Board Members

The Supreme Court of Illinois appoints the nine members of the MCLE Board. The members are volunteers and include attorneys of varied backgrounds from around the state and judges.

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A founding shareholder of Mathis, Marifian & Richter, Ltd.  Patrick Mathis focuses his practice in business law, taxation, estate planning and banking.

With more than 35 years’ experience, Pat has an extensive background in providing legal counsel related to business mergers, sales and acquisitions, shareholder litigation, trusts and wills, probate, federal and state tax audits and appeals, Tax Court litigation and criminal tax defense. He has provided a full range of legal services to clients in the Southern Illinois and St. Louis Metropolitan areas for more than three decades.

Pat has been active in legal continuing education for more than 25 years having served as an author, speaker and as a member and chairman of the Board of Directors for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education. He has written several definitive articles in his areas of practice. He has held leadership positions on taxation sections and committees for the American Bar Association and Illinois State Bar Association and has lectured extensively for both. He is also a member of the Missouri Bar Association, St. Clair County Bar Association, Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.

Pat is involved in his community, having served on the Board of Directors for the March of Dimes, Southern Illinois District; the Board of Trustees for Illinois College of Jacksonville; the board of the Southwestern Illinois College Foundation; on the board of directors of Camp Ondessonk of the Catholic Diocese of Belleville; and as a Southern Illinois University Foundation Planned Giving Council member. He has also served on the boards of the St. Clair County Greenspace Foundation, Signal Hill Neighborhood Association, Signal Hill Education Foundation and Signal Hill School District. Pat has also served on Special Children, Inc.’s Finance Committee for Mamie O. Stookey School and as chairman of Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Clair County’s Annual Fund Drive. He is very involved in Blessed Sacrament Parish, having served in various roles, including as parish council president, Finance and Parish Council member, and Parish School of Religion teacher. Pat is also currently a member of the Missouri Athletic Club, St. Clair Country Club, Alpha Sigma Nu and Eta Sigma Phi.

Judge Vincent F. Cornelius serves as a circuit judge for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court of Will County. Before his election to the bench in November 2018, Judge Cornelius founded and was the principal attorney of the Law Offices of Vincent F. Cornelius in Joliet and Wheaton. He tried hundreds of cases during his career as a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney, and civil litigator.

Judge Cornelius is a past president of the Illinois State Bar Association, being both the first African American and first Will County attorney to hold the position. He has also served on governor’s commissions, Illinois Supreme Court commissions, legislation committees, and university boards. Joining the MCLE Board in 2015, Judge Cornelius is chair of the Board’s Rules & Regulations Committee.

Judge Cornelius received his bachelor’s in business administration from the University of St. Francis in Joliet and his Juris Doctor from Northern Illinois University. Judge Cornelius is a graduate of Joliet Catholic High School and a resident of Naperville.

David G. Penn is a partner at Schmiedeskamp Robertson Neu & Mitchell LLP. David concentrates his practice in the areas of education, labor and employment law, and related litigation. He is the current chair of the SRNM Education Law Group. He advises public school districts, community college and higher education clients in all aspects of education law. He specializes in collective bargaining and special education related issues. David advises many of the firm’s clients regarding employment, labor and personnel matters. He further represents these clients in various employment-related litigation matters including discrimination, termination and collective bargaining matters. In addition to practicing, David is a regular presenter on a variety of employment law topics and provides personalized training for businesses, school districts and government agencies.

Prior to joining Schmiedeskamp, Robertson, Neu & Mitchell LLP, David practiced at the insurance defense litigation firm of Bullaro, Carton & Stone in Chicago. Further, he was an Assistant State’s Attorney for the Sangamon County State’s Attorneys Office, where he handled and tried all types of traffic and criminal cases, including DUIs, domestic violence cases, misdemeanors and felonies.

David graduated in 1991 from Boston College, magna cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science. He graduated 1994 from Boston College Law School, cum laude. He is currently licensed in the States of Illinois and Missouri. He is admitted to practice before the United States District Courts in the Northern and Central Districts in Illinois and the Eastern District in Missouri.

Susan F. Hutchinson was born on April 1, 1950, in Monmouth. She received her B.A. degree in political science from Quincy University in 1971 and her J.D. degree from DePaul University School of Law in 1977. She served as an Assistant State's Attorney in McHenry County (1977-81) and a Judge in the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit (1981-94). In November 1994, she was elected as a Judge in the Appellate Court, Second District. Judge Hutchinson is a member of the Youth Service Bureau of McHenry County, the McHenry County and Illinois State Bar Associations, the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, the Illinois Judges' Association, the National Association of Women Judges and the Illinois Council of Juvenile and Family Judges. She is married to Steven McArdle and they have one son, Lee.

As an experienced practicing lawyer, past judicial law clerk, legal scholar, expert writer, educator and bar leader, Michele M. Jochner brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the MCLE Board. Ms. Jochner is a partner at Chicago’s Schiller DuCanto & Fleck LLP, focusing on advocacy in the area of family law.

Ms. Jochner has been honored by her peers in “Best Lawyers in America,” as a Super Lawyer, as a “Leading Lawyer” who has ranked in the top 100 Women Consumer Lawyers in Illinois, and as the recipient of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois’ 2015 Top Women Lawyers in Leadership Award. She also has authored nearly 200 articles on a wide array of legal topics appearing in publications nationwide, and her two columns, “Law from a Different Perspective” and “On Appeal,” have appeared regularly in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. In addition, Ms. Jochner also frequently speaks on legal issues to various groups across the State, including seminars on effective legal writing, appellate advocacy, and family law. For the last decade, she also appeared as part of the “Illinois Law” television broadcasts as a panelist for that series’ annual review of United States Supreme Court decisions. Ms. Jochner 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 has served in multiple governance roles with a number of bar associations and law-related organizations, including:

  • With respect to the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), Ms. Jochner served as Secretary of the Association, as well as a past member of the Board of Governors and the Assembly. She chaired both the General Practice Section Council and the Solo and Small Firm Conference Planning Committee, was a co-editor of the Bench & Bar Newsletter, and was a member of the Family Law Section Council, the Editorial Board of the Illinois Bar Journal, and the Standing Committee on Women in the Law.
  • For the Chicago Bar Association (CBA), Ms. Jochner served as a member of the Board of Managers. She also is a past Chair of the Committee on Public Affairs, and a past member of the Executive Committee of the Alliance for Women and the Editorial Board of the CBA Record.
  • Ms. Jochner is also a past member of the Boards of Directors of the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) and the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI).
  • Ms. Jochner is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR), and also serves on three panels at her alma mater, DePaul University College of Law: as Chair of the Dean’s Advisory Council, and as a member of both the Advisory Board of the Schiller DuCanto & Fleck Family Law Center and the Advisory Board for the Center for Public Interest Law. She has held 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. Her mentoring efforts were recognized by The Chicago Lawyer magazine in naming her one of 2013’s “Women Making an Impact.”
A native of McHenry County, Rebecca Lee is a partner in the Law Offices of Lee and Wombacher. She started her career as an Assistant McHenry County State’s Attorney, where she prosecuted misdemeanor and felony matters and conducted trials in cases ranging from traffic violations to first-degree murder. She joined Gummerson Rausch Wand Lee Wombacher, LLC in 2007. Rebecca has a diversified practice including the representation of individuals, businesses, and townships.


Northern Illinois University (B.A., 2000; J.D., cum laude, 2003)

Bar Admissions
2003, Illinois and United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois
2012, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
2013, United States Supreme Court

Professional Memberships and Accomplishments
McHenry County Bar Association
Illinois State Bar Association
Township Attorneys Association
Past Chair, Algonquin Township Republican Central Committee
Treasurer, Cary 26 Education Foundation
Former Trustee, Cary Area Public Library Board of Trustees

Practice Areas

Family law, criminal defense, civil litigation, legal malpractice defense, mechanic’s liens and construction law, township law
Justice Stuart E. Palmer joined the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1994, served in the Criminal Division and was a supervising judge there until 2005. He then moved to the Chancery Division and presided over a call of complex civil matters until 2012. In January 2012, the Illinois Supreme Court assigned him to the Appellate Court, where he served until his retirement from the bench in 2016. He is currently assisting parties as a mediator and arbitrator with JAMS in Chicago.


Justice Palmer has frequently served as a lecturer and faculty member for judicial education seminars as well as various CLE programs. He also has taught trial advocacy at DePaul College of Law and is a frequent guest lecturer at local area law schools. Justice Palmer has served on the Illinois Supreme Court’s Committee on Education, where he was Chair of the Criminal Law Benchbook Committee. He has also served on the Special Supreme Court Committee on Capital Cases and on the faculty for that committee’s capital case training seminars, as well as the Legislation Committee, the Special Committee on Courthouse Security, and the Committee on Evidence. Judge Palmer is also a Science and Technology Fellow of the Advanced Science and Technology Adjudication Resource Center (ASTAR) and was awarded a Diploma of Judicial Skills from the American Academy of Judicial Education. Prior to his retirement from the bench he was a member of the American College of Business Court Judges. Justice Palmer is also a commission member of the Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Commission and a member of the MCLE Board.

Prior to his judicial career, Justice Palmer worked as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County, serving as a felony trial assistant. He also worked in private practice concentrating on civil and criminal litigation prior to taking the bench. During that time he also served as a hearing officer for the Illinois State Police Merit Board.

Justice Palmer received his B.A. in 1976 from the University of Illinois, graduating cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He received his juris doctor from Northwestern University School of Law in 1979.

Edward G. Willer is a Partner at Corboy & Demetrio, representing plaintiffs in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases with a focus on construction negligence, product liability, premises liability, and vehicular negligence. Mr. Willer has obtained numerous multi-million settlements and verdicts, including a $13.5 million settlement in 2023 for the family of a worker who was crushed to death at a scrapyard and a $10 million settlement in 2021 for a worker who was seriously injured after falling from a ladder in a case that Mr. Willer successfully argued before the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Courts.

Mr. Willer has traveled the world investigating and preparing his cases. He joined the Chicago law firm of Corboy & Demetrio in 1994 after having practiced with the preeminent law firm of Leonard M. Ring & Associates. He graduated in 1973 from DePaul University College of Law, where he was a member of the Law Review and the International Moot Court Team.

Recognized as one of the top 5% of all Illinois attorneys by the Leading Lawyers Network, Mr. Willer also has an AV rating - the highest possible rating for any lawyer - from the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory. Mr. Willer was selected to The Best Lawyers in America, 2023 Edition, in the area of Personal Injury Litigation - Plaintiffs. Mr. Willer served on the Illinois Character & Fitness Committee between 2012-2022.

 Judge Thaddeus L. Wilson joined the MCLE Board in January 2024. He has served as a circuit judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County since 2007. Judge Wilson is currently assigned to the Chancery Division. From 2009 to 2021, he served in the Criminal Division, where he was a supervising judge.

Judge Wilson is a past president of the Illinois Judicial Council and serves on two other Court committees -- the Supreme Court Committee on Illinois Evidence and the Supreme Court E-Business Policy Advisory Board. He previously served on the Committee on Judicial Education of the Illinois Judicial Conference and the Supreme Court’s Weighted Caseload Task Force. In addition to his judicial duties, from 2009 to 2016, Judge Wilson was an adjunct professor at the former John Marshall Law School (n/k/a University of Illinois Chicago School of Law) – teaching Criminal Procedure, as well as a course on Voting Rights & Election Law. In 2014, he achieved the judicial honor and designation of ASTAR Fellow in Advanced Science and Technology. As an ASTAR fellow, he is qualified as a resource judge for members of the judiciary handling complex cases involving scientific evidence.

Judge Wilson earned his law degree from Northern Illinois University College of Law after receiving his Business Administration degree from the University of Notre Dame in Management Information Systems with a double major in Philosophy.

Lea S. Gutierrez is Administrator of the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) , responsible since her appointment to that position in October 2023, for administering the agency which registers Illinois lawyers and investigates and prosecutes allegations of ethical violations. Ms. Gutierrez graduated from Temple University’s James E. Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia. Before her appointment as Administrator, she worked at the ARDC in the positions of Litigation Counsel, Litigation Manager, and Director of Diversity and Inclusion. She returned to the ARDC after leading diversity and inclusion efforts at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the American Lung Association. Ms. Gutierrez is the fifth ARDC Administrator, the second woman to hold that office, and the first person of color to do so.  She follows the late Carl H. Rolewick (1973-1988), John C. O'Malley (1988-1992), Mary Robinson (1992-2007) and Jerome (Jerry) E. Larkin (2007-2023).

Erika N. L. Harold is the Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism. A dedicated advocate for civility, empathy, and inclusion, Erika leads the Commission’s extensive educational programming focused on advancing professionalism among the state’s lawyers and judges to build trust and confidence in the justice system.

Erika received her A.B. in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and as a Chancellor’s Scholar. She then graduated from Harvard Law School, where she won a Boykin C. Wright Memorial Award for appellate advocacy in Harvard Law School’s prestigious Ames Moot Court Competition. She funded her legal education through the scholarships and appearance fees she earned as Miss America 2003. Ms. Harold has been active in Illinois politics, most recently running a statewide race for Attorney General.

Prior to joining the Commission, Erika was a commercial and civil litigation attorney at Meyer Capel, P.C. in Champaign, Illinois, where she represented clients at both the trial and appellate levels and advised clients on matters of statutory and constitutional interpretation. Earlier in her career, Erika was a litigation attorney at the Chicago offices of Sidley Austin LLP and Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C., where she represented businesses in commercial disputes and advised religious institutions in matters involving First Amendment protections.

Justice Neville, a graduate of Washington University's School of Law, has been actively practicing law in Illinois since 1974 when he became a law clerk for Justice Glenn T. Johnson of the Illinois Appellate Court. Thereafter, Justice Neville specialized in appellate, employment, civil rights and complex civil litigation

Throughout his legal career, Justice Neville worked with public and private entities, including the Chicago Transit Authority. From 1977 until 1979, he was Of Counsel at Howard, Mann & Slaughter. In 1979, he became a principal with the law firm of Neville & Ward. In 1981, Neville established P. Scott Neville, Jr. & Associates, which merged with Howse, Howse, Neville & Gray in 1990. He has also been an instructor at the University of Chicago Law School in its Intensive Trial Practice Workshop.

During his career, Justice Neville used his legal skills to obtain justice for his clients. In 1992, he was a member of a team of attorneys (President Obama was one of the attorneys who worked on the case) that successfully prosecuted the 1992 Chicago Ward “ReMap”case, and a legal team that prosecuted a class action lawsuit on behalf of Black and Latino workers who were laid off by the City of Chicago.

An active member of many bar associations, Justice Neville is a life member of the National Bar Association and a member of the Cook County (CCBA) and Illinois State (ISBA) bar associations. Neville’s commitment to the Bar was most evident in 1997 when he became President of the CCBA and co-founded the Alliance of Bar Associations, a group dedicated to promoting diversity, equality and fairness in judicial evaluations. During his tenure as President of the CCBA, he also started the “In Court Referral Program,” and established the CCBA Hall of Fame.

Justice Neville has also been a member of several judicial organizations. He is a past chairperson and board member of the Illinois Judicial Council, a member of the National Bar Association’s Judicial Council, and a member of the Illinois Judges Association.

As a result of his dedication to fairness, justice and the rule of law, Justice Neville has received numerous awards and appointments. In 1999, the Chicago Bar Association presented him with the prestigious Vanguard Award, and he received a Presidential Award from the ISBA. In 2007, Washington University School of Law presented him with its Distinguished Alumni Award and in 2008 he received an award from Toastmasters International. Finally, in 2016 Justice Neville was selected as one of the Most Distinguished Men of Illinois by Continuing Academic Training Children and Youth Services and in 2017 he received the Stradford Award from Attorney Kimberly Foxx, the State’s Attorney of Cook County.

Justice Neville was appointed to the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1999 and elected in 2000. On June 11, 2004, Justice Neville was appointed to the Appellate Court. Justice Neville was elected to the Appellate Court in 2012. Justice Neville served as Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Illinois Appellate Court, First District from September 1, 2013 until August 31, 2014, is a former member of the Appellate Court's Executive Committee and has been the Presiding Justice of the Second, Third and Fourth Divisions. Justice Neville was appointed to the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1999 and elected in 2000. On June 11, 2004, Justice Neville was appointed to the Appellate Court. Justice Neville was elected to the Appellate Court in 2012. Justice Neville served as Chairman of the Executive Committee for the Illinois Appellate Court, First District from September 1, 2013 until August 31, 2014, is a former member of the Appellate Court's Executive Committee and has been the Presiding Justice of the Second, Third and Fourth Divisions.

Justice Neville is married to Sharon J. Neville and has two adult stepdaughters.

Jack Brooks
Board service 2005-2014
Board chair 2005-2012

Mike Cetina
Board service 2018-2020
Board treasurer 2019-2020

Hon. Michael J. Chmiel
Board service 2005-2011
Board treasurer 2005-2011

Hon. Jean M. Cocozza
Board service 2015-2023
Board secretary 2019-2023

Hon. Diana L. Embil
Board service 2005-2013
Board secretary 2005-2013

Paula H. Holderman
Board service 2012-2017
Board treasurer 2016-2017

Patrick M. Kinnally
Board service 2005-2015
Board chair 2013-2015

John G. O'Brien
Board service 2005-2016
Board secretary 2014-2016

James A. Rapp
Board service 2005-2018
Board chair 2016-2018

George R. Ripplinger
Board service 2005-2015
Board treasurer 2011-2015

Philip Rock
Board service 2005-2012

Faye Terrell-Perkins
Board service 2005-2014
Board secretary 2013-2014