Speaker Bios


Ronald H. Balson
Author
Chicago, Illinois

Ronald H. Balson has represented clients in trial, appeals, mediations, and arbitrations, specializing in commercial law, securities and commodities, torts, and employment law. He also has written five best-selling novels and has been a finalist for the Harper Lee Award for Legal Fiction and the Premio Bancarella Italian Literature Award. Additionally, Mr. Balston has served as a professor of business law at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and as an instructor at the Federal Trial Bar. He appears frequently on radio and public television.


The Hon. Amy Coney Barrett
Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
South Bend, Indiana

Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Judge Barrett clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and for Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court. She later worked in private practice in Washington, D.C., before embarking on a distinguished career as a professor of law at Notre Dame until her appointment to the court in 2017.


Joel Bertocchi, AAAL Fellow
Akerman LLP
Chicago, Illinois

Joel Bertocchi handles appeals in state and federal courts and represents clients in connection with criminal and regulatory investigations and proceedings, providing counsel on compliance policies and related issues. He has argued cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and multiple federal Circuits and state appellate courts, and served as Illinois’ Solicitor General, the chief appellate lawyer for the State. A former federal prosecutor, he conducts internal investigations in all areas, including corporate governance and employee misconduct, and represents defendants and witnesses in criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Joel also strategically advises clients on the application of complex statutes and regulatory issues, including private and public corruption statutes, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and fraud.


The Hon. Robert Carter
Justice, Illinois Appellate Court, Third District
Ottawa, Illinois

Justice Robert L. Carter has been a judge of the Appellate Court, Third District, since 2006. He has been a judge in the state of Illinois since 1979, serving as a circuit judge and chief judge. He was elected to three terms as chair of the Conference of Chief Judges. He has served as president of the Illinois Judges Association and a member of its board of directors and as chair of the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee on Family Violence issues. Judge Carter has been a frequent lecturer at judicial education programs for Illinois judges on topics such as jury trials, evidence, contempt, and domestic relations.


Karen Kies DeGrand, AAAL Fellow
Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth
Chicago, Illinois

Karen Kies DeGrand leads the appellate practice of Donohue Brown Mathewson & Smyth LLC in Chicago and is the firm’s managing partner. She focuses her practice on professional liability matters, product liability, and employment actions. A former president of the Chicago-based Appellate Lawyers Association, Ms. DeGrand serves on the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Professional Responsibility.


Kevin H. Dubose, AAAL Fellow
Alexander Dubose & Jefferson LLP
Houston, Texas

Kevin Dubose is a partner at Alexander Dubose & Jefferson LLP in the firm’s Houston office. He is chair-elect of the board of directors of the Texas Center for Legal Ethics and a recipient of the Chief Justice Jack Pope Professionalism Award. Mr. Dubose is a former chair of the State Bar of Texas Appellate Section, and in that role initiated and assisted in drafting the Texas Standards for Appellate Conduct. He is a frequent author and speaker on legal ethics.


The Hon. David Ellis
Justice, Illinois Appellate Court, First District
Springfield, Illinois

Justice David W. Ellis is an appellate judge of the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court. Before joining the court, Justice Ellis served as chief counsel for the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and as House prosecutor in the impeachment and conviction of Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Also an accomplished novelist, Justice Ellis has written 15 highly acclaimed thrillers, including The Black Book, a New York Times bestseller, and his latest work, Unsolved.


Mark Fleming, AAAL Fellow
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP
Boston, Massachusetts

Mark Fleming is vice-chair of WilmerHale’s Appellate and Supreme Court Litigation Practice, resident in the firm’s Boston office. He has appeared in over 150 appellate cases and personally presented oral argument in 36 of them, including five before the U.S. Supreme Court and 13 before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Mr. Fleming is chairing AAAL’s Oral Argument Education Initiative.


Marcy G. Glenn, AAAL Fellow
Holland & Hart
Denver, Colorado

Marcy Glenn is a partner at Holland & Hart LLP, resident in the firm's Denver office, where she specializes in civil appeals and legal ethics. She has chaired the Colorado Supreme Court's Standing Committee on the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct since 2003, and she formerly chaired the Committee on Conduct of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. Ms. Glenn serves on the Colorado Governor’s Ethics Board and is a current member and former chair of the Colorado Bar Association Ethics Committee.


The Hon. Ann Jorgensen
Justice, Illinois Appellate Court, Second District
Elgin, Illinois

Judge Ann B. Jorgensen has served on the Illinois Appellate Court since 2008. Before that she served as chief judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit, a circuit judge, presiding judge of the Felony Division, presiding judge of the Drug Court, and supervising judge of the Mandatory Arbitration Program. Judge Jorgensen is a past president of the Illinois Judges Association. She has served on numerous U.S. Supreme Court committees and is currently a member of the Special Supreme Court Committee to Study Courtroom and Judicial Security.


The Hon. James Knecht
Justice, Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District
Springfield, Illinois

Justice James A. Knecht has served on the Fourth District Appellate Court of Illinois since 1986. Before that he served as an associate circuit judge and as a circuit judge in Illinois state court from 1975–1986. Judge Knecht is chair of the Appellate Court Administrative Committee. He has been an adjunct professor at Illinois State University since 1977 and at the University of Illinois College of Law since 1994. He is a member of the board of directors of the Institute for Collaborative Solutions.


Daniel Linna Jr.
Professor, Northwestern University School of Law
Chicago, Illinois

Daniel W. Linna Jr. is a professor of law at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, where he currently teaches AI and Legal Reasoning; Assessing AI & Computational Technologies; and Assessing Emerging AI and Computational Technologies. During his academic career, his teaching and research have focused on innovation and technology, including computational law, artificial intelligence, data analytics, leadership, operations, and innovation frameworks. Professor Linna is also an affiliated faculty member at CodeX—The Stanford Center for Legal Informatics.


John Lupton
Executive Director, Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission
Chicago, Illinois

John A. Lupton is the executive director of the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Project. From 1991 to 2009, he worked with the Lincoln Legal Papers/Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project to make Lincoln's legal papers available to the public in both an online format and a four-volume print version. John has written numerous articles and chapters on Lincoln's law practice and Illinois legal history and is one of the state's preeminent legal historians.


Michael T. Reagan, AAAL Fellow
Law Offices of Michael T. Reagan
Ottawa, Illinois

Michael Reagan is experienced in both the trial and appeal of civil cases. He has tried cases in numerous Illinois counties. He has handled appeals in the Illinois Supreme Court, every district of the Illinois Appellate Court, and the Seventh Circuit. Many of those cases have established or refined developing legal principles. His representation has ranged across a broad client base. He has written and presented many educational programs, most frequently on insurance coverage, appellate, and contribution issues.


Mike A. Scodro, AAAL Fellow
Mayer Brown LLP
Chicago, Illinois

Michael A. Scodro is a partner in the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice at Mayer Brown LLP in Chicago. Michael previously served as the Illinois solicitor general, and he teaches a course on the U.S. Supreme Court at the University of Chicago Law School. Mr. Scodro also serves as president of the Seventh Circuit Bar Association and is the immediate past chair of the ABA’s Council of Appellate Lawyers. He clerked for Judge José A. Cabranes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court.


The Hon. Mary Jane Theis
Justice, Justice, Illinois Supreme Court
Chicago, Illinois

Justice Mary Jane Theis has served as a justice of the Illinois Supreme Court since 2010. She previously served 17 years on the Illinois Appellate Court and 10 years as an Illinois circuit court judge, after beginning her career as an assistant public defender. Justice Theis has served as president of the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association and the Illinois Judges Association. She has received the Illinois Judges Association Lifetime Achievement Award and the Chicago Bar Association’s John Paul Stevens Award. She chaired the Committee on Judicial Education and the Committee on Judicial Conduct of the Illinois Judicial Conference and has taught at numerous judicial education programs and bar association and law school seminars.


The Hon. Lisa Holder White
Justice, Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District
Springfield, Illinois

Justice Lisa Holder White serves as a judge for the Fourth District of the Illinois Appellate Court. She began her legal career as an assistant state’s attorney for Macon County, and then served as an assistant Macon County public defender before becoming a partner in a Decatur law firm. Justice Holder White has taught Illinois judges during “New Judge School” and at the biannual Education Conference, and has chaired the New Judge School Workgroup. Justice Holder White is a member of the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of Illinois and is the chairperson of the Illinois Judicial College Board of Trustees.


The Hon. Diane Wood
Chief Judge, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
Chicago, Illinois

Chief Judge Diane Wood has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit since 1995 and has been chief judge for the Seventh Circuit since 2013. Judge Wood began her career as a law clerk to the Honorable Irving Goldberg on the Fifth Circuit, and then as a law clerk to the Honorable Harry Blackman on the U.S. Supreme Court. She then served as a deputy assistant to the attorney general for international, appellate and policy, in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. Judge Wood also served on the faculty of the University of Chicago as an assistant professor, professor, and associate dean.