Today, through the efforts of Ervin, who has served as reporter of
decisions for nearly three decades, the court's reporting process
has been brought into the digital age with the adoption of a public
domain citation system and the creation of a court website that
provides access to opinions.
In addition, Ervin authored three
editions of the "Style Manual," which provides uniformity and
consistency to opinions of the supreme and appellate courts. He also
edited opinions and managed the distribution, filing and publication
of several thousand opinions.
When the Supreme Court convenes on Jan. 13 for its January term,
it will mark the first time in 27 years that Ervin will not be
present in his role as reporter of decisions. He retired effective
Jan. 1, 2014.
"Brian has served the court with distinction and with the highest
level of professionalism over the past 27 years," said Supreme Court
Chief Justice Rita B. Garman. "His breadth of knowledge of the law
and the history of the judicial branch, combined with his great
skill as an editor, is evident in the outstanding work that he has
done. I, and all of my colleagues, rely on his expertise and his eye
"Brian, along with his staff, serves a vital role in the
administration of justice in the Illinois courts. For example,
during his tenure, Brian Ervin has assisted the court in bringing
Illinois court opinions not only to the legal community, but also to
the public, through the use of electronic technology.
"We welcome his successor; but make no mistake, he will certainly
One of the highlights of Ervin's stellar service to the court was
the transition from the traditional form of citing legal opinions to
the use of a public domain citation system. The change, announced by
the court in 2011, replaced the former case citations, which were
linked to specific published volumes called case reporters, with a
system of unique identifiers. Under the old system, court opinions
were published only in bound volumes, and the citation was the key
to locating an opinion in a particular volume. The system was
cumbersome and expensive.
Under the new public domain citation system, each case is
identified by a unique number assigned by the reporter of decisions.
The opinion may be accessed online by using this number, eliminating
the expense of publishing the case reporters. As a result, Illinois
taxpayers been saved thousands of dollars a year, and attorneys and
members of the public have ready access to judicial opinions at
Ervin also took a leading role in the creation of that website.
In 1996, he asked the Supreme Court for permission to post the
court's opinions on an Internet site to serve as a mechanism for the
public to have access to them. That limited-use Internet site was
the forerunner of the court's comprehensive judicial branch website
that debuted in 2001.
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"Conferencing with the Illinois Supreme Court and being a part of
the justices' debate over the most important public policy issues of
our times would be the highlight of any lawyer's career," Ervin
"Owing to the good graces of the court, though, I had that
pleasure for over 27 years. For that, and for the chance to work
with the wonderful staff of the reporter's office and throughout the
judiciary, I am truly grateful."
Ervin graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in
1980 with a bachelor's degree in history. He received his Juris
Doctor degree in 1983 from Southern Illinois University School of
Law. He was admitted to practice in Illinois, Wisconsin, the U.S.
District Court for the Central District of Illinois and the U.S.
District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.
He was engaged in the private practice of law in 1983-1984 and
served as an assistant Illinois attorney general in the Opinions
Division for two years prior to joining the Illinois Supreme Court
staff in the reporter of decisions office as assistant reporter of
decisions in 1986. A year later, Ervin was appointed by the court to
serve as its reporter of decisions.
The Supreme Court announced Thursday that Urbana resident Amy L.
Tomaszewski was appointed by the court to serve as Ervin's
replacement. Her appointment became effective Monday.
Ms. Tomaszewski graduated from Penn State University in
University Park, Penn., with a bachelor's degree in English. She
earned her master's degree in library and information science from
the University of Illinois in 2006. She received her Juris Doctor
degree, cum laude, in 2005 from the University of Illinois College
of Law, where she taught legal writing as well as other courses at
the College of Law. She is a member of the American Association of
The reporter of decisions is appointed by the Supreme Court and
serves at the pleasure of the court. The reporter of decisions is
responsible for planning, organizing and directing the activities of
the office, including publishing and distributing opinions of the
supreme and appellate courts. The office also reviews and edits
Supreme Court opinions and rules before they are filed or published
and advises the court on style and citation rules.
[Text from file received from the
Illinois Supreme Court]