Attorney Sarah Toney
Attorney Sarah Toney was named Young Lawyer of the Year in 2014 by the Illinois State Bar Association.
Attorney Toney has been named to the prestigious Illinois Super Lawyers list in 2016 and 2015, after being an Illinois Super Lawyer Rising Star for 5 years (2010-2014). 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. She is also a member of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers.
In 2016, she also received an AV Preeminent® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®, based on a peer review process. Thirty one fellow attorneys were contacted by the company to review Ms. Toney, as well as other lawyers in her field were directly targeted to see if they knew of Ms. Toney and what her reputation was.
She has been an Adjunct Professor at Loyola University of Chicago School of Law since 2006. In 2012, she created an Advanced Criminal Law Writing Course for 2L and 3L law students which she taught in 2012-2014.
Illinois Lawyers Care recently wrote an article on Ms. Toney about how she has found her true calling which you can read here.
Sarah's NBC Channel 5 Interview about a Reckless Homicide case where she was defense counsel.
Involvement with Esteemed Legal Organizations
Ms. Toney is on the Board of Directors of the DUI Defense Lawyers Association, a national DUI organization. She is the former 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. Sarah received an award from ISBA for her 5 years of service as the
Newsletter Editor for this committee in 2013, and continues on as Editor today.
Sarah is currently the Vice-Chair of the Law Office Management & Economics committee after previously serving as Secretary. She was asked to serve on the committee based upon her presentation at a state-wide seminar earlier in 2012. She is also serving on the
Marketing and Communications committee for the past 2 years. She was previously appointed to the
Young Lawyers Division council for 8 years where she served as Chair of the Social Committee and the Social Media Chair. She was previously a Co-Chair for the annual
Holiday Party which raises money for the Children's Assistance Fund in 2012.
In June of 2013, Ms. Toney began her term on the bar association's Assembly, and she is set to begin her second term in June 2016. She was also unanimously approved by the governing body of the bar association to serve on the Board of Trustees for the ISBA LAWPAC for her second term in December 2015.
She has been an Alumni Class Representative 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 2009, Sarah was admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court. 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.
She was previously appointed by the Dean of the National College of DUI Defense to serve on the Diversity Committee. She also served as a member of the Athletic Committee, the Member Events Committee, and the Health Benefits and Wellness Committee at the Union League Club of Chicago.
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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
Here is a list of Sarah's most recent speaking engagements:
- Spoke at the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Laweyers Advanced DUI Seminar, Columbus, Ohio March 10-12, 2016.
- Videotaped an ISBA Quick Takes video, February 4, 2016.
- Spoke and Moderated at the ISBA Basic Skills seminar, on "Your New Legal Career." May 29, 2015.
- Spoke at ISBA Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute on "Using Technology and Social Media for Effective and Ethical Advertising", on October 2, 2015, in Rockford, Illinois.
- Spoke at ISBA Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute "Maintaining an Engaging Firm Website and Online Presence" May 14, 2015.
- Panelists at "Because You're Worth It! Achieving Advancement and Fair Compensation in the Legal Profession." Spoke on creating a brand and marketing. May 7, 2015.
- Spoke at the DUI Defense Lawyers Association Seminar on "Using Social Media To Your Advantage" in Santa Monica, CA, in January 2015.
- Spoke at ISBA Solo and Small Firm Practice Institute "Social Media Savvy: How To Use Linkedin and Avvo as a Lawyer" October 16, 2014.
- Spoke at ISBA Seminar "Nuts and Bolts of Running Your Own Practice: The Golden Rules" February 27, 2014
- Spoke at ISBA Solo and Small Firm Conference "Landmines in Opening Your Own Practice: What Not To Do" October 3, 2013
- Spoke at ISBA Solo and Small Firm Conference "DUI/Traffic Law: Impact of Drugs and Alcohol on Your Client's Record – Arrest to Expungment": October 3, 2013
- ISBA Basic Skills, Moderator for the seminar and also speaker on "Your New Legal Career" September 9, 2013
- ISBA Speaker at "Legal Issues a New Lawyer Should Know: Ethical and Practical Uses of Technology in Your Practice" February 28. 2013
- ISBA speaker at CLE Fest: "Ethical Networking Tactics: Attracting New Clients and Making Professional Contacts", June 1, 2012
- ISBA speaker at Starting Your Own Law Firm, A Nuts and Bolts Primer: "Ethical Networking Tactics: Attracting New Clients and Making Professional Contacts", February 9, 2012
- ISBA Basic Skills moderator and speaker "Your New Legal Career" December 8, 2011
- Spoke at CBA Solo Small Firm Seminar "Criminal and DUI Law: Building Your Practice Through Referrals" May 1, 2014
- Spoke at CBA Statutory Summary Suspension Training on cross examination, demonstrated cross examination then acted as a judge in break outs to critique the volunteers cross examinations. October 3. 2013, October 2012, October 2011
- IACDL Speaker at "Annual DUI Defense Strategies Seminar: Bring Your Own Case: Ask the DUI Experts" September 14, 2012
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. She works extensively to try to learn all aspects of a case.
Sarah traveled to Denver in August 2012 where she attended a conference on blood testing. This supplemented the 5 day hands-on training she received 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. Over a two year period, she completed all 3 intensive courses designed for lawyers offered in Forensic testing at Axion Labs.
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.
- 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 multi-state summary of recent court decision relating to interrogations of minors by police.