The grandson of Czech immigrants who put a strong emphasis on “good hard verk,” Jeff was the first in his family to enter college and then law school. “My parents offered me the opportunity to live at home in the Chicago suburbs and only have to pay for tuition and a monthly train pass. Ultimately, through the help of my grandparents and the scholarship for being Editor-in-Chief of the Law Review, my total cost was just that monthly train pass.” After completing his law degree “with High Distinction” from the John Marshall Law School, Jeff landed his first job as an attorney in Peoria. “I’ve never looked back,” he reflects, “as the Peoria area has been a great place to raise a family and practice law.”
Jeff practiced over thirty years with another Peoria law office that eventually became part of the regional firm Husch Blackwell. In 2014, the five commercial litigation and business lawyers there joined Quinn Johnston, giving his new firm a strong presence in the business practice market in central Illinois. Jeff maintains a busy practice in several areas, including commercial litigation, probate and trusts, banking and bankruptcy, ERISA, trademark infringement and family law.
Very few lawyers in central Illinois have as much appellate experience as Jeff. He has personally argued more than fifty cases before state and federal appeals courts, and written appellate briefs on many more cases. “I was pleased that my college-age son took interest last year in a case in which I was to argue before the Illinois Supreme Court. He went with me to watch the oral arguments. I won the case with a unanimous decision, with the only critique that day coming from my son who claimed I had misused the King’s English.” While Jeff has prevailed in numerous trials and appeals over the years, winning while shaping the law for all of Illinois on even one subject remains a source of extreme pride. Jeff counts the following among his other accomplishments:
- Being one of only a few downstate lawyers to be named to the Illinois Leading Lawyers Network in the area of civil appeals.
- Arguing the appellate decision that determined the level of proof needed by a bank to pursue a debtor after purchase of a bank’s assets from the FDIC.
- Obtaining a favorable settlement of a will contest to get clients 40% of a multimillion dollar estate rather than 15%.
- Obtaining a defense verdict for a seller of a metal lathe in a multimillion dollar product liability lawsuit. The verdict was upheld on appeal.
- J.D., The John Marshall Law School, Chicago, Illinois, 1980
- Honors: High Distinction, Order of John Marshall, National Society of Writers on Legal Subjects (Scribes Award)
- Law Review: The John Marshall Law Review, Editor-in-Chief
- B.A., Finance, University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, 1977
- Honors: Distinction, International Youth in Achievement (American Biographical Institute)
- U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
Illinois Leading Lawyers List, 2009-2018
- Co-author of “Chapter 47: Illinois,” Strategic Alternatives For and Against Distressed Businesses, 2014 ed.
- Hewitt v. Hewitt, Contract Cohabitation, 12 J. Mar. Law Rev. 435
- Civil Aspects of Intra-family Eavesdropping, 12 J. Mar. Law Rev. 537
- Member Heart of Illinois United Way Committee – Grant Reviewer
- Pillar Society of Heart of Illinois United Way
- Volunteer and Benefactor of FamilyCore
- Member and Past Director Morton Rotary Club
News & Events
Quinn Johnston’s Entire Partnership Named as 2018 Leading Lawyers in Their Respective Practice Areas
Leading Lawyers has announced that 18 attorneys from the Peoria law firm of Quinn, Johnston, Henderson, Pretorius & Cerulo were named by their peers to the list of the top lawyers licensed to practice law in Illinois. Sixteen of the lawyers were named Leading Lawyers, a distinction earned by fewer than five percent of all lawyers registered to practice in Illinois and two were named Emerging Lawyers, a distinction earned by fewer than two percent. Significantly, every firm partner was named a leading lawyer in their designated areas of practice.
Quinn Johnston Attorneys Named as 2016 Leading Lawyers
Law Bulletin Publishing Company and its Leading Lawyers division has announced that 15 attorneys from the Peoria law firm of Quinn, Johnston, Henderson, Pretorius & Cerulo were named by their peers to the list of the top lawyers licensed to practice law in Illinois.
Quinn Johnston Gains 5 Partners in Peoria from Husch Blackwell
Quinn Johnston extended our firm by adding a group of five very well-respected attorneys. Our clients will benefit from the expansion of expertise available through our firm, and the clients that these new attorneys bring with them will gain greater breadth of local representation.