Monday, February 24, 2014

Patricia O'Brien Sheahan: In her own words

Patricia O'Brien Sheahan is a candidate for the countywide Felton vacancy. Her punch number is 148.

I began my legal career nearly 18 years ago when I was hired as a litigation associate at Baker & McKenzie, which was the world’s largest law firm at that time. While at Baker & McKenzie, I gained federal court experience at the district court level and in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and significant state court experience. I went to court nearly every day, represented clients in evidentiary proceedings, defended and took numerous depositions, briefed and argued many contested dispositive motions and first chaired a state court jury trial. I represented clients in a wide-range of complex civil litigation matters, including medical malpractice, employment, products liability and class action defense before federal and state courts and in administrative agencies. I also gained valuable appellate experience. I drafted several appellate briefs and appeared at the oral arguments in appeals filed in the Illinois Supreme Court and in multiple appellate districts throughout the State.

Because of the litigation and courtroom experience I gained at Baker & McKenzie, I was hired in 1999 as the Associate General Counsel of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC). RIC is a specialty hospital that provides comprehensive rehabilitation services at its flagship hospital and at over 30 out-patient facilities throughout Illinois. RIC has been recognized as the “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” since 1991 by U.S. News and World Report.

In my capacity as Associate General Counsel, I oversee all litigation and claims against RIC, including case investigations, pre-trial discovery and settlement negotiations. I appear in court on a variety of matters on behalf of RIC, ranging from contested motions, discovery requests/disputes and all pretrial conferences. Additionally, I handle and defend all employment/labor matters and claims before the EEOC, the NLRB and the IDHR, including fact finding conferences, mediations and evidentiary hearings. I also represent RIC in a wide variety of other complex disputes ranging from employment contracts to insurance coverage to probate matters.

Throughout my years as an attorney, I have engaged in rewarding pro bono and public interest work. I have been active with the Center for Disability and Elder Law (CDEL) for the past 16 years, having served for 12 years as a member of its Governing Board of Directors, as well as, more recently, on its Advisory Board. I also serve as Vice President of the Easy K Foundation, which is a not-for-profit residential home for individuals with developmental disabilities.

I am involved in various bar associations and professional groups. For example, I am a member of the Illinois Women’s Bar Association and have been a member of the Chicago Bar Association since 1996. My husband TJ Sheahan and I have four children. We reside in Evanston, which is where I grew up. I am active in my community and serve as the Secretary of the Parent-Student Organization of my children’s grade school.

With regard to my legal experience and credentials, the Chicago Council of Lawyers recently stated, “Lawyers report that she has good legal ability and is praised for the quality of her work product. She is considered to be knowledgeable, and always prepared. In general, Ms. Sheahan is considered to be a very good lawyer and case manager with experience in a variety of state and federal litigation matters.”

Throughout my career, I have strived to distinguish myself in the legal profession and to take advantage of professional opportunities. For instance, in law school, I served as an Editor of the Law Review, was a member of the Dean’s List and was awarded a paid fellowship for a public interest position through the Children’s Legal Clinic. At Baker & McKenzie, I sought out opportunities to work on diverse and sophisticated litigation matters. At RIC, I have effectively handled all litigation matters involving the hospital, its doctors and other employees. Now I want to bring my training, experience and even temperament to the bench.

I have always been an honest and conscientious advocate. As a Circuit Court Judge, I will be decisive, respectful and fair. Accordingly, I hope to earn your vote in the upcoming election.

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