During this same time, I personally have also concentrated in representing individuals seeking drivers’ license privileges throughout Illinois at any of the four formal hearing sites. While we do no criminal or traffic work, we excel in representing persons after their encounters in these areas, then aggressively representing them in their next steps to restore such privileges.
But it was not always that our firm concentrated in these practice areas alone during our 63+ year history. We were most always a two-person legal firm providing “full service” to individuals and small businesses, beginning in 1950. It was perhaps one of the best and richest experiences a young attorney could have, entering the practice at the peak of [Baby Boomers graduating] from law school, in 1976. I immediately learned about real estate (personal, business and agricultural), bankruptcy, family law, probate and estate planning, torts, collections, zoning, governmental, criminal (state and federal misdemeanors and felony appointments), banking and more. I also immediately ran for election to the local secondary school board and was elected, eventually serving eight years and even learning a smattering of school law.
How has your practice evolved, and what’s in store for the next few years?
Our practice area has remained essentially the same the last near-quarter century, but gradually broadening our geographic area, seeing and representing clients beyond the bottom one-third of Illinois. We recognize our high skills in representing injured premises victims, truck-injured persons, construction site workers and medical malpractice clients. We have increased the role of technology in our firm, but [we are] striving ever more purposefully to see and work regularly with our clients wherever they may be. We fully expect that all of our firm’s attorneys will strive for the highest ethical, intellectual and seasoned abilities to serve our clients. In this ever-increasingly competitive market, and one seemingly “over-hyped” by the profession, we pride ourselves in never directly soliciting any potential clients by written advertising material or otherwise.
If you could offer one piece of advice for young lawyers, what would it be?
Simply put, strive to experience and be engaged in any and all of the legal work experiences you can have from the fourth year of undergraduate school on. Then, through these years until law school graduation, always seek the best legal job experiences and mentors you can have, regardless of pay scale. You have hopefully already chosen the law in any of its myriad facets for your chosen career, and done so correctly.
What is the one technological device you could not function without daily?
Though for so many years I was a cell phone or “dumb phone” user, I must say it is unequivocally the iPhone. But I have only just scratched the surface in how to fully use it.
How has civility made a difference in your practice of law?
Early on in my practice years, I worked with a certain female attorney in our office whom we assisted to conduct a legal matter in an extremely conservative, rural jurisdiction. I’ll never forget the frustration that she and I, and our entire firm, felt when the judge conducting the trial referred to our attorney in a most derogatory manner, repeatedly addressing her as “little girly.” We immediately addressed the issue with the Chief Judge and beyond[….]
Also, I’ll never forget the day when, in the course of contested civil litigation in our home, Jefferson County, Illinois, a couple of mega-firm St. Louis attorneys argued vehemently about a point before our Court. The only problem was that the point asserted by such St. Louis counsel involved a critical date issue which they swore under oath was correct. Unfortunately for them, both then and all the years later to now, we routinely retain all delivered mail envelopes. The envelopes retained in this case showed conclusively by postmark thereon that the attorneys’ affidavits were anything but the truth, and after their arguments were presented, the Court barred them for life from ever again practicing in Jefferson County, Illinois.
What do you do for fun?
Where do I start? I particularly enjoy supporting the causes and events of the Illinois State Bar Association’s charitable arm, the Illinois Bar Foundation, and particularly its youth component trough the M. Denny Hassakis Fund. I also enjoy my time contributing to my undergraduate alma mater, Northwestern University. I confess I do have a Northwestern Wildcat Purple Pride addiction in clothing and accessories.
I have a keen interest in gourmet healthy cooking and using all my many homegrown herbs from a garden started just off my patio by my dear friend Barb. As most of my male and female friends alike are well aware, I love to shop for high-end clothing and accessories, but always for great value, for my family and others. I can tell you that when Janet and I go to on any ISBA Presidents’ trips or to fashion shows, the ladies come asking me to join them for input on their purchases. Just ask Lisa Nyuli, Jeanne Ariano, Pam Menaker, Maureen “Mo” Hegarty, Karen Enright, Deb Walker and others. See you at the next sale!
Although I hate to admit it, Janet has turned me into a “dog fan” as we love her two rescue dogs — so long as I am not the primary caregiver for Byron and Judy.
Mark D. Hassakis represents individuals, works and consumers in the area of personal injury and workers compensation, and professional malpractice at Hassakis & Hassakis, P.C. in Mount Vernon, Illinois.