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Attorney Sarah Toney

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Attorney Sarah Toney's experience in the legal field has been an extensive and impressive one. She has been named by Chicago Magazine an Illinois Super Lawyer Rising Star for the past 5 years. In addition, she has received a "Superb" 10.0 out of 10.0 rating by Avvo.com due in large part to her rave reviews by former clients and attorneys in her field from across the country. Read her reviews here. Furthermore, Ms. Toney was one of two recipients of the 2014 Young Lawyer of the Year Award given by the Illinois State Bar Association. She has been an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University of Chicago School of Law since 2006, and this year she created an Advanced Criminal Law Writing Course for 2L and 3L law students which she taught this Spring.

This year, Ms. Toney was appointed to be Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association Traffic Laws and Courts Section Council. She has been appointed to the council since 2009 and has previously served as Secretary and Vice-Chair. She was also reappointed to the Young Lawyers Division council again this year, which she has been appointed to for the past 3 years. She is currently serving as Chair of the Social Committee for the YLD and one of the Chairs for the annual Holiday Party which raises money for the Children's Assistance Fund.

In June, Ms. Toney will begin her term on the bar association's Assembly, a position she recently won. Based upon Ms. Toney's presentation at a state-wide seminar earlier in the year, she was asked to serve on the Standing Committee on Law Office Management and Economics for 2012-2013 which she accepted. She was also unanimously approved by the governing body of the bar association to serve on the Board of Trustees for the ISBA LAWPAC.

Recently Ms. Toney has been asked to serve on the Board of Directors for the LEAD Symposium, a group which encourages leadership and education among defense attorneys. She was appointed by the Dean of the National College of DUI Defense to serve on the Diversity Committee. In addition, she was also asked to be a member of the Athletic Committee and the Health Benefits and Wellness Committee at the Union League Club of Chicago.

Ms. Toney has also served editor of the Traffic Laws and Courts Section Newsletter from 2008 to the present day and has published articles for the Young Lawyers Division Newsletter. She has been an Alumni Class Representative since 2009 for the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. In February 2012 Sarah was profiled in the Texas-based Women Defying Gravity blog, dedicated to the "mighty female trial lawyers who inhabit the field of DUI defense."

In 2004, she was admitted to the United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, General Federal bar. Later in 2006, she was admitted to the United States District Court, Central District of Illinois and to the United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit in 2007.

As far as professional memberships go, Sarah is proud to consider herself a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National College for DUI Defense, Inc., Illinois State Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, as well as the Women's Criminal Defense Bar Association.

A Sought After Speaker

Sarah was a featured expert attorney on CNN Radio's Money for Lunch program, which you can listen to here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/moneyforlunch/2012/08/30/money-for-lunch

In the upcoming months, Sarah will be speaking at a Solo and Small Firm conference, as well as refilming a hugely popular seminar for new lawyers.

Sarah was asked to speak by the Illinois Associating of Criminal Defense Lawyers for their DUI Defense Seminar She served as an expert and fielded participant's questions about their cases for 2 hours on topics like blood and breath testing. She also spoke for the Chicago Bar Association for their Cross Examination Skills seminar where she taught lawyers how to defend DUI suspension hearings. Using real Chicago Police Officers, she demonstrated how to do cross examinations and then served as a Judge for the participants to practice their cross examinations. She is already scheduled to speak for the Illinois State Bar Association in Spring of 2013.

The Illinois State Bar Association asked Sarah to speak at the state-wide Continuing Education Fest in June 2012 because her prior presentation earned the highest marks by the attendees.

In December 2011 Sarah was asked to speak at the Chicago Bar Association's seminar to train attorneys on how to do DUI license suspension hearings. She spoke on the law surrounding when police officers are allowed to stop vehicles and arrest people for DUIs. In addition, she performed a cross examination on a Chicago Police Officer for the attendees to demonstrate how to do a hearing. Sarah then lead the attendees in performing their own cross examinations on Chicago Police Officers to practice how to do a DUI license suspension hearing. Together with a Judge from Cook County, Sarah critiqued the attendees and provided them with practical tips on how to be better advocates in DUI defense.

Also in December 2011 Sarah was asked by the Illinois State Bar Association to moderate a seminar for new attorneys. All new attorneys in Illinois are required to attend a Basic Skills for new attorneys seminar after they are licensed and Sarah participated in a live seminar which was also videotaped for future new lawyers to watch online. Sarah also spoke on a panel at the Basic Skills seminar giving practical advice for new lawyers on how to be good advocates as well as smart suggestions for getting ahead in the profession.

In February 2012 Sarah spoke at the sold out Illinois State Bar Association seminar on the Nuts and Bolts of Starting Your Own Law Firm.

At the NACDL Spring Conference in 2004, Sarah assisted in presenting "High-Tech Crimes in High-Tech Times: Pornography, Hacking & Fraud" for "In Their Defense: Representing the Client Everyone Loves to Hate." She has also received her Certificate of Training from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the International Association of Chiefs of Police in DUI Detection and Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, Los Angeles, CA October 2005

Continuing Education: Going Above and Beyond

Sarah believes strongly that education is the cornerstone of every experienced lawyer's practice and therefore works extensively to ensure that she upkeeps hers with continuing work. By assisting in several programs as well as going above and beyond to achieve further education, she has proven that her dedication to criminal law is impeccable.

Sarah just returned from Denver in August 2012 where she attended a conference on blood testing. This supplemented the 5 day hands-on training she recieved at Axion Labs in Chicago which only around 100 lawyers across the country have attended. At Axion she learned from the Pioneer of Gas Chromotagraphy Dr. Harold McNair who brought the first blood testing machine to the United States. She learned how the machines worked, and had hands-on experience in the lab running blood tests and taking apart the machine. She has been invited back to Axion in January 2013 for an invite only course specifically on drug testing.

Sarah also went through Standardized Field Sobriety Test Training, the same training police officers go through. Her instructor was a retired Idaho State Police DUI Instructor with 21 years of experience. She passed the same training and exams as the police must pass.

Sarah also had the unique opportunity to learn cross examination skills from Terry MacCarthy, widely considered to be the foremost expert on cross examination in the country. Working one-on-one with Terry, Sarah learned his method and was personally critiqued by Terry to perfect her cross examination skills.

Beyond this, she has attended the National College for DUI Defense for numerous years in the summer session, fall session, winter session as well as Mastering Scientific Evidence. By working on a meticulous and thorough understanding of criminal law, she has given herself an intimate knowledge that is consistently used as she fight to protect the legal rights of our clients.

Publications

  • ISBA Traffic Laws and Courts Newsletter, September 2012, "Message From the Chair"
  • American Bar Association Journal E-Report, July 15, 2005, "This Is Serious"
  • Family Law Committee of the Section on Legal Practice of the International Bar Association, October 2004, "San Francisco Conference Report: The Family Law Programme" No. 11
  • Discrimination and Gender Equality Committee of the Section on Legal Practice of the International Bar Association, July 2004, "San Francisco Conference Report: The Family Law Programme" Vol. 9 No. 1
  • Children's Legal Rights Journal, Spring 2003, Article was a multistate summary of recent court decision relating to interrogations of minors by police.