Over 50 years of of practice...
Our firm has a rich and textured history, and we’re proud of the many years that it has existed to serve the legal needs of individuals and businesses in this area. Our firm was formed through the joining of the successful solo practices of John A. “Jack” Leifheit, of DeKalb and Daniel L. Cliffe, of Shabbona. We are proud of the distinction of being DeKalb County’s oldest continuous law firm.
The firm began in a small upstairs office on Second Street in DeKalb, Illinois where Attorneys Leifheit and Cliffe practiced together until 1967. They moved a few blocks west to a new building located at 151 West Lincoln Highway at that time, which offered the opportunity to expand the firm. Douglas R. Engel, a Hinckley resident and graduate of DePaul University Law School, was hired in 1968, and attorney Charles H. Iskowich, of DeKalb joined the firm in 1970. The firm set its course during the 1970's as a full service, general practice law firm with these four highly regarded attorneys until 1977, when Jack Leifheit became a Judge in DeKalb County. Dan Cliffe retired in 1983, and Doug Engel left the firm in 1986 to spend the next twenty years on the bench as a Judge for the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit. Charles Iskowich, who faced serious health concerns during the course of his life and practice, nevertheless maintained an office at the 151 West Lincoln Highway building during these years and lent his experience and lively sense of humor to the succeeding members of the firm until his death in 2000.
Keith L. Foster, joined the firm in 1979, rapidly became a partner and assuming a leadership role, gaining a reputation as a particularly incisive thinker on behalf of his clients and taking on high profile cases which have found their way into academic law casebooks in the process. His skill was publicly acknowledged in receiving the designation of “DeKalb’s Best Lawyer” in the survey-driven DeKalb County Magazine in 1990. Mr. Foster has acted as the firm’s managing partner since the mid 1980's and maintains a vital and diverse practice while guiding the business and technical interests of the firm.
Kevin E. Buick, began his association with the firm in 1990 after clerking for the firm during law school. He became a partner in 1994 and has developed a community-oriented general civil practice, representing banks, municipalities, public institutions, local businesses and individuals throughout DeKalb County. He was appointed to the position of County Zoning Hearing Officer (Alt.) in 2002, and serves several local service organizations such as the DeKalb County Community Foundation and Kishwaukee Sunrise Rotary.
Marcy L. Buick, joined the firm in 2000 after spending several years developing trial skills as an Assistant Public Defender in Kane County and doing work for the DeKalb County State’s Attorney’s office. She became a partner in 2004 and left the firm after being appointed to the position of Associate Judge in the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit in September of 2011.
Douglas R. Engel, returned to the firm in 2004 in an Of Counsel capacity. In addition to his time spent on the bench in DeKalb County and his earlier service as Assistant State’s Attorney, he was a key player in the success of the firm during its infancy. Doug Engel’s wisdom, insight and understanding of the legal process have proven an asset to the firm on countless occasions.
Timothy J. Conklin, joined the firm in 2006 and became a partner in 2012. Tim, originally from Rockford, graduated from NIU's College of Law with high honors in 2004 and has brought energy and creative insight to the firm through his business background, honed while obtaining his MBA at NIU concurrently with his legal studies.
John W. Countryman, became associated with the firm in 2007 in an Of Counsel capacity. John is a former Illinois State Representative and retired Presiding Judge of the DeKalb County Circuit Court. John’s private practice of law began in 1970. He has served as DeKalb County’s Public Defender, Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois, as Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Elections, and as Adjunct Professor of Law at Northern Illinois University’s College of Law.
Tait J. Lundgren, returned to his home community of DeKalb in 2010 after practicing law for the previous five years in DuPage County. Tait became a partner of the firm in 2012. Tait has experience in the areas of family law, condominium/homeowners' association law, and commercial and general civil matters. He also provides formidable litigation skills for the firm to draw upon in its representation of clients.
Jill M. Tritt, joined the firm in 2011 to continue her practice in the areas of Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Administration, Business Planning, and Taxation. Jill has been a Certified Public Accountant since 2002. Her practice began in a firm in Chicago and she moved to Sycamore to be with her husband Steve and launched a successful solo practice before joining Foster, Buick, Conklin, Lundgren & Tritt, LLC. Jill became a partner of the firm in 2017. Jill brings with her a set of skills that will take the firm’s estate planning practice to a new level in DeKalb County.
Marc J. Strauss joined the firm in 2013 in an Of Counsel capacity to re-engage in the private practice of law in DeKalb County after spending the last 12 years as in-house counsel for First Rockford Group. Marc intends to use his extensive real estate knowledge for the benefit of his clients and will be engaged in the general practice of law
This law firm has seen many different nameplates hanging over its door through the years. One thing that has not changed, however, is the absolute commitment on the part of each and every lawyer and staff member associated with this law firm to devote themselves entirely to the interests of the firm’s clients...as it has been from the earliest days of Jack Leifheit and Dan Cliffe’s practice. Foster, Buick, Conklin, Lundgren & Tritt, LLC honors its past, while looking forward to its expansive and promising future in the firm’s Frank-Lloyd Wright inspired office building located in Sycamore’s Prairie Professional Park.