Wednesday, November 28, 2007

James E. Babcock, Jr.: In his own words

James E. Babcock, Jr. is a Republican candidate for the Ryan vacancy in the 13th Subcircuit.

I am the grandson of the late Marty "Abe" Jackson, Will County Magistrate, and Judge who served 18 years during the 50's and 60's and was later elected as Will County Sheriff. My father is the late James E. Babcock, Sr. a Joliet attorney. Whether sitting next to my grandfather on the bench at the old limestone Will County Court House as a child or walking to downtown Joliet as a teen to watch my father's closing arguments, I knew that I wanted to be an attorney and someday, a judge.

During past 22 years, I have attempted to maintain a clear understanding of both procedural and substantive law, changes to the same as they occur, and the experience learned in law school remain true today. Every case from the drafting of pleadings through jury instructions begins with a clear understanding of the law to be applied to a case. I am a busy litigator, with a diverse practice and often deal with complex litigation. Despite this and what is often a hectic schedule, I attempt to remain on time and do not engage in personal attacks no matter how much unrestraint an opponent may have. I stay in contact with my opponents to minimize wasting the Court's time and I speak with candor. My opponents, the courtroom staff, clerks and deputies are treated with dignity and respect.

The two critical elements in evaluating judicial candidates and their ability to do justice are experience and fairness.

As to experience, not only is the length of experience important, but the success, complexity and diversity of that experience. That experience is not only gained in the files and matters in which I represent a party, but those times wherein I am in a courtroom waiting for my matters to be called and observing, listening and experiencing how others may practice and how judges may arrive at their rulings.

As a jurist in non jury matters or pretrial motion practice, it is the Judge who must weight the credibility of the evidence presented. Experience matters.

The second element, fairness, must be seated in a conviction that the respect earned must be equal to or greater than the respect received together with a strong commitment to not only knowing right, but doing right.

How have these two elements of experience and fairness translated into my practice of law?

My practice is built not upon advertisement, but by my reputation of experience and fairness. Those that retain me are often times family, friends, relatives, co-workers or neighbors of existing clients. A large portion of my practice has been built upon referrals not only from the plaintiff's bar but also from defense attorneys against whom I have tried cases over the last 22 years.

Over the past 10 years, there has been a greater focus and success in the implementation of procedures to alleviate the delays previously experienced in our courts, especially in the Law Division. Every job change requires a learning curve. Our system is making strides to be efficient and effective, can we really afford to elect someone who has less experience, knowledge and who is not "trial ready"? I have the experience, the knowledge, and the commitment to make litigation, fair, less expensive, and more efficient.

Although the changes made in the last ten years have facilitated a move toward a more efficient civil judicial system, the time and resources required to be spent on procedural matters sometimes prevents matters from being resolved by pretrial conference An effective pretrial Judge must have the respect of the litigants in his knowledge of the subject matter, a proven record of experience in evaluating both the strengths and weaknesses of a broad range of complex litigation and a proven reputation for fairness from both sides of the bench. I have proven to possess those qualifications from both sides of the bar.

In addition, I believe a Judge should be an administrative advocate. If something is right, it ought to be done. The following are areas for change involving our youth and the elderly. The first area would be Minor's Estates. $10,000 is far too much money to allow in even the best intentioned parents' control. The second area would be a task force to try to come to some compromise in what is now a four to six month process in obtaining Medicare lien information and settlement authority for our seniors who are injured in accidents.

A friend, former judge and referring attorney with whom I consulted said, "Jimmy you can’t recreate the wheel." My response is and always will be if it’s right it ought to be done, keep trying to put the square peg in the round hole and eventually that peg may wear down.

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