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Welcome the Society's New Officers!
Click here to view photos from the 2023 Installation


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.

First Vice President
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.

Second Vice President 
Eryk Wachnik

Eryk Wachnik is the founder of Wachnik Law LLC and concentrates his practice in the areas of traffic and DUI defense, criminal defense, personal injury and real estate transactions.

Prior to starting Wachnik Law LLC, Eryk served as an Assistant State's Attorney at the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and also as an attorney at a prominent Chicago personal injury defense firm.

Eryk earned his B.A./B.S. from Loyola University Chicago and his J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Third 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. 

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.

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.

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

Audrey Victoria Cosgrove

Audrey Cosgrove is a graduate of UIC and UIC Law. She started her legal career as an Assistant Cook County Public Defender, was in private practice for 19 years and recently returned to the public sector serving as Deputy General Counsel for the Department of the Illinois Lottery.

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