legal luminary reception
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Illinois State Library
300 S. 2nd Street | Springfield, Illinois
Hon. Andreas Matoesian, Ret.
Circuit Court of Madison County
Hon. Ilana D. Rovner
United States Court of Appeals
for the 7th District
Richard L. Thies
Webber & Thies, P.C.
hon. andreas matoesian
Judge Matoesian was born in Granite City, Illinois, the fourth of five children of Armenian immigrants who settled in Granite City after emigrating to the U.S. in the early part of the 20th Century. His father was a barber and his mother a homemaker. Judge Matoesian attended schools in Granite City and graduated from Granite City High School in 1955. He played center on the football team and was a member of the wrestling team, where he twice reached the State tournament. He attended Illinois State University, the University of Illinois, and Southern Illinois University for his undergraduate studies. He also attended the Peoria Barber College and worked as a barber in his father’s barber shop in Granite City. He still holds a current Illinois barber’s license, and many of his friends, colleagues, and family were regular “customers” of his “lower level barber shop.” He graduated from Washington University School of Law in 1964 and began private practice in East St. Louis at the firm then known as Kassly Weihl Carr & Bone.
In 1965 he was asked to apply for a Magistrate Judge position in Madison County and was sworn in, along with his soon-to-be lifelong friend, Appellate Court Judge Tom Welch, in November 1965. He was later appointed Associate Judge following the restructuring of the Illinois Courts by the 1970 Illinois Constitution. He was elected Circuit Judge in 1980, and served continuously as Circuit Judge until 2019. He was retained by the voters 6 times, from 1986-2016.
Over his many years on the bench, Judge Matoesian presided over virtually every type of case in the Illinois judicial system, from civil to criminal, family to probate. Judge Matoesian served for many years on the criminal bench and presided over several death penalty cases. In one of his most notable cases, he presided over the murder trial of Paula Sims, the mother who was convicted in 1989 in connection with the death of her infant daughter.
Judge Matoesian has been married for 60 years to Julia Marifian Matoesian, a schoolteacher and later Assistant States’ Attorney. He is the father of two daughters, the late Georgea Matoesian and attorney Jane Matoesian, who is married to Dr. Al Van Amburg of St. Louis. Over the years Judge Matoesian has been an active in many hobbies, most notably woodworking, which he took up in high school. A few of the items he has made are pens, nutcrackers, baskets, and bottle stoppers. He distributed many of these items to his jurors while others have traveled the world, from Tiananmen Square to Andy Rooney. But he is probably most well-known for his gavels, with one article describing him as “dispensing justice (and gavels) in Madison County.” Many judges throughout the State of Illinois own his one-of-a-kind creations, which have also made it to the Notorious RBG at the U.S. Supreme Court.
hon. ilana d. rovner
Judge Ilana Diamond Rovner was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 1992, becoming the first woman on that court in its then 101-year history. Born in Riga, Latvia and raised in Philadelphia, she attended Bryn Mawr College and studied law at King's College-University of London, Georgetown University, and Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Following a term as law clerk to the late James B. Parsons, Judge of the Northern District of Illinois, she joined the United States Attorney's Office in Chicago in 1973. There she became the first woman supervisor in the history of the office, and as Chief of the Public Protection Unit, was responsible for all civil rights, consumer fraud and voter fraud litigation in the Northern District. She served as one of the chief trial attorneys in both of the landmark United States v. City of Chicago employment discrimination cases.
In 1977, she left the U.S. Attorney's Office to become Deputy Governor and legal counsel to Governor James R. Thompson of Illinois. During her time in that office, she wrote the governor's Executive Order banning sexual harassment in the workplace, and oversaw the creation of the Governor's Office for Interagency Cooperation and the new Department of Human Rights. She was appointed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 1984, where she served until her elevation to the United States Court of Appeals in 1992.
richard l. thies
The breadth of Richard Thies’s practice mirrors the wide range of specialized legal services Webber & Thies provides to its clients. From the beginning of his practice, he has given personal advice and consultation to individual clients in areas such as financial planning, estates, trusts, wills and personal business affairs. Mr. Thies has represented and created sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations, as well as not-for-profit and tax-exempt organizations and trusts. In the field of labor relations, he has negotiated labor management contracts, handled grievance hearings, NLRB representation cases and employment discrimination cases.
His litigation experience is extensive in the fields of complex commercial litigation, personal injury and family law. In the area of communications law, he has represented clients in libel and slander cases, and in cases involving first amendment issues. Mr. Thies has practiced extensively in the area of banking law, including formation of banks, bank purchases and sales, and other bank operation matters. He has represented clients in radio station purchases and sales, newspaper purchases and sales, and the day-to-day legal representation of newspapers and radio stations, as well as cable television entities.
In the field of real estate law, he has represented developers of a number of subdivisions, condominiums and shopping centers. He has practiced health care law, including the representation of research entities, medical practitioners and medical support service entities. His practice in environmental law matters includes underground and above ground storage tank cases, environmental surveys, and matters involving remedial action and clean-up. Internationally, he has negotiated in the Peoples Republic of China on behalf of American clients conducting business in China.
Mr. Thies is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association (President, 1986-1987), American Bar Association (Illinois State Delegate; Board of Governors; House of Delegates; Chair, Senior Lawyer Division; American Bar Foundation Board; Chair, Fellows of the American Bar Foundation; Board and Chair, American Bar Association Retirement Funds), American Law Institute, Bar Association of the Seventh Federal Circuit, Champaign County Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, is one of the three original incorporators of Attorney’s Title Guaranty Fund of Illinois, and is a co-founder of the Bar Association of the Central and Southern Federal Districts of Illinois. In 2005, Mr. Thies was the recipient of the Illinois State Bar Associations highest honor: The Award of Merit. Ten years later, he received the prestigious “Lincoln the Lawyer” Award from The Abraham Lincoln Association.
Mr. Thies is a member of the President’s Council of the University of Illinois Foundation; Dean’s Club of the University of Illinois College of Law; life member of the University of Illinois Alumni Association, and on four occasions has served on the Alumni Association’s Trustee Selection Committee; service as President of the Champaign-Urbana Kiwanis Club and the Urbana Association of Commerce; and Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Board of the Urbana School Board and the Salvation Army Advisory Board. He is a past member of Urbana Park Board, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Board, and the Boards of the National Academy of Arts and the Champaign-Urbana Urban League. Mr. Thies is an active member and elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Urbana.