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Welcome the Society's New Officers!


Hon. Michael Chmiel

Michael J. Chmiel was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois.  He received his B.A. in Economics (and Administration) from the University of Notre Dame in 1987, and his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1990.  He served as Law Clerk to the late Honorable Richard N. DeGunther, United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division, from 1990 to 1992.  From 1992 to 2004, he engaged in the general practice of law, with offices in Chicago, Rockford, and Crystal Lake, Illinois.  On January 1, 2005, he was appointed by the Supreme Court of Illinois to fill a Circuit Judge vacancy in the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit of the State, then elected as a Circuit Judge in 2006 in the new Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit, and then retained in 2012 and 2018.  Read more.

First Vice President
Hon. Thomas Nowinski

Judge Thomas Nowinski has been in public service his entire legal career because he has a dedication to the service of others. Judge Nowinski began his career as an Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County where he tried hundreds of criminal and civil bench and jury trials in state and federal court. While assigned to the Civil Actions Bureau, Judge Nowinski became the lead attorney representing Cook County offices in the Shakman litigation. In that role, Judge Nowinski worked to rid government employment from unlawful political discrimination.

In 2022, Judge Nowinski was elected to the Circuit Court of Cook County where he currently presides over cases in the Domestic Violence Division. 

Second Vice President 
Kathy E. Bojczuk

Kathy Bojczuk uses her legal knowledge and skills to provide positive changes for her clients. Kathy is a supervising attorney for a non-profit organization, helping survivors of domestic violence with obtaining orders of protection and litigating family law cases. She especially enjoys her job in mentoring and supervising attorneys, paralegals, and law clerks.

Before entering the non-profit sector, Kathy worked in private practice in the areas of family law, estate planning and real estate for 12 years. Being fluent in Polish, a large portion of her clients were from Polish and Ukrainian immigrant communities. 

As a daughter of a strong Polish immigrant mother, Kathy was taught from a young age to work hard and help immigrant communities. She is committed to continuing those values in every aspect of her life. Kathy resides proudly in Des Plaines with her husband, Artur Zadrozny, who is a former Des Plaines alderman, and two young daughters on whom she imparts the same values of working hard and helping others in need. 

Third Vice President
Roman Drewniak

Roman Drewniak is an associate attorney at the personal injury law firm of Abels & Annes, P.C.  Roman focuses on all areas of personal injury, with his main focus in the areas of auto accidents, premise liability, and medical malpractice. He speaks fluent Polish and is dedicating his career to helping personal injury victims.

Roman was born in Breszko, Poland and moved to Chicago at the age of four. Growing up he attended Lane Tech College Preparatory High School as well as St. Maximillian Marian Kolbe Polish School. Roman went to undergrad at DePaul University with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Sociology. As a senior at DePaul, Roman began working as a law clerk at an insurance defense law firm in Chicago. There he gained valuable experience in the legal system, specifically with regards to medical malpractice cases. Read more.

Julia Smolka

Julia Smolka is a shareholder at Robbins DiMonte, Ltd. in their Park Ridge office. She has over 20 years of experience representing diverse business industries and individuals as debtors in reorganizations, bankruptcy, and debt restructuring. Julia has in-depth experience drafting contracts, leases, business sales transactions and settlement agreements with an eye toward anticipating potential litigation and protecting her clients. Additionally, she represents condominium and homeowners’ associations in litigation, collection, negotiations with vendors and disputes with utilities and municipalities. Julia is experienced with drafting estate plans and representing estate and beneficiaries in probate litigation.

Julia is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago Law School and lives on the Northwest Side.

Hon. Michele Gemskie

Judge Michele Gemskie was chosen to be an associate judge in Cook County in March 2023. She is now assigned to the Skokie Courthouse where she handles criminal cases and supervises the Drug Treatment Court.  Prior to her ascension to the bench, Judge Gemskie was an assistant state’s attorney for 28 years. She handled some of the most complicated and high profile cases in the Criminal Division. She was also a supervisor in the Traffic Division for several years where she trained the newest state’s attorneys in the office.

Judge Gemskie attended the University of Illinois in Champaign as an undergraduate and graduated from Northwestern University School of Law. She was a Moot Court Semi-Finalist and was published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.

Alon Stein

Alon Stein is a 2002 graduate of The University of Wisconsin Law School, where he was a Managing Editor of The Wisconsin Law Review. Alon Stein is a trial and appellate attorney, who has tried many cases in several states and has orally argued appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the Wisconsin Supreme Court and the Illinois Appellate Court. Alon Stein represents businesses in Illinois and Wisconsin. He is the founder of Stein Law Offices in Northbrook, Illinois. He is licensed to practice in Illinois, Wisconsin and Arizona. 

Immediate Past President
Ann L. Melichar

Law is Ann's third career. She spent many years working in the food and beverage industry in both restaurants and retail, then she pivoted to interior design and housing policy before law. Ann is a lifelong Chicago area resident and has lived in Logan Square for the past twenty years. She graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep before earning her B.A. at the University of Iowa and both her J.D. and LL.M. in Real Estate at The John Marshall Law School (University of Illinois at Chicago Law).

Ann has worked for the Circuit Court of Cook County since 2007, spending eleven years as foreclosure court staff. Since 2018, she has been working with the human resources department of the Office of the Chief Judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County.  Ann also is a past president of the Bohemian Lawyers Association.

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