Maine Township Honored with Statewide Recognition

This year Maine Township received multiple awards from the annual conference of Township Officials of Illinois (TOI). The Township was recognized for the services given to improve the lives of residents. The awarded members include our very own Laura Morask! In addition to being a full-time criminal defense lawyer, Laura also works as an elected trustee of Maine Township.

Laura works very hard to improve the lives of the community members, especially our local youth. For many years she has educated youth on the dangers of gangs and gang violence and participates every year in the National Night Out Against Crime. In addition, Laura lead a seminar to educate the community on the dangers of hazing and bullying this past May. The event was covered by Journal & Topics newspapers and was a very successful, educational forum.

For all her hard work towards improving the lives of Maine Township’s youth, Laura was bestowed the Friend of Youth Award from the Association of Illinois Township Committees on Youth (AITCOY). Laura was recognized for her dedication to helping the community’s youth including the development of innovative programs which come at no cost to the community and will continue to do so in the future.

Things to be Thankful For!

I want to wish everyone a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving holiday. Despite hating November and the weather this time of year, this is my favorite holiday. Ever since Dean and I married I claimed Thanksgiving as my holiday so I could cook (a passion of mine) and be surrounded in my home by my family and friends. I love having lots of people with whom to share the bounty. So I just wanted to take a few moments to talk about the things we have to be thankful for before the truly hectic part comes. Too often, we do forget to be grateful for what we have, particularly in this fast paced, technology driven,  sound bite world of ours. This year is particularly poignant for me as it is the first year of thanksgiving with having sent our second son off to college in September and thus suffering empty nest syndrome. Many parents love it! I am not one of them-I love being surrounded by people who need me and whom I can mother. I think that is why I love lawyering so much. So First, I am thankful l to have both my boys and their assorted friends and girlfriends home for the holiday, and grateful that they appreciate the tradition of our thanksgiving dinner traditions. Keeping in the youth tradition, I am especially grateful this year to have been honored by the Township Officials of Illinois with a “Friend to Youth Award”. I was chosen for this statewide award for the two programs that I instituted in my work as a Maine Township Trustee. This past spring I coordinated and hosted a Hazing/Bullying seminar in conjunction with Maine Township and the local newspaper; Journal &Topics . This type of behavior has unfortunately become all too frequent in our schools across the country, with horror stories making the ten o’oclock news on a regular basis. So I am grateful that I was able to touch a cord and take a small step towards coming together to combat such events as well as to give students some practical resources. To read article click here
I am thankful for my friends who keep me sane, my staff who keeps me organized and takes such good care of me and the Law Offices on a daily basis.
I am thankful for my wonderful IT guy who comes to fix my ever expanding amount of devices/computers when my negative computer energy field breaks them!
I am thankful that I found my passion at age 27 when I took the intensive trial advocacy course at Kent and fell in love with trial litigation and criminal law.
I am thankful that what I love to do turned into a career spanning 25 years as a Prosecutor and for all the people who helped and mentored me along the way. I am thankful that I was assigned to Judge Fitzgerald’s courtroom where I met and married my husband, Dean and for his love and support.
I am thankful that at age 55 I was able to forge a new and different path and open in private practice where I still get to help people with their needs and problems.
I am thankful to my clients who trust me with their most personal and pressing matters.
I am thankful that for almost 27 years now I have loved my job.
I am thankful for the 15 years I had with my mother and most of all for my father -the strongest man I know, a true self made man; concentration camp survivor to world renowned architect who raised us to have a work ethic like his.
I am thankful that my father has  always let me follow my heart and has always been there to rescue me when the heart hasn’t been so wise!
So from all of us at the Law Offices of Laura J Morask, we thank you and ask you; ‘What are you thankful for?” It sounds corny but sometimes in this nutty world it  grounds you to stop and reflect on this for a few minutes before you settle around the football game or start basting the bird or god forbid-go on a Black Friday shopping spree!
Happy Thanksgiving!

National Night Out- August 7, 2013

I’m very proud to be part of a tradition that is celebrated across the country, bringing  communities together to promote involvement in crime prevention. On August 7, 2013 Maine Township will take part in sponsoring “National Night Out”. With every year this tradition has grown and larger and larger, National Night Outbringing families together with their local Sheriff, Police, Fire and Neighborhood Outreach Programs along with several Community Business’s. This year’s event will be held at Dee Park, 9273 W Emerson, Des Plains IL, from 6:30-9:00. Join us for a night filled with fun and entertainment, games and prizes as we rally together to put a stop to crime in our neighborhood.

5 Tips for Hiring a Lawyer

Checkmark blueWhether it’s a traffic ticket or a DUI situation, hiring an attorney can be stressful.  Despite that stress, it is important to select your attorney carefully and prepare information for your first meeting.  An attorney can do a better job defending you with all the facts.

Tip #1:  Your legal health is as important as  your medical health! What do I mean by that? Research your attorney’s qualifications.  Is there experience with your type of case? Do not hire your Uncle Bob’s sister-in-law, the divorce attorney, to handle a DUI case! Chances are that she won’t have the technical/scientific/court familiarity that you need to successfully resolve your issue. What background does he or she have in going to court? Is your prospective attorney even a litigator? How many years has she or he been practicing law? If you are facing a DUI or criminal charge whether misdemeanor or felony, having an attorney with prior experience as a prosecutor can be a huge plus.  Is there a specialty in a certain type of law? Again, you do not want to hire a real estate attorney to handle your criminal or traffic matter. Your license and sometimes your freedom is at stake.  I can’t stress this enough. You would not hire a dermatologist to handle your ulcer surgery! One thing I continually stress to clients who come to me to handle a case after they are unhappy with their current attorney is that you must take the same care with your legal health as you do with your medical health. Failing to do that can and often does have dire legal consequences.   Much  information on a prospective attorney can be found on their website or in search engines or through  a phone call.

Morask hands shakingTip #2:  Prepare for your first meeting as a job interview.  Arrive 15 minutes early to fill out any paperwork and have your personal information with you. Don’t plan on going to see your attorney while on the way home from carpooling your three kids. You need to focus for this meeting. Turn off your cell phone and listen. As an early step in the lawyer/client relationship, the first impression is important.  Do not be intimidated or leave out information because you don’t think it important. Ask questions!

Tip #3:  Organize your information.  Bring all paperwork with you in a neat file.  If you have witnesses or an alibi, be sure to have their contact information with you. If you have text messages or emails that constitute correspondence relevant to your case, bring it with you.

Tip #4:  Be honest.  Your attorney needs to know all details to properly defend you.  Surprises in the courtroom are not to your benefit.  Make sure that your attorney is fully prepped on important facts.

Tip #5:  Take notes and ask questions.  Your lawyer will provide information and direction about what you need to do.  Write it down, so that you can review it later and prepare as needed.  You should also ask questions about the process:

  • What will this cost and are there payment arrangements?
  • What options do I have?
  • Do I need to go to court or do you just go?
  • Will I lose my license?
  • Do I have to attend classes?
  • Will I be able to drive to work?

By following these tips, you will have a productive partnership with your attorney.

Outside-OfficesThe Law Offices of Laura J. Morask provide full legal consultations in a rush-free, non-intimidating atmosphere.  We spend as much time as you need reviewing questions, your rights and responsibilities and what we can do for your particular legal situation.

Anti-Hazing Seminar, Eye-Opening and Valuable

Hazing prevention seminar participants:  Todd Wessell, Hannah Kline, Tom Delehanty, Darnell McCoy, Jessica Henry, Sergeant Kenneth Boudreau, Dr. Gina Lee-Olukoya, Laura Morask, B. Eliot Hopkins, Detective Gregory Jacobson

Hazing prevention seminar participants: Todd Wessell, Hannah Kline, Tom Delehanty, Darnell McCoy, Jessica Henry, Sergeant Kenneth Boudreau, Dr. Gina Lee-Olukoya, Laura Morask, B. Eliot Hopkins, Detective Gregory Jacobson

As a Maine Township trustee and a concerned parent, I am committed to working with our community. I was honored to be the moderator at the Anti-Hazing Seminar, which I feel brought much-needed attention to this ongoing problem.

In attendance were several keynote speakers that explained the repercussions of hazing and how it can affect both children and their parents. They reviewed the issue from the student’s perspective, including how the importance of belonging can cause them to accept hazing. I was deeply touched by the parents that flew in from other states to share their stories and the young people who had the courage to talk about their experiences of being bullied.

Laura Morask moderates the anti-hazing seminar.

Laura Morask (seated, moderator of the anti-hazing seminar) listens as Pam Champion speaks.

Specific ideas were offered on how to prevent and monitor hazing in our schools and community.  I want to thank the school administrators, law enforcement officials and hazing experts who participated.  An even greater thank you goes to the parents and students who had the bravery to tell their stories to support putting a stop to this troubling trend. What an honor it was to be featured on WBBM Radio and countless articles, both national and local.

Journal & Topics article 

Anti-Hazing Forum

mzl_jdbmvoccMaine Township will be sponsoring an Anti-Hazing Forum this Wednesday, May 22 at the Des Plaines Leisure Center, located at 2222 Birch Street. Please join me, as well as B.Elliott Hopkins, a board member of Hazing Prevention.Org, and is the director of the National Federation of State High School Associations Student Leadership Conference, Dr. Gina Lee-Olukoyand, who serves on the board of directors of Hazing Prevention.Org, and directs the Novak Institute for Hazing Prevention. Also in attendance will be Sergeant Kenneth Boudreau, Administrative Sergeant/Commanding Officer of the Chicago Police Dept.’s Gang Enforcement unit, Detective Gregory Jacobson, a homicide detective for the Chicago Police Dept. and Mr. Tom Delehanty, who currently serves as a national marketing director for Sequel Youth and Family Services.This is an ongoing problem that exists not only in our community, but in Grade Schools, High Schools and Colleges across the nation. Let’s take on the challenge together to protect our children. Hope to see you there!

Spring Fashion Show

As posted in The Daily Herald the Academy Awards are coming to Niles. Back by popular demand, Maine Township Republican Women will host their annual Spring Fashion Show. Join us this Saturday in an afternoon of Fashion, beautiful flowers, good food and friends! Come see some of your elected officials walk the runway in clothing  provided by two Boutiques right here in Park Ridge.

New Speaker, Anti-Hazing Forum

I am excited to announce that a new speaker has joined our panel at the upcoming Anti-Hazing Forum on Wednesday, May 22. Dr. Gina Lee-Olukoya, Associate Dean of Students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, has expressed an interest in contributing, and we happily welcome her to our team. In her role at the U of I, Lee-Olukoya provides oversight and support to Fraternity and Sorority Affairs and is also a member of the Board of Directors of Hazing Prevention.Org., a renowned beacon in the fight against hazing. Lee-Olukoya’s insight and expertise will certainly prove to be an enriching addition to our program. The 90-minute forum will be held at the Des Plaines Park District’s Leisure Center, located at 2222 Birch St., in Des Plaines, and will commence at 7 p.m. Refreshments will be available after the program accompanied by a question and answer session. I look forward to seeing you at this very important community event. Learn more.

Support Local Retailers: 3rd Annual Maine Township Fashion Show

Morask Fashion Show

Laura Morask, Jan Provenzano and Allison Poppone prepare for the 3rd annual Maine Township Fashion Show.

Get out the glam!  Support the local retailers!  For the third year in a row, I am chairperson for an event that combines fun, fashion and the community.  The annual Maine Township Fashion Show offers a great way to participate locally and have a great time.

The fun part—it’s an Academy Awards theme where we will be giving awards for the best celebrity look-a-like outfit with a great lunch from Chateau Ritz.

The community part includes fashions and flowers provided by local retailers, including Uptown Girlz, Natalie’s Boutique and Pesches’s flowers.  Models will include township officials and special dignitaries, such as State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, 20th District State Representative Michael McAuliffe and Highway Commissioner Bob Provenzano to name just a few.

As you know, I am a strong believer in events that bring together government and the local community (check out my Gang Awareness seminar).  While this fashion show is a more light-hearted event, the theme of using community resources to support our local businesses is just as important.

Tickets for a “Day at the Oscars” (May 4, Chateau Ritz, Niles) are available by contacting me at 847-696-7185 or Jan Provenzano at 847-390-8964.  All proceeds will benefit the local women’s club.  Whether you choose the classic beauty of Elizabeth Taylor or the hip look of Zooey Deschanel, it’s your chance to be a star!  Learn more.

Anti-Hazing and Bullying Forum

As one of your Maine Township Trustees, one of my proudest accomplishments has been my initiation of The Anti-Gang Education Forums. As I maintain involvement in what is happening in our neighborhoods, there is both a noticeable and gaining presence of Bullying and Hazing, not only in our schools, but also as a national problem. It is important that parents are aware of what is happening in our community, due to the fact that most children are not informing their parents about what they are experiencing. As an epidemic, this truly needs to be addressed and I am honored to be part of The Anti-Hazing and Bullying Forum on May 22. One of the speakers, B. Elliott Hopkins, director of Sports, Sanctioning and Educational Services for the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) will join Sergeant Kenneth Boudreau and Detective Greg Jacobson along with additional panelists at the forum. If you are able to attend, please mark your calendar. Together we can be the voice for our children as they face these senseless acts of abuse.