Acknowledgment: Mark Karlinsky's article in last evening's Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (subscription required) was very helpful in the preparation of this post.
Some of the names in the list of the 26 finalists for the 13 current Cook County Associate Judge vacancies are certainly familiar to FWIW readers; a number of the finalists have previously run for judicial office. However, many of the finalists may not be as well known. Herewith, then, brief sketches on each of the 26 finalists:
Gregory Emmett Ahern, Jr. is one of the two current Circuit Court judges on the finalists list. After an unsuccessful run for a 6th Subcircuit race in the 2012 primary, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Ahern to a countywide vacancy at the end of that year. Although Ahern initially announced plans to seek election, he eventually chose not to file after he was passed over by Democratic slatemakers. His current appointment will expire in December 2014. Ahern was an Assistant State's Attorney before his elevation to the bench. According to the website he put up in anticipation of the 2014 primary, as an ASA, Ahern prosecuted more than 50 felony trials, including more than 25 first degree murder cases.
Julie B. Aimen is a solo practitioner with an office in the Loop. According to her firm website, Aimen focuses her current practice on criminal defense, family law, and civil rights matters. Licensed in Illinois since 1984, Aimen is a former member of the Board of Governors of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, a former chair of the Criminal Law of the Chicago Bar Association, a past president of the Illinois Attorneys for Criminal Justice, and a former member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. According to bar ratings released by Chief Judge Evans and the Nominating Committee, Aimen is one of several finalists to have received a Well Qualified rating from the Chicago Council of Lawyers.
Shauna L. Boliker is the First Assistant State's Attorney of Cook County. Prior to her 2011 appointment as First Assistant, Boliker served as Chief of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, the largest criminal trial division in the State’s Attorney’s Office, and, before that, as Chief of the Sex Crimes Division. A career prosecutor, Boliker has been licensed in Illinois since 1989. Bolliker was also rated Well Qualified by the Chicago Council of Lawyers.
Matthew James Carmody practices from an office in Chicago Ridge. His practice includes both criminal and civil matters. Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1982, Carmody is the brother of the late Thomas F. Carmody Jr., former Presiding Judge of the 5th Municipal District.
Much Shelist as a commercial litigator. Before joining Much Shelist, Carroll was an Illinois Assistant Attorney General for 15 years, including a stint as First Assistant Attorney General. He has also worked as a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney. The Illinois Supreme Court appointed Carroll to the Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar; according to the Much Shelist website, he is the Board's current Vice President. He previously served nine years as a member of the Illinois Supreme Court's Character & Fitness Committee and acted as its Vice Chair and Chair for three years. Carroll has also been active with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. Carroll was rated Well Qualified by the Chicago Council of Lawyers.
Geraldine Ann D’Souza is an Assistant State's Attorney. She has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1992.
Melissa Ann Durkin is chief attorney for the torts office of the Chicago Transit Authority Law Department. She has been licensed in Illinois since 1995.
Pugh, Jones & Johnson P.C.. Ferguson has served as a Hearing Board member for Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission and on the boards of the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, and Girls in the Game. In June 2012, Ferguson was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve on the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. Ferguson was licensed in Illinois in 1996; she was rated Well Qualified by the Chicago Council of Lawyers.
Rossana P. Fernandez & Associates LLC. A former partner with Sanchez, Daniels & Hoffman, LLP, Fernandez was a finalist for Associate Judge in 2012. She has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1997.
Michael Angelo Forti is Chief Counsel for the Illinois Department of Transportation. Before joining IDOT, Forti was Deputy Corporation Counsel in the Constitutional and Commercial Litigation Section. He has been a lawyer since 1980. From 1980-1994 Forti was an associate and later a partner at Bell Boyd and Lloyd, now K&L Gates. Forti was the Democratic Party's candidate for a countywide judicial vacancy in 2012 (he lost to Jessica A. O'Brien).
Aleksandra Nikolich Gillespie is an Assistant State's Attorney, based in Skokie. She has been licensed in Illinois since 1993.
Greene and Letts. Before joining that firm, Lee was a partner in his own firm, Wilson, Lee and Davis. Before setting up his own firm, Lee worked for Jones, Ware & Grenard. He has also worked as an Assistant Corporation Counsel in the mid-1980s. Lee has served as a hearing officer for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District and the City of Chicago and as a Special Assistant Attorney General. Licensed in Illinois since 1980, Lee is a former President of the Cook County Bar Association.
Myron Franklin Mackoff is a partner in the firm of Richardson & Mackoff. He's been licensed as a lawyer in Illinois since 1994.
Alfredo Maldonado is an Assistant Public Defender. He was a finalist for Associate Judge in 2012 also and, this year, he was the second alternate, or back-up, choice of the Cook County Democratic Party for any late-opening countywide judicial vacancies. He has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1996.
Adrienne Denise Mebane is a solo practitioner. Licensed in Illinois since 1984, Mebane spent much of her career in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, leaving the office in 1998 to serve as deputy general counsel for the CTA before returning in 2003 to serve as Chief of Staff under former State's Attorney Dick Devine. When Anita Alvarez was elected Cook County State's Attorney, Mebane was appointed Alvarez's First Assistant State's Attorney. Mebane received a Well Qualified rating from the Chicago Council of Lawyers.
Mary Terese Nicolau is a name partner in the firm of Smith Nicolau, P.C. A former Commissioner for the Illinois Court of Claims, Nicolau concentrates her practice in the area of real estate taxation. Nicolau previously worked for the Cook County State's Attorney's Office as Supervisor of the Tax Unit, responsible for management of the Real Estate Tax Unit and supervision of fifteen attorneys and support staff for all aspects of real estate tax litigation and indemnity fund actions, representing and working closely with the Cook County Assessor, Clerk and Treasurer in resolving real estate tax issues and assisted in proposing and implementing legislation. Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1985, Nicolau is an active Member of the IIT Chicago-Kent Alumni Board. She received a Well Qualified rating from the Chicago Council of Lawyers.
Sanju David Oommen is an Assistant State's Attorney. An attorney since 2000, Oommen received a Well Qualified rating from the Chicago Council of Lawyers.
Michael Francis Otto is the other current sitting judge on the short list. Otto was appointed to a countywide vacancy early in 2012; he ran unsuccessfully for a 9th Subcircuit vacancy in the recent primary. Otto was first licensed in Missouri in 1995, becoming an Illinois attorney in 1998. Otto served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Charles E. Freeman (from 1999-2007). Before that, Otto was a clerk to Appellate Court Justice Joseph Gordon. At the time of his appointment to the bench, Otto was working for Jenner & Block.
Linda Johanna Pauel was the Democratic Party's candidate for a countywide vacancy in 2010, losing to Susan Kennedy Sullivan. Pauel filed for the 10th Subcircuit vacancy this year, but withdrew after Judge Anthony C. "Tony" Kyriakopoulos was slated. Licensed in Illinois since 1991, Pauel is employed as senior counsel for the city of Chicago Law Department.
Edward N. Robles is employed as assistant general counsel for the Chicago Housing Authority. He has been licensed in Illinois since 1988.
Steven Jay Rosenblum is an Assistant State's Attorney. He has been licensed in Illinois since 1989.
Laner Muchin, a firm that represents management interests in labor and employment matters. Schoop has been licensed in Illinois since 1997, beginning his legal career as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Blanche M. Manning. Schoop also received a Well Qualified rating from the Chicago Council of Lawyers.
Debra Ann Seaton is a supervisor in the Public Defender's office. Seaton filed for a countywide vacancy for the 2012 primary, but withdrew from the race. She also ran for judge in 1998. Seaton has been licensed in Illinois since 1986.
Stephen Stern practices law from the Law Office of Stephen Stern. He ran for a 5th Subcircuit vacancy in 2008, losing in a very close race. He also ran for a 5th Subcircuit vacancy in 2006. He has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1977. From 1999 to 2004 Stern was Litigation Director for the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities. For six years prior to that he was Chief of the Civil Rights Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General. From 1986 until 1993, he was a race relations attorney at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. Stern is a former President of the Cook County Bar Association.
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