Friday, June 02, 2023

Who Sits Where: You Gotta Start Someplace Edition

I'm sure this list is incomplete, particularly with regard to subcircuit vacancies.

But it is as accurate as I can make it with the information I have collected. You gotta start someplace.

Non-lawyers (and maybe even some lawyers) may be surprised to learn that the list of judicial vacancies is not public -- not public, at least, until much, much later in the election cycle when the Illinois State Board of Elections posts an authoritative list.

When a judge decides to call it a career, said judge is supposed to submit a resignation letter to the Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court. Chief Justice Theis could send me a copy of every letter... but I won't hold my breath waiting. The Supreme Court also requires that a retiring Cook County Circuit Court judge send copies of the resignation letter to the Director of AOIC and to Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans. It would be nice if the AOIC would send me an updated list, at least every now and then (and, if someone over there is reading, the email address is But that's a real long shot, too. And there's even less chance of getting word from Chief Judge Evans, sad to say.

And, in case you're wondering, I can't just FOIA a list. The judicial branch is exempt from FOIA. See, Bocock v. McGuire, 2017 IL App (3d) 150860, ¶21; see also, Nelson v. Kendall County, 2014 IL 116303, ¶29.

So I have to guess as best I can. I am eternally grateful to FWIW readers who send me reliable tips.

It's funny how the Cook County Democratic Party seems to be well informed about all possible vacancies. But... whatever.

All errors of omission or commission in the following list are mine alone and I am grateful for additions and corrections provided. This list will be updated periodically as event warrant in the coming weeks and months.
Supreme Court Vacancy

Vacancy of the Hon. Anne M. Burke -- Joy V. Cunningham

Appellate Court Vacancy

Vacancy of the Hon. Maureen E. Connors -- Mary L. Mikva

Countywide Circuit Court Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. Vincent Gaughan -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Catherine Haberkorn -- Sarah Rodak Johnson
Vacancy of the Hon. Arnette Hubbard -- Deidre M. Dyer
Vacancy of the Hon. Marcia Maras -- Arlene Y. Coleman-Romeo
Vacancy of the Hon. Raymond W. Mitchell -- Neil H. Cohen
Vacancy of the Hon. Timothy P. Murphy -- Edward J. Underhill
Vacancy of the Hon. Lorna Propes -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. William Raines -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Laura M. Sullivan -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Debra B. Walker -- ChloƩ G. Pedersen

Subcircuit Vacancies

3rd Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Edward S. Harmening -- Unfilled

4th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Edward J. King -- Phillip J. Fowler

5th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Casandra Lewis -- Unfilled

7th Subcircuit
"A" Vacancy* -- Owens J. Shelby

10th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Gregory J. Wojkowski -- Unfilled

11th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Ann Finley Collins -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Paula M. Daleo -- Unfilled

12th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Grace G. Dickler -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Andrea M. Schleifer -- Unfilled

13th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Ketki Shroff Steffen -- Unfilled

14th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. James N. O'Hara -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Daniel J. Pierce -- Unfilled

15th Subcircuit
"A" Vacancy** -- Unfilled

Vacancies in the new 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th Subcircuits will come into existence as associate judges leave office. No more than 10 such vacancies will be created in any one election cycle -- a maximum of two, that is, in each of the new five subcircuits.

*  This is the vacancy assigned to the 7th Subcircuit upon the resignation of Judge Irwin J. Solganick. Or upon the resignation of Judge Michael Toomin. See, note post.
**  This is the vacancy assigned to the 15th Subcircuit upon the resignation of Judge Michael P. Toomin. Or upon the resignation of Judge Irwin J. Solganick. It works either way. And, if I ever figure out which is correct, I'll update accordingly.

Alon Stein to make 2024 judicial bid

Alon Stein has announced his intention to seek a Cook County judicial vacancy in 2024. There's no campaign website yet, but there is a campaign Facebook page.

Stein has been licensed in Illinois since 2002, according to ARDC. He practices with the Stein Law Offices in Northbrook.

In an email to FWIW confirming his candidacy, Stein noted that he has been a litigator for over 21 years, trying cases in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Arizona. As an appellate attorney, he has recently presented oral arguments before the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. He has served as an arbitrator in mandatory arbitration proceedings in Cook, Will, Kane, McHenry, and Lake Counties; he is also a Commercial Calendar Arbitrator for the Circuit Court of Cook County.

In addition to maintaining his own office, Stein has also been of counsel to Miller Berger and Hoeppner Wagner & Evans.

Stein also mentioned that he sponsors two community youth baseball teams in Northbrook and serves on the board of a Sunday School serving mostly immigrant or first-generation American children. He has been active with the Democrats of Northfield Township.

DuPage County candidates raising funds in Chicago. Is this a thing now? Was it always a thing?

Next Tuesday afternoon, June 6, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., Tiffany Fordyce, a shareholder at Greenberg Taurig, will host a free Meet and Greet for DuPage County Judge Jennifer Barron.

Well, sort of free.

Donations are welcome.

So welcome, in fact, that, in addition to the $25 "suggested contribution", there are sponsorship levels ($100 - Champion, $500 - Sponsor). (Persons interested in attending have to register for the event. Email Denise Hernandez at to register or obtain further information.)

Maybe I know about this event because I worked with Judge Barron at a couple of different stops along the way; maybe DuPage County judicial candidates (and, for all I know, Lake and Kane and Will County candidates also) have been raising funds in Chicago since forever.

But, in covering this beat since 2008, I have never once -- not once -- run a notice about a Cook County judicial candidate holding a fundraiser in Naperville or Wheaton.

By the way, pro tip: When mentioning Naperville, it is always best to mention Wheaton also.

I don't think they're as sensitive about it as they used to be but, at one time, Naperville and Wheaton nearly went to war -- I'm talking armed mobs here -- over which would be the DuPage County seat.

Things got so heated, in fact, that it was decided to remove the official DuPage County records to a neutral location.

This turned out be a bad idea, because things got more heated still: The neutral location was Chicago. The year was 1871.

Currier & Ives lithograph obtained from the Chicago Historical Society
So if you're ever asked what two Illinois counties lost their records in the Chicago Fire, now you know the answer. If you win some money with this one, and you want to send me my share, there's a PayPal button in the Sidebar of this site that you can use....

Anyway, getting back to the original question: Do non-Cook County judicial candidates routinely solicit campaign funds in Cook County? Readers, what say you?

FWIW readers know I will run articles about Cook County judicial candidates' fundraisers. Not all campaigns take advantage. But let me make a special plea: If you are raising funds for a Cook County judicial candidate outside Cook County, please be sure to let me know in advance. I really want to run that post....

Thursday, June 01, 2023

Judge Neil H. Cohen to seek countywide vacancy

Neil H. Cohen was appointed to the countywide Mitchell vacancy last September. He will be seeking nomination and election to a countywide vacancy in the 2024 primary.

A campaign website has been launched in support of Cohen's campaign. That's a link to Judge Cohen's campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link will added in due course to the Candidate Sidebar on this site as we move deeper into this election cycle.

Cohen served as an associate judge from 2009 until his appointment as a full Circuit judge last year.

His campaign bio notes his long judicial service, including his service in the prestigious Chancery Division since 2011. Most regular FWIW readers will understand the Chancery appointment as a significant career achievement, especially for an associate judge. But members of the general public may not appreciate that, not that long ago, it was considered impossible for an associate judge to hold such a position.

When Cohen became a judge, in 2009, he was working as a criminal defense attorney. His campaign bio touts his 20 years in private practice, as well as 10 years' service in the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

Cohen also serves as a member of the Illinois Supreme Court's Judicial College Committee on Judicial Education. He has previously served on the Executive Committee of the Illinois Judicial Conference and was the Chair of the Illinois Supreme Court's Historic Preservation Commission's 'History on Trial' Program, according to his campaign bio. He is the current President of the Jewish Judges Association.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Cook County Democratic Party to conduct judicial "pre-slating" on June 15 and 16

The headline pretty much tells you what you need to know. If you didn't know it already.

The Cook County Democratic Party will hold a "Pre-Slating event" for countywide judicial hopefuls on June 15 and 16. If this comes as news to you, your chances of subsequently being slated during the August 14 and 15 slating meeting are presumably pretty thin.

But there's a form: Click here, fill in the blanks, and submit the form and someone will likely contact you. If no one does, however, it's not my fault.

And another caveat, too: The Pre-Slating event is only for countywide vacancies. Committeepersons in the now-20 subcircuits will have their own processes (or not). Some may not have any vacancies to slate. New vacancies are likely in the new 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th Subcircuits because these will be fed, starting this week, by vacancies occurring in the ranks of associate judges. Other subcircuits will have vacancies, or not, depending on whether judges in the existing subcircuits leave office.

Where are the vacancies? How many are there? We'll look at what is known here in future articles.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Edward J. Underhill appointed to countywide vacancy

In an Order entered yesterday, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Edward J. Underhill to a countywide vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Timothy P. Murphy. The appointment is effective June 8 and terminates December 2, 2024.

The appointment was made on the recommendation of Supreme Court Justice Joy V. Cunningham. The Court's press release concerning the appointment is here.

Underhill is currently a principal in the firm of Masuda Funai. Licensed in Illinois since 1984, according to ARDC, Underhill was a candidate for 6th Subcircuit vacancies in 2016 and 2018.

According to the Supreme Court's press release, Underhill has also served as an investigatory and hearing officer for the Chicago Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Committee and the Alliance of Bar Associations (representing LAGBAC), and as a court-appointed arbitrator for the Circuit Court of Cook County. Underhill has served on the Illinois State Treasurer's Advisory Council, representing the LGBTQ+ community, since 2018, according to the Court's press release, and provides pro bono services to indigent members of the LGBTQ community in estate-planning area.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Upcoming Democratic fundraisers which may of interest to Cook County judicial hopefuls

Haven't done one of these for awhile, but the latest batch arrived with significant lead time....

FWIW readers with disposable income and judicial ambitions may be interested in one or more of the following House Democratic fundraisers.

Not, of course, because attendance will give you some sort of clear, inside track to Democratic Party political support for your eventual judicial campaign -- no matter how much disposable income you may have, you almost certainly don't have enough for that -- but your appearance at various functions may, over time, give you a sort of familiarity that might serve you well when slating rolls around. If you make a favorable impression.

Just knowing about these events, and showing up, may confer some benefit. Some little benefit.

FWIW readers are all too familiar with the old politicans' mantra, we don't want nobody nobody sent. That made sense in the long-ago days of Daley I, and for decades prior thereto, when precinct captains with patronage jobs could turn out sufficient votes to elect almost anyone that the Party chose for greater things. Why mess up the system with strangers?

But Daley I has been gone since 1976. There are 80 warlords vying for influence in a continual Game of Thrones, with no certainty of a single winner ever emerging. Within that Group of 80, there is an increasingly influential coalition of progressive activists, not all of whom shy away from the label "Socialist." But, if this is the largest at the moment, it is not the only coalition in the Group of 80. There are ethnic coalitions, too, and others defined by sexual orientation, and still a stunted, scattered smattering of old-school liberals. Well, they think they are liberals, anyway, even if some of their comrades in the Group of 80 disagree. Some in the Group of 80 belong to multiple coalitions, or at least claim to, depending on who is in the room at the moment. But there is no One Absolute Boss. That's alright. You -- the judicial wannabe -- don't need a Boss. You need your own, temporary coalition of local committeepersons, particularly in this dawning era of smaller subcircuits.

While reformers and political scientists may fret that that our one-party monopoly is a rotten system, and doomed and due to fall, it hasn't yet. For now, for the would-be Cook County judge, winning the Democratic Primary is the only thing that matters. So it may help to meet some Democrats on their turf. Or not. No warranties of any kind are intended, nor should they be inferred by you, in the dissemination of this list.

So, with these caveats firmly in mind, herewith some local Democratic Party fundraisers:

Equality & Pride 365
Thursday, June 1 | VIP Reception: 5:00-5:30 p.m. |
General Reception: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
I.O. Godfrey Rooftop | 127 W. Huron St, Chicago, IL 60654
Guest: $250 | Ambassador: $365
Sponsor Levels: $1,000 Bronze | $3,000 Silver | $6,000 Gold | $12,000 Platinum | $20,000 Diamond
Tickets here
For questions or to RSVP:

Welcome to Summertime Sip and Paint Fundraiser with Rep. Lilly
Thursday, May 25 | 6:00-8:30 p.m.
May Del Sol | 144 S. Oak Park Ave, Oak Park, IL 60302
Individual Ticket: $100
Sponsor Levels: $3,500 | $2,500 | $1,500 | $500
Valet: $5
For questions or to RSVP:

Fundraiser for Rep. Morgan
Featuring Special Guest: U.S. Senator Chris Murphy Sunday, June 11 | 12:30-2:00 p.m.
Located at a privide residence in downtown Chicago | Address provided upon RSVP
Sponsor Levels: $2,500 Sponsor | $1,000 Host | $500 Supporter | $250 Friend
Tickets here
For more information or to RSVP, please email Erin Schuler at

Reception Honoring Rep. Avelar, Rep. LaPointe, Sen. Villa, and Rep. West
Wednesday, June 14 | 5:30-7:30 p.m.
The Dawson | 730 W. Grand Ave, Chicago, IL
Individual Guest: $250
Sponsor Levels: $500 | $1,500 | $3,000 | $5,000
Committee Names and Addresses:
  • Community for Dee: PO Box 1571, Bolingbrook, IL 60440
  • Friends of LaPointe: PO Box 30161, Chicago, IL 60630
  • Citizens for Karina Villa: PO Box 457, West Chicago, IL 60186
  • Maurice West for Illinois: PO Box 4303, Rockford, IL 61110
For questions or to RSVP, please contact Kelly Marie Murphy at

And, finally, here's one that's supposed to be free... but organizers are looking for volunteers:

2nd Annual Juneteenth and Father’s Day Festival
Join 7th District State Representative and Speaker of the House Emanuel “Chris” Welch as well as local and state leaders.
Monday, June 19 | 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Memorial Park District | 639 N. Wolf Rd, Hillside, IL 60162 (Behind Adventure Bay Pool)
Performances by Nyla XO, the Jesse White Tumblers, Ayodele Dance and Drum, and Proviso West High Drumline
Volunteer sign-up form here

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Dawn Gonzalez to make 11th Subcircuit run

Dawn Gonzalez has announced her intention to seek an 11th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2024 Democratic Primary. That's a link to her campaign website in the preceding sentence; when a candidate list is set up on this site's Sidebar, this link will be included. Gonzalez also has a Facebook campaign page.

Licensed in Illinois since 1994, according to ARDC, Gonzalez is currently a partner in the firm of Stone & Johnson, Chtd.. She was a finalist for associate judge in 2021.

Her campaign bio notes that Gonzalez was President of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois in 2005-06. She has served on the board of the Madison Street Theater and in leadership or volunteer positions in several civic or school organizations in Oak Park.

CBA webinar May 25 offers keys to success when running for office

Prospective Judicial Candidates: Even if you are already signed up for tomorrow's "Road to the Robe" presentation, sponsored by the Cook County Democratic Party (and perhaps especially if you are), you should also consider attending the Chicago Bar Association's upcoming webinar, "Running for Office: Keys to Success."

The program, on Thursday May 25, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., is geared, according to its sponsors, towards both those individuals thinking of seeking elective office and those attorneys who may be called upon to represent those candidates.

Potential judicial candidates are not the only ones who might benefit from this program. Potential candidates for suburban school boards or library districts or (Heaven help us) possible candidates for alderperson, committeeperson, or the General Assembly may all benefit.

Here is a list of the scheduled topics and speakers:
  • Getting on the Ballot
    Michael C. Dorf, The Law Offices of Michael C. Dorf, LLC

  • Navigating the Petition Objection Process
    Thomas A. Jaconetty, Law Office of Thomas A. Jaconetty

  • Ethical and Financial Compliance Considerations
    Ross Secler, Odelson, Sterk, Murphey, Frazier & McGrath, Ltd.

  • Election Day and Voting Rights Considerations
    Adam Lasker, General Counsel, Chicago Board of Elections
Barbara B. Goodman, of the Law Office of Barbara B. Goodman, will serve as moderator. Goodman is Chair of the CBA Election Law Committee.

Attendees will receive 2.0 hours of MCLE credit (including .5 hours of PR-MCLE credit).

The cost to attend is $125 (CBA members get in for $65 -- members of the CBA CLE-Advantage Plan can register for free). Registration can be accomplished by clicking this link.

Graduation speech press release commences runaway train of memories

Let's make this clear at the outset: I harbor no ill-feeling toward Brian Earl.

I mean, for goodness' sake, it's been nearly a half-century now since he was chosen to deliver the student address at our high school graduation... and I wasn't. I'm hardly ever triggered about this anymore. Honest.

It's just that I get sent a lot more press releases now -- that's one consequence of 4,000,000 page views -- and one of these, recently, touted the fact that Appellate Court Justice Jesse G. Reyes was chosen to give the commencement address earlier this month at the graduation exercises conducted by the University of Illinois Chicago Law School (the law school formerly known as John Marshall).

Chosen. By student vote. Just like Brian Earl.

Brian and I were the finalists for the student speaker at our high school graduation. We had to give our proposed speeches before an assembly of our classmates; they got to choose between us.

Brian was smart: His speech was geared to the graduates. I was not smart: Mine was aimed at the parents. I figured that parents would be the ones actually listening. Think back on your own graduations, then think of the graduations you've attended as parents, when your kids graduated. There were speakers at all of them. If you listened to any of them, which ones did you listen to more? See?

But even if I was correct -- I sure didn't read the room. Not that room, not that day... and so many times since.

And don't ask me now what I hoped to talk about then. Perhaps some harangue about how we Boomers were going to change the world -- maybe a screed about how we kids ought to have been raised -- but more likely some safe, boring pap about our eternal gratitude for the enormous advantages we'd been gifted by our families. Call it cringing cowardice. Call it mealy-mouthed brown-nosing. Whatever it was actually about, I can't remember now -- all I recall, now, is my firm conviction, then, that it would have gone over big with the target audience. But I had to win the dance-off first. And I lost. Bigly.

You'll notice, to this point, if you've made it this far, that I haven't said anything about Justice Reyes' speech.

That's because I don't know what he talked about.

The press release from UIC Law School listed Justice Reyes' many awards and accomplishments -- mostly things that FWIW readers already know, or at least have heard -- but it did not even give the title of his talk. The accompanying email mentioned the bit about students choosing him as the speaker. Apparently it's a tradition. A tradition which -- I hope! -- stretches back well into the John Marshall days because JMLS has been UIC Law now for, what, three years? Five? Whatever. It was JMLS when Justice Reyes went there.

Anyway, Justice Reyes got to give the commencement address at UIC Law on May 6. He was selected for this honor by the graduating students.

Just like Brian Earl.

* Sigh *

Decalogue Installation and Awards Dinner set for July 11

The Decalogue Society will hold its 89th Annual Installation and Awards Dinner on Tuesday, July 11, at the Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson.

The dinner and awards presentation will frun from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. This will be preceded by a reception, beginning at 5:15 p.m. Kosher catering will be provided by Milt's.

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans will conduct the installation of incoming Decalogue President Judge Megan E. Goldish, the other new officers, and the incoming Board of Managers. Joel B. Bruckman will serve as emcee.

Richard Kavitt and Barry Morgen will be honored as 50-year Decalogue members. Helen Bloch and Howard Rosenburg will be recognized as 25-year members.

The Decalogue Society will also confer these awards at the July 11 event:
  • David Axelrod
    Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Judge Rena Van Tine
    Hon. Charles E. Freeman Judicial Merit Award

  • 50th Ward Ald. Debra Silverstein
    Decalogue Society Award

  • David H. Levitt and Conrad C. Nowak
    Award of Excellence

  • Judge Martin P. Moltz
    Hebrew University Fellowship Award

  • Howard H. Ankin
    Presidential Citation

  • Erin M. Wilson
    Intra-Society Award

  • Eden Messick
    Law Student Award
Tickets for this event are $225 each ($175 each for Decalogue members), but, a $25 discount will be applied for tickets purchased online before the Early Bird deadline of June 15. The discount does not apply to Decalogue Student Members, who will be admitted for $18. Nor does the discount apply to reception-only tickets, but these will also be available for $100 each ($75 for Decalogue members). All tickets must be purchased by June 30; tickets can be obtained at this page of the Decalogue website.

Sponsorships are also available: $250 - Bronze, $500 - Silver, $1,500 - Gold, $3,500 - Platinum, $5,000 - Bar Sponsor (only two available), and $7,500 Diamond Presenting Sponsor (only one available). Each successive sponsorship comes with increasing benefits; these will be posted on the Decalogue website soon. For now, though, interested persons should email

Friday, May 12, 2023

CBA to kick off 150th Anniversary celebrations with Community Legal Fair Wednesday in Daley Plaza

The Chicago Bar Association was founded in 1874. It will officially kick off a yearlong celebration of its upcoming 150th anniversary by hosting a Community Legal Fair for residents of Chicago on Wednesday, May 17 from noon to 2:00p.m. at the Daley Plaza. "More than 40 leading legal organizations committed to improving access to justice and supporting Chicagoland’s legal community will be in attendance," according to the CBA's press release.

There are 20 bar groups named on the event's flyer alone:
But these bar associations are not the only participants in next week's Community Legal Fair. Continuing, now, from the CBA's press release:
“We are proud to gather the community together to commemorate the Chicago Bar Association’s 150th Anniversary, show appreciation to all the legal organizations who fight for access to justice alongside us and inform the public on all the legal resources available from bar associations and legal aid organizations,” said the Honorable Nichole Patton, Circuit Court Judge of Cook County and Co-Chair of the CBA’s 150th Anniversary Committee.

Community members can meet and talk with legal organizations from across Chicago to find out more about available legal resources and opportunities for legal assistance. The event will feature live music from the CBA’s Barrister’s Big Band, food trucks and remarks from CBA’s 150th Anniversary Celebration Co-Chairs the Honorable Nichole Patton and CBA Executive Director Emeritus Terry Murphy, CBA President Timothy Tomasik and CBF First Vice President Kenya Jenkins Wright.

“As the CBA prepares to mark a century and a half of championing justice, building connections, and making an impact, we have much to look forward to,” said Tomasik. “We begin our celebration with the Community Legal Fair, and throughout the year, we'll host special CLE offerings and programming, culminating with a grand celebration on May 10, 2024 in the Great Hall at Union Station.”

For additional information on these activities as well as a timeline of the CBA’s history and impact on the legal community, visit the CBA’s 150th Anniversary website at

The Chicago Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Foundation along with the following organizations will participate in the Fair: American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois; CARPLS Legal Aid; Center for Conflict Resolution; Center for Disability & Elder Law; Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights; Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County-Iris Y Martinez; Greater Chicago Legal Clinic; Illinois Legal Aid Online; James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy ; Law Center for Better Housing; Law Project of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless; Lawndale Christian Legal Center; Legal Aid Chicago; Legal Aid Society of Metropolitan Family Services; Legal Council for Health Justice; Life Span; National Immigrant Justice Center; North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic; PILI/Illinois Free Legal Answers; Shriver Center on Poverty Law; World Relief Chicagoland; Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area; Black Men Lawyers' Association ; Black Women Lawyers' Association of Greater Chicago, Inc.; Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago; Cook County Bar Association; Federal Bar Association--Chicago Chapter; Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago; HLAI - Serving the Hispanic Lawyers of Illinois; Illinois State Bar Association; Justinian Society of Lawyers; LAGBAC; Muslim Bar Association of Chicago; Northwest Suburban Bar Association; Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois; The Arab American Bar Association of Illinois; The Decalogue Society of Lawyers; and Women's Bar Association of Illinois.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Socrates on trial May 22 at the Harris Theater

UPDATE 5/17/23: Per email received, this event now offers one hour of MCLE credit.

Charged with impiety and corrupting the youth of Athens, Socrates will be on trial for his life (again) on Monday, May 22, at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. The trial begins at 7:00 p.m.; doors open at 6:30.

The National Hellenic Museum is sponsoring the trial. John Kapelos will portray Socrates. Illinois Supreme Court Justice Joy V. Cummingham, U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Alonzo, and Circuit Court Judges Anthony Kyriakopoulos and Anna H. Demacopoulos will preside at the trial.

Representing the City of Athens will be Patrick Collins, Tinos Diamantatos, and Julie Porter. Representing Socrates will be Bob Clifford, Dan Webb, and Sarah King.

Members of the audience and a 12-person jury composed of members of the local media, legal scholars, and the arts will decide the philosopher's fate. Tickets for the trial are $100 each (student tickets are available for $50) and are available at this link.

It may seem easy to assume that Socrates will beat the rap this time, even though, of course, he was condemned to death in 399 B.C. After all, if the perpetrators of TikTok have not been made to quaff the hemlock on account of their corruption of today's youth, surely Socrates should have nothing to fear from a modern jury.

But don't bet on it: When the National Hellenic Museum put Socrates on trial in 2013, Socrates lost.

Plato -- and perhaps our own history teachers in junior high -- may have dangerously oversimplified, even falsified, the case against Socrates. The 'youth' he allegedly corrupted did not do weird dances and post them to the Internet; rather some of Socrates' students, Alcibiades and Critias in particular, were among the Thirty Tyrants who overthrew the Athenian democracy in 411-410 and again in 404-403. I.F. Stone referred to Critias, a cousin of Plato's, as the first Robspierre. A summary of Socrates' trial prepared by University of Missouri-Kansas City Professor Douglas O. Linder says the oligarchy under Critias "confiscated the estates of Athenian aristocrats, banished 5,000 women, children, and slaves, and summarily executed about 1,500 of the most prominent democrats of Athens."

In this 1979 interview (reproduced on Linder's Famous Trials site) charges that Plato (in his Apology) tries to leave the reader with "the impression that this wonderful old philosopher was condemned simply because he had spent his life exhorting his fellow citizens to be virtuous," but that, really, "the charge of corrupting the youth was based on a belief – and considerable evidence – that [Socrates] was undermining their faith in Athenian democracy."

History can be complicated. That's what makes it interesting.

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

CBA Symphony Orchestra and Chorus at St. James Cathedral this Saturday, May 13

The Chicago Bar Association Symphony and the CBA Chorus will perform Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 and Beethoven's Mass in C at St. James Cathedral, 65 E. Huron St., on Saturday, May 13, at 7:30 p.m. Stephen Blackwelder and Marek Rachelski will conduct, with David (Volosin) Katz, founding music director.

Advance tickets are $15 each ($10 for law students or persons 18 or under) are available at this link. Tickets will also be available at the door, starting a half hour before the performance, for $20 apiece ($15 for students).

New Subcircuit Map released by Cook County Clerk

The Cook County Clerk's Office has released this map of the new 20 judicial subcircuits created by Section 5 of the Judicial Circuits Districting Act of 2022, 705 ILCS 24/5.

FWIW has been informed that individual subcircuit maps should be available by early June. When these are released, FWIW will have them.

Decalogue leads a host of bar groups in May 24 Salute to Veterans in the Legal Profession

The Decalogue Society, in conjunction with some 37 other bar groups and judges' associations, will host a Salute to Veterans in the Legal Profession on Wednesday, May 24, starting at 5:30 p.m., at the Theater on the Lake, 2401 N. Lake Shore Drive. Valet parking will be available.

Admission is free for all veterans and active and retired military. All veterans, active military and reservists are encouraged to attend in military dress.

Civilian tickets are $100 each ($90 for Decalogue members). Registration for this event is mandatory. To register, click here.

Those are the bare facts of the May 24 event. Except for the ad book rates (there will be paper and digital versions of the ad book) and the sponsorships, of course. Ad book rates are $100 for a quarter-page ad, $250 for a half-page, $500 for a full page. Ad ticket prices do not include an event ticket.

Sponsorships do come with two or more event tickets. And a host of other benefits besides (all, again, at this link). Sponsorship levels are $500 - Silver, $1,000 - Gold, Challenge Coin - $2,500, Platinum - $5,000, Presenting - $10,000. The exact benefits flowing from each sponsorship level are also set out at that link.

Again, bare facts.

But, wait a minute: Nearly 40 judges' and lawyers' groups co-hosting a single event? Such an undertaking must have been years in the planning, right?


Judge Megan Goldish, who is co-chairing this event along with Joel Bruckman, told FWIW that this is the first time that an event like this has been attempted, and the scope and magnitude of the event has grown exponentially as word has gotten around. None of the co-hosting groups has been asked to contribute financially, Goldish said, but merely to publicize the event to their members. As soon as anyone hears about the event, Goldish said, they volunteer to help. Goldish said she has been awed by the willingness of people coming forward, so many with inspirational stories of their own service, or a loved one's. It's been a little overwhelming, she noted, but in the best possible way.

Just two weeks out, the structure of the event is still evolving.

First, any monies raised from the event will be funnelled to five or six veterans' charities, especially those that support the Veterans Treatment Calls in the Circuit Court of Cook County. The exact list is still being determined (and may be in flux until the amount of proceeds can be finally determined), but Goldish mentioned Quilts of Valor, the Wounded Warriors Project, and National Womens Veterans United as among the possible beneficiaries. (An updated list will be inserted if time permits.)

The Chicago Garda Pipes and Drums, which, according to Judge Goldish, is donating its services for this event, will provide the color guard. The Simon Wiesenthal Center's Mobile Museum of Tolerance will be parked on the grounds for attendees to visit.

The purpose of this event is to honor the service and sacrifice of veterans in all branches of the United States Military who have also dedicated their careers within the legal profession to the pursuit of justice. The program will feature speakers who work in the legal profession, from every branch of the armed services, and pay tribute to Jewish American Heritage Month and Asian American Heritage Month. The program will also honor the fallen and missing soldiers, Goldish said. There will also a 'non-sound' fireworks display, in consideration of those veterans who may have noise sensitivity caused by PTSD, and a recognition ceremony, Goldish said.

The exact list of speakers at the event is still in development, Goldish said, but among those who have agreed to speak are the following:
For the Marines
Judge Kenneth J. Wadas and Katherine Levine. Randall Tyner will serve as escort.

For the Navy
Ald. Bill Conway and Elizabeth Pennix. Brendan Curran will serve as escort.

For the Illinois Army National Guard
Judge Sheree D. Henry and law student Scout Savage. Paul Plotnick and Judge Marty Moltz will serve as escorts.

For the Army
Judge John F. Lyke, Jr. and Judge Donna Cooper. Conrad Nowak will serve as escort.

For the Air Force
Attila Bogdan, a deputy supervisor in the CCSAO, and Assistant Public Defender Patrick Shine. 41st Ward Committeeman Joe Cook will serve as escort.
Two judges will speak about the Veterans Court calls, Judge William H. Hooks and Judge Michael J. Hood. Rachel Trest, a USN Judge Advocate, will speak on behalf of military law judges. Lisa Yee, from the Department of Veterans Affairs, will also speak.

For ad book information, including ads to honor the service of a friend or family member, email Again, to register, and for tickets or sponsorships, click here. Veterans will be given the opportunity to upload a photo of themselves in military uniform when registering.

Normally, for a post about an upcoming event, FWIW would put all the co-hosts in the lede, not wanting any co-hosts to feel slighted in any way. But the impressive list of co-hosts in this case is so long, it seems best to hold that list for the end. So, without further adieu, here is the list of co-hosts: the Advocates Society, the Alliance of Illinois Judges, the Arab American Bar Association, the Asian American Bar Association, the Asian American Judges Association of Illinois, the Black Men Lawyers Association, the Black Women Lawyers Assoc. of Chicago, the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago, the Celtic Legal Society of Chicago, the Chicago Bar Association, the Chinese American Bar Association, the Cook County Bar Association, the Diversity Scholarship Foundation, the Filipino American Lawyers Assoc. of Chicago, the Haitian American Lawyers Assoc. of Illinois, the Hellenic Bar Association of Illinois, the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, the Illinois Judges Association, the Illinois Judicial Council, the Illinois Latino Judges Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, the Japanese American Bar Association, the Jewish Judges Association of Illinois, the Justinian Society of Lawyers, the Korean American Bar Assoc. of Chicago, the Lesbian and Gay Bar Assoc. of Chicago, the Muslim Bar Association of Chicago, the North Suburban Bar Association, the Northwest Suburban Bar Association, the Order of Themis, the Polish American Judges Association, the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois, the South Asian Bar Association, the South Suburban Bar Association, the Southwest Suburban Bar Association, the West Suburban Bar Association, and the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois.

My apologies in advance to any group that may have been missed. I will update if necessary.

And, finally, while those involved in planning this event certainly know this, some readers may not: Although it is occurring in May, this is not a Memorial Day event. This event honors veterans. Veterans are service members who got to come home. Memorial Day honors those service members who did not.

Friday, May 05, 2023

Advocates offer dinner and CLE at May 11 meeting

UPDATE: Per Alon Stein, registration for this event will remain open until May 11 and walk-ins will be welcome.

The Advocates Society, the association of Polish-American attorneys, will present a CLE entitled "Best Practices in Domestic Violence Court" following their general meeting on Thursday, May 11, at the Copernicus Center Annex, 5216 W. Lawrence.

Program Panelists include Kathy Bojczuk, a Supervisory Family Law Attorney with Life Span; Judges Jonathan Clark Green and Thomas Nowinski, both presently serving in the Domestic Violence Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County; and Krista Peterson, the Deputy Supervisor of the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Division of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office. Attorney Alon Stein will serve as moderator. This program has been approved for 1.0 hour of general CLE credit in Illinois.

Dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m. The general meeting will follow at 7:00 p.m. and the CLE program will start at 7:30 p.m. The cost to attend is $30 for non-Advocates members; Advocates members are asked to contribute $15 to defray the dinner costs. Free parking is available. Registration can be accomplished at this page of the Advocates website. Today, May 5, is the deadline to register.

New Cook County judge among ISBA election winners

The Illinois State Bar Association has announced the results of its recent election, including the election of Alton Attorney Perry J. Browder (pictured at right) as ISBA Third Vice President.

Two Cook County seats were available on the ISBA Board of Governors. Attorney Stephen Komie was returned to the Board; newly appointed Cook County Judge ChloƩ G. Pedersen was elected to the other seat.

Seventeen Cook County attorneys were also elected to the ISBA Assembly. Howard Ankin may be the best known to the general public among these winners. Former ISBA President Anna Krolikowska also sought and obtained election to the Assembly. Other winners who may be familiar to FWIW readers were Audrey Cosgrove (a finalist in the most recent round of Associate Judge selection), Judge Lisa A. Marino, and Katherine O'Dell (an AJ finalist in 2019).
Photo source

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Donna L. Cooper named Acting Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Justice Division

Herewith the press release issued today by the Office of Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans:
The Hon. Donna L. Cooper has been named Acting Presiding Judge of the Juvenile Justice Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans said.

A retired colonel with the Illinois Army National Guard, Judge Cooper has been a judge in the Juvenile Justice Division since April of 2009. She has presided over the Juvenile Justice Division of the Sixth Municipal District in Markham since July of 2011, and also has led the Englewood Restorative Justice Community Court since its opening in August 2020.

Judge Cooper replaces the Hon. Michael P. Toomin, who retired late last year. The Hon. Stuart F. Lubin had been temporarily filling the role of presiding judge of the Juvenile Justice Division while candidates were interviewed for the role.

“Judge Cooper is an excellent judge who understands the importance of helping troubled young people become good citizens, both from her experience in the Juvenile Justice Division and with the Englewood Restorative Justice Community Court,” Judge Evans said. “I know that the Division will benefit under her experience and leadership.”

Restorative Justice Community Courts are aimed at young adults, aged 18-26, charged with non-violent felony or misdemeanor crimes. The courts give young adults a second chance to keep their records clean and get their lives back on track.

Judge Cooper was first elected to the Circuit Court of Cook County [to a 1st Subcircuit vacancy] in November of 2008. Prior to her election, Judge Cooper served as City of Chicago Assistant Corporation Counsel, Assistant General Attorney with the Chicago Park District, Cook County Assistant Public Defender and a staff attorney with the Illinois Industrial Commission.

Judge Cooper received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and her law degree from DePaul University College of Law.

She retired from the Illinois Army National Guard, Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, after 25 years of military service, in May 2013. Her duties included supervising international military attorneys and serving as liaison between the Polish Army and the U.S. JAG office in Iraq.

“I’m grateful to Judge Evans for this opportunity,” Judge Cooper said. “Juvenile justice law was born in Chicago in 1899. I look forward to continuing this important mission to provide justice and rehabilitation to the young people of Cook County.”

Across the street from the Daley Center: June 1 meet and greet for 3rd District Appellate Court Justice Lance Peterson

I wonder if, as a consequence of the new statewide judicial maps, we will likely see more of this....

Whatever... on Thursday, June 1, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., supporters of Justice Lance Peterson's bid to keep his seat on the Third District Appellate Court will hold a meet and greet/fundraiser for their candidate at Petterino's, 150 N. Dearborn Street, right across from the Daley Center (indeed, guests will be asked to use the banquet hall entrace at 50 W. Randolph).

Justice Peterson was appointed to the Appellate Court last summer. The Supreme Court's press release about the appointment noted that Peterson had served as a Circuit Court Judge in Grundy County since his 2010 election. He was an associate judge in Grundy County from 2001 to 2010. Before that, Peterson served Grundy County State's Attorney from 1996 to 2001. Early in his legal career Peterson was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Mary Ann McMorrow and for Justice Tobias Barry of the Third District Appellate Court.

Bob Cooney, Jr., retired Judge Rob Marsaglia (former Chief Judge of Grundy County), and Howard Ankin are the hosts for this event, which specifies no minimum donation. Reservations are, of course, required (email to secure a spot).

Howard Ankin's cover letter states that, "[i]f candidates of the caliber of Justice Peterson are to be elected, campaign expenses must be incurred or met," leaving it to the invitee to determine how large a check to write.

This is what is known as a "soft sell" technique. Of course, it's still early in this election cycle. Clever-sounding sponsorship levels will probably come later.

FWIW readers who are contemplating Cook County judicial bids will have only one question about this event: Will showing up here help me get slated? Short, truthful answer: If I knew how to get slated, I'd have done it myself, decades ago. But I would not expect there to be much opportunity, if any, to buttonhole Cook County Democratic Party committeepersons at this event. Organizers tout 3rd District Appellate Court Justices Linda E. Davenport and Joseph P. Hettel as special guests for this occasion, not Cook County Democratic Party Chair Toni Preckwinkle. On the other hand, there should be many prominent Chicago lawyers in attendance, all with disposable income, that may someday be contacted in support of your own campaigns. And some prominent Chicago lawyers have significant influence with local Democratic party figures. So you never really know....

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

June 4 Campaign Launch fundraiser for Liam Kelly

Supporters of Liam Kelly's judicial bid are planning a Campaign Launch fundraiser on Sunday, June 4, starting at 1:00 p.m., at the Village Inn Pizzeria, 8050 N. Lincoln, in Skokie.

Tickets for this event are $40 each, but a $200 Host sponsorship is available. The admission price includes pizza and soda. Tickets will be available at the door. Checks can be made payable to Liam Kelly for Safety and Justice; an online donation option is available at this link.

The Honorary Host Committee for this fundraiser includes State Sen. Ram Villivalam (8th Dist.); State Reps. Robyn Gabel (18th Dist.), Lindsey LaPointe (19th Dist.), and Bob Morgan (58th Dist.); Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss; MWRD Commissioner Daniel Pogorzelski; State Central Committeeperson Carol Ronen; and Evanston Township Committeeperson Eamon Kelly.

For questions about the event, email Jacqueline Keane-Kelly at

Monday, May 01, 2023

Some links about running for judge generally that may be of interest to new visitors

This morning's article about FWIW reaching the four million page view milestone has generated a goodly number of clicks and a whole bunch of new Twitter followers (which, admittedly, was something I hoped might happen when I put it up).

The following links may be helpful and/or entertaining for at least some of any new visitors who happen by.

The list begins with a 2017 reminiscence about my ill-fated 1994 10th Subcircuit campaign (the picture above shows one of my billboards from that debacle -- and, yes, the reason you can't see the punch number on that billboard was because, in 1994, I did not know enough to include it). The other four links on this list are to posts I did in 2021, attempting to answer the should-I-just-throw-my-hat-in-the-ring question, including a retelling of my really dumb countywide bid in 1996, but also providing a little Chicago history along with some of the lessons I eventually learned in the 15 years (so far) that I have covered Cook County judicial elections on this site.

If you are not a new visitor, do not be alarmed: regular programming will resume here shortly.

Herewith, then, the list:
If you don't want to deal with all this clicking back and forth, you can always wait for the book which I keep trying to write. Actually, click now and remember to buy the book later....

Four million page views -- and counting

Sometime yesterday, according to Blogger, this site achieved four million page views. Here's a screenshot of the relevant section of my dashboard, showing where the count stands as of this morning:
That number surely includes a lot of Russian bots.

But this exalted number also includes a fair number of actual readers and, to you, I say, thanks!

FWIW got its three-millionth page view in October 2020, about seven months into our initial two-week COVID-19 shutdown.

At the time (though obviously I did not admit it) I was a little bummed by the fact that, while it took 941 days for FWIW to go from 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 page views, it took 10 days longer -- 951 days -- to get from 2,000,000 to 3,000,000. Now, of course, I realize that everything dried up a bit during the Pandemic. Before I officially announced my retirement from the private practice of law, my practice just about entirely evaporated.

So I think it's probably a good thing that it took only 917 days to go from 3,000,000 to 4,000,000. All of that time was officially during the Pandemic, too. Which is why we had the last primary on Mel Brooks' Birthday instead of on or about the Feast of St. Patrick.

Since the Pandemic is now officially slated to end on May 11, I hope I get to 5,000,000 in far fewer than 917 days -- but, even with five new subcircuits, there are only so many people interested in Cook County judicial elections. So we shall see... and hopefully together. Thanks again for stopping by.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Back to "normal," but now maybe with some video status calls....

What follows (eventually) is the text of the Circuit Court of Cook County's General Administrative Order 2023-05 -- the order that's been publicized as the one sending judges back to work at the county's courthouses.

The news stories that I heard about this week's back to work order never mentioned masks. But, as you'll see, the April 21 order also says that, as of May 1, mask wearing will be optional in court facilities.

As of May 1? Really?

Before getting to the text of the Order, a little unsolicited advice for my brothers and sisters at the bar and on the bench:

I had business at a suburban courthouse recently. As a not-wholly-voluntary retiree, I don't get to court as often as I'd like, so I wasn't entirely certain about the masking regulations. I had a mask in my pocket, just in case, and as I walked up toward the entrance I saw the prominent sign insisting that masks were to be worn at all times while inside. I dutifully put on my mask before going through the revolving doors and presenting my credentials to the Deputy Sheriff gaurding the portal. The Deputy Sheriff was masked, and he was standing next to a table generously supplied with paper masks for those members of the public who might not have brought their own. Because, even a couple of weeks ago, not a lot of members of the general public were sporting masks as they went about their daily business.

These masks at the entrance were pretty much the last masks that I saw. I can't say with certainty that no one else in that building was wearing a mask during the time I was there, but I was there for several hours and, to appease my Fitbit, I wandered around the building extensively when I had the chance, and I didn't see anyone else wearing a mask. Not in a courtroom. Not in an office. Not in the hallways.

Brothers and Sisters, this is a disaster. Not because I am so enamored of masks. Granted, I voluntarily wore mine a lot longer than most. I will wear one on the train pretty much forever, just as they have done for years in Japan. But I'm no pro-mask zealot. The issue isn't masks.

The issue is rules. Law itself. How can we, the gaurdians of the law, who depend on respect for the law for our very professional existence, show such disregard for the law? Well, you say, wearing a mask in 2023 is silly, maybe even paranoid. Masks are inconvenient and uncomfortable. Mask requirements, you say, are stupid. Let us so stipulate to all of this, if you wish.

But this silly, stupid rule was on the books. More important, it was posted on the courthouse door. And on several interior walls. Where the public could see both the signs and our noncompliance with same. And if we flout our own rules in the very civic temples we have built in honor of the law, buildings dedicated to the rule of law, we undermine the public's confidence in the law. All laws. And we undermine the public's confidence in us, as honest officers and guardians of the law.

I'm no saint. After several hours of wearing a mask, and being apparently alone in so doing, I quietly removed my mask and put it back in my pocket. When in Rome and so forth. If you don't care, why should I?

But you really should care. If you're going to have rules, you have to enforce them. If you want performative virtue signals, that's fine, too. Perform and signal like crazy. But don't make rules or laws you can't or won't enforce. Because performative laws that can't or won't be enforced undermine the very foundation of our profession. And of our country.

[Stepping down from soapbox now.]

Without further adieu, then, the complete text of General Administrative Order No. 2023-05:

In light of the May 11, 2023, termination of the National Health Emergency by President Joseph Biden and the State of Illinois Public Health Emergency by Governor J.B. Pritzker; consistent with public health guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and advice from the Chief Medical Officer for the Cook County Department of Public Health; mindful of the technological capabilities developed and employed to carry on the work of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, during the COVID-19 pandemic and the enhancement of access to justice afforded by those technologies; cognizant that public confidence in the court requires that the court not only do justice, but be seen to do justice; and pursuant to this court’s inherent authority,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, except as expressly provided below or in extraordinary or compelling circumstances, all matters in all Districts and Divisions of the court shall be conducted as set forth in General Administrative Order 2023-03;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, effective May 14 or as otherwise ordered, all judges and employees of the court, including its administrative departments, shall return to work in their regularly assigned workspaces and conduct business in person, telephonically or by videoconference from their regular work locations, subject to accommodations required by law, as follows:
  1. Effective May 14, 2023, all judges and employees shall report to work at their regular work locations no less than 70% of each pay period;
  2. Effective May 21, 2023, all judges and employees shall report to work at their regular work locations no less than 80% of each pay period;
  3. Effective June 4, 2023, work from a remote location will not be permitted except as required by law or otherwise ordered;
Nothing in this section is intended or should be construed as a limitation on authority or discretion of the Presiding Judges of each Division or District, or the Directors or Department Heads of the court’s administrative departments to direct the judges or employees under their respective supervision to report to work, or continue to report to work, in person in excess of the percentages set forth above;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that there shall be created by the Chief Judge a committee to study the feasibility of resumption of a degree of remote work at a future date and to make recommendations to the Chief Judge;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that self-represented litigants and other participants without access to the internet or a telephone shall be encouraged by the court and the circuit clerk to make use of the spaces and equipment provided by the court in each courthouse to participate in court proceedings by videoconference, but shall be permitted/encouraged to appear in person before the judge presiding in their matters if they present themselves in the Zoom Room in the courthouse where their matters are pending;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the wearing of masks or other face coverings in court facilities is optional effective May 1, 2023, subject to resumption of the Office of the Chief Judge Face Covering Policy should public health experts indicate such resumption is advisable for the protection of the public, employees, and other users of court facilities. Anyone who chooses to wear a face covering is welcome to continue to do so;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, at the direction received from the Cook County Department of Public Health, requests for removal of plexiglass from courtrooms and workspaces should be submitted to the appropriate Presiding Judge, Director or Department Head for approval;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that official court reporters and interpreters shall be available for remote proceedings conducted in courthouses as they would be for in-person proceedings; digital reporters shall operate the electronic recording system for in-person proceedings in courtrooms using an electronic recording system; when an electronic recording system is not available, at the discretion of the judge presiding, official court reporters and interpreters shall be present in the courtroom for in-person proceedings not using an electronic recording system; broadcasting, transmitting or publishing audio or video recordings of teleconference and videoconference court proceedings are prohibited, except as authorized by Ill. S. Ct. Rs. 44 and 46;

  1. MANDATORY ARBITRATION Mandatory arbitration hearings, including those previously scheduled, shall be held by videoconference or in person;
  2. MARRIAGES: Marriages shall be performed by appointment or on a first come, first served basis for those without appointments;
  3. HELP DESKS. All help desks, including, but not limited to, the Guardianship Assistance Desk for Minors, 69 W. Washington St., Chicago, shall operate by videoconference and in person;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this order is effective immediately.

Dated this 21st day of April 2023.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Hock campaign to host get acquainted session on May 11

Supporters of John Hock's campaign for an 18th Subcircuit vacancy are planning a 'get acquainted' meeting with their candidate on Thursday, May 11, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Beacon Tap, 1374 Lee St., Des Plaines. Pizza and drinks will be provided.

There is no charge to attend this event, although (unsurprisingly) campaign donations will be accepted. Registration is required. To register, email

Owens J. Shelby appointed to 7th Subcircuit vacancy

In an Order entered yesterday, the Illinois Supreme Court announced the appointment of Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Ownes J. Shelby to the 7th Subcircuit vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Irwin J. Solganick.

The appointment is effective May 19; it terminates December 2, 2024.

Shelby was a candidate for a 7th Subcircuit vacancy in both the 2022 and 2020 election cycles.

Shelby has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2007, according to ARDC. Shelby's 2022 campaign bio stated that he has been employed as a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney for most of his legal career. Before joining the CCSAO, however, Shelby served as Assistant Counsel to the Illinois House of Representatives, Office of the Speaker.

A graduate of Providence St. Mel High School, Morehouse College, and the Chicago Kent College of Law, according to his 2022 campaign bio, Shelby has served "on boards for St. Angela School, Better Boy’s Foundation, NAACP Westside Chapter, College Mentoring Experience, St. Joseph Services, and the National Black Prosecutor’s Association."

If past practice is followed in this case, Judge Solganick's name will not appear on the 2024 ballot. Instead, assuming he runs, Shelby would be a candidate for the "A" vacancy in the new 7th Subcircuit (which, like the old 7th Subcircuit, is centered on the West Side of Chicago and near western suburbs).

It will be the "A" vacancy because Judge Solganick was one of the few remaining judges elected before 1992. Before Cook County was carved into the 15 original subcircuits, many judges were elected to either City-only or suburb-only vacancies. Those judgeships, as they came vacant in the course of events, were allocated to the then-new subcircuits according to lot, the order of which was memorialized in a Supreme Court Order.

This existing allocation method is set forth in 705 ILCS 35/2f(d).

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Sr. Helen Prejean to speak at Catholic Lawyers Guild luncheon Friday

Sr. Helen Prejean will be the featured speaker this Friday, April 28, at a luncheon co-sponsored by the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago.

The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the University Club of Chicago, 76 E. Monroe St., in the Michigan Room.

Tickets for the event are $75 apiece; tables of 10 are available for $750. Sponsorships are also available (Table Sponsor - $1,000, Supporting Sponsor - $2,500, Event Sponsor - $5,000). Advance registration is required. Tickets and sponsorships are available at this link. One hour of CLE credit will be availble for persons attending this program.

Friday's event is co-sponsored by the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage and the Lumen Christi Institute.

Road trip? IJF/IBF Legal Luminary Reception in Springfield May 16

The Illinois Bar Foundation and the Illinois Judicial Foundation will co-host a Legal Luminary Reception on Tuesday, May 16, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the Illinois State Library, 300 S. 2nd Street, Springfield. Proceeds of the event will benefit the educational, scholarship, legal aid and lawyer assistance programs funded by the IJF and IBF across the State.

Two sets of luminaries will be honored at this year's event, the 2020 honorees (something about a global pandemic...) and the class of 2023. The honorees are:
2020 Luminaries
  • Hon. Andreas Matoesian, Ret., Circuit Court of Madison County
  • Hon. Ilana Diamond Rovner, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Richard L. Thies, Webber & Thies, P.C. (awarded posthumously)
2023 Luminaries:
  • Hon. Rita B. Garman, Ret., Illinois Supreme Court
  • James D. Montgomery, James D. Montgomery & Associates
  • Hon. Milton S. Wharton, Ret., Illinois Fifth District Appellate Court
Attendees will be able to participate in an optional CLE presentation preceding the reception at the State Library, from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m., co-sponsored by the Illinois State Bar Association. The CLE will be complimentary for those purchasing tickets or sponsorships for the reception. The topic will be "The 'Independent State Legislature' -- Potential Impacts on American Constitutional Democracy," and the presenter will be Vikram Amar, Dean and Iwan Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

And, at the risk of sounding like a Ginsu Knives commercial, wait, there's more: Ticketholders can also participate in complimentary Supreme Court Building tours beginning at 4:00 or 4:30 p.m. These approximate 30-minute tours will be led by John Lupton, the Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Preservation. Tours are limited to 25 people each and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

To book either (or both) the tour and the CLE, be sure to click-on the appropriate add-ons when purchasing tickets. Tickets are $75 each and (wouldn't you know it) sponsorships are also available (Friend - $250, Patron - $500, Pillar Sponsor - $1,500, or Presenting Sponsor - $3,000). Each successive sponsorship level comes with increasingly elaborate benefits, all of which -- tickets, CLE and tour add-ons, and sponsorships -- may be found at this page of the Illinois Bar Foundation website.

Persons making the trip from the Chicago area should also note that a limited block of rooms has been reserved for this event at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre Hotel in downtown Springfield, a three-minute drive or eight-minute walk away from the State Library, according to event sponsors. The room price is $85 plus tax for the night of May 16. The deadline for reservations using this discount is May 2. Click here for hotel reservations.