Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Campaign website set up for Oran F. Whiting

Supporters of Oran F. Whiting's forthcoming judicial bid have established a campaign website on their candidate's behalf. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the blog Sidebar.

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1987, Whiting currently heads up his own firm with offices in River North. According to Whiting's curriculum vitae, however, supplied to FWIW by one of Whiting's campaign consultants, Frank Calabrese, Whiting has also worked for some of the largest firms in Chicago and the world, starting with Baker & McKenzie after graduation from the Georgetown University Law Center, and moving on thereafter to partnerships with Peterson & Ross; Barnes & Thornburg; Freeborn & Peters; Holland & Knight; Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan, LLP; and Quintairos Prieto Wood & Boyer, P.A. (these last two firms claiming, at different times, to be the largest minority-owned law firms in the country).

Along the way, Whiting has found time to serve as a Commissioner of the Illinois Court of Claims, as a hearing officer for the Illinois Secretary of State and, currently, as a member of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois’ Oversight Committee. Whiting is also the Executive Editor of the ABA's Litigation News. His campaign biography notes that Whiting has also "volunteered for several boards, including the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and the Board of Trustees of the Francis W. Parker School," a school that Whiting attended.

The campaign website also claims a number of endorsements for Whiting, including those of Cong. Danny Davis and Ald. Ed Burke.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr Whiting was originally given a Not Recommend by the Puerto Rican bar association. Mysteriously that rating was changed to highly recommended a year later. Worth a follow up with the alliance.

Jack Leyhane said...

Anon 6/8 at 2:10 -- I held your comment until this morning while I did do my follow up.

I have been able to verify, through my own sources, that the PRBA did change Mr. Whiting's rating, as you suggest, in the Fall of 2016.

However, Anon, if you're sufficiently 'inside' that you know about a change in one 2015 AJ applicant's rating, you also know that the bar groups do have appeals processes in place and they can change their ratings for this candidate, or that one, either through that process or otherwise.

Readers, on the other hand, may not all know that the Alliance JECs (with the exception of the Chicago Council of Lawyers and, sometimes, the ISBA) do not explain their ratings -- and do not have to. So let me provide some context:

Back in 2007, I wrote a post about the Illinois Supreme Court's unsuccessful attempt to get Alliance members to explain their unfavorable reviews of an individual that the Supreme Court was looking to appoint to a 5th Subcircuit vacancy. The CBA rated the individual qualified -- but eight of the then-10 Alliance members did not (the Cook County Bar Association and the Black Women Lawyers Association were the two Alliance members that gave favorable ratings). Only the Council offered an explanation as to why it did not recommend the individual.

The Supreme Court asked the other Alliance members to explain their negative ratings further -- and the Alliance members, as a group, chose not to -- and the Supreme Court got miffed and appointed the individual anyway (he went on to lose in the 2008 primary).

Anyway---bottom line---if the Supreme Court can't make Alliance members explain their ratings, Alliance members don't have to explain their ratings, or their changes in ratings, to thee or me. Not mystery, Anon, but history.

Of course, as long as I was doing my Journalism 101 thing with your comment, I did reach out to the PRBA to see if, perhaps, just this once, the group might want to comment... but my email to the PRBA's president has so far gone unanswered. If I do get a response, I'll update.

Anonymous said...

Alliance members are to give their reasons in writing to the candidate for a not qualified/not recommended rating. The reason(s) for the not qualified/not recommended rating do not have to be long and drawn out written reasons. The Alliance members are to have an appeal process. The candidate can then address the not qualified/not recommended rating. The Alliance members can then uphold or reverse the not qualified/not recommended rating. It is up to the candidate to share the not qualified/not recommended rating and reasons to whomever it wants when the appeal process is over.

Anonymous said...

The real question is not the change in the rating but the drastic nature of the change. How does one go from not recommended to highly recommended? Oh. Wait. I know . . . Louie Arroyo.

Jack Leyhane said...

Anon 6/13 @ 10:43 -- This Luis Arroyo must indeed be a complicated person. In your comment, he's a miracle worker who can drastically change bar ratings, at least the ratings of particular groups. But, as FWIW readers have seen, Rep. Arroyo appears in these comments frequently, and not always favorably -- although sometimes he is credited with recruiting and supporting judicial candidates representative of their communities and working tirelessly for their election -- but other times he is alleged to attend functions merely to push tickets for his own fundraisers, preying on the stray cash believed to be abundant in the wallets or purses of all judicial wannabes.

I recall one comment from a few years back in which Rep. Arroyo was accused of organizing a candidates' forum at which (for a $750 entrance fee). "In return," the comment continued, "you will get to step up to a microphone with 20 other candidates and over the din of the talking guests tell them your name, bar association ratings and mention some charity work you did 17 years ago. No one will hear you or remember you. Arroyo will not know your name when you come in, will not know it when you leave, and will not remember it tomorrow." (I really liked that comment -- and remembered it -- not because it attacked Rep. Arroyo, but because I thought it a well-written expression of one candidate's bitterness.)

So which is it? The tireless champion who works so hard for judicial candidates who would best reflect and represent the community? Or the guy who fleeces poor, naive judicial wannabes and gives no value in return?

I will go out on a limb here, based on general observation and not specific personal knowledge, and suggest that the correct answer may be "both."

Mr. Arroyo is a politician. And he's enjoyed some success at it. I therefore assume he can shake a candidate's hand, look directly in the candidate's eye, and wish him or her luck and make the candidate think that he or she has just been enthusiastically endorsed -- even though no specific words of endorsement were spoken and even though "good luck" might (and often does) carry with it the unspoken subtext "because you're gonna need it -- you have no chance whatsoever."

A politician is a person who can tell you to go to Hell and leave you looking forward to the trip.

And get you to write a check to the pol's reelection campaign in payment for said good wishes.

Still, I wouldn't be too certain about the ability of any politician to magically change anyone's bar ratings for any bar group. I believe in the possibility that an individual might have an outsize influence on this group, or that one, but only because of individual relationships with the people in decision-making capacities in that group, but I don't know whether that general possibility applies in this specific case.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Deep, Jack.