Friday, February 17, 2012

CCL evaluations in the race for the Chiola vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit

The Chicago Council of Lawyers has released its evaluations of candidates running for the Chiola vacancy in the 8th Subcircuit. Candidates are listed in ballot order. All of the following are candidates in the Democratic primary; no Republican filed for this Circuit Court vacancy.

Rodney W. Stewart -- Not Qualified
Rodney Stewart was admitted in 1983. Since 1985, he has been a sole practitioner with an emphasis in juvenile abuse and neglect cases. He has served as a hearing officer with the Chicago Board of Education since 2000. Prior to serving as a sole practitioner, he was an attorney with the Chicago Department of Law. As lead counsel he reports taking six civil cases to a jury verdict and around 40 civil cases to a bench verdict. He has litigated five appellate cases. Mr. Stewart is reported to have good legal ability and experience in a variety of litigation matters. He is praised for his temperament. The Council is concerned, however, that his practice lacks sufficient breadth. The Council finds Mr. Stewart Not Qualified for the Circuit Court.
Celia Louise Gamrath -- Qualified
Judge Celia Louise Gamrath was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2010. She was admitted to practice in 1994. Before becoming a judge, she was a partner at Schiller DuCanto and Fleck where she handled family law litigation, complex motion practice, and appeals. From 1994 to 1997, she served as a judicial law clerk in the Illinois Appellate Court. The vast majority of her cases settled before trial, but she did substantial numbers of evidentiary and dispositive motions. She reported handling about 50 appeal cases. Judge Gamrath is exceptionally active in bar association activities and has published numerous articles in legal texts. Lawyers report that as a lawyer, Judge Gamrath had good legal ability and was considered to be a zealous, ethical advocate who is hard-working. She has a good temperament and is praised for her community service. The Council finds her Qualified for the Circuit Court.
James A. Shapiro -- Qualified
Judge James Anthony Shapiro was admitted to practice in 1985. He was appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2007 and continues to sit by appointment. As a private lawyer, he has been in private practice as (simultaneously) a solo practitioner, a partner in Shapiro & Schwartz, and of counsel to Applegate, Valauskas. His practice involved criminal law, employment, personal injury, appeals, and commercial litigation. He served as an Assistant United States Attorney from 1989 to 1995. From 1985 to 1989, he was in private civil practice doing commercial, tort, and labor litigation. Mr. Shapiro was also a hearing officer with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission and a Cook County Arbitrator.

As a lawyer, Judge Shapiro was considered to have good legal ability and temperament. He had litigation experience in both civil and criminal law matters. He had demonstrated a laudable commitment to community service. As a judge, he is respected for his fairness, temperament, and ability to communicate with all those in the courtroom. The Council finds Judge Shapiro Qualified to serve in Circuit Court.
Thomas N. Osran -- Qualified
Thomas N. Osran was admitted to practice in 1990. Prior to becoming an attorney, he was a newspaper reporter in Waukegan. Between 1991 and 2000, he served as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the Chicago Department of Law. From 2000 to 2001, he worked at a public relations firm as an account executive. From 2001 to 2002, he worked at Arthur Andersen. Since 2002, he has been in private practice doing tort and insurance defense litigation. Mr. Osran is considered to have good legal ability. He has substantial litigation experience in more complex matters. The Council finds him Qualified for the Circuit Court.
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