Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Michael Alan Strom: In his own words

Michael Alan Strom is a candidate for the Preston vacancy in the 9th Subcircuit. His punch number is 179.

Legal Background: I have handled a wide variety of civil litigation, most frequently large, complex civil cases, for 36 years in the Circuit Court of Cook County. I have been the lead attorney in major jury trials dating back to 1981. I earned a reputation for bringing people together - making it easier for them to find common ground for settlements or jury trials without getting sidetracked by anger or personality clashes. I learned from the best judges, attorneys, mediators and arbitrators how to resolve cases, a skill I intend to use to help reduce court backlogs. I have been on Decalogue Society of Lawyers’ Board of Managers since 2007, serving as President in 2012 - 2013.

My articles on the Illinois Contribution Act, accident reconstruction expert testimony and Federal pre-emption of state court product liability suits have been published by the Illinois Bar Journal, Illinois Defense Counsel Monograph and The Tablets/Decalogue Society of Lawyers.

In addition to representing my clients through law firms and as a staff attorney, I have devoted over 30 years as a volunteer to bring together the resources of lawyers, bar associations, judges and court facilities to help Chicago children in difficult situations raise their sights and fulfill their potential. As a judge, I will remain committed to pursuing innovative ways to help our schools and community above and beyond my courtroom duties. I was one of the founding volunteers in the Chicago Coalition for Law-Related Education (CCLRE) program in 1983, a program utilizing resources from the Chicago Bar Association, Chicago Public Schools, and the Circuit Court of Cook County. As a volunteer teacher/mock trial coach at South Shore High School from 1983 – 2012, I recruited several attorneys to work with the students, plus special presentations from Circuit Court Judges. South Shore’s student attorneys argued cases at the Daley Center courtrooms annually, and were invited to attend oral arguments in the Illinois Appellate Court. Although South Shore High School was regarded as a chronically low-performing school, our mock trial teams won championships in citywide competitions and included students who went on to successful academic and professional careers.

When the Chicago Bar Association explored a program to address chronic truancy leading to soaring high school dropout rates, I volunteered to recruit, organize and coordinate partnerships of four bar associations (Decalogue Society of Lawyers, Black Women Lawyers Association, Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and Cook County Bar Association) providing attorneys to staff pilot programs to work with the most chronically truant middle school students in targeted Chicago Public Schools in Englewood and Back of the Yards. Our progress to date has facilitated new funding from the Chicago Bar Foundation for potential expansion of the program. At a time when public funds are drastically limited, I believe we need to get help for serious community problems from our judges, bar associations attorneys and private foundations. I have decades of experience getting lawyers and judges to volunteer for such initiatives.

Why I Am Qualified to Serve as a Circuit Court Judge: As a trial attorney, I earned the highest independent ratings for legal ability and ethical standards from Martindale Hubbell, based upon anonymous and confidential feedback from my peers. My qualifications for judicial service have consistently earned excellent bar association ratings since 2004. Most of my 2014 bar evaluations are still pending as of this writing, but include “Highly Qualified” from Chicago Bar Association, “Well Qualified” from Chicago Council of Lawyers, “Highly Recommended” from Lesbian & Gay Bar Association and “Recommended” from Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (the highest rating WBAI now gives). My 2004 – 2013 ratings including “Highly Qualified” or “Well Qualified” ratings from Illinois State Bar Association, Decalogue Society of Lawyers, and Puerto Rican Bar Association. The terminology for Women’s Bar Association of Illinois’ ratings has changed recently, but since 2004 I have consistently held the highest rating given by WBAI. All other bar associations have issued ratings of “Recommended” or “Qualified.”

Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization
US Senator Dick Durbin
Hon. David Orr
Commissioner Larry R. Rogers, Jr.
Evanston Ald. Delores Holmes
State Sen. Arthur L. Berman (Ret.)
State Sen. Howard W. Carroll (Ret.)
Justice Alan J. Greiman (Ret.)
Judge Edward R. Burr (Ret.)
Judge Ronald Davis (Ret.)
Judge Daniel M. Locallo (Ret.)
Judge Sheila M. Murphy (Ret.)
Judge James A. Shapiro (Ret.)
Why I Seek Judicial Service: After 36 years of advocating for my clients, I want to devote the balance of my career to being a peacemaker rather than a gladiator. Along the way, I have learned as much about how to bring people together resolving disputes as how to win in court. Our best judges resolve cases earlier and with less expense to our court system. They share the traits and instincts of the finest mediators. I want to use these skills learned over a 36-year litigation career to benefit the public. Over and above the time devoted to my court responsibilities, I want to continue the pro bono community service work I find rewarding – we will continue to need help from our judges and from the public-private coalitions I’ve worked with for decades to help solve difficult community problems.

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