Announcing the Winner of the “Anything But Law School” Scholarship: Louise Kelly

We’ve made no attempt to hide our desire to stop students from enrolling in law school. Why? You can read more about it here but in essence we are convinced there is a shortage of jobs for the new-minted attorneys. This leads to a number of problems for people who have spent a lot of money to earn a degree that leaves them in a saturated market with little to no hope of earning a pay they deserve.

This was such an important message to us that we at Willens Law Offices decided to offer a $1000 scholarship to anyone who was entering a program that had better job prospects. In the end we had dozens of applicants, but only one student could win. That student was Louise Kelly, who will be working toward a master’s degree in music education at VanderCook College of Music.


Ultimately, it was Louise’s letter that won us over. In it she talked about teaching a group of sixth graders Elvis’ “Hound Dog” and how everyone’s mood, including her mood, was brightened by the experience of creating music together. Her letter really described how music not only makes you feel better but also primes the brain for learning. She states “I chose to teach music because of this power, and also because it is fun. I feel that surge of happiness often when I play piano and sing, or when I make music with my students.”

She also told us about being a single mother of two children and how her current pay at the school she is attending is less than adequate to meet her needs. The only way to get more money is to get a higher degree, so Louise is taking classes right now to improve her situation.

We were touched by Louise’s passion for music and her desire to provide a better life for her children. We’re proud to be able to help Louise get the education she needs and hope that she continues to improves her student’s moods with music for years to come.

Injured in an Illinois Boat Accident

It seems to me that most of the time when I read about boat accidents, the subject of alcohol comes up.  This is no surprise.  I’m a boater and I’m an attorney who handles boat accident cases in Illinois.  I can tell you firsthand that boating and alcohol go together like bacon and eggs.  However, this article does not have to do with alcohol.  It has to do with another major reason for boating accidents – boater inexperience.  Inexperienced boaters are often negligent in the operation of their boats and this inexperience often leads to boating accidents, injuries and sometimes death.

Inexperienced Boaters Cause Boat Accidents

As a boater, it might be safe to say that many, if not most, people who own boats, especially big boats, are inexperienced boaters.  This applies to many people who have owned a boat (or boats) for years and years.  Let me explain.

The scenery that boating offers in Illinois, whether it’s boating on Lake Michigan or one of the inland lakes, is beautiful.  The water sports and just plain lounging that the world of boating offers is wonderful.  It seems like everyone wants a boat.  Some of us are fortunate (or silly) enough to buy one.  It’s easy.  Show up where there is a boat for sale, give the seller of the boat some money and presto, you are officially a boat captain, no licensing or training necessary.

In my observation, most people buy who buy big boats (35 feet and up) don’t drive them too much.  As stated before, I’m a boat owner.  I’ve been at my current harbor for years now and I can tell you – most of the big boats never leave their slips.  We refer to these boat owners as harbor rats.  Their boats are simply their cottages on the water.  Some of these people have been “boaters” for many years and yet still have a minimum amount of hours at the helm, i.e., they are inexperienced.

Obviously inexperience creates danger to the boater himself, his passengers and others on the water when he finally summons the courage to take his boat out of his slip.  I’ve seen guys get behind the wheel of a boat they’ve owned for years and almost immediately crash his boat into another boat in the harbor.

Inexperienced Boaters Are Often Inattentive Boaters

Once out on the water, an inexperienced boater is more likely to cause a boat accident by being inattentive.  An experienced safe captain focuses completely on his surroundings, always looking for other boats, people, and fixed or moving objects in the water.  An experienced captain also keeps his eyes on the boat’s instrumentation to make sure that the boat is functioning properly.  An inexperienced boater may not even know how to use his boat’s instrumentation.

Inexperienced Boaters Don’t Always Know Boating Rules

An experienced boater knows the many rules associated with boating.  An inexperienced boater probably does not.  “Why learn the rules of boating for those one or two pleasure cruises per year?” they think.  An experienced boater knows that 8 out of 10 people who drown weren’t wearing life jackets.  Most victims of deadly boat accidents drown.  An inexperienced boater may be too embarrassed to admit that he is inexperienced and therefore may not insist that his passengers wear life vests.

Contact an Illinois Boating Accident Attorney

If you were injured in in a boat accident and you would like to discuss your case with an attorney who handles boat accident cases and is also a boater, please contact me at 312-957-4166. I’m glad to offer you a free no obligation consultation.

Lawyers Who Handle Dog Bite Cases

dog bite lawyer

Personal Injury Lawyer Discusses Incidents with Man’s Best Friend

An estimated 44 percent of Americans own dogs and of those who don’t own dogs, 70 percent consider themselves a “dog person”.  There’s a reason dogs have been called our best friends. Dogs are bright, loving, and are loyal companions. I personally don’t own a dog (unlike Matthew Willens who adores his boxer) but I would definitely consider myself a dog person. What happens though when our best friends turn on us?

Bad dog!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Of those, almost a million require medical attention for dog-bite related injuries.  Children are especially vulnerable and account for close to 500,000 of those who receive medical attention as a result of a dog bite each year.  So while dogs are incredible animals, they certainly are capable, whether intentionally or not, of causing some serious injuries.  It is important that you seek immediate medical attention when faced with injuries because of a dog bite. It is also vital, if you have children, to educate them on the importance of immediately reporting any dog-bite incidents to an adult.

Even “good” dogs bite.

In the past, dog-bite victims found it difficult to receive compensation for their injuries. These victims were required to show that the “animal had a mischievous propensity to inflict such injuries and the owner had knowledge of that propensity.” In other words, the victim needed to show that this was a bad dog and that the owner knew he was a bad dog.  Since the passage of the Animal Control Act, the legislatures dropped the need to show any prior acts by a dog or even that the owner had knowledge that his dog had the potential to act in such a way.

When the dog’s owner is liable

The Animal Control Act provides that a victim may recover for their injuries when the victim was not provocative, was peaceable and had the legal right to be where they were when the injury occurred.  So as long as the dog-bite victim did not provoke the incident (for example by throwing rocks at the dog) and the victim was not trespassing, then that victim should be lawfully compensated for the injuries they suffered and the expenses they incurred.

If you were recently injured as the result of a dog-bite and you would like a free legal consultation regarding your rights, please call us at 312-957-4166.  We can and want to help.