Know Your Rights: Eviction

  • By Author
  • 27 Jan, 2017

Knowing your rights as a tenant is key!

If you rent your home or apartment, you need to know your rights if your landlord wants you out - this is an eviction.

First, you can only be evicted for failure to pay rent; violation of the lease agreement; or if the lease term has ended.

Before a Landlord can force you out of the rental property, the Landlord is required to give you written notice and reasonable time to cure the default. In Illinois, a Landlord is required to give you the following notices, determined by the reasons for eviction:

  5-day Notice of Termination of Tenancy for failure to pay rent;
  10-day Notice of Termination of Tenancy for a lease violation;
  30-day Notice of Termination of Tenancy for end of lease termination; and
  30-day Notice of Termination of Tenancy if a month-to-month verbal lease exists.

You can dispute the Notice of Termination and fight for your rights! The Landlord must wait the complete number of days required by the Notice of Termination for you to address the issue, or, cure the default. If you do not cure the default and do not leave the property, the Landlord must then file for eviction in court.

The Landlord cannot change your locks, move your belongings out, or threaten you in any way in order to force you to leave the property. A Landlord who does may be liable for damages.

Once you are served with Summons and a Complaint, you must appear in court to preserve your rights. If you fail to appear in court for the scheduled court hearing, you will lose and a default judgment will be entered against you. This allows the Landlord to move ahead with the eviction process. (See below –if you admit to complaint)

At court, you can admit or deny the Complaint. If you admit, the Landlord may be given a monetary judgment, such as the amount of money owed for rent, plus attorney fees (if the written leases calls for them), and costs, and will be able to evict you by having the local sheriff remove you from the premises. That process usually takes about a week.

If you deny, a trial will be set within one week. At trial, the Landlord must prove that you did not pay, you violated the lease agreement; that the lease term has terminated; that the Landlord served you the required Notice of Termination; and that the Landlord allowed the complete amount of time required by the Notice of Termination to elapse prior to filing for eviction.

For example, where the notice is for failure to pay rent, the Landlord has to allow you the full 5 days to pay. If you pay within 5 days, the Landlord cannot evict you! If the Landlord does not wait the entirety of 5 days, the eviction case will be thrown out and the Landlord will have to begin again.

Remember, the laws apply to all people equally; your status as an immigrant DOES NOT MATTER.  

Call Dodd & Maatuka for more information or if you believe you are involved an illegal eviction. 

Dodd & Maatuka

By 7007164025 09 Aug, 2017

Q: Where are you from?

A: Rockford, IL


Q: What was your undergraduate degree in?

A: Speech Communication with a minor in Business Administration


Q: Why did you choose that degree program?

A: I went to the University of Illinois for my Bachelor's of Arts. I began my collegiate career as a psychology major because I absolutely loved it in high school. However, in my first Psychology class, Psychology 101, we focused on simple memorization. I became bored with my classes, and quickly lost interest in psychology. I began to look for a major that would help me with law school. Speech Communications consisted of persuasion and argumentation classes, which seemed like a perfect fit for pre-law.


Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in law?

A: I always have been inquisitive and interested in the rule of law. I come from a marginalized city. Rockford, Illinois was very successful in industrialization when I was a young child. During my pre-teenage years, the town fell into a depression due to many of the manufacturing plants leaving Rockford. Even today, 30 years later, Main Street has massive old and dilapidated factories that have remained closed for many years. When I was growing up, people in town were just as depressed. Luckily, I had a growth mindset as a child, and I focused on what I could do and to create a change. I needed to do something which would help people.

When I was five years old, my uncle was a victim of the unfortunately common, police brutality stories, but he fought back. He was leaving band practice one night and was stopped by the cops. The police suspected him of being a pickpocket. He had his guitar with him, and a rookie cop came and started chasing him. The cop pulled out his gun and tried to shoot my uncle, so my uncle struggled with him, to prevent the cop from shooting. The cop shot himself. After his traumatic experience with the police, I told my mother, that when I grew up I was going to get my uncle out of jail. The prosecutor sought the death penalty, but instead my uncle received natural life in prison, where he died before I started practicing law.



Q: What law school did you go to?

A: University of Illinois College of Law


Q: Why did you choose that law school?

A: I received an academic scholarship, which covered my full tuition, and included an assistantship. Also, I joined the sorority of Alpha Kappa Alpha in my senior year of undergrad, and I didn't want to leave my sorority sisters. The University of Illinois College of Law was ranked top 25 in the country and it had a good community.


Q: What has been your most challenging moment as an attorney?

A: There have been many challenging moments. One of them was when I represented a mother whose daughter was kidnapped by her father and taken out of state and put in school under a different name. Having to endure a crying mother in my office, while feeling the weight and pressure of the importance of my job on me were very challenging. It motivated me try every possible solution, in order to find this child. Ultimately, we prevailed and child was returned to her mother. We successfully obtained the order of protection, convinced the state's attorney to file kidnapping charges, and were granted an order for the father to pay all of my client's attorney's fees and expenses. This outcome was rewarding, despite all of the stress my team had to endure. When we take these cases, we really take the burdens of our clients, taking it on and attacking the problem in any way we can. It's heavy, and definitely not always an easy job. I have never taken that for granted nor taken that responsibility lightly.


Q: What has been your most rewarding moment as an attorney?

A: The most rewarding moments that come to mind coincide with the most challenging: being able to make the call to tell that mom where she needed to go to get her child; or telling another mother of four whose insurance claim was denied that she was actually going to get rewarded the policy limits. Those are the most rewarding experiences because they clearly define why I became an attorney. I wanted to fight for the little guy. This fight includes fighting the insurance companies, those of whom are not "good neighbors" and do not put you "in good hands." Those who are out for profit. They are not there to just pay claims, and we fight tooth and nail for every penny our clients are awarded.


Q: What kind of volunteer activities do you take part in?

A: I am on various boards that serve the local community - Visit Champaign County Board - which I have recently been appointed Chairman. Our board hosts a multitude of activities in Champaign, like tailgating at the ISHA football and wrestling championships, the Illinois marathon, HOT ROD Power Tour, and many of the major events in town. I also frequently volunteer with my sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Incorporated. As a member of the local graduate chapter, we volunteer at the food pantry at St. Luke's church, we recently organized the after school activity room at King School, we are currently collecting school supplies, to fill backpacks and give to community kids. My family and I also volunteer at the Empty Tomb. Service has always been an integral part of my life. I also make annual donations to various charities and non-profit organizations.


Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

A: My favorite pastime is to travel. I want to see the entire world. I have been a lot of places with many more on my list! I also love to spend time with my family. We love to play games and sports together.


Q: What are your practice areas?

A: I mostly handle personal injury litigation, civil litigation, and real estate litigation.


Q: Do you have any specific career goals?

A: I have met most of my career goals already. At this point, I just want to build this firm further, and make sure that Dodd & Maatuka is the place to go for legal advice in a caring and professional manner. We are well on our way, and I just want to improve on that. I would also like to further concentrate my practice areas.


Q: What is your favorite part about being an attorney?

A: I really enjoy being a problem solver. Not all problems are solved by going to court, and most of our cases are solved in any number of creative ways. Thinking critically, brainstorming, negotiating, and mediating are all very enjoyable. I truly enjoy being able to help people survive some of the toughest moments of their lives.


Q: What is your favorite part about working at Dodd & Maatuka?

A: We have very experienced and caring staff. Everyone in this building cares about our clients and our cases, and is a hard worker. We care about each other. We are a family.


Q: Who is your favorite Supreme Court justice?

A: Justice Sonia Sotomayor because she is so authentic, down to earth, genuine, and provides the much needed diversity to the Court. Diversity of thought, of life experience, she is just brilliant and amazing!


Q: What is one common misunderstanding of the law that you run into?

A: Some people think Attorneys are familiar with every law ever created, and that we are supposed to adept in each area of the law. Simply, it does not work like that. The law changes daily, statutes can be modified by cases, and statutes change all the time. It is wise to focus your legal practice as much as possible. Even when we think we know the law, the law can change. We have had complaints about charging for legal research, but every single question has to be researched because even the tiniest issues can make a significant change in how the law is understood and applied. 

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As always, if you have any questions or would like to set up a consultation, please call us at (217) 356-9500!


By 7007164025 03 Aug, 2017

Q: Where are you from?

 A: A tiny, tiny town just north of Bloomington

 Q: What was your undergraduate degree in?

A: History Education

Q: Why did you choose that degree program?

A: I think it's extremely important to learn about the past because knowing where we come from, knowing past events and mistakes, helps us determine where we are now which hopefully helps us to become better people and a better society overall. My high school history was pretty dry, but I soon discovered that there are a lot of amazing stories and interesting facts that are often skimmed over. I wanted students to know that history isn't actually boring and I feel that it's vital to our society that future generations study and learn from our past.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in law?

A: The choices I made sort of led to it naturally. After I realized I didn't want to pursue teaching I ended up working at a hospital. It was fun brushing up on medical terminology and learning about diagnostic procedures and the emergency room was fast paced and exciting in its own way. While working at the hospital I realized I had to make a decision on what I wanted to do for a living. My skill set and experiences along the way led me to the legal field, specifically as a paralegal so I went back to school got my paralegal certificate and here I am.

Q: What was your most challenging moment in the legal field?

A: Balancing my work load and prioritizing Shayla's cases and work can be difficult especially when trials, appeals, and court deadlines get stacked on top of each other, it's a lot of work but I usually enjoy the challenge of trying to stay on top of everything.

Q: What has been your most rewarding moment?

A: Some insurance companies will try to take advantage of people, knowing that our work prevents that from happening and getting the best possible outcome for our clients is pretty rewarding overall.  And, of course, everyone loves winning an argument.  

Q: What kind of volunteer activities do you take part in?

 A: I mostly give donations since I don't have a lot of spare time. I used to give blood but I haven't had time to go in quite a while.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

A: Mostly spend time with my family and friends. I have a big yard and I love to hang out on my deck with my family and my dog. We love reading, movies, kayaking, and hiking.

Q: Name a fun fact about you.

A: I have sprawling vegetable garden and fruit trees, so I bring lots of squash, cucumbers, tomatoes to the office for my coworkers. Home grown tomatoes are one of the best things about living in the Midwest, so I love to share them.

 Q: What are your practice areas?

 A: Personal injury, wrongful death, and medical malpractice.    

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Dodd & Maatuka?

 A: Several things: we really work as a team here and it does have a big family kind of feel. I also really enjoy working with Shayla Maatuka, she advocates really hard for her clients and we both like to try different methods and technology to see what works best in our practice.

Q: What is one common misunderstanding of the law that you run into?

A: A frustrating thing in my line of work is actually dealing with insurance companies. A lot of people don't realize how important insurance is and will get insurance coverage based on how affordable it is.  

The bare minimum companies tend to give the bare minimum by treating their insured horribly, looking for any reason at all to deny coverage, and not offering the right kind of coverage. It's almost like paying for nothing, or just paying for a hassle.

If you've never heard of the company before it's probably not a good sign, google the insurance company if it has 1-2 stars it isn't worth your money. Find an insurance agent you trust and get the coverage that's right for you.  

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As always, if you have any questions or would like to set up a consultation, please call us at (217) 356-9500!

By 7007164025 27 Jul, 2017

Q: Where are you from?

A: Springfield, Kentucky

Q: What was your undergraduate degree in?

A: I have my bachelor's in Business Management at the University of Kentucky.

Q: Why did you choose that degree program?

A: My parents are entrepreneurs and it was a great area to study with a lot of opportunity.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in law?

A: My business law class in undergrad inspired me to go to law school.

Q: You’re currently going into your second year as a law student at the University of Illinois - why did you choose the U of I?

A: During my visit to the U of I, I really felt that this school had a more supportive atmosphere than some of the other schools I visited. It also has great job placement statistics.

Q: What was your most challenging moment either as a law student or as a law clerk?

A: Learning how excruciatingly complicated citations for law can be.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

A: I like to hang out with friends, read, and watch movies.

Q: What is your practice area/are your practice areas?

A: I have assisted with real estate, personal injury, medical malpractice, probate, and family law cases.

Q: Do you have any specific career goals?

A: I currently do not have any specific career goals. I would like to do something more on the transactional side of law and am hoping that my upcoming classes will help me determine the path I want to take.

Q: What are you most looking forward to when you become an attorney?

A: Helping people with legal issues and being able to work with other attorneys.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Dodd & Maatuka?

A: The friendly and cooperative environment here has been really great. I also like being able to work on cases in many different areas of law.

Q: Who is your favorite Supreme Court justice?

A: I like Justice Breyer because he looks at the purpose of the legislation or statute and the consequences of competing interpretations when making his decisions. 

Q: What is one common misunderstanding of the law that you run into?

A: That the first amendment does not give you freedom of speech everywhere and without consequences. It only protects you from being censored by the government.

 

By 7007164025 14 Jul, 2017

Q: Where are you from?

A: I always have to give two places to answer this question. I was born in Korea, my motherland, and grew up in Vancouver, Canada, the most beautiful place on earth!

Q: What was your undergraduate degree in?

A: I graduated from New York University with my bachelor's degree in economics major and business studies minor.

Q: Why did you choose that degree program?

A: Language, culture, religion, and ideology differs across the nations. But I believed the idea of free market as well as the implication and the value of economy is universal everywhere. I wanted to study something that could be a valuable and universal tool for me wherever I end up being.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in law?

A: After college, I worked several years in international trade industry. It's a very dynamic and fast paced industry. A great amount of money is usually at stake when a litigation arises in trading. However, it could be always preempted by well drafted contracts and alternative dispute resolutions. Having said that, I had a lot of chances to work with in-house attorneys and was intrigued by the symbiosis of law and business. That is how I naturally developed interests in studying law.

Q: You’re currently going into your third year as a law student at the University of Illinois - why did you choose the U of I?

A: After living in New York City while attending college, I wanted to live in a city that is still big enough but not as wild as NYC. I found Chicago to be very charming and a moderately conservative city to live in. U of I is one of the top feeder schools to Chicago and I love the collegial and supportive atmosphere at U of I.

Q: What was your most challenging moment either as a law student or as a law clerk?

A: I would say my 1L 'legal writing and analysis' class and 'Intro to advocacy' classes. Those are the classes that I have devoted myself the most so far in my law school years. It is a painful but also a meaningful process to read over and edit your writing until you create a well drafted and comprehensive piece of writing.

Q: What has been your most rewarding moment as a law student or as a law clerk?

A: While working as a Clinic law student, I had valuable experiences to work with clients going through the mortgage foreclosure process and financial hardship. I felt all my long hours of hard works were worth it and rewarding when clients sent me personal thank you letters and talked to me in person at the end of the semester that their cases were in very capable hands.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

A: I go work out, read & write, explore good places to eat in my neighborhood with friends, play with flowers, and watch movies.

Q: What is your practice area/are your practice areas?

A: I'm mostly helping with personal injury and other civil litigation cases.

Q: Do you have any specific career goals?

A: Currently, I am leaving every option open ahead of me. In the end, I see myself working as an in-house counsel to serve a corporate's business objective.

Q: What are you most looking forward to when you become an attorney?

A: I am looking forward to do pro bono work on the side. I want to help people who do not have the access or do not know that they are entitled to the legal assistance due to financial difficulties.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Dodd & Maatuka?

A: I was surprised how everyone at Dodd & Maatuka is friendly and willing to help another. I have never seen this kind of family like environment before in my previous work places.

Q: Who is your favorite Supreme Court justice?

A: My favorite Supreme Court of Justice is Sonia Sotomayor. When she came to visit U of I, I was inspired by her keen insights and efforts to balance out the justice system as a Justice and humane aspect when she talked about her community and family.

Q: What is one common misunderstanding of the law that you run into?

A: That there will be a right or wrong answer. Law evolves, changes over time, and adapts to the new circumstances. And there is no such thing as an uphill battle that is impossible to win.

By 7007164025 28 Jun, 2017

Q: Where are you from?

A: I was born and raised right here in Champaign/Urbana.

Q: Where did you go to college?

A: Eastern Illinois University.

Q: What was your undergraduate degree in?

A: General Studies, with a concentration in Family and Consumer Sciences.

Q: Why did you choose that degree program?

A: I knew I wanted to do something in the area of helping people, and did not want to be limited to one specific realm. Making people smile and doing things that benefit others brings joy and purpose to my life. I wanted to be able to make a difference, whether great or small.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in the legal world?

A: Honestly, It was an opportunity that came my way recently through one of the attorneys here at Dodd & Maatuka. I am really grateful because I am amazed and intrigued by how much I am learning.

Q: Even though you haven't been in it for very long, what was your most challenging moment in the legal field?

A: This field is so fast-paced that when I do not meet a personal deadline goal for myself that is hard.

Q: What has been your most rewarding moment?

A: Seeing clients come in happy and then leave happy and satisfied.

Q; What kind of volunteer activities do you take part in?

A: I am a youth leader at my church, and I also help with a program called Feeding Our Kids, which provides backpacks of food on the weekend for children who are in need.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

A: I love spending time with my family and my friends, and am currently working on the nursery for our newest addition (a baby girl!) who will arrive in August. I also enjoy going to open mic nights, writing poetry, running, fishing, kayaking,  camping , hiking, and rock climbing.

Q: Name a fun fact about you.

A: I have a twin sister who I believe looks nothing like me, but everyone else thinks differently.

Q: What is your practice area/are your practice areas?

A: Currently I assist all of the attorneys and legal assistants.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Dodd & Maatuka?

A: I love the family-oriented atmosphere here. Everyone is welcoming and eager to help you learn. I also enjoy working with a group of people who are driven to succeed and help others but also find time to laugh.

Q: What is one common misunderstanding of the law that you run into?

A: Before I worked here, I didn’t realize how much work really goes into a case. I knew lawyers worked hard, but I never realized how many late nights and early mornings they spend to make sure their clients are satisfied, at least here at Dodd and Maatuka.

By 7007164025 21 Jun, 2017

Q: Where are you from? 

A: I was born and raised here in Champaign-Urbana. I have lived here all my life, and am a graduate of Urbana High School. GO TIGERS!!

Q: What was your undergraduate degree in? 

A: I studied Speech Pathology and Audiology at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois.  

Q: Why did you choose that degree program?  

A: When I was 16 years old, I was given the wonderful opportunity of working at the U of I's Department of Speech and Hearing Science through the extra help program. While working there, I developed a high interest in the Speech and Language Pathology field. As a young child growing up, I have always had a natural fascination with words, vocabulary and enunciation. I would always correct my dad whenever he purposefully mispronounced any words.  

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in law?  

A: I kind of stumbled into the legal world, although my mother always told me that I argue so much that I needed to become an attorney. I was given an opportunity approximately 16 years ago by attorney Robert Dodd. He employed me as a receptionist, and while in that position I learned some basic skills pertaining to legal work. At that time, my interest in law had peaked. After working for Mr. Dodd, I gained further experience working with other attorneys at 2 other local law firms as a legal assistant and that is what I have been doing ever since.  

Q: What was your most challenging moment in the legal field? 

A: Almost every day is a challenge. Because the law hits such a broad range of scenarios with each bearing unique differences, two cases can never be treated the same. Also, the law is ever changing and keeping up with those changes can definitely become challenging especially if the law happens to change in the middle of a case.  

Q: What has been your most rewarding moment?  

A: It is most rewarding when we achieve legal justice for our clients.

Q: What kind of volunteer activities do you take part in?  

A: I don't do much volunteering these days. In the past, I volunteered with a lot of youth programs and events at my church.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?  

A: I enjoy singing and performing. I currently sing with two local blues and R&B bands in the C-U area. Other than that, I find entertainment in my teenage daughter.  

Q: Name a fun fact about you.  

A: I occasionally enjoy sitting in a quiet corner and writing poetry.

Q: What is your practice area/are your practice areas?  

A: I was fortunate to gain experience in multiple areas of law over the course of the past 12 years. Currently, I am the real estate paralegal for the firm and I also handle workers' compensation.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Dodd & Maatuka? 

A: I am no stranger to Dodd & Maatuka. Attorney Robert Dodd gave me my first breakthrough opportunity at working in the legal field, and life has brought me full circle back here as a legal assistant/paralegal. My favorite part of working here is the strong sense of family that we all have with each other. We can laugh with each other, we can confide in each other, and when I can't think through a situation with my own brain there is always someone available to bounce ideas off of. The level of team work here at Dodd & Maatuka is a huge plus as well.

Q: What is one common misunderstanding of the law that you run into?  

A: Oftentimes, people think that they should get the same outcome in their case as someone else who may have been in a similar situation. As I stated earlier, the law is just as broad as it is wide and each scenario is unique from a legal standpoint. No matter how similar two cases may seem, there are some unique circumstances that ultimately differentiate the two in the eyes of the law.  

By 7007164025 08 Jun, 2017

Q: Where are you from?

A: I'm from Chicago and am a die hard Chicago sports fan. I love the Bulls, Bears, Cubs and White Sox! It's controversial to be a fan of both the Cubs and White Sox in Chicago, but I don't care. They're both great teams!

Q: What was your undergraduate degree in?

A: I attended Stanford University and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in an interdisciplinary major called "Science, Technology and Society."

Q: Why did you choose that degree program?

A: The degree program combined Humanities, Statistics, Economics and Computer Science. I've always been interested in those areas of study but didn't want to major exclusively in any one of them. Science, Technology and Society allowed me to learn a great deal about a cross section of academic disciplines. It was wonderful!

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in law?

A: After undergrad I worked for several years in finance and technology so I have a business background. I wanted to round out my business knowledge with a firm understanding of the law because it is an integral part of business and society.  

Q: You’re currently going into your third year as a law student at the University of Illinois - why did you choose Illinois?

A: University of Illinois is one of the best schools in the nation with a large percentage of the faculty possessing PhD's. This is important to me because I want a cutting edge legal education from professors who are constantly researching the law, publishing papers and books and integrating their research in the lesson plans.

Q: What has been your most challenging moment either as a law student or as a law clerk?

A: By far it was my Constitutional Law class in my first year! The amount of reading for that course was truly staggering and the final was eight hours long. Believe it or not, I look at that class as one of my favorites and I am grateful for the experience. I have a fundamentally different appreciation for our Constitution as a result of my Constitutional Law class.

Q: What has been your most rewarding moment as a law student or as a law clerk?

A: As a law clerk I've done work on cases whose outcomes have changed our clients' lives for the better. I can't identify a singular moment as being the most rewarding because every victory for our clients is unique. That's what makes being a lawyer so special. No two cases are exactly the same. Each victory for our clients is rewarding in its own way.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

A: I'm an avid runner and outdoor enthusiast. I like going on hikes, playing softball and just about any sporting activity outdoors.

Q: What is your practice area/are your practice areas?

A: Immigration Law is my primary focus, but I also do work in other areas when needed.

Q: Do you have any specific career goals?

A: At this point I continue to leave my options open. I absolutely love the experience I've gained in Immigration Law and could see myself pursuing that full time. But I'm still curious about other areas of law and want to use my final year of law school to test these waters before making a final determination.

Q: What are you most looking forward to when you become an attorney?

A: Being an advocate for my clients is what I look forward to most. We are lucky to live in a country that has a sound legal system with enforceable laws that exist for the benefit of society. As an attorney, I will be a part of the legal construct to advocate for those who need the system to work on their behalf.  

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Dodd & Maatuka?

A: I love the level of passion for their job that EVERY person at Dodd & Maatuka brings to work each day. I've honestly never seen this before in previous jobs I've had. From the moment the doors open in the morning, the office begins to hum with passionate discussions amongst the staff and with clients about our cases. We talk, deliberate, listen, advise and problem solve. As a clerk I find this passion infectious and inspiring.  

Q: Who is your favorite Supreme Court justice?

A: Anthony Kennedy is my favorite Supreme Court justice. I find his reasoning to be more tempered and less partisan than the other jurists. His opinions are exceptionally well reasoned and I admire his willingness to break with conservatives or liberals to vote his conscience on controversial cases.

Q: What is one common misunderstanding of the law that you run into?

A: That the law and therefore justice works to the advantage of the wealthy and well connected and that the underprivileged, poor and working class do not have access to adequate representation and justice. An attorney who is passionate about fairness, knowledgeable of the law, and relentless in her pursuit of justice will always be able to use the law to work to the advantage of her clients. Socioeconomic status should not make a difference. That's certainly the case at Dodd & Maatuka.

By 7007164025 26 May, 2017

Q: Where are you from?

A: I am originally from Davenport, Iowa.

Q: What was your undergraduate degree in?

A: I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Comparative Literature in December.

Q: Why did you choose that degree program?

A: Comparative Literature is a really interesting and intensive program – instead of just reading books, you become an expert in a certain area, taking into consideration politics, history, society, economics, language, and international events when reading a text.

Q: So what is your area of expertise?

A: I focused on post-colonial literature in the Caribbean and Africa, and my translation language is French.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in law?

A: I spent 5 years away from my undergraduate program, and during that time I lived in Austin, Texas. For a time I worked for the Texas State Law Library, corresponding with inmates in Texas, many of whom were on death row. That experience changed my life. I saw how much help they needed with appealing their convictions or understanding what went wrong with their original trial, and seeing that paired with the urgency of untreated mental illnesses or approaching execution dates inspired me to go to law school so that I can work as an advocate for people like them one day.

Q: You just accepted your admission offer at the University of the District of Columbia’s law school – congratulations! Why did you choose that law school?

A: Thank you! UDC’s law school has a robust focus on public interest law and serving the DC community which is in line with my own goals and focus. Living in the heart of American government will be pretty cool, too.

Q: What has been your most challenging moment either as a student or as a law clerk?

A: I volunteered to help with an actual innocence case over the past couple of years with a professor at the University of Illinois. The most challenging moment was when we received a denial after petitioning to file an appeal because of an error in strategy that our client’s trial attorney made. That broke my heart, knowing that because of one error made by an ineffective attorney, this client will be in prison for another 7 years.

Q: What has been your most rewarding moment as a student or as a law clerk?

A: Seeing the research and writing I do impact our clients positively is always incredibly rewarding.

Q: What kind of volunteer activities do you take part in?

A: I spend much of my time working to increase mental health awareness and de-stigmatize mental illness.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

A: I enjoy spending time with my dog Molly Ivins and my fiancé Brad, going on hikes, drinking coffee, and reading.

Q: What is your practice area/are your practice areas?

A: Currently I help the attorneys at Dodd & Maatuka with just about anything, but mostly Personal Injury and Wrongful Death.

Q: Do you have any specific career goals?

A: To help exonerate at least one wrongfully convicted person and help establish mental health support programs for inmates working on their appeals.

Q: What are you most looking forward to when you become an attorney?

A: Arguing and advocating for my very own clients.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Dodd & Maatuka?

A: This whole office is like a big family – I love the way we all work together to advocate for our clients and how everyone is there to help.

Q: Who is your favorite Supreme Court justice?

A: My favorite Supreme Court justice at the moment is Sonia Sotomayor – mostly because of her approach to the law and her history.

Q: What is one common misunderstanding of the law that you run into?

A: That anyone who is convicted is guilty. We are learning more and more about the false confessions, false testimony, and just bad lawyering that get innocent people sentenced to prison, and the extent to which that's happening is staggering.

By 7007164025 12 May, 2017

Q: Where are you from?

A: Tuscola, IL


Q: You went to Parkland College, correct?

A: Yes, I have an Associates degree from Parkland.


Q: What led you to choose Parkland?

A: I decided to attend Parkland after high school to get a two year degree that might help me explore my options and obtain a job that would support me for whatever adventures came next.  


Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in law?

A: It's just kind of where I ended up - while it wasn't my initial goal, it's a perfect fit. I took a legal terminology class when I realized how many law firms there are in Champaign/Urbana. I interned here at Dodd & Maatuka (the firm was under a different name then) starting out as a receptionist and Mr. Dodd decided to keep me on, later making me a legal assistant. 20 years later I'm still here.    


Q: What was your most challenging moment in the legal field?

A: Unfortunately I see a lot of unfairness and unhappiness in the areas I assist with, which inspires my drive to help our clients even more.  


Q: What has been your most rewarding moment?

A: Being able to help the attorneys accomplish good outcomes for their clients is always a wonderful feeling.  


Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

A: Spending time with my husband, family and friends. Even though I don't get to do it as often as I would like, I love to travel - preferably to anywhere with a beach (you can see in the photo above how much I love the beach!). I also like to do all kinds of craft projects.


Q: Name a fun fact about you.

A: I make handmade cards and invitations when I'm not busy doing other things - it is so much fun!


Q: What is your practice area/are your practice areas?

A: I assist with all the Family Law cases and Guardianship cases


Q: What is your favorite part about working at Dodd & Maatuka?

A: The family-like environment that we have. In the 20 years I have been here we've always had an amazing group of people to work with that have been supportive both as colleagues and friends.      


Q: What is one common misunderstanding of the law that you run into?

A: It's not like they show on TV. There's a process and it can take some time to get things accomplished especially when there are several people involved.


As always, if you have any legal questions, feel free to call us at (217) 356-9500 to set up a consultation.

By 7007164025 05 Apr, 2017
Orko Bagchi, currently finishing up his final semester of law school, enjoyed a little break from work to answer some questions...

Q:  Where are you from?

A: I'm originally from Kolkata, India, but my parents and I moved to the Northwest suburbs when I was a little kid.

Q: You went to University of Missouri for your undergraduate degree - what did you study, and why?

A: My degree is in Journalism and History. I chose those because I love studying ancient civilizations and I love writing.

Q: Well now we need to know - what is your favorite ancient civilization?

A: Rome, for two reasons: first, much of our law came from them. Second, they gave the world aqueducts, which are kind of important.

Q: What inspired you to pursue a career in law?

A: In college, I worked at a local newspaper and got to cover local court news, where I met attorneys, and developed an interest in law.

Q: You're currently in your final semester at the University of Illinois, what made you choose Illinois?

A: I want to live and practice in Illinois, and I think it's a very collegial atmosphere, unlike a lot of other law schools. It's about building relationships, not competing.

Q: What has been a frustration for you in your legal education?

A: I very much appreciate my education, but one of the challenges legal education faces is that it hasn't changed in about 170 years, which means that for the first couple of years as an attorney you are a liability, since you probably haven't learned how to be a practicing lawyer. My position here at Dodd & Maatuka has been an incredible learning experience for me, and has significantly added to my lawyering skills.

Q: What do you like most about working in the legal field?

A: I love working at an actual law firm. But the best part is when I see writing that I've done actually filed with the court, and actually seeing that writing positively affect resolutions that help our clients.

Q: What kind of volunteer activities do you participate in?

A: At home in the suburbs, I volunteer for my local library. I help out with the summer reading program for kids - it is super cool and adorable to have the kids come in to the library to either read to us or have our staff read to them.

Q: What else do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

A: I'm a big fan of comic books, watching prestige TV, horror movies, and reading books that make me mad.

Q: Ok, so why books that make you mad?

A: Books that make me angry help me grow as a person, and I actually find them very inspirational, because they make me want to affect change in the world.

Q: What area of law do you want to go into?

A: Bankruptcy law.

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Dodd & Maatuka?

A: Our attorneys put a lot of trust in me as a clerk and have allowed me to learn and grow as an attorney. It's a great atmosphere that fosters friendship and growth.

Q: Who is your favorite Supreme Court Justice?

A: I am a big fan of Earl Warren. He penned some of the most important decisions of the civil rights era, and was arguably one of the most important figureheads in the Supreme Court.

Q: What is one common misunderstanding of the law that you've run into?

A: That lawyering works the way it's portrayed on TV. The legal world moves very slowly, and that's intentional and necessary to protect the interests of all involved parties.

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