Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mathias W. Delort: In his own words

Cook County Associate Judge Mathias W. Delort is a candidate for the Cahill vacancy on the Illinois Appellate Court.

In Chicago, home of America’s largest unified court system, judges tackle a heavy workload of cases involving all manner of human tragedy, strife and conflict. As a judge, I strive to administer justice fairly, humanely, efficiently, and promptly. I am running throughout Cook County for an open seat on the Illinois Appellate Court in the March 20, 2012 Democratic Primary. My ballot position is number 112, and I am endorsed by President Toni Preckwinkle, the Cook County Democratic Party, and the Independent Voters of Illinois.

As the author of over 100 published judicial opinions, I am uniquely qualified to serve on the Illinois Appellate Court. That’s why both the Chicago Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association gave me the highest possible rating, “Highly Qualified”, for the appellate court. The Chicago Council of Lawyers has, even more remarkably, given me the rare “Well Qualified” rating, making me only the second Cook County appellate court candidate in the last twelve years to obtain a rating better than merely “Qualified” from all three major bar associations. The Council said, “As a jurist, he reportedly listens well and responds clearly and decisively. He is respected for his knowledge of the law and for his excellent temperament.” The state bar association said, “Judge Delort is well-regarded for his knowledge of the law, work ethic, and dedication to improving the justice system.”

Before becoming a judge, I practiced law for over twenty years, representing local governments, public school districts, community colleges, neighborhood organizations, labor unions, and individuals. During that time, I served as the municipal attorney and prosecutor for many suburban communities, representing police officers, firefighters and first responders, and helping elected officials economically address countless legal issues. The breadth of my knowledge and practice is illustrated by the fact that I argued six cases before the Illinois Supreme Court, a remarkable number for an attorney in private practice. I also argued over twenty cases in the local state and federal appellate courts. I am currently an Adjunct Professor at The John Marshall Law School, teaching Voting Rights and Election Law, and guest-teaching real estate and Illinois constitutional law classes from time to time.

I was an equity partner in Robbins, Schwartz, Nicholas, Lifton & Taylor, Ltd., one of Chicago’s most distinguished mid-size law firms. I chaired the firm’s Local Government Law Practice Group and appeared in courthouses throughout the entire state. I was the first attorney in Illinois to be named a Local Government Fellow by the International Municipal Lawyers Association, a distinction which requires passing a challenging examination and publishing a scholarly article. In 2006, my peers (including his competitors) named me a “Super Lawyer” in the field of Cities and Municipalities Law (Law and Politics Magazine) and a “Leading Lawyer” (Chicago Law Bulletin Publishing Company).

In 2007, I was appointed to serve as an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County. Because of my reputation for hard work, diligence, and legal acumen, I was promptly assigned to the Chancery Division and given the difficult assignment of serving in mortgage foreclosure court. I currently preside over a docket of over 8,000 pending cases and have won praise from borrowers, lenders and their attorneys for my scholarship, compassion, and efficiency. While many of these cases involve single-family homes, others are complex disputes involving large downtown office buildings and other commercial properties. I have also spoken widely to publicize the court’s mortgage foreclosure mediation program. My 200-page bench book on real estate and foreclosure law is now used by judges across Illinois.

The role of a judge encompasses much more than showing up at the courthouse and handling the daily call. The court is a public institution. As such, those in authority must constantly evaluate its effectiveness in administering justice and how it interacts with the public and the legal community. Some of my accomplishments on the bench include:

1. Developed a single, uniform order used when judges appoint receivers in commercial foreclosure cases and posted it on the court’s web site.

2. Developed over 20 model courtroom forms to enhance legibility, shorten waiting time for writing of orders, and improve homeowners' understanding of the nature of their orders.

3. Coordinated development of the Mortgage Foreclosure/Mechanics Lien Section of the court web site, marking the first time the Chancery judges’ standing orders, contact information, motion schedules, and courtroom forms were available on-line for reference by attorneys and litigants.

4. Served as chair of the Procedures Subcommittee of the Illinois Supreme Court Mortgage Foreclosure Committee. The subcommittee is developing a large number of recommendations for court rule and statutory changes to improve the foreclosure process for homeowners and litigants.

5. Wrote a 200-page bench book on mortgage foreclosure law and “best practices” courtroom procedures, now used by judges across the state.

6. Established the first courtroom hand-out for self-represented homeowners, containing a comprehensive, easy-to-understand checklist of tasks to perform for the next court date and listing resources for homeowners.

7. Trained new judges in the section on case law and courtroom procedures, and developed curriculum and course materials for that training.

8. Established the practice of using law school summer externs to annually perform tasks in chambers, such as updating case files, culling obsolete files, and updating computer logs, all free of charge to the taxpayers.

Visit www.supportdelortforthecourt.com for more information on my campaign.

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