Anywhere Jason Bohm went in the early 2000s, it’s a good bet his law school study buddy wasn’t far behind.
Charlie Evans and the future Champaign County circuit judge were inseparable in those days — spending “countless hours in the library cite-checking articles for the law review,” as Bohm remembers, and interning in the same law offices.
“Charlie grew up in Champaign and it was great to have a ‘townie’ as a friend, who could tell me about local spots,” Bohm says. “Charlie and I stayed in touch after law school as our lives and careers took similar paths.
“Unfortunately, we lost Charlie to cancer a few years ago. I’ve kept a law school photo of us in my office since his passing and it now is the only photo on the bench with me.”
Another unforgettable figure during Bohm’s law school days: Professor Lonnie Brown, now a distinguished chair of legal ethics and professionalism at the University of Georgia.
“Professor Brown taught civil procedure and ethics, two required classes that could have upwards of 100 students,” Bohm says. “Somehow, Professor Brown memorized all of the students' names prior to the first class, so whenever you raised your hand he would call on you by name.
“You could hear a murmur throughout the first class as everyone was impressed by his recall ability. But he also got to know his students and would invite students to his home with his family for meals.
“The personal and kind manner that he treated his students with is something that had a profound impact on me and I’ve tried to replicate in my class. Although my memory is not as good as his.”
When he wasn’t preparing for a legal career that would kick off with a 10-year run as assistant U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois, Bohm could often be found at Paps Del’s ... or working off calories from Papa Del’s.
“My wife and I loved going to Papa Del’s and had quite a collection of the yellow menu cards that they stapled to the box,” he says. “It was our general go-to restaurant whenever we had company in town and it remains one of our favorite spots.
“While we were preparing to go to court, there was a group of us that spent a lot of time on the basketball courts. We had a fairly competitive law school basketball league. It helped that my team had a former NFL lineman, Greg Bloedorn, anchoring the low post.
“We also would play at IMPE and every now and then, Cory Bradford or Frankie Williams would show up and embarrass us all.”