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Defending a Demon: How Representing John Wayne Gacy Impacted One Woman's Legal Career

ISBA Members: Use your 15 hours of Free CLE credits to order this program –
just use the green button next to the “Add to Cart” button below!

Presented by the ISBA Criminal Justice Section


1.50 hours MCLE credit, including 1.50 hours Professional Responsibility MCLE credit in the following category: Professionalism, Civility, Legal Ethics, or Sexual Harassment Prevention credit


Original Program Date: Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Accreditation Expiration Date: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­June 24, 2026 (You must certify completion and save your certificate before this date to get MCLE credit)


Karen Conti’s quest to end capital punishment included her early career representation of the notorious killer John Wayne Gacy in his final death row appeals, which changed the trajectory of her career and life. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from Ms. Conti as she discusses her representation of this infamous serial killer and other criminals, particularly from her viewpoint as a woman navigating a typically male-dominated field. Gain insight and perspective as she discusses her journey of courage, empathy, and self-discovery. Like many attorneys who stand up for unpopular causes, Karen learned lessons along the way that she shares with you throughout the seminar in hopes of encouraging you to learn how to cope and flourish in a sometimes onerous and challenging job. A look at the future of the death penalty in this country is also included.

Program Moderator:
Sarah Toney, The Toney Law Firm LLC, Chicago

Program Speaker:
Karen Conti, Conti & Dolan, LLC, Chicago

About the Speaker: Karen is the author of the recently published book Killing Time with John Wayne Gacy: Defending America’s Most Evil Serial Killer on Death Row in which she shares insights into what it is like to zealously advocate for someone who is the epitome of evil and despised by the world. She has been a litigator and trial lawyer for 37 years, trying hundreds of cases and handling numerous high-profile and noteworthy cases across the country, including a U.S. Supreme Court appeal in a ballot access case on behalf of the Democratic Party, and obtained a reversal by the Illinois Supreme Court in favor of women’s rights in the workplace She also secured a large settlement in a wrongful arrest and injury suit against the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers stemming from the May 2000 Wrigley Field brawl, and obtained a $1.2 million verdict as the lead trial attorney against one of the nation’s largest homebuilders. She is licensed in Illinois and California and is a certified mediator and collaborative lawyer.


Pricing Information

  • Please Note: You must attend the entire program in order to earn MCLE credit for this seminar.
  • ISBA sponsoring section members get a $10 registration discount (which is automatically calculated in your cart when you log in to register).
  • Fees:
    • ISBA Member Price of $52.50 is displayed below when you login and program is eligible for Free CLE member benefit.
    • Non-Member Price $105
    • New Attorney Member (within the first five years of practice) - $25
    • Law Students – Free