Thomas L. Brejcha Esq.
President and Chief Counsel
Thomas Brejcha is the founder, President, and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Society. Tom earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and received his law degree from New York University School of Law. From 1969-1970, Tom served as an Army Captain in Vietnam and was awarded a Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal. For most of his career, Tom was a business lawyer bringing over 40 years of experience to the Thomas More Society. Tom became legal counsel in 1986 for the renowned pro-life case, N.O.W. v. Scheidler where Tom took the case to the United State Supreme Court three times. Tom has been defending pro-lifers across the country for over 25 years. To read his full bio please see his attorney profile.
Founding Director and Chairman of the Board
Pro-Life Action League Vice President and the third founding director of Thomas More Society, Ann Scheidler began her involvement with the pro-life movement in 1973 when her husband, National Director Joe Scheidler, began full-time pro-life work.
In 1980, she helped found the Pro-Life Action League. In 1990, Ann began working part-time at the League as Assistant Director, a position which gradually became full-time. She is closely involved with all aspects of the League’s work, from public relations and development to activism and outreach.
Ann is a frequent speaker on pro-life activism and sidewalk counseling, and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs. She travels extensively conducting sidewalk counseling training sessions. Ann holds a bachelor’s degree from Mundelein College. She is the mother of seven children, including League staffer Eric Scheidler, and the grandmother of 23.
John M. Breen
John M. Breen is a professor of law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. As an undergraduate, Professor Breen studied the “Great Books” while majoring in Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He graduated from Notre Dame in 1985 with highest honors and as a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He then attended Harvard Law School where he was a member of the Board of Student Advisors, teaching research and writing to first year law students. Following his graduation from Harvard in 1988, Professor Breen clerked for Judge Boyce F. Martin, Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He then practiced law at Sidley & Austin in Chicago where he specialized in commercial litigation. Professor Breen left Sidley & Austin to pursue a teaching career in 1994. He served as an associate visiting professor of law at the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University from 1994-1996. He received an appointment to join the faculty at Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1996. At Loyola, Professor Breen teaches or has taught courses in Contracts, Professional Responsibility, Sales, Negotiable Instruments, Jurisprudence, and Catholic Social Thought. His scholarly writings have addressed a wide variety of topics including commercial law, statutory interpretation, abortion, law and religion, Catholic social thought and the law, legal ethics, and legal education. They have appeared in a variety of publications including the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, the Connecticut Law Review, and the American Journal of Legal History. He is currently working on a book with Lee Strang on the history of Catholic legal education in the United States. From 2000-2003, Professor Breen served as the Reporter to the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Professional Responsibility. From 1999-2004, he was a contributor to the Illinois portion of the American Legal Ethics Library hosted by Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. He has served as a expert witness in a number of cases involving questions of attorney conduct and professional responsibility. Professor Breen is a founding member and past president of the Arab American Bar Association of Illinois, and currently serves on AABAR’s board of directors. Since 2012 he has served on the board of directors of the Catholic Conference of Illinois, advising the Catholic bishops of Illinois on matters of public policy.
Brian L. Hengesbaugh Esq.
Brian Hengesbaugh is a partner in the Chicago office of Baker & McKenzie. Brian concentrates his practice on regulatory and transactional issues, including privacy and data protection, data security and breach notification, outsourcing, and electronic records and signatures.
Brian graduated cum laude from the University of Minnesota Law School in May 1995 and is admitted to practice law in Illinois and Indiana. Prior to joining Baker & McKenzie in 2001, Brian served as Special Counsel to the General Counsel of the US Department of Commerce where, among other responsibilities, he was the lead attorney in the negotiation of the US-EU Safe Harbor Privacy Framework.
Brian has performed pro bono legal services for Thomas More Society and other pro-life organizations for many years, and joined the Board of Thomas More Society in September of 2009.
Joan Mannix specializes in civil appellate practice. She has written hundreds of appellate briefs and argued numerous times before the Illinois Appellate Court and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Joan has also participated in the representation of clients before the Illinois Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court. Some of her noteworthy appeals include an Illinois Supreme Court decision reversing an appellate court ruling which vacated judgments in favor of her clients totaling $16 million and an Illinois Appellate Court decision affirming a wrongful death verdict for $8.3 million in favor of her client.
Joan earned both her bachelor’s degree in History and her J.D. from the University of Notre Dame, and is proud to be a Double Domer. She volunteered for the Peace Corps, teaching science in Burkina Faso.
In 2012 and 2013, Joan was recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer for her appellate work. She is the co-author of a chapter on Settlement and Compromise in the Illinois Institute of Continuing Education (“IICLE”) Class Actions 2001 publication, as well as the chapter on Settlement Procedures in the IICLE Class Actions 2007 and 2013 publications.
Thomas Olp Esq.
Tom earned his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and J.D. degree from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. He has an LLM from Georgetown University Law Center. Tom started his career as a labor attorney with the National Labor Relations Board, Peoria, IL regional office and later with Montgomery Ward’s Baltimore regional office. He practiced labor and employment law and general litigation in Washington, D.C. from 1985 until 1994 first with Finley, Kumble and then with Ross & Hardies, where he was a partner. From 1994 to present he has served as Vice President and General Counsel for Connor-Winfield Corporation, Aurora, IL.
Tom also serves as a board member for The Connerstone-Forum, Santa Rosa, CA, the Illinois Girls’ Lacrosse Association, and Toward Educating America’s Children (TEACH), a non-for-profit organization serving Guatemala’s rural Mayan population in the area of schooling. Additionally, Tom has served on his parish’s advisory council, outreach commission, St. Vincent de Paul conference, and was a track and cross country coach for many years. Recently, he has led service trips to Guatemala and the Congo. He is the current President of the St. Thomas More Society of DuPage County, a spiritual group for DuPage County attorneys.
Tom has devoted significant time volunteering on Thomas More Society’s major cases, including the cases involving the abortion mega mill in Aurora, Illinois and several First Amendment cases. Tom is admitted to practice law in Illinois, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.