(Editor's Note: This post is part of a series of profiles providing a look at the interesting or entertaining aspects of our attorneys' lives.)
The concept worked for a notorious Chicago blues band in 1980. Thirty-nine years later, a quartet of former Assistant State’s Attorneys (ASAs) who cut their trial teeth at the intersection of 26th and California have gotten “the band” back together at Johnson & Bell.
Attorneys Carlos A. Vera, Jack E. Bentley, Daniel M. Yukich and Ahmed A. Kosoko first met as ASAs in the traffic division. The group formed a bond as they challenged each other by bouncing trial hypotheticals off one another over lunch or cocktails.
According to Mr. Yukich, the trial experience gained in the traffic division is second to none. “You don’t have depositions to prepare you for what might be said. As a result, you learn to think on your feet during trial or during motion hearings. “
Carlos Vera was the first ASA to move to Johnson & Bell, joining the firm in 2017. “I wanted to broaden my skills and face new challenges. I saw Johnson & Bell as a place where I could apply the skills I learned trying cases to a broad array of business matters,” Vera explains. He now works in Joseph R. Marconi’s group where he handles commercial litigation and legal malpractice matters.
Jack Bentley joined J&B in early 2018. Jack currently handles insurance, private security and municipal liability matters, working closely with Glenn F. Fencl, Genevieve M. LeFevour and Brian P. Gainer.
“I agree with Danny,” states Jack Bentley, “Trying cases in the traffic division is great experience. I acquired significant trial experience, gained comfort with scientific evidence and medical records, and learned how to argue a case in court.”
Danny Yukich first learned of an opening at J&B via Carlos Vera, and through Vera learned that Jack Bentley was at the firm, too. “It certainly helped to know two people at the firm – especially since they both liked what they were doing.” Yukich soon joined the Healthcare group where he works on medical malpractice matters for hospitals and long-term care facilities.
The most recent former ASA to join Johnson & Bell is Ahmed Kosoko. Following his time in the traffic division, Ahmed was assigned to the Professional Standards Unit where he prosecuted allegations of police misconduct and public corruption from grand jury investigations through court proceedings. That background was excellent training for Ahmed’s current role in our Municipal Liability group, working with Brian Gainer.
All of the attorneys agree that one of the factors that attracted them to J&B is the firm’s strong reputation in the legal community.
“When I asked around about a great next career move, J&B’s name kept coming up,” explains Jack Bentley.
“A strong reputation for sure,” states Danny Yukich. “But, I also enjoy the camaraderie; the willingness to bounce ideas off your colleagues. That has been a huge plus.”
Ahmed Kosoko concurs, “The culture here is great and there is lots of engagement.”
Of course, the only potential question left to ask this quartet is can they sing?
The J&B World may never know.