The Break-up

The Madison County Record Jun. 18, 2006, 3:17am

Dick Durbin

Chuck Scholz

Lawyer Thomas Maag has given credence to the old adage that "three's a crowd."

Wendler & Ezra, the Collinsville plaintiff's outfit Maag joined in January after leaving the Lakin Law Firm, is experiencing marital problems.

Brian Wendler, a frequent co-counsel of the Lakin Law Firm in Madison County over the years, and Maag got to keep the house. But in response to Maag's antics, name partner Jeff Ezra and attorney Sarah Smith have moved out and are now practicing in Edwardsville.


U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, an East St. Louis native who is up for re-election in 2008, will be in the Metro-East doing some fundraising during the summer months. Sources tell Dicta he will steer clear of anyone affiliated with the Lakin Law Firm.

Tom Lakin and his son, Bradley Lakin, are among the area's leading political rainmakers. They have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic causes and candidates over the past two decades, but don't expect a check cut to Durbin at this juncture in the campaign cycle.

Not that his old ally's woes might lead Durbin to change his philosophical stripes anytime soon. The two-termer is one of the Senate's biggest supporters of those class action lawsuits the Lakins so adore.

SimmonsCooper seeks clout

Popular Quincy politico Chuck Scholz --a three-term mayor turned SimmonsCooper asbestos lawyer --is making his predictable ascent, running for the west central Illinois House seat vacated by longtime GOP representative Art Tenhouse.

After the Democrat wrapped a 12-year reign over the Republican river town, he quickly cozied up to deep-pocketed SimmonsCooper. Scholz joined up "of counsel," which is law firm code for "I don't actually work, but I'm an important guy so they want me around."

He's in good company. SimmonsCooper only lists Scholz and mystical asbestos yoda Randy Bono as "of counsel."

Dicta sources say a stronger analogy is Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville), who serves in a similar capacity for the embattled Lakin Law Firm. SimmonsCooper sees Scholz as an avenue to garnering its own clout in Springfield.

Expect the firm's lawyers to buck up big time for their partner this fall-- Scholz will surely need it. He's squaring off against Brown County attorney Jil Tracy, whose family owns Brown County-based Dot Foods, the largest food redistributor in the U.S. and an employer of 1,500.

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