Board Members

The Supreme Court of Illinois appoints the 9 members of the MCLE Board. The members are volunteers and include attorneys of varied backgrounds from around the state; one non-attorney with experience in designing professional development opportunities for educators, and a Circuit Court judge.

Patrick M. Kinnally, Chair
Patrick M. Kinnally is an attorney with the Aurora firm of Kinnally, Flaherty, Krentz & Loran, P.C., with an emphasis in commercial and tort litigation; and immigration, administrative, environmental and local government law. He has served as an adjunct professor of law at Northern Illinois University, teaching courses in civil procedure, immigration and nationality law, and a trials skills course. He received his law degree from John Marshall Law School in 1980.

Mr. Kinnally served as Vice-Chair of the MCLE Board from 1/1/2006 - 12/31/2012.
James A. Rapp, Vice Chair
James A. Rapp is a partner of the Quincy law firm, Schmiedeskamp, Robertson, Neu & Mitchell LLP. As an attorney, he engages in a general practice with an emphasis in estates and trusts, real estate, business, banking, and education law. He is the author of the seven-volume treatise Education Law published by Lexis/Nexis. He has also authored a number of other publications and articles on varied topics including victims' litigation, tax law, legal rights of students with diabetes, and medical malpractice, among others. He is a consultant to various agencies and individuals regarding education issues. He serves as an arbitrator and hearing officer in commercial and education matters. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.S., 1971). He received his law degree in 1974 from Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.
George R. Ripplinger, Treasurer
George R. Ripplinger is the managing member of Ripplinger & Zimmer, LLC, in Belleville, practicing in Illinois and Missouri. He was a member of the Illinois State Bar Association Special Committee on MCLE from 1984 to 1988. That committee promulgated one of the first proposals for continuing legal education, some of whose provisions were adopted by the Supreme Court in the new rules covering MCLE. A portion of his legal practice includes representing clients against their lawyers in legal malpractice cases. He received his law degree from the University of Illinois in 1970.
Michele M. Jochner, Secretary
Michele M. Jochner is a Partner with Chicago's Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP, the nation's largest law firm focusing exclusively on family law. Ms. Jochner, who heads the Firm's Appellate Practice, previously served for 15 years as a Judicial Law Clerk to two Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court: the late Hon. Mary Ann G. McMorrow and the Hon. Charles E. Freeman. During her tenure with our State's highest tribunal, she has worked on numerous high-profile matters involving cutting-edge issues of first impression, providing her with a unique breadth and depth of experience in all areas of substantive law combined with a keen understanding of the mechanics of our courts of review. Her first-hand experience and crucial insights into the State appellate court system provide her with the basis to craft and communicate compelling appellate strategy and arguments.

A recognized legal scholar, expert writer and educator to law students and attorneys, Ms. Jochner has authored more than 150 articles on a wide array of legal topics appearing in publications nationwide, and her two columns, “Law From a Different Perspective” and "On Appeal," appear regularly in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. In addition, she is listed in several “Who’s Who” publications, and was previously recognized as one of “40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch” by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. She also regularly speaks on legal issues to various groups across the State, including seminars on effective legal writing and appellate advocacy. In addition, for the last decade, she has appeared as part of the “Illinois Law” television broadcasts as a panelist for that series’ annual review of United States Supreme Court decisions. She has also served as an adjunct professor at both DePaul University College of Law and The John Marshall Law School.

As a well-known leader in the Chicago legal community, she is active with many organizations, including the Chicago Bar Association (CBA), where she serves as a member of both the Executive Committee of the CBA’s Alliance for Women and of the Editorial Board of the CBA Record, and chairs the CBA's Committee on Public Affairs. She is similarly active with the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), where she is a past member of the Board of Governors and the Editorial Board of the Illinois Bar Journal. Currently, she is a co-editor of both the Bench & Bar Newsletter and Trial Briefs, serves as a member of The Family Law Section Council, and is an elected member of The ISBA Assembly. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE), as well as on two panels at her alma mater, DePaul University College of Law: the Dean’s Council and the Advisory Board for the Center for Public Interest Law. She also holds several leadership positions within the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, and serves on the Leader Council for Mercy Home for Boys and Girls.

Recognizing the importance of ensuring that the future of the legal profession is in good hands, Ms. Jochner also actively mentors numerous law students at DePaul, as well as through Phi Alpha Delta.
Hon. Jean Cocozza

Hon. Jean Cocozza

Vincent F. Cornelius
Vincent F. Cornelius
Paula H. Holderman
Paula Hudson Holderman is the Chief Attorney Development Officer for the international law firm of Winston & Strawn LLP headquartered in Chicago. Ms. Holderman will serve as President of the Illinois State Bar Association in 2013-14 and is also a member of the ABA House of Delegates. She is currently in her 2nd term as a Commissioner for the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Character and Fitness and a past 8 year member of the Court's Committee on Professional Responsibility Rules. She chaired the MCLE Advisory committee to the Court in 2006. Ms. Holderman is the James C. Woods Distinguished co-Lecturer in IP Law at the University of Illinois where she has been a member of the adjunct faculty since 1993. Additionally, she has taught at the John Marshall Law School, Emory School of Law, Chicago Kent College of Law and the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA). Ms. Holderman was an Assistant State's Attorney in Champaign and Cook Counties for 14 years.
Hon. Joseph G. McGraw

Hon. Joseph G. McGraw is Chief Judge for the 17th Judicial Circuit. Elected by a unanimous vote of all the current circuit judges in Winnebago and Boone Counties, he is serving a two-year term ending December 31, 2013. The Chief Judge is responsible for the overall administrative responsibilities for the circuit court, including being the 17th Circuit’s representative to the Illinois Supreme Court’s Conference of Chief Judges.

Judge McGraw received his undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois and graduated cum laude from Northern Illinois University - College of Law. Prior to being appointed Circuit Judge, Judge McGraw was employed as an Assistant State’s Attorney in both Warren and Winnebago Counties, was a partner in the civil law practice of Turner & McGraw, and later established his own firm, The Law Office of Joseph G. McGraw, Ltd.

Judge McGraw was first appointed as a Circuit Judge in January, 2002, and elected to that same position in November, 2002. During his tenure as a Circuit Judge, Judge McGraw has served as the Presiding Judge of Boone County from 2002-2003, Presiding Judge of the Criminal Division, Winnebago County, 2004 to present, and has been a member of the Illinois Supreme Court Special Committees on Capital Litigation, Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) and Judicial Ethics.

John G. O'Brien
John G. O’Brien, Vice President and Counsel to the CEO of Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. Mr. O’Brien served as President of The Illinois State Bar Association in 2009/10. He is the founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Real Estate Lawyers Association (IRELA). IRELA is the leading advocate for protecting the role of the attorney in the residential real estate process. Mr. O’Brien has lectured on real estate topics for the Illinois State Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Illinois Institute for Continuing Education and Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund (where he serves as a member of the Board of Directors) as well as numerous Bar Associations throughout the State. Mr. O’Brien was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to serve on The Minimum Continuing Legal Education Board. He is also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the ISBA Mutual Insurance Company.

Recently, he has been elected to the Board of PHI ALPHA DELTA Law Fraternity. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Real Estate Law Committee of the ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division and is Chair of the Real Property Committee of the Chicago Bar Association. He was recently elected to the Board of Managers of the Chicago Bar Association.

He earned a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame in 1968, and a J.D. from Loyola University in 1972.
Jerome (Jerry) E. Larkin, Administrator, Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, ex officio
Jerry Larkin is Administrator of the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) , responsible since his appointment to that position in March 2007, for administering the agency which registers Illinois lawyers and investigates and prosecutes allegations of ethical violations. Mr. Larkin is a graduate of Niles College of Loyola University and the Loyola University School of Law. After he was licensed to practice law in 1978, he joined the ARDC as staff counsel. He investigated, litigated and appealed countless attorney disciplinary cases. He later served as Senior Counsel, Chief Counsel, Assistant Administrator, and then Deputy Administrator from 1988 until his appointment as Administrator.

He is a past President of the National Organization of Bar Counsel (NOBC), the bar association of lawyer regulators. In 2003, he received the ARDC's 25-year leadership and service award. In 2006, he won the NOBC President's Award for lifetime achievement in the field of lawyer regulation. In 2009, he was a recipient of an ABA CoLAP Meritorious Service Award. He was also given the Robert Bellarmine award for distinguished service to the Loyola Law Alumni Association in 1992. Mr. Larkin is the fourth Administrator of the ARDC. He follows the late Carl H. Rolewick (1973-1988), John C. O'Malley (1988-1992) and Mary Robinson (1992-2007).
Jayne R. Reardon, Executive Director, Commission on Professionalism, ex officio

As Executive Director of the Commission on Professionalism, Jayne develops and coordinates programs that increase the professionalism and well-being of attorneys, creating more opportunities for inclusiveness and promoting the administration of justice. The role provides her with opportunities to collaborate with representatives of bar associations, law schools, legal and civic organizations regarding professionalism outreach programs and initiatives. She is responsible for the development of a statewide lawyer mentoring program and for promoting professional responsibility educational programs that result in changed attorney behavior, which is the overall mission of the Commission.

Jayne’s success in increasing professionalism in the state can be credited to her nearly thirty years as a practicing lawyer, during which she gained knowledge of various practice settings and the ability to relate to a wide variety of lawyers. As counsel to the Review Board of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission for more than a decade, she gained knowledge of ethical and disciplinary matters involving attorneys, which she draws upon when developing professionalism programs. Jayne’s extensive trial and civil litigation practice at the law firms of Kelley Drye & Warren and Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon (now known as Edwards, Wildman Palmer) provided her with first-hand understanding of the challenges facing attorneys in both large and small firms. Her expertise in firm management issues such as recruiting, diversity, and continuing legal education serves as the basis for many of the Commission’s programs and initiatives. Jayne is a frequent and motivational speaker and presenter of programs on the work of the Commission and the challenges facing the legal profession.

A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Notre Dame, Jayne is active in numerous bar and civic organizations, including the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism, the ABA Consortium of Professionalism Initiatives, the National Lawyer Mentoring Consortium Steering Committee, Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois and the Chicago Bar Association.

The Supreme Court Liaison to the MCLE Board: Hon. Lloyd A. Karmeier

Lloyd A. Karmeier was born January 12, 1940, in rural Washington County, where he attended a one-room grade school and graduated as valedictorian in 1958 from Okawville Community High School. He received his B.S. degree in 1962 and his J.D. degree in 1964, both from the University of Illinois.

Justice Karmeier clerked for former Illinois Supreme Court Justice Byron O. House from 1964 to 1968, served as state’s attorney of Washington County from 1968 to 1972, and clerked for former U.S. District Court Judge James L. Foreman from 1972 to 1973. He was engaged in the general practice of law with the firm of Hohlt, House, DeMoss & Johnson from 1964 to 1986. He was resident Circuit Judge of Washington County from 1986 to 2004, when he was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Justice Karmeier is a member of the Illinois Judges' Association, the Washington County, St. Clair County, East St. Louis and Illinois State Bar Associations, and past member of the American Bar Association and the American Judicature Society. He served as a member of the Assembly of the Illinois State Bar Association from 1996 to 2002, and as chair of the Bench and Bar Section Council. He also served on the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Pattern Jury Instructions in Criminal Cases, chairing the committee from 2003 to 2004. He is a member of the Southern Illinois American Inn of Court and served as President of the Executive Committee from 2003 to 2007. Justice Karmeier and his wife, Mary, reside in Nashville, Illinois. They have two children and six grandchildren.

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