Heyl Royster

 

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Firm Adds Strength with New Attorneys in 2015

09/23/2015

Heyl Royster continues to strategically grow in areas that enable the firm to provide the top-ranked legal services that are important to our clients. We are pleased to announce that in 2015, the nine attorneys and five Fall associates listed below joined our firm.

 

Jessica M. Bell (Peoria and Springfield) concentrates her practice on the defense of insurance clients and employers in Workers' Compensation matters. She joins the firm with significant Workers' Compensation defense experience, having appeared before the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission in hearings across the state. Jessica is a former Tazewell County Assistant State's Attorney. She earned her J.D. from the Saint Louis University School of Law and her B.S. from Duquesne University magna cum laude. She is a member of the Workers' Compensation Lawyers' Association and a past treasurer and vice-president of the Tazewell County Bar Association. She joins the firm as an associate.

 

 

Declan Binninger (Springfield) focuses his practice on general tort litigation and professional liability defense. He has experience defending medical malpractice and property damage claims and has also advised hospital risk management teams. Declan graduated with a double major B.A. in History and International Affairs from The George Washington University, and he received his J.D. in from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, where he was a 2008 Negotiation Team Regional Finalist and a member of the Loyola University Health Law Society. Prior to joining Heyl Royster, he spent six years as an Assistant State's Attorney for Cook County, and as a legal assistance attorney and operations law attorney for the United States Army. Declan is a Captain in the U.S. Army JAG Corps and served on active duty with the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson. He joins the firm as an associate.

 

 

Amber D. Cameron (Edwardsville) concentrates her practice on defending employers in workers' compensation claims and on toxic tort litigation, including the defense of asbestos personal injury cases. Before joining the firm, Amber was a staff attorney at the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission where she assisted Commissioners deciding workers' compensation claims. Prior to the Commission, Ms. Cameron worked at a mid-sized defense firm in the St. Louis Metro East where she represented clients in the defense of workers' compensation and human rights claims throughout Illinois and Missouri. She earned her law degree and a certificate in dispute resolution from the University of Missouri–Columbia School of Law. As a law student, she served as Vice-Justice of the Lawson Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and won the Best Brief in the Board of Advocates Moot Court Competition. Amber earned her B.S. in Science-Finance from Saint Louis University. She joins Heyl Royster as Of Counsel.

 

 

Lindsey D'Agnolo (Rockford) focuses her practice in the areas of business and commercial litigation, long term care/nursing homes, and workers' compensation. She began her practice in Rockford in 2011 concentrating in the areas of civil rights and employment law, as well as nursing home litigation defense. Lindsey received her bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois and her J.D. from California Western School of Law. During law school, she interned for the Winnebago County State's Attorney and served as judicial extern for the Honorable Judge Frederick J. Kapala. She joins Heyl Royster as an associate.  

 

 

Steven Getty (Rockford) represents employers in Workers' Compensation claims. Prior to Heyl Royster, Steven served in the McHenry County State's Attorney's Office and the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office, where he represented the interests of the State of Illinois in more than 100 felony cases. He received his J.D. from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School and his B.A. from Western Illinois University in 2008. While in law school, he was a semi-finalist in the first year Moot Court Competition and was on the National Moot Court Team in the Juvenile Law Competition in Costa Mesa, California. He joins Heyl Royster as an associate.

 

 

Meg Hogan (Rockford) focuses her practice on civil litigation with a concentration in toxic tort and asbestos defense. She began her practice as an Assistant State's Attorney in the Winnebago County State's Attorney's Office. As a prosecutor, she handled matters ranging from misdemeanor criminal charges to felony cases. Meg graduated cum laude from Illinois State University and cum laude from Northern Illinois University College of Law. While in law school, she was on Law Review and served on the board as a Notes and Comments editor. She also served as a judicial clerk for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit. Ms. Hogan was the 2013 recipient of the Illinois State Bar Association Law Student Public Service Award and the recipient of the 2013 PCSW Outstanding Women Award. She joins Heyl Royster as an associate.

 

 

Mitchell Martin (Edwardsville) focuses his practice on the defense of medical malpractice and toxic tort litigation. Before joining Heyl Royster, Mitchell worked for a southern Illinois law firm, focusing on insurance defense. He graduated cum laude with a J.D. from the Southern Illinois University School of Law and summa cum laude from Harding University. While in law school, he interned with the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Illinois. He joins Heyl Royster as an associate.

 

 

Robert C. Rakers (Edwardsville) defends clients in civil litigation with an emphasis on toxic tort litigation. Prior to joining the firm, Bob practiced at a successful Central Illinois law firm for nearly two years where he represented a variety of businesses in collection disputes, individuals seeking workers compensation benefits, individuals involved in domestic disputes, and individuals charged with misdemeanors and felonies. He obtained a bachelors degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a J.D. from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. During law school, Bob served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Vernelis K. Armstrong of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. He joins Heyl Royster as an associate.

 

  J. Michael Ward (Edwardsville) focuses his practice on the defense of companies involved in complex litigation in the areas of products liability, toxic tort and environmental litigation. Michael began his career at a mid-sized Illinois firm focusing on the defense of premises owners and various manufacturers against claims involving toxic exposures and product liability actions. He then worked for a national law firm where he led a team of individuals representing a former major manufacturer of boilers who had been named in asbestos litigation. Michael earned his J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law and a B.S. in Accounting from Southern Illinois University. He joins Heyl Royster as Of Counsel.

The five associates who sat for the Bar exam in July are as follows:

 

Bide Akande (Chicago) received his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and J.D. from University of Illinois College of Law – where he actively participated in shaping the law school's community. Bide served as the President of the Student Bar Association and sat as the only student member of the law school's Dean Search Committee, which successfully selected Dean Vikram David Amar to serve as the new head Dean for the College of Law. 

  Wade Blumenshine (Peoria) joins the firm from law school where he focused his studies on labor and employment, commercial litigation, and economic torts. Prior to joining the firm he worked as both a file clerk and a summer associate in the Peoria office. Wade obtained his bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2012. He obtained his J.D. from Northern Illinois University in 2015, where he was a member of the Lenny Mandell Moot Court Competition.
  Patrick Folley (Urbana) is a 2015 graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School where he was a member of the Saint Thomas Moore Society, the Military Law Student's Association, and the Intellectual Property Law Society. He received his B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Campaign. His background includes attending a summer institute for general management at Stanford Graduate School of Business, serving as a judicial intern to U.S. District Court Judge James Shadid, and serving as a Congressional intern.
  Alyssa L. Freeman (Rockford) earned her J.D. from Northern Illinois University College of Law, summa cum laude in 2015, and her B.S. in Business Administration from Kansas State University, summa cum laude. While in law school, Alyssa served as the Student Bar Association President and Law Review Symposium Editor. In 2014, she was a summer associate for Heyl Royster's Rockford office. She also clerked for Justice Ann Jorgensen of the Second District of Illinois and Judge Edward Prochaska of the Seventeenth Circuit of Illinois. She was a 2015 recipient of the Outstanding Commitment to the Law School Community and a Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, Outstanding Woman award. In 2015 she was elected as a member of the NIU College of Law's Alumni Council.
  Stephanie Garces (Chicago) earned her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law in 2015 and her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During law school, she interned with the in-house legal department of Walgreen Co. She also externed with the Federal Defender Program for the Northern District of Illinois. Stephanie served as an active member of the DePaul Student Bar Association and as a staff writer for the DePaul Journal of Health Care Law. She gained valuable hands-on experience through the DePaul Law Misdemeanor Clinic by providing legal representation for a client in a DUI jury trial. In 2014, Stephanie served as a summer associate in the firm's Chicago office. Stephanie is fluent in Spanish.