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Spotlight on Southwestern Illinois: Salute to Women in Law

Mary Lopinot, Shareholder, Mathis Marifian & Richter Ltd., Belleville

By KATE GENO
    Through her legal expertise in bankruptcy and tax procedure cases, Mary Lopinot helps clients find solutions to serious financial problems.
p16 lopinotLopinot    “My clients are either businesses affected by financial problems or businesses that have customers with financial problems,” says Lopinot. “I am here to help them, alleviate some of their stress and offer them support.”
    Lopinot started in the tax division at Mathis, Marifian & Richter before moving on to represent business debtors and creditors in bankruptcy cases. She helps clients when the Internal Revenue Service wants to conduct an audit or is collecting taxes. According to Lopinot, both areas overlap much of the time. When a business is in trouble, the IRS is frequently involved.
    Lopinot started on a different career path altogether. Her first career was in the accounting industry. During the early 1990s, the industry was volatile due to frequent downsizing and takeovers and she became burnt out from changing jobs so often. Around that time, she had the opportunity to serve on a civil jury trial for an asbestos case. She was intrigued by the process and very curious about what the attorneys and judges discussed during the sidebars. She later decided to become a lawyer and attended Saint Louis University School of Law.
    She clerked at Mathis, Marifian & Richter during law school and was hired full time after graduation.
    “I wanted to work for a business law firm in Illinois. Mathis, Marifian & Richter is so diverse in its business law clients and I wanted the opportunity to experience that diversity in my practice.”
    Mathis, Marifian & Richter is a full-service business law firm. Its attorneys help clients with the purchase or sale of businesses, contract issues, taxes, estate planning, business succession and real estate matters. The firm works mainly with small to medium sized family-owned businesses.
    For the past 12 years, Lopinot has served on the Pontiac-Wm. Holliday District No. 105 school board in Fairview Heights and enjoys being involved in education. She teaches in the paralegal program at Southwestern Illinois College and considers it a privilege to help people discover how interesting, fun and challenging the law is.
    She lives in Fairview Heights with her husband and 12-year-old twin boys.
    “I love what I do and although it can be challenging to balance career and family, we have always found a way to make it work.”