It is with great sadness that Rieff Schramm Kanter & Guttman LLC announces the passing of a founding member of our law firm, Melvyn A. Rieff.

Born on January 31, 1944, Mel lived to become a highly-respected attorney-at-law who had become admitted to practice before the Illinois Bar on May 20, 1969.  Over his 37 years as a licensed attorney, Mel practiced law in both the southern and northern regions of Illinois.  After practicing law in official capacities for governmental offices in southern Illinois, in his early career, Mel later transitioned to practice law in official capacities in government offices in Cook County, and then in private practice.  Mel and his family lived in Wilmette for many years until his retirement from the practice of law in 2006, at which time he and his wife, Margery (“Margie”), relocated to Fairfield, Oregon.

Mel held both his Bachelor of Arts degree and his Juris Doctorate from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.  It was in Champagne-Urbana that Mel and Margie had come to know one another.

Upon being sworn to the practice of law in 1969, Mel had served during the early years of his law career as an attorney in the Office of the City Attorney for the City of Carbondale, Illinois, before Mel himself became the City Attorney of Carbondale in 1979.  Mel then also served there in Jackson County, Illinois in his capacity as an Assistant Attorney General of the State of Illinois.

Upon moving to Cook County, Illinois, Mel served as an Assistant Illinois State’s Attorney for Cook County.  In the Real Estate Tax Section of the Civil Division of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, Mel represented various county offices, including all those involved in the assessment and collection of real estate taxes.  For a time, Mel also served as the chief counsel of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Environmental Law Department.

Transitioning to private practice, Mel joined the firm of Fisk & Kart where he first met and then became partners with Herbert Kanter.  On October 26, 1992, Mel left the firm of Fisk & Kart to begin his own law firm, Rieff & Scanlon, which over time evolved into Rieff & Schramm, and then Rieff Schramm & Kanter.

Mel was a past Chairman of the Chicago Bar Association’s Real Estate Taxation Committee.  He also served as a member of the Civic Federation’s Task Force on Reforming the Cook County Tax Appeals Process, and as the Chairman of the Bench and Bar Advisory Committee on Real Estate Tax Objections for the Circuit Court of Cook County.  In 2006, Mel retired from the practice of law, and he and Margie then moved to Fairfield, Oregon where they have resided for the past fifteen years.

Mel is survived by his wife, Margery, their son, Dr. Benjamin Rieff, their daughter, Amanda (Mandy) Rieff Baker, as well as their grandchildren.

No funeral services have been announced by the family as of this time.  The family would welcome, however, photographs and/or stories of Mel to help them through their healing process.  We will be honored to forward such memorabilia to Mel’s family should you wish for us to offer your condolences to them on your behalf.