Admissions

  • Illinois 
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, including Trial Bar

Education

University of Illinois at Chicago (B.A., 1980)

The John Marshall Law School (J.D., magna cum laude, 1986)

  • Order of John Marshall
  • Staff Editor of The John Marshall Law Review

Profile

Gerry Ring, chair of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella's Litigation practice, has nearly 30 years of courtroom experience dealing with will and trust litigation as well as business disputes. Mr. Ring has an “AV Preeminent” rating, the highest available, from Martindale-Hubbell and a "10" rating from Avvo. He has been recognized by Super Lawyers in years 2005 and 2013 to 2015 for his work in litigation. In 2015, Mr. Ring won a bench trial in the Chancery Division of Cook County, Illinois which resulted in the transfer of over $17 million in trust assets to a new trust with a new trustee for the benefit of his client. That same year, he was engaged as trust counsel in a hotly contested divorce proceeding and obtained a judgment ordering a co-trustee to transfer $3.2 million from a charitable trust to a national university of his client’s choosing. 

Mr. Ring’s trust and estate litigation experience includes will contests, proceedings to construe or reform wills and trusts, and breach of fiduciary duty actions. He represents individual and corporate trustees, and beneficiaries.His business litigation experience includes actions relating to covenants-not-to-compete, trade secrets, shareholder disputes, real estate lease disputes, and bankruptcy.

Mr. Ring has made numerous Continuing Legal Education presentations to attorneys that have been approved for credit by the MCLE Board of the Supreme Court of Illinois, including presentations on drafting post-employment restrictions, the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct, depositions, and landlord-tenant law.

Mr. Ring served as a faculty advisor for The John Marshall Law School Trial Advocacy Competition, sponsored by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, from 1992 through 1998. He authored an article for the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education entitled “Liquidation and Reorganization in Landlord/Tenant Relationships,” and lectured for Lorman Educational Services.

Mr. Ring received his J.D., with high honors, from The John Marshall Law School in 1986, where he was awarded the Order of John Marshall and served as a staff editor of The John Marshall Law Review. He is a member of the Federal Trial Bar. He was elected a member of the Board of Education, Palos Consolidated School District 118 from 1994 to1995 and again for the 2001–2004 term and is currently a fundraiser for the District 118 Educational Foundation. 

Experience

Gerry Ring, the Chair of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella’s Litigation Group, has almost 30 years of courtroom experience dealing with will and trust disputes. He recently won a bench trial in the Chancery Division of Cook County, Illinois which resulted in the transfer of over $17 million in trust assets to a new trust with a new trustee. He also obtained an order in a contested divorce proceeding directing the transfer of $3.2 million from a charitable trust to a national university over the co-trustee’s objection.

Gerry, along with Karen MacKay from the firm’s Wealth and Succession Planning Group, have together represented beneficiaries, as well as corporate and individual executors and trustees, in litigation to construe wills and trusts, to prosecute or defend actions involving allegations based on lack of capacity and undue influence, to petition the court to reform wills or trusts, and in proceedings to institute or defend citations to recover assets. 

Gerry and Karen understand that trust and estate litigation often involves complicated family dynamics that, if ignored, can prolong and intensify the underlying dispute. They are sensitive to such dynamics when planning for litigation or settlement, and endeavor to move litigation swiftly through court to facilitate an early resolution or settlement.

Representative cases Mr. Ring has worked on include:

Trust Construction Actions (including actions for specific performance)-

  • 15 CH 05818 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), obtained judgment on the pleadings for trustee to determine the proper beneficiary of a trust involving over 30 respondents.
  • 14 CH 02412 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), obtained court order granting petition for equitable deviation of trust and approval of accounting.
  • 14 CH 14277 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), obtained court order granting petition to construe five separate trusts.
  • 14 D 7452 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Domestic Relations Division), obtained an order transferring $3.2 million from a charitable trust to a specific national university over the objection of the co-trustee.
  • 13 CH 17678 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division) obtained verdict after a bench trial transferring over $17 million in trust assets to a new trust under the control of a new trustee.
  • 10 CH 15026 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), obtained court order granting petition to construe ambiguity concerning the distribution of trust assets and approval of a family settlement agreement.
  • 10 CH 25696 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), obtained court order interpreting trust and approval of a family settlement agreement on behalf of corporate Trustee. 
  • 10 CH 12223 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), obtained court order dismissing an action to challenge the exercise of Power of Appointment against individual trustee.
  • 08 CH 15284 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), obtained a court order granting petition seeking approval of a trust-to-trust transfer.
  • 07 P 7765 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Probate Court), successfully represented beneficiaries in action to construe will and trust and require distribution. 
  • 05 CH 12622 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), successfully represented bank as successor trustee in connection with a complaint to construe a trust, action for accounting, and imposition of constructive trust against original trustee who misappropriated funds, which resulted in the recovery of more than $1.2 million. 
  • 01 P 4507 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Probate Division), successfully represented qualified Illinois charitable organization in petition to construe trust and scope of charity’s interest and recovered client's attorneys' fees. 
  • 2000-809TT (Calhoun County, Michigan), successfully represented individual beneficiary under a trust in connection with a petition for limited supervision, construction, and reformation of trust relating to the adoption of an adult. 
  • 97 CH 0843 (DuPage County, Illinois, Chancery Division), obtained dismissal of action brought by successor trustee against client concerning the disposition of the remainder interest. 

Reformation Actions-

  • 06 CH 11985 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), obtained court order granting petition to reform a trust which, due to a scrivener's error, may not have qualified as an intentionally defective grantor trust. 
  • 04 P 408 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Probate Division), obtained court order which granted petition for reformation of trust where the trust, as drafted, may have violated Section 2056(b)(7) of the Internal Revenue Code because it provided for a specific payment annually to the widow, rather than distribution of all income. 
  • 03 CH 18183 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), obtained court order reforming trust due to a scrivener's error that could be interpreted to permit the grantor's wife to designate herself as a beneficiary and thus subject a GST exempt trust to GST tax pursuant to Section 2652(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code and potential Federal estate tax in wife's estate. 

Trust Administrative Actions, Citations, Supplemental Proceeding, and Fiduciary Litigation-

  • 12 P 3085 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Probate Court), obtained order dismissing, with prejudice, citation to recover assets which was based upon allegations of undue influence.
  • 10 CH 43667 (Cook County, Illinois, Chicago, Chancery Division), obtained court order dismissing, with prejudice, action for breach of fiduciary duty relating to administration of trust relating to tax planning, and partial judgment on the pleading relating to action for breach of fiduciary duty relating to investments  (balance of action pending). 
  • 09 CH 16385 (Cook County, Illinois, Chancery Division) obtained dismissal of claims against Trustee for reformation, fraud, unjust enrichment, and breach of fiduciary duty. 
  • 07 P 266 (Kankakee County, Illinois, Probate Division), recovered $500,000 in prosecution of citation to recover assets based upon undue influence. 
  • 07 CH 4362 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), obtained removal of individual Co-Trustee for conduct detrimental to the interests of the trust and its administration. 
  • 04 CH 04442 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), successfully represented a qualified charitable organization regarding construction of an alleged amendment to a trust to determine client's status as a beneficiary. 
  • 02 CH 7210 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), obtained instructions from court and an order mooting certain administration issues on behalf of an individual trustee on a petition for instructions relating to trust administration.
  • 01 L 455 (Lake County, Illinois, Law Division), successfully defended corporate trustee in action seeking $1 million in damages for an alleged breach of fiduciary duty. 
  • 00 PR 165 (McHenry County, Illinois, Probate Division), obtained summary judgment in favor of corporate executor and trustee in connection with a petition to contest a will based on allegations of the existence of another will, and a promise to make a will.
  • 00 CH 135 (Champaign County, Illinois), obtained judgment on the pleadings in favor of beneficiary in action to determine proper beneficiaries under a trust. 
  • 98 CH 128206 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Chancery Division), successfully represented charitable beneficiary to determine proper beneficiaries under a will and trust. 
  • 98 P 0918 (DuPage County, Illinois, Probate Division), successfully dismissed citation against a qualified Illinois charitable organization in a case involving undue influence—case resolved on favorable terms. 
  • 96 P 10660 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Probate Division), successfully represented a beneficiary against claims of undue influence and lack of capacity concerning a gift. 
  • 96 P 7462 (Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, Probate Division), successfully dismissed will contest.  

Honors & Awards

  • AV Rating Martindale-Hubbell (lawyers.com)
  • Super Lawyers 2005 and 2013–2015 (superlawyers.com)
  • Avvo.com Rating 10/10 (avvo.com)
  • Lorman Educational Services, distinguished faculty
  • Order of John Marshall, 1986

Professional/Community

Gerry was elected a member of the Board of Education, Palos Consolidated School District 118 from 1994 to1995 and again for the 2001–2004 term and is currently a fundraiser for the District 118 Educational Foundation. 

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