Tuesday, December 25, 2007

James A. Shapiro: In his own words

James A. Shapiro is a candidate for judge in the 8th Judicial Subcircuit.

"Judge Shapiro is well regarded for his integrity and fine judicial temperament." -- December 2007, Chicago Bar Association rating Judge Shapiro qualified for election to the bench.

I am a sitting judge, appointed to an Eighth Subcircuit vacancy by the Illinois Supreme Court. Before my appointment, I practiced law for more than 22 years, with extensive trial experience, both jury and bench. I was an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago, and then practiced mostly federal and state criminal defense, with a significant amount of civil litigation, for over a decade.

Although I have been on the bench only since August, I previously had over ten years of quasi-judicial experience as a Hearing Board Chair with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission and as a Chair-Qualified Arbitrator for the Cook County Mandatory Arbitration Program.

I have federal and state experience, civil and criminal, plaintiff and defendant, prosecution and defense, private and government practice, and have been a practitioner at big, medium, small, and solo firms.

But perhaps my strongest qualifications for this position, in addition to my professional experience and knowledge of the law, are my fairness, patience, empathy and a deeply-held belief that a good judge can have a positive impact on the people who appear in his or her court.

The justice system can be a faceless bureaucracy; people should be treated with dignity and respect, not as case numbers or administrative units. Judges need to remember that what is routine and mundane to the administrators and practitioners is probably totally foreign, incomprehensible and often frightening to the litigants. As a judge, I am committed to ensuring that people who appear before me understand the procedures and what is happening to them.

When I first decided to study law, my main objective was to be a fighter for justice. Whether prosecuting public corruption in the U.S. Attorney’s office, defending clients in criminal court, or representing indigent victims of fraud and misrepresentation, I have felt fulfilled in that role. I have also achieved immense satisfaction from my scholarly pursuits as professor, lecturer, and author.

I have authored or co-authored law review articles on federal sentencing and federal tort claims which have been cited in cases, law school casebooks, other law review articles, and treatises. During the 1990s, I taught legal writing at Loyola, and from 1993-2003 I was a guest lecturer at Chicago Kent, teaching federal plea negotiations. Since 2003, I have been an Adjunct Professor at John Marshall, teaching Federal Courts. My teaching experience also includes lecture tours in 1999 and 2000, speaking on American criminal justice issues at the German-American Institutes in Freiburg, Tübingen, Heidelberg, Munich, Nuremburg, and Stuttgart, Germany.

I love the law - teaching it, arguing it, writing about it - and have relished it in all its manifestations throughout my career. Serving as a judge is yet another aspect of its practice, one I have grown into through experience and which I now am honored and privileged to enjoy.


Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff. Sounds like a good guy.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work.