Thursday, May 30, 2019

Russ Hartigan seeks return to the Circuit Court bench

Former Circuit Court Judge Russell W. Hartigan has announced that he will attempt to return to the bench in the 2020 election.

First appointed to the bench in September 2010, Hartigan was elected, without opposition, to a countywide vacancy in 2012. However, he stepped down in early 2017 because of "family health issues," according to his new campaign website.

Hartigan was President of the Illinois State Bar Association in the 2017-2018 bar year. The bio on his new campaign website states that Hartigan "has a rich background of community and public service" including stints as Berwyn Township Committeeman and President of Lyons Township Democratic Organization. He has also served as Lyons Township Supervisor, Trustee and Township Trustee of Schools. Hartigan was also a trustee of Village of Western Springs.

A member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, Hartigan has taught classes at John Marshall Law School, Northwestern University, and the DePaul University School for New Learning. He was admitted to the practice of law in Illinois in 1976.

Kelly Marie McCarthy announces 2020 judicial bid

Assistant Public Defender Kelly Marie McCarthy has announced plans to run for the Cook County Circuit Court in the 2020 primary. A campaign Facebook page has been launched in support of this effort.

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2001, McCarthy has worked for the Public Defender's Office since 2002. A campaign bio, linked to McCarthy's campaign Facebook page, notes that she has tried over 60 jury cases and hundreds of felony bench cases. She currently serves as Chief of the PD's Appeals/ Post Conviction Division, previously serving as Deputy Chief of the office's Felony Trial Division.

McCarthy's campaign bio also notes that she is a breast cancer survivor, a pilot, and the mother of two small children. In addition, according to the bio, she serves, pursuant to Supreme Court appointment, on "a subcommittee addressing pretrial practices throughout Illinois."

This will be McCarthy's first bid for election to the bench. She applied for Associate Judge in 2017 and again last September.

Friday, May 24, 2019

A bill to redraw Subcircuit boundaries has now passed both houses of the General Assembly

In 1990, a coalition of minority groups in the Illinois General Assembly (African-Americans, Hispanics, and Republicans) banded together to divide Cook County into 15 subcircuits, with 11 judges to be elected from each, as vacancies became available. These positions were made available by eliminating the former method of electing judges from the City only or the suburbs only. As judges elected from the City-only or the suburbs-only left office, Additional Judgeships A, B, and sometimes C were added on the ballot in the various subcircuits.

Each of these historic minorities thought that a subcircuit system would increase their respective numbers on the Cook County bench at the expense of the 'Regular' (read: European-descended) Democrats.

The Republicans were, of course, wrong.

The Subcircuits were drawn using data from the 1990 Census. The first Cook County subcircuit election was held in 1992. There are now only three judges still serving in Cook County who were elected City-only or Suburbs-only.

And the original subcircuit boundaries, drawn with 1990 Census data, have remained unchanged.

But not for long.

H.B. 2625, which will require the redrawing of subcircuit boundaries using 2020 Census data, has now passed both the Illinois House and Senate. It is not ready yet for the Governor's signature because the Senate has added provisions for the redrawing of subcircuit boundaries in the 12th, 16th, 17th, 19th, and 22nd Circuits as well (basically all the collar counties except DuPage, and Boone and Winnebago Counties). It seems likely, however, that the House and Senate versions of the bill will soon be reconciled.

Judges elected from a subcircuit will not be obliged to move if their residence is moved to a different subcircuit by the new map. However, starting with the 2022 election, a candidate for a subcircuit vacancy must be a resident of the redrawn subcircuit in order to qualify for the ballot.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Retired Judge Sebastian T. Patti to be honored at Alliance of Illinois Judges Annual Meeting

The Alliance of Illinois Judges will hold its Annual Meeting and Installation of Officers on Wednesday, June 26, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the Chicago Bar Association, 321 S. Plymouth Court.

At the meeting, the Alliance will present recently retired Judge Sebastian T. Patti with the inaugural Hon. Sebastian T. Patti Judicial Excellence Award.

In announcing the honor, the AIJ stated that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, "and in celebration, we honor a truly remarkable member of the LGBTQ community."

Of Judge Patti, the AIJ states, "During his 24-year tenure Judge Patti personified excellence through his demeanor, strength of character, integrity, fairness and open-mindedness. He served with distinction and garnered the respect of judges and lawyers alike. Judge Patti is the first openly gay countywide Judge, the first openly gay Appellate Court Justice, and the first openly gay Presiding Judge in Illinois."

The AIJ will also inaugurate a new slate of officers at the June 26 meeting. These are:
  • President - Hon. Mary Cay Marubio
  • Vice President - Hon. Linda Pauel
  • Treasurer - Hon. Judy Rice
  • Secretary - Hon. Catherine Schneider
  • Director - Hon. James Snyder
  • Director - Hon. Stephanie Miller
  • First Past President - Hon. Mary Trew
  • Second Past President - Hon. Mary Colleen Roberts
Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans will preside at the installation.

Tickets for the event are $50 apiece, and are available at this link on the AIJ website.

June 11 reception set for Justice Reyes

(And so it begins....)

Supporters of Appellate Court Justice Jesse G. Reyes' Supreme Court bid are planning a fundraiser for their candidate on Tuesday, June 11, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., in the Savoy Room of the Hotel Allegro, 171 West Randolph Street.

Tickets for the event are $150 each, and sponsorships are available (Host - $500, Sponsor - $1,000, Patron - $2,500, Chair - $5,800). For additional information about this event, or to procure tickets, contact Kelly Marie Murphy at (224) 999-4690 or

Cook County Dems announce "pre-slating" on June 20-21

Jacob Kaplan, the Cook County Democratic Party's Executive Director, has confirmed the June 20-21 dates. To get a specific appointment time, and to find out what to bring, call (312) 263-0575 or email

The Cook County Democratic Party has also announced chairs and vice-chairs for these slating committees:
Candidate Recruitment and Evaluation (Pre-Slating) Committee:
Chair – Barrett Pedersen (Leyden Township)
Vice Chair – Jason Ervin (28th Ward)

Statewide Committee:
Chair – Michael Hastings (Orland Township)
Vice Chair – Antonio Munoz (12th Ward)

Countywide Committee:
Chair – Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward)
Vice Chair – Ted Mason (Elk Grove Township)

Supreme Court Committee:
Chair – Robert F Martwick Jr. (38th Ward)
Vice Chair – Tracy Katz Muhl (Northfield Township)

Appellate Court Committee:
Chair – Dean Maragos (New Trier Township)
Vice Chair – Pat Dowell (3rd Ward)

Circuit Court Committee:
Chair – Don Harmon (Oak Park Township)
Vice Chair – Michelle Harris (8th Ward)
And if you're doing long-range planning, the slating meeting is set for August 15-16.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Chicago Bar Association finds four Associate Judges "not recommended" for retention

One hundred thirty four of the 138 associate judges seeking reappointment have been found qualified by the Chicago Bar Association's Judicial Evaluation Committee, the CBA announced today.

For the mathematically-challenged, that means four current AJs were found "not recommended" by the CBA.

Two, Judges Stuart Katz and Patricia Logue, did not return the CBA's questionnaires and were thus automatically found "not recommended" under the CBA JEC's rules.

Frequently -- and I don't know whether this is the case here -- judges who are about to retire will decline to be screened. If I get further information on this, one way or the other, I can update this post.

Two current associate judges did participate in the CBA evaluation process but were found wanting by the CBA JEC.

These two judges are Judges Luciano Panici and Richard Schwind. The CBA's comments concerning these judges are set out in their entirety below.

Judge Luciano Panici is “Not Recommended” for reappointment as an Associate Judge. Judge Panici was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1979 and was appointed an Associate Judge in 2001. Judge Panici is currently assigned to a bond and felony preliminary hearing court in the Sixth Municipal District. Judge Panici exhibits a casual attitude regarding whether the State has met the burden of proof, giving defendants and those who appear in his court the impression that the Judge favors the State. The Judge openly expressed the view that nearly all of the defendants who appear before him are guilty. Judge Panici’s conduct on the bench and comments regarding defendants who appear before him are improper, insensitive and evidence bias. Judge Panici lacks the judgment and integrity to serve as an Associate Judge.


Judge Richard Schwind is “Not Recommended” for reappointment as an Associate Judge. Judge Schwind was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1978 and was appointed an Associate Judge in 2012. Judge Schwind served in the Third Municipal District for six years before being reassigned to the First Municipal District in October 2018. Judge Schwind has serious issues with integrity, judicial demeanor and temperament. His statements to minority litigants appearing before him are insensitive, improper and evidence bias.
Interestingly, the CBA's press release about the AJ evaluations was time-stamped at 10:49 this morning.

Somehow, however, I had a comment yesterday in my comment queue spilling the beans in re: Panici and Schwind. I did not let the comment through until after I received the CBA's press release -- my initial plan was to seek confirmation from the CBA, but I wanted to get a little legal work done today before diving back into this. Historically, the bar associations have been pretty careful not to 'leak' information about ratings before an official rollout; that is why this seemed odd. To be continued?


NB, if slightly off topic: Happy candidates, with good ratings, were never sworn to secrecy by any bar group that I've ever heard about. Once a candidate receives a rating, he or she is free to broadcast it to the world, to Tweet it, put it on Facebook, or Instagram, or whatever is the new social-media-flavor-of-the-week. Some candidates have, over the years, been annoyed with yours truly for not immediately publishing their good news here. And, truly, I'd be much happier if the bar associations put out evaluations on a rolling basis throughout each election cycle. But they don't. And I do try to confirm information I release in posts on this blog -- and, unless they're my own, I never, ever vouch for comments.

Which are quickly becoming ever more rude and mean and vicious.

With a Supreme Court seat at stake, I reluctantly realize that, in this election cycle, I will have to allow some greater "latitude" (read: attitude) than I would like -- but it amazes me that some of these safely-anonymous commenters may someday seek an appointment from the eventual winner of said Supreme Court seat, despite making vitriolic, mean-spirited attacks between now and the next Feast of St. Patrick on that same person.

I mean -- the mean, angry, sometimes scary comments in my queue can't all be from consultants trying to bamboozle candidates into hiring them... can they?

Diana Uchiyama named new Executive Director of the Illinois Lawyers' Assistance Program

The Illinois Lawyers' Assistance Program has named Diana Uchiyama, J.D., Psy.D., as its new Executive Director.

In a press release, Appellate Court Justice Mary K. O'Brien, LAP Board President, said "Dr. Uchiyama was selected from a number of talented candidates because her qualifications as an attorney, psychologist, and program administrator demonstrated to our board that she will be successful in increasing the reach of LAP to every part of Illinois."

Just last Fall, LAP announced an affiliation with Dr. Uchiyama. She was soon thereafter promoted to Assistant Deputy Director.

Prior to joining LAP, according to the LAP press release, Uchiyama was the Administrator of Psychological Services for DuPage County, overseeing a State-licensed substance use treatment program, including a MISA program, and DHS Domestic Batterer Intervention Program for a court mandated population of clients. Dr. Uchiyama has also worked for the Kane County Diagnostic Center, as both a Staff Psychologist and Juvenile Drug Court Coordinator, and has an extensive background doing court ordered psychological, sanity, fitness, and sex offender evaluations and therapy. She has implemented numerous changes to court-ordered programs both in Kane and DuPage County and is a certified trauma informed care trainer.

Before obtaining her masters and doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Dr. Uchiyama was an Assistant Public Defender in Cook County working in various felony courtrooms. She obtained her law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law.

The LAP office in Chicago, at 20 S. Clark St., Suite 450, is open daily from 9:00 to 4:30. The telephone number for the Chicago office is (312) 726-6607; LAP can also be reached toll free at 800-LAP-1233. LAP's email address is

To schedule a confidential appointment with a LAP clinician at any LAP location, call the Chicago number (312) 726-6607. In addition to the Chicago office, appointments can be scheduled for offices in Park Ridge, DuPage/Kane County, Bloomington, Carbondale, Edwardsville, and Rock Island.

City's suit against Jussie Smollett up for initial status on June 3

Just more than five weeks ago, with great fanfare, the City of Chicago announced that it was suing Jussie Smollett, an actor in a show I never watched, seeking to recover costs incurred by the Chicago Police Department in investigating a crime reported by Smollett that never happened.

The filing of the suit garnered national headlines (e.g., CNN's coverage, linked here). Locally, a number of media outlets (e.g., WGN-TV) even provided a link to the City's entire Complaint (still accessible as of this posting).

But the copy of the Complaint provided for the press was not file-stamped.

That's not necessarily surprising, inasmuch as a document submitted for efiling on Day 1 may not actually be accepted until Day 2. But that's a totally different scandal.

Nevertheless, if the docket number of the case might was not available when the story was first posted, it became available eventually, and the story could have been updated to provide the fact that the docket number of the City's case against Mr. Smollett is 19 L 3898.

With that slight amendment, anyone interested could follow the progress of that suit from the comfort of one's home or office.

Because how this suit proceeds, or not, may provide an important signal about the new Mayor's pledges of reform.

The incoming mayor has already given a very politic answer regarding the fate of this suit: She has said that this case will not be a "priority" for her administration.

That may mean it will be quietly dropped at the first opportunity.

However, the City of Chicago has enormous problems, from potholes (merely the most obvious signs of our crumbling infrastructure) to pensions, from systemic corruption to skyrocketing fees and taxes, and from TIF reform to the glaring need for a deep, detailed, forensic accounting of every dollar spent, or misspent, these past 30 years or so. And also police reform, violence reduction, crime increases, the restoration of City mental health services, the precipitous decline of the City's middle class, the surging cost of living. Any or all of these may be rightly said to be greater 'priorities' for the new mayor than one Law Division case against an actor who has been fired from a now-cancelled series.

Therefore, even if Mayor Lightfoot instructs incoming Corporation Counsel Mark A. Flessner to pursue Smollett with the same pitiless remorse with which Jauvert pursued Jean Valjean, the case of City v. Smollett would not be a 'priority' for the new administration. The new mayor need not ever hear of it again -- and Mr. Smollett might never hear the end of it.

The first status hearing in the Smollett case is June 3 at 9:00 a.m. before Judge James E. Snyder.

Meanwhile, if you're also wondering about the suit by the Osundairo brothers against Smollett's Los Angeles-based lawyers, Tina Glandian, Mark Geragos, and their firm, Geragos & Geragos, that case is pending a little further south on Dearborn Street under docket number 19 C 2727. As of Saturday, none of the defendants had yet appeared in that case.

I wish media outlets would remember to include docket numbers in any story concerning civil litigation.

Friday, May 17, 2019

In case you missed it when it was first offered....

The Cook County Democratic Party is revisiting the "Road to the Robe" program (in a somewhat condensed format) on Tuesday, June 4, from 5:30 to 7:30p.m. The pertinent information is set out on the flyer below:

Admission is free, but space is limited, and would-be attendees must advise of their hopes to attend. To secure a place for the program, call (312) 263-0575 OR email

Who Sits Where: National Pack Rat Day, Yellow Brick Road Edition

Today, May 17, is Sugar Ray Leonard's 63rd birthday, which is hard to believe. Today is also the 119th anniversary of the publication of The Wizard of Oz. L. Frank Baum wrote that book, a classic of children's literature, and a recognized progenitor of the science fiction genre, while a Chicago resident.

What does that have to do with the Cook County judiciary? Perhaps nothing. But it may give you a conversational topic besides our abysmal Spring weather.

Today is also National Pack Rat Day, a day set aside by very few to consider whether we are holding onto things we would be better off without.

Meanwhile, we are also 10 months away from the 2020 Primary. And so, once again, we pause to look at what judicial vacancies there may be to be filled on the next Feast of St. Patrick.

What follows is not a comprehensive list of Cook County judicial vacancies but, rather, a list of vacancies that have either been filled by Supreme Court appointment, or for which an application process has been announced, or that I believe to exist even though no announcement has been made. Not all of the "vacancies" listed below are necessarily vacant -- and some of the persons identified as filling these vacancies have not yet actually taken office -- but an official announcement has been made. There are probably other vacancies, beyond those reported here, which the Supreme Court has neither filled nor announced. When new vacancies are made public, I can and will update as necessity requires and opportunity permits.

But this is the best information I have now.

As always, all errors of omission or commission in this list are mine alone and I am grateful for additions and corrections provided.

Supreme Court Vacancy

Vacancy of the Hon. Charles E. Freeman -- P. Scott Neville, Jr.

Appellate Court Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. P. Scott Neville, Jr. -- Michael B. Hyman1
Vacancy of the Hon. John B. Simon -- John C. Griffin

Countywide Vacancies

Vacancy of the Hon. Carole K. Bellows -- Kerrie Maloney Laytin
Vacancy of the Hon. Matthew E. Coghlan -- James T. Derico, Jr.
Vacancy of the Hon. Nicholas R. Ford -- Thomas M. Cushing
Vacancy of the Hon. Raymond Funderburk -- Celestia L. Mays
Vacancy of the Hon. Diane J. Larsen -- Levander Smith, Jr.
Vacancy of the Hon. Jessica A. O'Brien -- Lloyd James Brooks
Vacancy of the Hon. Sebastian T. Patti -- Lynn Weaver-Boyle
Vacancy of the Hon. Kevin M. Sheehan -- Marina E. Ammendola

Subcircuit Vacancies

1st Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Rodney Hughes Brooks -- Fredrick H. Bates
Vacancy of the Hon. Vanessa A. Hopkins2 -- Unfilled

2nd Subcircuit
"A" Vacancy3 -- Sondra Nicole Denmark

3rd Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Denise K. Filan -- Daniel E. Maloney
Vacancy of the Hon. Allen F. Murphy -- Unfilled

6th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Marya Nega -- Unfilled
Vacancy of the Hon. Kathleen M. Pantle -- Unfilled

7th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Marianne Jackson -- Unfilled

8th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. John J. Fleming -- Unfilled4
Vacancy of the Hon. Deborah J. Gubin -- Michael A. Forti

9th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Marvin F. Luckman -- Michael A. Strom

10th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Thomas R. Allen -- Unfilled

12th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Kay M. Hanlon -- Unfilled

13th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Margarita Kulys Hoffman -- Unfilled

14th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. Robert Bertucci -- Gerardo Tristan, Jr.
Vacancy of the Hon. William G. Lacy -- Daniel O. Tiernan

15th Subcircuit
Vacancy of the Hon. John C. Griffin -- Nichole C. Patton

1 Justice Hyman is a Cook County Circuit Court judge sitting by appointment to the Appellate Court. The language of the Supreme Court's order appointing Justice Hyman to this vacancy suggests that, unless he runs for, and wins a seat on the Appellate Court in 2020, he will return to his original position as a Circuit Court judge. For this reason I have not included a "Hyman vacancy" among the countywide openings.

2 The late Rhonda Crawford won the Democratic Party's nomination for this vacancy in the 2016 primary but never took office.

3 Vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Alexander White.

4 Jeanne Marie Wrenn was appointed to this vacancy, but, last November, Judge Wrenn was elected to fill the 8th Subcircuit vacancy of the Hon. Sheryl Pethers. That is why this vacancy is again unfilled.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Two upcoming Cook County judicial elections that will not involve the public

Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans is seeking reelection to a new three-year term.

He has served as Chief Judge since 2001, the longest tenure of any Cook County Chief Judge since the Illinois courts were reorganized in 1964.

Jordyn Reiland reported, in the May 7 Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, that Judge Lorna E. Propes has announced her intention to oppose Judge Evans's bid for a 7th term.

There may ultimately be other declared candidates; there will be rumors and speculations aplenty. But, whatever campaigning may take place, we may rest assured that candidates will not be airing commercials during our evening newscasts. That is because the only persons eligible to vote in the election for Cook County Chief Judge are current Cook County Circuit Court judges.

The Chief Judge election will be held in September. Meanwhile, in the next few weeks, prior to June 30, that same small electorate will decide the fate of each of the Cook County Circuit Court's associate judges -- even those appointed just last year.

Why? Because Illinois Supreme Court Rule 39(a)(1) provides, in pertinent part, "The terms of all associate judges in office shall expire on June 30th of every fourth year subsequent to 1975, regardless of the date on which any judge is appointed."

In fact, this election is already underway. Supreme Court Rule 39(c) provides:
(c) Reappointment of Associate Judges Upon Expiration of Their Terms.

(1) Request for Reappointment. An associate judge may file a request for reappointment with the chief judge of the circuit at least three months but not more than six months before the expiration of his or her term. At least 63 days before the expiration of the terms of associate judges, each chief judge shall certify to the Director the names of the associate judges in the circuit who have requested reappointment.

(2) Distribution of Ballots. At least 40 days before the expiration of the terms of associate judges, the Director shall prepare and distribute ballots on which each circuit judge shall vote on the question whether each associate judge who has requested reappointment shall be reappointed for another term. Each ballot shall be accompanied by a stamped, addressed return envelope, an envelope marked “For Ballot Only,” and a signature card.

(3) Balloting. Each circuit judge shall complete his or her ballot, enclose it in the envelope marked “For Ballot Only,” seal the envelope, sign the signature card, and enclose the sealed envelope and signature card in the stamped, addressed return envelope, which shall be delivered to the Director within 14 days after it was distributed. The Director shall count the ballots which are accompanied by a signed signature card, tabulate the results and certify them to the chief judge, maintaining the secrecy of the ballots. If three fifths of the circuit judges voting on the question vote in favor of reappointment of an associate judge, he or she shall be declared reappointed for another term.
In 2015, all Cook County associate judges seeking retention were reappointed. Statewide, 376 of the 384 associate judges seeking reappointment in 2015 were retained. The results of the 2015 reappointment election came on June 11 of that year.

Tom Cushing appointed to countywide vacancy

The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Thomas M. Cushing to the countywide vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Nicholas R. Ford.

The appointment was made on the recommendation of Justice Mary Jane Theis; the Supreme Court has issued this press release announcing the appointment, which will be effective June 19, 2019 and terminate December 7, 2020.

Currently, Cushing is Of Counsel for Christopher A. Kreid & Assoc. for the last six years, focusing on general civil litigation and chancery matters. Before that, Cushing had his own firm, Thomas M. Cushing, LLC, for 13 years. He also spent 17 years at Ambrose & Cushing, PC, where he was a trial and appellate attorney.

According to the Supreme Court's press release, Justice Theis recommended Cushing's appointment after he was previously reviewed by bar associations and a special judicial screening committee. Cushing received highly qualified or recommended ratings from a dozen bar groups, according to the court's press release. Cushing was a countywide judicial candidate in the 2016 primary; he sought a 9th Subcircuit seat in the 2014 primary. He enjoyed superlative bar ratings in both of those races.

Cushing earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Notre Dame and received his Juris Doctor from the Loyola University School of Law.

Cushing has additionally served as an Adjunct Faculty Member at the Loyola University School of Law, has taught numerous Continuing Legal Education courses, and has been an invited lecturer on over 65 occasions. He has been an appointed Hearing Board Member for the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission since 2013.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Oregon AG (and former judge) offers 11 tips for becoming a good judge

An article by Tony Mauro in the National Law Journal ('Set Your Ground Rules Early' and 10 Other Tips on Becoming a Good Judge) led me to this list on the National Judicial College website.

The list was prepared by Ellen Rosenblum, the Oregon Attorney General, elected in 2012, and reelected in 2016. Before her election to the AG post, Rosenblum was a trial and, later, appellate judge in Oregon for 22 years.

Herewith, then, Rosenblum's list (and her comments on each point):
  1. Encourage lawyers to educate you on the issues of the case. It is OK to say you are new to the subject matter – no one expects you to be an expert. You are a judge of general jurisdiction for a reason, and lawyers will respect you for not trying to fake what you don’t know.
  2. Allow lawyers to make their record, even if you are feeling antsy about the time and ready to move on. I didn’t realize the importance of this until I became an appellate judge and the records simply didn’t always match up to the arguments – sometimes on account of an impatient trial judge.
  3. Make it a habit to read appellate opinions, and stay ahead on legislation and jurisprudence in your areas. As you know, there’s never enough time to read up when you’re in the middle of a motion, hearing or trial.
  4. Now that you’re up to date on the judicial ethics rules, share them with lawyers who do not know them as well as you do. Consider offering knowledge on the judicial conduct code to lawyers, as everyone is looking for ways to get their ethics credits.
  5. Set your ground rules early when it comes to discovery practice. If the lawyers believe you are in control, they will get along better, and your role as referee will take up less of your precious time.
  6. Avoid social media to the extent possible. Facebook and similar friend-based apps should specifically be avoided.
  7. Take advantage of opportunities to chat to jurors after the case is over. It will help to make you a better judge, and you will also be able to give constructive feedback to lawyers if they are interested.
  8. Try to avoid taking issues under advisement if it is possible. As much as I loved writing opinions as a trial judge, I found there to be little time to do so.
  9. Make collegiality between you and your judicial colleagues a priority, and develop a support system on and off the bench. While you’re at it, get exercise. There will be days when the stress of it all seems like too much to handle. Trust me, it will help a lot.
  10. Step up your mentoring. Going for a walk with or taking a young lawyer out to coffee might be the most thrilling moment of that lawyer’s career thus far. It will also get you out of the courthouse and into the fresh air for a healthy break.
  11. Never say “no comment” to a media inquiry. There’s almost always something you can say that is a matter of public record. If not, just consider a question as an opportunity to educate the media as to why you are unable to discuss the case.
Point 5 appeals to me, as the world's leading proponent (and, so far as I know, only proponent) of Zero-Based Discovery, although 'setting ground rules' (advising of one's expectations) is not good enough. The court needs to be directly involved in what discovery will be permitted, and why.

While I wholeheartedly agree that social media is fraught with peril for any public figure, I'm not sure that Point 6 (Facebook is a no-no) is entirely consistent with Points 9 and 10 -- and, in this day and age, I think Facebook and the like are darn near necessary for staying connected with actual family and real friends. That seems to me to be an important part of staying grounded as a person.

I like Point 1. A lot. Nobody knows everything, even judges, no matter how varied one's practice may have been before ascending to the bench. In some circles it seems almost disqualifying to admit that one hasn't become expert in all areas of the practice. (As if that were possible!) A willingness to listen, and learn, seems to me to be more important to the makeup of a good judge than faith in one's own expertise.

Any list, of course, is necessarily incomplete, and subjective. But what would you add -- or delete -- from your personal list of what makes a good judge?