complaints, federal and state government audits, civil investigative demands, whistleblower employee matters. She has defended false claims, violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, Medicare/Medicaid fraud, billing fraud, and false certification matters.

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.

Megan E. Thibert-Ind, Esq.
McDermott, Will & Emery, LLP

Megan Thibert-Ind is a Partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Chicago office.  Megan has represented clients in a wide variety of complex civil litigation, including anti-trust matters, tax controversy, real estate disputes, tort litigation, and class action defense.  Megan is currently representing clients in litigation pending in federal and state courts throughout the country, in addition to administrative agencies, and before the American Arbitration Association.

Representative Experience

Antitrust Litigation:  Obtaining a complete dismissal with prejudice on behalf of an international toy maker involved in litigation related to alleged price discrimination, unfair business practices, and Sherman Act claims. 

Tax Controversy:  Representing a major online travel company in numerous large and complex lawsuits throughout the country.  Megan’s work includes obtaining dismissal or summary judgment in numerous actions pending against her client for claims relating to whether the company owed certain hotel occupancy taxes based on its online reservation model.    

Real Estate Disputes:  Obtaining judgment in favor of a national residential construction company.  The Court found, and the appellate court later affirmed, that the Plaintiff failed to prove the terms of a proposed purchase and sale, and therefore was not entitled to its claim for specific performance. 

Tort Litigation:  Successfully obtaining settlement on behalf of an individual plaintiff on claims for fraud, fraudulent concealment, and civil conspiracy linked to the unauthorized investment of her client’s money.

Class Action Defense:  Defeating certification of a putative nationwide class and obtaining summary judgment, which was later affirmed by the appellate court, in a case brought by consumers asserting consumer fraud and other causes of action related to an online merchant’s display of service fees.

Megan dedicates a significant portion of her time to pro bono practice.  Her pro bono work focuses on a range of experience, including obtaining a favorable settlement for the victim of a hate crime, representing clients in employment discrimination and unlawful discharge matters, and obtaining a successful judgment on behalf of an elderly man defrauded by his adult son.  She dedicates a considerable amount of her practice to firm citizenship.  She is a member of the Firm’s Pro Bono & Community Service Committee.  Megan is a former recipient of the Firm’s Pro Bono and Community Service Award. Megan is a member of the Firm’s Associate Development Committee and the Gender Diversity Subcommittee.  Megan is also a member of the young professionals board for Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago.

While in law school, Megan served as an articles editor on the Wisconsin Law Review and was a member of the University of Wisconsin Moot Court Board. She also worked on appeals for criminal defendants in the Remington Center Criminal Appeals Project. Megan held a judicial internship for the Honorable Barbara B. Crabb, Former Chief U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Megan is admitted to practice in Illinois and before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  She is a member of the Illinois and Chicago Bar Associations.

Ethan White, Esq.
Emery Law

Ethan White is a cum laude graduate of Northwestern University School of Law with more than a decade of pure litigation experience. Ethan’s practice focuses on counseling clients and litigating commercial and employment-related matters, with near daily courtroom experience in both state and federal courts. In addition, he frequently appears before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Illinois Department of Labor, and various mediation forums. Ethan has tried cases in DuPage County, Cook County, and the Northern District of Illinois and has litigated matters in nearly every other county in the Chicagoland area.

In addition to business and employment-related cases, Ethan has filed or defended lawsuits in a wide variety of other subject matters, including breach of contract, legal malpractice, defamation, commercial disputes, antitrust, product liability, and international arbitration, among others.

Ethan began his law career at one of the largest law firms in the world, helping clients navigate dealings with both federal and state governmental authorities during civil and criminal investigations, particularly the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice. From there, he was a partner in another trial-focused firm where he litigated hundreds of cases in a variety of areas of law, with a strong focus on employment-related matters.

Prior to attending law school, Ethan graduated from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and worked for nearly five years as a business and IT consultant. Ethan is an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern School of Law, teaching in its prestigious trial practice program, where he has also coached its mock trial teams.




Audio Course and Materials Package – Download: $425

Audio Course and Materials Package – CD: $425 $50

CDs: plus $8.50 shipping and, in CA, sales tax.

*New orders only, while supplies last.


The program recording date is December 7, 2017.

CLE Credit

IL General:  This program is approved for 7.5 hours of general CLE in Illinois, including 1.0 hour of Professional Responsibility credit.

CA General:  This program is approved for 7.5 of general CLE in California.

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.


Terms and Policies

Recording policy: No audio or video recording of any program is permitted.

Seminar Cancellations: Should you be unable to attend for any reason, please inform us in writing no later than 14 days prior to the event and a credit voucher will be issued. If you prefer, a refund, less a $50 non-refundable deposit, will be issued. No refunds or credits will be given for cancellations received within 14 days of an event. However, if you notify us within 14 days of an event, and wish to convert your in-person attendance registration to an Audio CD package (with handout), we can do so. A small additional shipping charge, and sales tax in CA, will be incurred. No shipping charge is incurred for downloads. We will also issue a voucher for the amount paid if you notify us within 14 days and prefer not to have the audio recording.

Substitutions may be made at any time.

Webinars, Tele-seminars and Webcast Cancellations: Once log-in codes and passwords are issued for a webinar, tele-seminars or webcasts, a refund is not possible. If for any reason you cannot attend the event after you have received the codes, we will automatically convert your registration to an instant streaming/instant download or CD format and provide you with the information you need to access the recording after the program concludes and the recording is available.  Conversions to CD require a $8.50 shipping fee, and in CA, 9% sales tax.

Downloads/CDs/DVDs – Refund policy:

Downloads are non-returnable/non-refundable once purchased and received. Tapes, CDs and DVDs are returnable for a full refund or replacement if defective, within 90 days of purchase.

Reminder: The room temperature at hotels and other seminar locations are notoriously hard to control. Please bring a sweater or jacket in case it gets cold and/or layer as if you are going to the movies so you are comfortable.

$50.00$425.00 each

December 7, 2017  |  Chicago, IL