My Law Life

by Scott Ealy (Effingham, Illinois, USA)

Archive for March 2010

Condolences To Schniederjon Family




Frank H. Schniederjon, 91, of Effingham, retired attorney and a U.S. Army veteran of World War II, died on Saturday at 12:50 p.m. at his home.


Mr. Schniederjon was active in the practice of law in Effingham for many decades.

He graduated from the University of Illinois and first became licensed to practice law on November 9, 1942.  He served as City Attorney for the City of Effingham from 1947 – 1960 and as was elected twice as State’s Attorney of Effingham County from 1960 – 1968.  He founded the law firm now known as Schniederjon, Weber & Orr.


He was preceded in death by his only son, the late Judge Frank G. Schniederjon.  Survivors include his wife, Genevieve, and daughter, Nila Weber.


The funeral will be held Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Effingham.  Visitation is scheduled for Tuesday from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Bauer Funeral Home, 1212 W. Evergreen Ave., in Effingham.  For more information, please contact the funeral home at 217-342-2177.



[Although I did not know Mr. Schniederjon well, I always will remember the compassion that he demonstrated to a fellow practitioner who had suffered a stroke and was residing in a local nursing home in the mid-1990s].




Scott Ealy



Written by scottealy

March 28, 2010 at 6:55 am

The Point We Often Miss





As attorneys, we occupy a unique position in society.


On our part, even a simple willingness to listen, alone, can help to bring about necessary change and redemption in others.


Every day is a new day – a fresh opportunity to walk or to speak (or to listen) with courage.


Too often, though, we miss the point and take even the chance-of-a-lifetime for granted.



Scott Ealy


Written by scottealy

March 27, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Years Of Legal Experience Over-Rated




As an attorney, I have found that neither age nor experience is a primary factor in judicial performance.




Time and again, what matters most is a willingness to listen (to the unique facts of each case) and a judge’s desire to follow the law.  Courtesy to litigants should follow, naturally.


I was pleased Tuesday when the Illinois House of Representatives (for various reasons) rejected a measure that would have required at least ten years of attorney licensure prior to judicial service.  [A great attorney can become a so-so judge, and a so-so attorney can become an outstanding judge.  The roles differ . . . substantially].



For what it’s worth, here’s a listing of the acting judges in our circuit – including identification of the year in which he or she first became admitted to the practice of law:



Fourth Judicial Circuit

The counties of:  Christian, Clay, Clinton, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Marion, Montgomery and Shelby

Elected Judges

Daniel E. Hartigan  – 1977
Douglas L. Jarman – 1985
Michael P. Kiley – 1977
Kimberly G. Koester – 1988
Kelly D. Long – 1969
Kathleen P. Moran – 1976
David L. Sauer – 1977
S. Gene Schwarm – 1981
Ronald D. Spears – 1977
W. Robin Todd – 1973
Sherri L. E. Tungate – 1979


Appointed Judges  

William J. Becker – 1975
James J. Eder – 1979
James R. Harvey – 1975
Michael D. McHaney – 1982
Dennis E. Middendorff – 1980
Bradley T. Paisley – 1994
James L. Roberts – 1986
Ericka A. Sanders – 1998



(Information provided solely by the Illinois Courts and Attorney Registration websites, as of today’s date).   




In the Fourth Judicial Circuit we enjoy one of the most able judiciaries in the state, in my opinion. 



Scott Ealy


Written by scottealy

March 23, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Mar. 06 – Money For Nothing: Taking Calls From The Jail





Our monthly telephone bill from Consolidated Communications arrived this morning at the office.

Under the heading “Consolidated Public Services,” there’s a summary of calls accepted from correctional institutions.   February’s charge – limited solely to this alleged “public service” – was $ 53.61-dollars.

Often, the bill runs higher.


Every time we accept a call from the Effingham County Jail (a mere 200-feet away from my office), we get hit with a minimum $ 3.00-dollar charge for the first minute of “service.”  That’s one reason why telephone conversation with inmates is kept to a minimum . . . and why some attorneys won’t accept such calls at all.



Scott Ealy

Written by scottealy

March 6, 2010 at 11:53 am