Hebron and Hebron: A law firm with history
CARLINVILLE (Feb. 8, 2018) – The history of his company is important to William Hebron, owner of the Hebron and Hebron law office in Carlinville. After all, the company dates back to the late 1830s.
It was started by John Palmer, who eventually became governor of Illinois, then sold to John Rinaker, an orphan who moved to Carlinville from the east and later became a U.S. Representative for the state. “He had the practice for a lot of years. He had sons and relatives and descendants who practiced law here for a long, long time.” Eventually the practice was sold to Sam Smith from Girard, who later became a Circuit Court judge and Appellate Court judge. In 1946, Hebron’s father started practicing law at the firm.
After graduating from Carlinville High School in 1967 (he was on the school’s last undefeated football team) and later from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Hebron married his wife, Vicki, in 1972 and she helped put him through law school at John Marshall Law School in Chicago. While in school, he clerked for a firm in downtown Chicago. After he graduated from law school in 1975 and passed the bar exam later that year, he and his wife decided they would stay so he could practice law there. The couple had their first child in 1977 and decided to move back to Carlinville, which they did in 1978. “My dad was still here,” Hebron said, noting his father passed away in 2002. “He was a real good attorney, but he kind of burned out, and it was sort of a run-down practice when I came down here, but I was able to make a living and had some success.”
Hebron handles a variety of cases, including probate, estate planning, trusts, real estate, contracts, collection and litigation, and municipal work. He served as the city’s attorney for 16 years — eight under Annie Schoenherr and eight under Bob Schwab; he currently represents Girard, Standard City, Hettick, Scottville and Chesterfield. “I don’t do every kind of work. I’m a general practitioner,” he said, noting he no longer does bankruptcies for debtors, worker’s compensation cases, or Social Security disability cases. “When I get something that I don’t know very much about or I don’t do anymore, I try to refer to them to an attorney who will do a good job.”
He also served as a part-time public defender for many years, in addition to operating to his practice. “I took a lot of private practice work over to the courthouse and while I was waiting for judges, did it,” said Hebron. “During that time, I represented a lot of municipalities and did a lot of litigation.”
The office has a small staff: just Hebron and his wife, who serves as his secretary. Hebron sees that as a bonus for clients, as it means they deal directly with him. “I practice alone,” Hebron said. “If you come in and see me, I’m the guy who’s going to represent you. You’re not going to go over to the courthouse and have some associate show up who hasn’t been practicing as long as me.”
He said having a small staff is a perk for customers dealing with sensitive matters. “We don’t talk about that stuff outside the office,” he said.
Hebron also prioritizes being prompt and proactive when working with clients. “I want clients to not be stuck sitting around here wasting time, waiting to talk to me because I’m not here or because I haven’t planned things properly,” he said. “When people call me, I try to make sure I call them back in 24 hours. I try to make sure I review theIR file and be prepared to talk to them, so I know what I’m talking about and I’m not running through the file while I’m talking to them because I haven’t looked at it. The clients are paying me; that’s who I represent, and the one person I’m most trying to satisfy in the whole world is the client.”
“I know the court system; I have a nice relationship with a lot of people in the court system,” he added. “In terms of shopping local, a local attorney gives you an advantage. You can come see them because they’re local. You’re not paying them to travel to a courthouse to represent you.”
William Hebron and his wife, Vicki (who works as his secretary), are the only staff members at Hebron and Hebron.
Address: 516 North Side Square
Phone: (217) 854-5043
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.