9th Annual Circuit Court Boot Camp: 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 nine years for a reason – it’s that good. This program delves into general litigation skills and strategies as well as providing an inside look at, and advice about, litigating in Illinois Circuit Court.

And you’ll hear from sitting judges!

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 many of the same speakers back because their ratings are so good and attendees learn so much from them.

We cover everything from complaint strategies to depos and discovery, case management conferences, motion writing, trial prep, and trial techniques. Your faculty will also discuss how to preserve your trial record for an appeal, post trial motions and judgments.

And we make sure to teach you the mistakes not to make as well.

If you are new, or somewhat new, to litigation – this seminar is for you.

Recently graduated law school? – can’t miss it. You don’t get these skills, this practical advice, and this insight from sitting judges in law school.

There is no better Circuit Court and litigation primer program in Illinois. Our testimonials can speak to that claim.

This audio package will be shipped and and available for download two-three weeks after the program. It includes all materials and PowerPoint used during the seminar.


Have you ever though about improving your presentation skills – in or out of court? Now is the time! Get Faith Pincus’ newly published book Being Heard: Presentation Skills for Attorneys, from the ABA now (ABA members receive 10%-20% off). It is also available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions.

What You Will Learn

The Early Stuff: Advice about 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

Discovery & E-Discovery


  • 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 tips from your faculty

Heading to Trial

  • Final Status Conference
  • Trial Outline
  • Motions in Limine

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

  • Jury Selection: Procedure, Strategies and Questionnaires
  • Jury Instructions, Jury Verdict Forms
  • Evidence Issues

Your Trial

  • Direct and Cross-Examinations of Lay
  • Direct and Cross-Examination of Expert witnesses
  • Evidentiary Objections

Preserving the Record for Appeal, Post-Trial Motions and Judgments

  • Preserving the Record for Appeal
  • Post-Trial Motions
  • Judgments


“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.

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“Visual aids/demonstrations were helpful.”

“The content was good.”


The following testimonials are from our prior Circuit Court Boot Camps:

“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.

“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.

“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.

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

“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.”

“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.

“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. 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.

Richard F. Burke, Jr., Esq.
Clifford Law Offices, P.C.

Richard Burke is a partner at Clifford Law Offices. He is an outstanding product liability attorney and one of the most respected aviation liability attorneys in Chicago. Mr. Burke is experienced in many complex practice areas, including medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, heavy truck litigation, product liability, aviation liability, aviation litigation, airline liability, and other forms of transportation liability.

Over his decades of work at Clifford Law Offices, he has obtained multiple million-dollar-plus settlements in truck collision cases, including an 11 million-dolllar resolution for a client with catastrophic permanent injuries. He also recently settled a two million-dollar nursing home claim and has settled several complex medical malpractice cases, some on the eve of trial.

A tireless worker, Mr. Burke stays on task with the most difficult of cases. He is a quiet, behind-the-scenes leader who knows how to get things done. From establishing groundbreaking liability in sport utility vehicle rollovers to negligent product design and operation of jumbo jet passenger aircrafts, he explores every angle of his cases whether it be researching case law across the country or garnering experts from the other side of the globe. Mr. Burke uncovers the answers to each issue, leading him to many successful verdicts at trial.

Mr. Burke regularly litigates cases involving a wide array of product defects, including motor vehicle rollovers, seat failures, tire defects, brake failures, fuel system fires, and unsafe all-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, helmets, and lawnmowers. He also frequently handles cases resulting from defects in factory equipment, as well as construction site hazards, tractor-trailer truck collisions, and medical negligence claims. He has obtained numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of seriously injured clients over the past 25 years.

Judson M. Graham, Esq.
Attorney at Law
McCallister Law Group, LLC

Judson M. Graham is an attorney at McCallister Law Group LLC, a boutique litigation firm in Chicago, Illinois.  McCallister Law Group’s litigation practice prosecutes matters on behalf of plaintiffs locally, regionally, and nationally.  Mr. Graham’s work includes representation of plaintiffs in professional liability, catastrophic injury, wrongful death, mass tort, medical malpractice, nursing home negligence, product liability, trucking, antitrust, and complex business tort matters.  

Mr. Graham is an experienced litigator who has successfully represented plaintiffs in matters through trial, mediation, and arbitration.  His work at McCallister Law Group LLC includes regularly drafting and arguing pre-trial dispositive motions throughout Illinois, as well as on a pro hac vice basis in out-of-state jurisdictions.  The variety of cases, and the complexity of cases that McCallister Law Group LLC prosecutes, demands extensive pre-trial motion practice on issues involving agency, interpretation and application of statutory and common law, discovery, evidentiary issues, as well as dispositive motions. 

Mr. Graham is an active member of the American Association for Justice, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, and the Illinois State Bar Association, where he currently is serving his second term as a member of the General Assembly.  He has been named as a “Rising Star” by the Illinois “Super Lawyers” publication in 2018, 2019, and 2020.  He received his law degree from the DePaul College of Law and his undergraduate degree in English from the University of Illinois. 

Lisa Haidostian, Esq.
McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Lisa Haidostian focuses her practice on complex civil litigation. She has worked on significant matters involving products liability, trusts and estates controversies, tax controversies and internal government investigations.

Lisa has a wide range of litigation experience in both federal and state court, including taking and defending depositions, arguing motions, working with expert and fact witnesses, and managing complex electronic discovery.

Lisa serves on the Firm’s Recruiting and Pro Bono Committees and co-chairs the Firm’s Chicago Associates’ Forum. Lisa also maintains an active pro bono practice, including having first-chaired and won a jury trial on behalf of an indigent plaintiff who sustained injuries from an attack.

Michael I. Leonard, Esq.
Attorney at Law
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.

Gillian G. Lindsay, Esq.

Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP

Gillian G. Lindsay has over a decade of experience representing clients ranging from closely held businesses to Fortune 100 companies across various industries and throughout every phase of commercial litigation. Gillian handles complex disputes involving breach of contract, consumer and business torts, trade secrets, labor and employment disputes, and trademark infringement.

Understanding the devastating effect litigation can have on a business, Gillian is determined to conserve valuable time, resources, and relationships. Gillian advises clients on strategies to minimize exposure, attain favorable settlements, and achieve other alternative dispute resolutions to avoid unnecessary litigation.

When litigation is necessary, she has the experience needed to protect her clients’ interests throughout the process. Gillian has successfully represented clients before trial and appellate courts, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the Illinois Department of Labor, and Illinois Department of Employment Security.

Gillian’s litigation practice includes a focus on biometric privacy issues, specifically relating to the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). As a member of the firm’s Biometric Privacy Practice Group, Gillian navigates emerging compliance issues and counsels clients on insurance coverage and claims options. With the increased risk of BIPA class-action litigation, she brings her experience representing clients in class actions across a wide range of legal issues to effectively defend and vindicate clients at trial, throughout pre-trial litigation, and during pre-litigation dispute resolution.

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.


Audio Course and Materials Package – Download or CD: $425

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


Important note regarding claiming CLE for recorded programs: The MCLE Board of IL charges us to submit your CLE, which we include in the price of your audio purchase. However, they charge an additional $15 late fee if your CLE is not submitted to them by the end of the month in which you listened to the program. Any late fees charged by the MCLE Board of IL will be passed on to an attorney claiming CLE for a recorded program and not providing us that information within the MCLE Board’s deadline.

Please be sure to email us with your verification codes you hear while listening to the program, or your affidavit swearing you have listened to it, immediately after you listen to it. If you wait to send us that information past the MCLE Board’s deadline, or without giving us enough time to meet that deadline (we require one week), we will have to pass on their $15 late fee charge.

CLE Credit

IL General *:  This program is approved for 7.5 units of general CLE in Illinois until 12/5/2021.

IL Professional Responsibility *: This program is approved for 1.0 unit of Professional Responsibility in Illinois through 12/5/2021.

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

* Important note regarding claiming CLE for recorded programs: The MCLE Board of IL charges us to submit your CLE, which we include in the price of your audio purchase. However, they charge an additional $15 late fee if your CLE is not submitted to them by the end of the month in which you listened to the program. Any late fees charged by the MCLE Board of IL will be passed on to an attorney claiming CLE for a recorded program and not providing us that information within the MCLE Board’s deadline.

Please be sure to email us with your verification codes you hear while listening to the program, or your affidavit swearing you have listened to it, immediately after you listen to it. If you wait to send us that information past the MCLE Board’s deadline, or without giving us enough time to meet that deadline (we require one week), we will have to pass on their $15 late fee charge.


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.

$425.00 each

Recording/Recorded on December 6, 2019.