Prairie State Legal Services welcomes four new members to its Board of Directors: Michael Bean (attorney board member),  Louis Hobson (community board member), Jasper Jones (community board member), and Scott Smith (attorney board member). Michael Bean, Scott Smith and Jasper Jones will serve 3-year terms and Louis Hobson will serve a 5-year term. The board voted to accept them as members during the May 14, 2021, meeting and they will officially start at the September 10, 2021 meeting.

After 24 years, J. Michael “Mike” Bean left his full-time Texas law practice to return to the Chicago area to be near extended family. His legal practice emphasized general civil litigation, insurance law and injury and accident litigation for both plaintiffs and defendants. In 2012, he started the law firm of Bean & Meehan, LLC with offices in Crystal Lake and Glen Ellyn. Mike grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago and graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Arts in History, Cum Laude. After college, he served as a fighter pilot in the United States Air Force and Illinois Air National Guard with tours in Viet Nam, the United States and Europe. After active duty, he returned to school and graduated from Loyola University School of Law in Chicago with a Juris Doctor, Cum Laude.

Throughout his legal career, Mike has volunteered his legal services through local bar associations and community legal clinics. At the end of 2019, he retired from active practice and moved his focus to volunteering part-time with Prairie State’s telephone counseling service in the West Suburban office. Mike is married to his wife, Christine. They have three grown children and three grandchildren, and happily spend their retirement with family, much-loved pets, and travel.

Scott Smith was appointed to Prairie State Legal Services Board of Directors by the Kankakee County Bar Association. He currently serves as President of First Trust Bank of Illinois, but began his professional career in 2008 at the Bloomington, IL, law firm Thielen, Foley and Mirdo, LLC, where he focused on civil litigation. While overseeing First Trust, Scott also helps several community organizations. He is board chairman of the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce and vice president of the Kankakee Development Corp., as well as a member of the Bradley Bourbonnais Rotary Club. Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2004. In 2007, he received his MBA and law degree from Indiana University.

Jasper Jones is serving in the first-ever community member position on the Prairie State Legal Services Board of Directors. Jasper is Executive Director of Kankakee County Renewed Opportunity and Re-entry Program Director for Kankakee County Sheriff’s Department, where he continues to help those leaving jail become productive citizens. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Phoenix and is a member of Kankakee County Housing Continuum, Partnership for Healthy Communities, Habitat for Humanity, Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons-IL, and Rising Suns Development Corporation. In 2015, Jasper received the William H. Morgan Award from the Kankakee County Mental Health Council.

Louis Hobson is a new client board member. Louis is a retired Chicago Public School teacher and is an advocate for people living with HIV and related issues. Louis joins our board from our West Suburban service area.

“We welcome the leadership of Michael, Scott, Jasper, and Louis to the board and thank them for their dedication to Prairie State and the communities we serve,” said Mike O’Connor, Executive Director of Prairie State Legal Services. “All four embody the spirit of community and bring talent, expertise and energy to the table. The board plays a vital role in contributing to our organization’s strategy and shaping how we successfully evolve in civil legal aid.”