Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How Justice McMorrow helped my daughter with an assignment in 8th grade

Former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Ann G. McMorrow passed away Saturday. The Illinois Supreme Court has issued this tribute to Justice McMorrow (Chief Justice Kilbride has also issued a statement concerning McMorrow’s passing). Jerry Crimmins and John Flynn Rooney have a nice article about Justice McMorrow’s life and career in today's Chicago Daily Law Bulletin (subscription required). I can’t improve on these tributes, but I would like to add my own little story.

In the Spring of 1998 I was virtually unemployed. I’d just left the law firm where I’d practiced for 18 years and set up a new ‘eat what you kill’ partnership arrangement with a college classmate, Mark Boyle. A couple of weeks into my new venture, I was beginning to realize that I had vastly overestimated the amount of business that would follow me from the old firm. About the only thing I could count on keeping at that point was my column in the Law Bulletin (thank you, Paul Zelewsky); I wrote a lot of columns in 1998.

The kids' school calendar progresses without regard to the concerns of an anxious father. Thus, I was informed in due course about Take Your Daughter to Work Day. My oldest girl, Katie, then in 8th grade, was expected to accompany me to work – and write a paper about her experiences. I was fortunate to scrounge one matter for court that day (covering for my partner), but it only involved presenting a motion in an 11th floor Daley Center Courtroom and getting a briefing schedule.

Even I understood that this would not give Katie a lot to write about. However, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois had scheduled a reception that evening. Hoping that this might somehow rescue Katie’s Take Your Daughter to Work Day experience, I bought two tickets. As I recall, Judge Henry A. Budzinski, a law school classmate of my father's, was one of the honorees. I could count on him to say something nice to Katie about her grandfather (and he did).

Supreme Court Justice Mary Ann G. McMorrow was the other honoree.

You’ve read in each of Justice McMorrow’s obituaries that she was the only woman in her graduating class at Loyola University Law School in 1953. In fact, she was one of the very few women in the entire university during the early 1950s. My mother, who was enrolled in what was then called the School of Commerce, was another. (Completely unverifiable family tradition has it that there were only four women at Loyola’s downtown campus when my mother was there; there were none at Loyola’s Rogers Park campus.) When I introduced myself and Katie to Justice McMorrow, the justice was kind enough to say something like, "Oh, yes, you write those articles" -- building me up for my daughter's sake. I quickly mentioned my mother's overlapping attendance at Loyola –- and Justice McMorrow was just as quick to assure my daughter (whether it was true or not) that she well remembered Katie’s grandmother. Katie was thrilled (and now she had plenty for her paper, too).

Etiquette on these occasions requires the honoree to merely nod at each introduction, shake hands, and turn to the next person in line. Instead, Justice McMorrow went out of her way to make my daughter welcome. I was very grateful to Justice McMorrow for her kindness and graciousness that evening. I still am.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Justice Theis creates appointment screening committee

Judge Anderson (ret.)
Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis announced Friday the formation of a 14-person "bipartisan screening committee" to assist her in screening potential appointments to interim vacancies on the Cook County Circuit Court.

The committee will be co-chaired by retired U.S. District Judge Wayne R. Anderson, now a neutral with JAMS, and retired Illinois Appellate Justice Michael J. Gallagher, who now operates Michael J. Gallagher Mediation Services LLC.

Justice Gallagher (ret.)
Another retired U.S. District Court Judge, David H. Coar, now also a JAMS neutral, will serve on the committee, as will Alison C. Conlon, a partner in the Chicago office of Barnes & Thornburg LLP; Mary C. Dempsey, the former Chicago Public Library Commissioner and currently the President of the Phillip H. Corboy Foundation; and Jean M. Golden, a Cassiday Schade LLP partner.

Denise Kane, the Inspector General of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, is the only non-lawyer member of the screening committee.

Judge Coar (ret.)
Other members of the screening committee are Elizabeth Kaveny, a name partner in the firm of Burke Wise Morrissey & Kaveny; Michael Monico, a partner in the firm of Monico & Spevack and frequent guest on WLS radio's Roe & Roeper program; Michael I. Rothstein, a name partner in the firm of Tabet DiVito & Rothstein; and Sr. Catherine M. Ryan, the Executive Director of Maryville Academy.

Also serving on the screening committee are Francine Soliunas, Dean for Strategic Community Alliances at the DePaul University College of Law; Richard Waris, an equity partner in the firm of Pretzel & Stouffer, Chartered; and Professor Mark E. Wojcik of the John Marshall Law School.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Jean M. Cocozza appointed to countywide vacancy

Updated 2/14/13

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports in its February 11 edition that Jean M. Cocozza has been appointed to the Cook County Circuit Court countywide vacancy created by the election of Judge Jesse G. Reyes to the Illinois Appellate Court.

Cocozza's appointment is effective February 22, and terminates on December 1, 2014.

According to ARDC, Cocozza has been licensed in Illinois as an attorney since 1989. Cocozza has been serving as a senior clerk in the chambers of Supreme Court Justice Charles Freeman.

Monday, February 11, 2013

CBA Judicial Evaluation Committee looks to beef up investigation panels

The CBA Judicial Evaluation Committee is looking for members to serve in its Investigation Division. The Committee evaluates candidates for the bench and sitting judges seeking retention. CBA members with at least a few years of practice experience are encouraged to apply. Current JEC members do not need to reapply. Applications are available at www.chicagobar.org.

The CBA JEC is looking for new members because of the uptick of investigations that will be necessitated when Cook County associate judge applications close at 5:00 p.m. on February 13. (To see an application for the office of Associate Judge, click here.)

JEC Applications should be returned to Therese Kurth at the Chicago Bar Association via fax to 312-554-2054 or by emailing tkurth@chicagobar.org on or before February 15, 2013.

Full Disclosure: I am among those applying for the office of Associate Judge.