Spotlight on Southwestern Illinois: Salute to Women in Law
Deanna Litzenburg, Shareholder and Vice President, Mathis, Marifian & Richter Ltd., Belleville
By DENNIS GRUBAUGH
Deanna Litzenburg is a runner — preparing for work, during work, even outside of work.
The shareholder and vice president at Mathis, Marifian & Richter Ltd. in Belleville is a busy attorney, specializing in commercial litigation, worker’s compensation and creditor rights.
Deanna originally worked at a large firm in St. Louis, exclusively dealing with worker’s comp, but she wanted variety and took up commercial litigation and medical liability cases when she joined MM&R in June 2001.
A native of Carlyle, she lives with husband Dean in Highland, along with 14-year-old daughter Allie, who plays volleyball, and 11-year-old son Dylan, who plays football. She greatly enjoys being involved in their activities.
It was her daughter who unwittingly triggered her passion for running, when the youngster came home from school several years ago with an idea to run in a 5K race in St. Louis, called Girls on the Run.
Deanna signed her daughter up only to realize later that Mom needed to be a “running buddy” as part of the event.
“I had six weeks to go from sitting on the couch to running in my first 5K,” she said. She became so enamored with the activity that she now runs three to four times a week and has participated in three half marathons — 13.1-mile races.
All the half marathons have been fundraisers for Team Activities with Special Kids, a nonprofit sports organization that goes by the name T.A.S.K. It was founded by a relative who was interested in improving the welfare of children with disabilities, everything from blindness to learning impairment. Together, supporters have raised some $2.5 million toward a capital campaign for a facility to house the programs. That facility is located in Fenton, Mo., and is being developed as money is raised.
The practice of running mentally puts her in a good place as she mulls the workday.
“You start out stressed and process a lot of things while pounding the pavement,” she said.
Husband Dean has been a “huge supporter,” helping her deal with a busy schedule even as he works at his position with AT&T.
She said she is also appreciative to past and present colleagues who have served as mentors through the years. One in particular is former MM&R partner Laura Grandy, who is now a U.S. District Court bankruptcy judge. Grandy really helped her develop career skills, she said.
A graduate of the Southern Illinois University School of Law and from Southeast Missouri State University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy, she is a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, St. Clair County Bar Association, Madison County Bar Association, Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, and Alumni of Leadership Belleville program through the Belleville Area Chamber of Commerce.
Cherie Macdonald, Officer, Manager, Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., Belleville
By KATE GENO
When the economy started its downward spiral several years ago, Cherie Macdonald’s legal services were needed more than ever. As an officer and manager of the Creditors’ Rights and Bankruptcy Practice Group at Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale, P.C., Macdonald is positioned to help her clients through difficult financial situations.
Macdonald works with creditors of every variety, especially financial institutions, landlords and construction companies. In recent years, many financial institutions in the region have sought her help on matters ranging from bank fraud to businesses defaulting on loans. Landlords consult her when tenants cannot pay their lease. Companies seek her counsel when they are not paid by their customers for the work that they complete.
Macdonald joined the legal team at Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale in 2003. She is based in the firm’s Swansea, Ill. office. Her experience includes not only the prosecution of matters for creditors, such as foreclosures and replevins, but also the defense of matters for creditors, such as the defense of lender liability actions. Her work leads her to bankruptcy and state courts often. Macdonald says she loves the variety of cases and her ability to help so many different clients.
She also practices in the areas of acquisition and sales of financially distressed companies, asset protection, bankruptcy law and litigation, and reorganizations, restructuring and workouts.
Macdonald says the most satisfying aspect of her job is the ability to uphold voluntarily made agreements, and to enforce the statutes enacted by the legislature. People and entities should abide by their agreements and she takes pride in seeing that they do.
Macdonald was raised in Jacksonville, Ill., and earned her bachelor’s degree from Illinois College in Jacksonville. She then obtained her master’s degree in business administration from Western Illinois University before attending law school at Saint Louis University. Macdonald’s law career began at Thompson & Mitchell (now Thompson Coburn) when she graduated from law school in 1990. She practiced there for the first seven years of her career then worked at The Stolar Partnership from 1997 to 2003.
She enjoys speaking and when asked, is happy to educate her fellow lawyers with updates on creditors’ rights issues and strategies at industry events. She also speaks to chambers of commerce, associations and construction groups regarding matters such as bankruptcy rights.
Macdonald’s husband, Kevin, works at Boeing in international contracts and they have a son, Kyle, who attends Saint Louis University High School.