Tuesday, March 29, 2016

CBA AJ ratings explained -- and a commercial

In a comment to one of my posts about the current crop of Associate Judge finalists, an alert reader pointed out that one of these, Judge Marc Martin, was rated "Highly Qualified" by the CBA for the recent primary -- but I had written that the CBA had not rated any finalist "Highly Qualified."

Well... come to think of it, two other AJ finalists, Tom Cushing and Pat Heneghan, had also been rated "Highly Qualified" for the primary.

Was there a typo? I reached out to Pat Milhizer, Director of Communications for Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans' office -- and he assured me that, no, this was the information with which his office had been provided -- so I followed up with Therese Kurth, who coordinates judicial evaluation matters for the CBA.

If you've followed the comments, you already knew the answer, but Kurth provided me with chapter and verse: Sec. 26.1 of the Resolution governing the CBA Judicial Evaluation Committee:
As to each candidate for an office other than Associate Judge or for retention, the question shall be whether the candidate shall be found "HIGHLY QUALIFIED", "QUALIFIED," or "NOT RECOMMENDED." As to each candidate for the office of Associate Judge or for retention to any office, the question shall be whether the candidate shall be found “QUALIFIED” or “NOT RECOMMENDED”.
There was no mistake.

Carmel M. Cosgrave
Carmel M. Cosgrave, a partner at Smith Amundsen and the current Chair of the CBA JEC, explained that, because of the large number of judicial candidates, the CBA has had to try and find ways to streamline the evaluation process. An 'up or down' rating for AJ candidates is one of these. Of course, Cosgrave added, sometimes candidates who apply both for Associate Judge and plan a primary run, wind up with two evaluations, one for each process.

I mentioned that I'd recently seen an email from the CBA, looking for new recruits for the Investigation Division of the JEC. (Here's that commercial I promised: You, Dear Reader, can apply for membership on the JEC by downloading this form and returning it by April 8 to Therese Kurth at tkurth@chicagobar.org or by fax to (312) 554-2054.)

I asked Cosgrave, is the CBA JEC hurting for members? One hears rumors, I told her. Not so, Cosgrave assured me. In fact, in the last two to three years, as the economy has improved, there's been a resurgence of interest in serving on the JEC, Cosgrave said. However, there are more candidates than ever, she added, and many candidates are coming forward who have not previously been investigated, meaning there are many more new investigations for the JEC to conduct. And, of course, retention season is almost upon us. However, many hands make light work.

Also, Cosgrave stressed, the CBA JEC is striving for diversification, looking not only for more variety in terms of ethnicity or gender but also experience. It would be helpful for more experienced lawyers to come forward, Cosgrave said, because so many JEC volunteers tend to be younger.

Applicants for the CBA JEC can some day run for judge -- and many JEC members have -- but persons serving on the JEC can not simultaneously seek judicial office. Section 17.5 of the JEC Resolution provides:
The Committee will automatically find without further investigation or hearing, a candidate "NOT RECOMMENDED" for a judicial office in a primary or general election if that candidate has participated in the evaluation of other judicial candidates for that same primary or general election.


Anonymous said...

Am I the only attorney in Chicago without a professional headshot?

Jack Leyhane said...

I doubt that, Anon. I did get a professional headshot once, when I first ran for judge in the mid-90s. The photographer was a nice lady with a little studio east of Michigan Avenue in Streeterville somewhere -- the exact location probably since swallowed up by one of Northwestern Hospital's many expansions.

The poor photographer was out of business long before then, however.

In fact, her studio went kaput shortly after my picture was delivered. I assume she went broke retouching it, trying to make me look human.

And that's when I had hair.