Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Michael B. Hyman: In his own words

Judge Michael B. Hyman is a candidate for the countywide Nowicki vacancy.

As a judge, I hold fast to the ideals of justice -- to do what I can to make the legal system a true instrument of justice and thereby elevate the public's confidence in the courts. Justice, through its servants, judges, requires that each litigant be treated equally and fairly and with dignity – the immigrant the same as the aristocrat; the powerless the same as the powerful; white or nonwhite, straight or gay, men or women, equally; otherwise, justice dries up, rots, and ultimately goes dormant. "If we do not maintain justice," said Francis Bacon some 400 years ago, "justice will not maintain us."

I believe that judges need more than legal ability to properly dispense justice. Judges also must appreciate the inherent powers and wide discretion that go hand-in-hand with such a privileged position and value the complexities of contemporary life in terms of its social, political, economic and historical aspects. During my professional career, now in its 30th year, I not only honed the legal skills and procedural know-how necessary to preside over hearings and trials, but I also honed my sense of everyday life which well prepared me to make decisions that affect peoples' lives.

Bar associations in town have issued extremely favorable evaluations of me. The Chicago Council of Lawyers, for example, rated me "Well Qualified," stating: "Mr. Hyman is considered to have very good legal ability and temperament. He has substantial trial experience and he is of the highest integrity and his work with the organized bar has been outstanding." The Chicago Bar Association rated me "Highly Qualified," stating: "Mr. Hyman is highly regarded for his knowledge of the law, legal experience, integrity, and fairness and fine temperament. Throughout his career, Mr. Hyman has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to public service and to improving the legal profession through his work with numerous bar associations."

My legal practice predominately involved prosecuting complex fraud cases with the best legal talent in the country on the other side. I was a recognized national authority in the class action arena and selected annually as among the cream of Illinois lawyers by Leading Lawyer and Illinois Super Lawyer, including selection as one of the Top 100 Illinois Super Lawyers of 2005. I served as president of the Chicago Bar Association and as president of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers. In addition, I have held numerous leadership positions in the ABA, the ISBA, CBA and the American Society of Legal Writers.

As a sitting judge, I am extremely careful never to become an advocate for either side. Fairness is my mantra, impartiality my mandate. I must ensure that the litigants in each case receive their "day in court," which includes a full and fair hearing in a timely fashion. And that every litigant leave the court feeling that, win or lose, I was open-minded, impartial, respectful, rational, and diligent. Because that is required if we are to maintain justice.

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