University News

Pre-Law Symposium

February 13, 2013

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MACOMB, IL -- The Western Illinois University Centennial Honors College will host the 12th annual Pre-Law Symposium Monday, Feb. 18 in the University Union on the Macomb campus.

The symposium will begin with a 5 p.m. reception honoring the 2013 keynote speaker and panelists. The reception will also feature opportunities for students to meet WIU pre-law advisers from the Centennial Honors College; the departments of history, political science and philosophy and religious studies; the School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration; members of WIU's Phi Alpha Delta, National Pre-Law Honorary; and admissions officers and recruiters from Chicago-Kent Law School, Drake University, the University of Iowa, John Marshall, Valparaiso University, Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, Marquette University, Washington University, Saint Louis University, Wisconsin Law School and the University of Missouri-Columbia.

WIU alumnus Larry Eaton, an attorney with Cozen O'Connor in Chicago, will present,"The Long and Winding Road" at 6 p.m. A panel comprised of WIU graduates Amanda Doyle, a first year law student at Valparaiso, Kristin Olson, a second year law student at Southern Illinois University, Arsenio Mims, a second year law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Tom O'Brien, a John Marshall School of Law graduate, Alison Vawter, a Columbus School of Law graduate and John Bouslog, a Drake University School of Law graduate, will share their experiences as law students. Earl Bracey, WIU associate vice president of student services and an attorney, will serve as the panel moderator.

Eaton, a 1965 political science graduate, and several other partners formed the Chicago law firm of Blatt Hammesfahr & Eaton (BHE) in 1994, a firm principally devoted to London-based insurance defense litigation. In 2000, BHE became the Chicago office of Cozen O'Connor, a Philadelphia law firm, which is now one of the 100 largest law firms in the country. Following his graduation from Western, Eaton attended the University of Michigan Law School, where he received his JD degree in 1968. He spent nearly two years in the Peace Corps, where he taught law school at the University of Liberia. Following a brief stint in private practice in Peoria, in 1971 Eaton became an Illinois assistant attorney general, where he was the chief of the Environmental Control Division. During that time, he handled many environmental trials and hearings and more than a dozen appeals in Illinois' Appellate and Supreme Courts. While in Springfield, Eaton was also a contributing writer to Pollution Engineering magazine and the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

In 1975, he joined the Chicago law firm of Peterson Ross, where he handled commercial litigation, and for several years handled environmental insurance coverage litigation for Lloyds of London and other London-based insurers. Since joining the Cozen firm, his work has concentrated in subrogation recovery litigation on behalf of many major residential and commercial liability insurance carriers in the U.S. and abroad. Eaton is a member of the Illinois and New York bars, and has been admitted to the bars of the U.S. Supreme Court, four U.S. Courts of Appeal and numerous U.S. District Courts. He has been recognized by the national organization of "Super Lawyers," and his career has been the subject of articles in the "Chicago Lawyer," and, most recently, in the July 2012 issue of "Leading Lawyers" magazine. While at Western, Larry served as the treasurer of the University Union Board, and was a member of Delta Sigma Phi, Pi Gamma Mu and the Blue Key Society. He also was a resident assistant in Washington Hall.

Sponsors for the 2013 Pre-Law Symposium include the departments of communication, history, philosophy and religious studies; Thomas Helm, former director of the Centennial Honors College; the WIU School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration; and the McDonough County Bar Association.

The event is open free to the WIU community. Students interested in the study of law and those in classes addressing legal and ethical issues are encouraged to attend.

For more information, contact the Centennial Honors College at (309) 298-2228.

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