Saturday, February 18, 2012

CCL evaluations in the race for the countywide Conlon vacancy

The Chicago Council of Lawyers has released its evaluations of candidates running for the Conlon vacancy. Candidates are listed in ballot order. All of the following are candidates in the Democratic primary; no Republican filed for this (or any other) countywide Circuit Court vacancy.

Karen Lynn O'Malley -- Qualified
Karen Lynn O’Malley was admitted to practice in Illinois in 1992. Since 2008, she has been in private practice doing personal injury litigation. From 1992 to 2008, she served as an Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney. Between 2003 and 2008, she served as a deputy supervisor in the Child Advocacy Division of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. She has taught trial practice at Northwestern University School of Law.

She is considered to have good legal ability with a wide range of litigation experience in civil and criminal law matters. She is reported to have a good temperament and is praised for being hard-working and fair in her professional dealings. Respondents knowing her through both civil and criminal law matters praise her for being able to learn new areas of law quickly and thoroughly. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.
Jo Anne Hopson Guillemette -- Not Qualified
Joanne Guillemette was admitted to practice in 1987. She is currently an attorney with the Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, working as the Assistant Director of the Expedited Child Support Department. She was an Administrative Coordinator in the Office of the Chief Judge between 2001 and 2006. Between 1995 and 2000 she was a sole practitioner in private practice. Prior to that, she worked for two years in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. She was Chief of the Child Advocacy Division and an Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Division. She spent one year as Regional Counsel for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and three years as an Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney. Lawyers report that she has good temperament and her integrity is unquestioned. She reports having litigation experience. However, some lawyers question whether she is capable of the more demanding court calls. Overall, she has not demonstrated sufficient experience in complex litigation matters to be a judge. The Council finds her Not Qualified to serve in Circuit Court.
Stanley L. Hill, Sr. -- Qualified
Stanley Hill is widely reported to be a knowledgeable and tenacious lawyer, although the Council's current investigation turned up an issue that warrants special mention. In 1994, Mr. Hill was held in contempt by Judge James B. Zagel for professional misconduct, a ruling that was upheld by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In reported opinions, the district judge found, and the appellate court agreed, that Mr. Hill acted at trial with the specific intent to prejudice a fair and impartial proceeding by refusing to abide by the rulings of the court. Nevertheless, the balance of the Council's investigation leads it to conclude that the passage of time and sufficient seasoning likely have tempered the approach to litigation reflected in those judicial opinions.

Based on the totality of its investigation, therefore, the Council finds Mr. Hill Qualified for the Circuit Court.
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