Class Notes

Class Notes are displayed in the order that they are received. You may also view notes by decade, or by class year – simply click on the decade or click on the + symbol to expand the decade and display by year. If a given class year does not appear, notes do not exist for that particular year.

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Debra Walker '87

(7/18/22)

On June 28, 2022, Judge Debra B. Walker of the Circuit Court of Cook County won her primary election for a seat on the Illinois Appellate Court, First District. She has no general election opponent, so she will be installed on the Appellate Court on December 5, 2022.

Christopher Yates '87

(3/28/22)
Christopher Yates was appointed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer to the Michigan Court of Appeals - District 3, effective April 18, 2022. 

Yates is currently a judge with the 17th Circuit Court of Kent County. He has been with the circuit court since 2008 where he presides over a specialized business docket and has previously handled civil, criminal, and family dockets. Prior to his time with the courts, Judge Yates was a partner with Yates, LaGrand & Denenfeld, PLLC and Willey, Chamberlain & Yates, LLP. He has also served as the chief defender for the Federal Public Defender's Office, as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and as an attorney and advisor for the U.S. Department of Justice.  Judge Yates began his law career as a law clerk to Chief U.S. District Judge James Churchill and to U.S. Appellate Judge Ralph Guy.  

Karen Layng '87

(11/25/20)
Karen Layng has been elected to the role of National President (also known as the Chair of the National Board of Directors) of Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA). With her election, Karen became the highest-ranking volunteer member of GSUSA and joined a prestigious group of past National Presidents that extends back to the Movement's founder, Juliette Gordon Low.

Debra Walker '87

(9/22/20)
Judge Debra Walker was recently appointed as the senior alumnus on the University of Illinois College of Law Diversity Committee. She joins a robust committee of faculty, staff, and students, as well as a more recent alumnus. This is the first time the College has included alumni on this Committee.  She was also recently appointed to the University of Illinois Moms Association Board of Directors.

Debra Walker '87

(6/4/19)
The Honorable Debra Walker has been named President of the Illinois Judges Foundation (IJF). Walker was installed for a 1-year term on Friday, May 31, at a meeting of the IJF Board of Directors. The IJF was established in 2007 to serve as the charitable arm of the Illinois Judges Association. Its membership includes current sitting and retired judges.

Jeff Berman '87

(4/18/19)
Jeff Berman was honored for his years of service to Buffalo Grove at a recent village board meeting. Berman will leave the board in May after serving as trustee for 20 years. A proclamation was read in his honor and a plaque was presented as part of the recognition.

Jeffrey Berman '87

(7/24/17)
On June 9th, Jeffrey Berman (BS ’84 BUS, JD ’87 LAW) was sworn in as the President of the Lake County Bar Foundation. Jeff has nearly 30 years' of experience in a wide range of complex commercial litigation, and his practice currently focuses on class actions and related insurance coverage litigation. Jeff also currently is serving his fifth elected term as a Village Trustee, and as Village President Pro Tem, in the Village of Buffalo Grove, Illinois. He also serves as Co-Editor of the Docket, the official publication of the Lake County Bar Association.

Debra Walker '87

(3/17/2016)
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Debra Walker is being recognized with a national lifetime achievement award for philanthropy. Walker is the third person and the first judge to receive the annual National Conference of Bar Foundations’ Excellence Award. The group, an organization under the American Bar Association’s Division for Bar Services, supports and shares programming ideas between bar foundations throughout the country. Member organizations include state, county, and smaller bar foundations.

Kathleen Feeney '87

(2/20/2017)
In November 2016, Judge Kathleen A. Feeney received the Justice Marilyn J. Kelly Award for Outstanding Judicial Service from the State Bar of Michigan Family Law Section for her 16 years on the bench presiding over Family Division cases in the Kent County Circuit Court, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Judge Feeney received the award for being "an outstanding judge with a great reputation" and because she is "passionate, widely respected, acknowledged as a leader by her peers, and is well-known by family law practitioners." Grand Rapids Legal News, 12/23/16, vol. 81, no. 79. Judge Feeney is currently the Presiding Judge of the Family Division in Kent County and the chair of the Michigan Judges Association Family Law Committee; she also serves on the Michigan Supreme Court Civil Jury Instruction Committee and Michigan Family Law Benchbook committee. She remembers fondly The Law Revue and singing The Unemployment Chorus with her fellow law students!