Michelle will be focusing her practice on all areas of personal injury law, including complex and catastrophic injury cases.
Michelle is a seasoned litigator with over seventeen years of legal experience. Most recently she served as class co-counsel in NB v. Norwood, a federal class action lawsuit seeking treatment for thousands of disabled children living in Illinois.
Michelle is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law. She received her B.S. in Chemistry from Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University) and worked as a chemist for several years before attending law school.
In law school, Michelle received the CALI Award for achieving the highest grade in her first-year property class. She was an associate editor for The University of Illinois Journal of Law, Technology & Policy and President of the Myra Bradwell Association of Woman Law Students. She also participated in moot court competitions.
After graduating from law school, Michelle spent several years as a law clerk for the Honorable Joe B. McDade, United States District Court Judge, Central District of Illinois. During her tenure as a law clerk, she assisted court appointed monitors in Johnson v. Board of Education Champaign Community Unit School District #4, Case No. 00-CV-1349 (C.D. Ill.), a school desegregation case.
Michelle also worked as a staff attorney for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals drafting memorandum and opinions for federal appellate court judges in a variety of civil and criminal law matters.
University of Illinois College of Law Magna Cum Laude graduate with seventeen years’ litigation experience including drafting complaints, discovery requests, discovery responses, motions and memorandum; preparing jury instructions; supervising externs; communicating with court-appointed monitors in school desegregation case; advising litigants and attorneys on procedural matters; writing memoranda and drafting opinions for appellate court judges; representing federal criminal defendants; acting class co-counsel in N.B. v. Norwood, 11CV6866 NDIL (currently pending).
Attorney January 2018 – Present
VANDERGINST LAW, P.C. MOLINE, ILLINOIS
Solo Practitioner July 2017 – January 2018
Partner February 2015-July 2017
HUNZIKER HECK & SCHNEIDERHEINZE LLC, PEORIA, ILLINOIS
Managing Partner July 2013-February 2015
BLOOMINGTON LAW GROUP LLC, BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOIS
Solo Practitioner December 2010-June 2013
Associate Attorney January 2007-November 2010
HUNZIKER LAW GROUP LLC, PEORIA, ILLINOIS
Adjunct Faculty Member January 2007-May 2007
ILLINOIS CENTRAL COLLEGE, EAST PEORIA, ILLINOIS
Law Clerk August 2000-August 2002; June 2004 – January 2007
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
JUDGE JOE BILLY MCDADE, PEORIA, ILLINOIS
Staff Attorney August 2002 – June 2004
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE EIGHTH CIRCUIT OFFICE OF STAFF ATTORNEYS
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
Summer Associate May 1999 – August 1999
LEYDIG, VOIT & MAYER
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS COLLEGE OF LAW
Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, 2000
• The University of Illinois Journal of Law, Technology & Policy – Associate Editor 1999/2000
• Honors Designation in Legal Research and Writing
• Myra Bradwell Association of Women Law Students – President 1998/1999
ILLINOIS STATE UNIVERSITY
Graduate Credit in Chemistry, 1994
NORTHEAST MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY (TRUMAN STATE UNIVERSITY)
B.S. Chemistry, cum laude with honors in chemistry, 1993
Illinois; Registered United States Patent Attorney; Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals; United States District Courts for the Northern, Central, and Southern Districts of Illinois.