OPG Updates Archive

OPG in the News Archive

Charles Golbert and Dawn Lawkowski-Keller were featured in the “In the News” section of the October 9, 2012 Chicago Daily Law Bulletin for their expected presentation at the National Guardianship Association’s annual conference in Portland Oregon on October 22nd.  Charles and Dawn presented on the topic of litigation techniques to discover and recover assets stolen from people with disabilities.

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin featured a profile of Carolyn Thomas, the Office of the Public Guardian’s Administrative Deputy, on August 16, 2012.  Carolyn was appointed director of the Consortium of Doctors, an organization of black women with doctoral degrees.  The consortium inspires young men and women to pursue education and employment opportunities.  The profile discusses Carolyn’s career path to becoming a lawyer, and eventually a deputy public guardian in 2000.  Carolyn will serve as director for a two-year appointment, and can be elected for a second term. 

OPG employees Celestin Nounkwa, Nancy Montanez-Gonzales, Susan Sherock and Richard Lambton were all recognized in the "Around Town" section of the May 2, 2012 Chicago Daily Law Bulletin for their 25 years or more of service to our wards and clients.

On April 17, 2012, WGN News featured a segment on the kick-off of the “Foster Kids Are Our Kids” 2012 campaign, “Where’s the love?.”  The segment focused on the speech Jeremy Harvey, OPG paralegal, gave at the Chicago-area public awareness campaign kick-off event at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, in which he shared personal experiences of his years in foster care.

Charles Golbert and Wendy Cappelletto were featured in the "In The News" column of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin's April 9, 2012 issue.  Both were recognized for their hard work and attainment of leadership positions in the National Law Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Charles Golbert was named editor-in-chief of the biannual journal and Wendy Cappelletto is serving on the board of directors.

On March 30, 2012, CBS 2 News featured OPG attorneys James Burton and Dawn Lawkowski-Keller of the Public Guardian's Financial Recovery Unit.  CBS 2 Investigator, Pam Zekman, interviewed James Burton regarding OPG ward Marshall Davies.  Mr. Davies, who is 93 years old and suffers from dementia, allegedly had his savings drained of thousands of dollars by his former caretaker.  The Public Guardian plans to take legal action to recoup Mr. Davies' retirement money.

For full text of the March 30 article click here

The March 16, 2012 issue of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin featured an article about Women Everywhere: Partners in Service Project, Inc.  OPG attorney Alpa Patel currently serves as co-chairperson of the 2012 Planning Committee and OPG attorney Celeste Jones serves as a committee member.  A photo of Alpa Patel and her co-chairs is also featured in the article.

On April 6, 2011, CBS 2 Investigators brought to light the plight of an elderly Chicago Sun-Times sweepstakes winner represented by the Public Guardian's Office. In 1996, the 76-year-old ward, who suffers from Alzhemier's, won $1 million, which helped pay for her home caretaker. She was to receive $40,000 a year for 25 years. However, when the Sun-Times went bankrupt, she stopped receiving the payments. Charles Golbert, Deputy Public Guardian in the Adult Guardianship Division, is quoted in the article.

For full text of April 6 article click here

On April 3, 2011, the Chicago Tribune published an article following up on "Baby Tamia," a 2004 child welfare case that prompted legislation that became the Illinois Adoption Reform Act of 2005. Kim Barnes, Lead Attorney in the Juvenile Division and who represented Baby Tamia, is quoted in the article.

For full text of April 3 article click here

On February 13 and 14, 2011, the Chicago Tribune published articles detailing three cases of alleged financial exploitation of elderly Chicagoans. In the articles, the Tribune highlighted the Public Guardian's role in investigating these transactions and bringing the alleged exploitation to light. The articles report that a law firm allegedly drew up legal documents that assisted caretakers and an Archdiocese of Chicago priest in taking advantage of the financial assets of disabled elderly women. The Public Guardian has already recovered a settlement in one case, and has been appointed to represent one of the other alleged victims to safeguard her assets.

For full text of February 13 article click here
For full text of February 14 article click here

Staff Accomplishments and Recognitions Archive

OPG Supervising Attorney Carol Casey was awarded the Richard J. Phelan Public Service Award at the Annual Pro Bono & Public Service Award Luncheon on July 16, 2013. The award is given annually by the Chicago Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Foundation to an attorney "who has dedicated a significant portion of his or her legal career to the public sector, achieved excellence in his or her work and demonstrated a firm commitment to increasing access to justice for all Chicagoans."

OPG Attorneys Charles Golbert and Wendy Cappelletto were honored in May 2013 at the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys' annual meeting in Atlanta. Wendy received the Outstanding Chapter Member Award for the Illinois chapter for her NAELA work locally and nationally. Charles received the President's Award for his work on NAELA's education program.

Alpa Patel has been invited to join the board of Women Everywhere, a collaboration of nine women's bar groups working together to plan and coordinate volunteer activities on behalf of high school girls and women and children in need.  For the past two years, Alpa co-chaired the organization’s annual project, comprised of an education program for high school girls, and a community service day where hundreds of volunteers spend a day at a local non-profit agency that provides direct services to women and children.

Wendy Cappelletto co-authored the lead article in the Fall 2012 edition of NAELA Journal (the Journal of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys), one the country’s leading journals in the area of elder law.  The article, entitled “The Impact of State Medicaid Reform on Vulnerable Populations Needing Long-Term Care Services and Supports: An Analysis of Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey,” explores the strategies the states have utilized to contain Medicaid spending and the likely impact such efforts will have on vulnerable users of the program.  Wendy and her co-authors question whether certain reform efforts will actually save the states money if, as a result, poor people become sicker and require even more (or more expensive) care.

For full text of the article click here

Attorneys and staff from the Public Guardian’s Office presented as faculty at the National Association of Counsel for Children’s 35th Annual National Child Welfare, Juvenile, and Family Law Conference, titled “Families Matter: Advocacy for All Parties in the Child’s Best Interests,” held in Chicago from August 14-16, 2012.  On August 15, Julie Sollinger co-presented on “The Intersection of Immigration and Child Welfare: Abuse, Neglect, and Green Cards – the Nuts and Bolts of Representing Undocumented Minors.”  Later that day, the Public Guardian Robert F. Harris, and staff members Rohit Chandra, Chase Gordon, Jeremy Harvey, and Katina Smith presented “Ready or Not, Case Closed!: Strategies to Help Older Youth Transition to Adulthood.”  Their presentation included a panel of former clients who spoke and answered questions about their experiences growing up in the child welfare system in Illinois.

Three attorneys from the Public Guardian’s Office received Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) Awards in 2012 for their work on behalf of abused and neglected children.  Mallory Struck and Jarrett Knox received LRAP awards from DePaul University, and Alison Stankus received an LRAP grant from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  In making its selections, the DePaul LRAP Committee gives priority to candidates who demonstrate the most significant commitment to public interest work.  Similarly, Loyola University Chicago School of Law’s LRAP program provides assistance to recent graduates who are engaged in full-time public service employment, keeping with the Jesuit tradition of encouraging students to be of service to others.  Alison has been awarded LRAP benefits for her work at the Public Guardian’s Office in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

On May 16, 2012 OPG attorney Luis Vera presented at the Illinois Guardianship Association Annual Conference in Chicago.  Luis presented on the topic of cutting edge issues in asset investigation and collection.

Several attorneys from the Public Guardian's Office served as panelists at the Elder Law Practice Seminar, which took place on March 22 and 23, 2012.  The two-day seminar entitled, "Elder Law Practice in the Circuit Court of Cook County: The New Elder Law and Miscellaneous Remedies Division of Circuit Court," provided an intensive, practical primer on the "nuts and bolts" of Guardianship and Elder Law practice in Cook County.  The following attorneys presented on various topics: Thomas Brennan, Wendy Cappelletto, Charles Golbert, Celeste Jones, Dawn Lawkowski-Keller, and Kass Plain.

OPG attorneys and staff Robert F. Harris, Charles Golbert, Mary Hayes, Kass Plain, Danielle Gomez, Nick Youngblood, Dr. Mark Ruehl, Carol Casey, and Susan Wigoda filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court in Camreta v. Greene on December 16, 2010. The Supreme Court ruled on the case on May 26, 2011.

For full text of the amicus brief click here


Success Stories

Juvenile Success Stories Juvenile
Success stories regarding our juvenile clients Read more
Adult Success Stories Adult
Success stories regarding our disabled adults Read more

What's New Read more

New Policy and Legislation Cook County Public Guardian Files Class Action Lawsuit on Behalf of Children Left Languishing in Locked Psychiatric Facilities Read more
New Policy and Legislation Acting Public Guardian Quoted in ProPublic on Issue of Youth Abused in Psychiatric Hospital Read more
New Policy and Legislation Acting Public Guardian Quoted in Chicago Tribune on Issue of Priest Financially Exploiting Parishioner Read more
New Policy and Legislation Cook County Public Guardian Announces First Issue of The Advocate Newsletter Read more
New Policy and Legislation New Policy & Legislation
Recently passed laws of interest to those representing disabled adults and abused & neglected children in Illinois.
Read more Adult Juvenile
Current Developments OPG Appellate Developments
Recent Appellate and Supreme Court decisions Read more

Youth Advocacy &
Post-Emancipation Services
Important information for current and former clients. Read more
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