Edward J. Kionka
Professor of Law Emeritus
Mr. Kionka received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in 1962. He was selected for membership in the Order of the Coif, an honorary society chosen from the top ten percent of his class. He was a member of the board of editors of the law review, and during his senior year served as associate editor (second to the editor-in-chief). While in law school, he clerked for a nationally-known attorney, John Alan Appleman, assisting Mr. Appleman with his 26-volume treatise, Appleman on Insurance.
He spent the 1972–73 academic year in residence at Columbia University Law School in New York, where he was the Krulewitch Fellow. He received his Master of Laws degree from Columbia in 1974.
After serving as assistant dean and assistant professor of law at the University of Illinois College of Law from 1967 to 1971, and as an instructor at the University of Michigan Law School (1964–65) and at Columbia University Law School (1962), Mr. Kionka was selected by Dean Hiram Lesar as a member of the founding faculty of Southern Illinois University School of Law, where he taught from 1973 (teaching the first class ever held in the law school) until 2003. His primary fields are torts, evidence, and appellate courts and practice, but he has also taught civil procedure, insurance law, legal writing, advanced appellate advocacy, remedies, legal profession, and federal courts. He served for a year as associate dean (1984–85), and briefly as acting dean (summer 1985). Although he retired from full-time teaching at SIU Law School in 2003, he maintains his office there and continues his academic work, including writing law books and articles.
He has also been a visiting professor at other law schools, including Washington University (St. Louis), St. Louis University, Emory University, McGeorge School of Law, the University of San Diego, the University of Hawaii, Northern Illinois University, the University of Georgia, and Stetson University College of Law.
From 1962 to 1964, Mr. Kionka was an associate with a Chicago law firm. He practiced in 1971–72 as a partner in the Belleville, Illinois law firm of Norton & Kionka. The firm limited its practice to civil (tort) litigation on behalf of plaintiffs. Although he left the firm in fall 1972 to return to his academic career, he continued to work with the firm on a limited basis until Mr. Norton’s death in May 1993. In addition to doing the firm’s appellate work, his work at the trial level focused on legal issues, such as pleadings, motions, evidence, jury instructions, and the like. He also has done similar work for other attorneys and law firms. Since retirement from full-time teaching, he has continued his appellate and trial consulting practice.
Mr. Kionka has been chosen by his fellow Illinois attorneys for designation as a Leading Lawyer in the field of Civil Appellate Law. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. In May 2010, he was presented a lifetime achievement award by the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association. The plaque reads: "Appellate Lawyers Association Honors Edward J. Kionka, Professor Emeritus, Southern Illinois University School of Law, In Appreciation for Forty Years of Outstanding Appellate Advocacy Before the Illinois Appellate Courts and Illinois Supreme Court and the United States Courts of Appeals, and for his Service as President of the Appellate Lawyers Association and as Fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. Presented at the Fifth District Luncheon and Judicial Roundtable, May 21, 2010."
Mr. Kionka was born in Oak Park, Illinois, and grew up in the City of Chicago and its suburbs. He graduated from Lindblom High School in Chicago, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He and his wife, Terri, an historian, live in Carbondale.