Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ray Watson Named Illinois Dept of Ag General Counsel

Ray Watson was recently named General Counsel for the Illinois Department of Agriculture. Ray is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Catholic University Law School. He received his LL.M. in Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas School of Law, and I am pleased to mention that we were in the same class.  We had a fun group, and I have lots of good memories  - classes taught by Professors Pedersen and Looney, hiking the Ozark Highlands Trail system, and Notre Dame football parties at Ray's house. It was great fun to catch up with Ray last August at the Alumni Reunion and to meet his wife, Sue Gschwendtner.

Ray began his service to the State of Illinois in 1984 as an Assistant Attorney General. He became Deputy Chief of the Attorney General’s Agricultural Law Division in 1985 and Chief in 1987, where he provided representation to the Department of Agriculture as well as assistance to farmers facing the debt crisis of the 1980s. In 1991, after completing the LL.M. Program, Ray began a private practice, concentrating in agricultural law. Ray has spoken at several ISBA CLE programs on agricultural law issues. From 1999 until 2013, Ray worked for the Secretary of State as an Assistant General Counsel and as Executive Secretary of the Secretary of State Merit Commission. We are delighted to announce his new position as General Counsel to the Agriculture Department.

Ray was raised on a corn and soybean farm outside Odell, Illinois that is still operated by his brother.

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