Thursday, September 30, 2021

Gov. J.B. Pritzker to keynote Decalogue Awards Ceremony October 21

Gov. J.B. Pritzker will keynote the Decalogue Society of Lawyers 2021 Virtual Awards Ceremony. The program is set for October 21, starting at 5:30 p.m.

Judge Megan Goldish will serve as emcee for this year's program, at which the Decalogue Society will confer these awards:

  • Hebrew University Fellowship Award -- Justice Michael B. Hyman

  • Community Service Award -- Alison Pure-Slovin, Simon Wiesenthal Center Midwest

  • Hon. Gerald C. Bender Humanitarian Award -- Pastor Chris Harris, Bright Star Church

  • Agency Award -- Sinai Chicago

  • Presidential Citation -- Charles A. Krugel

  • Intra-Society Award -- Judge Geri Pinzur Rosenberg

  • Law Student Award -- Sarah La Pearl

In addition, Michael Lurie will be recognized as a 50-year member of the Decalogue and the following persons will be recognized as 25-year members: Nina Appel, Rodney Cope, Bradley Dworkin, Jeffrey Goldberg, Bruce Goodman, Jack Hertz, Marvin Leavitt, Jeffrey Leving, Michael Rothstein, Steven Salk, James Shapiro, Barry Sheppard, Daniel Shmikler, Stuart Stein, and Michael Wagner.

Tickets for the event are $40 apiece for Decalogue members, $50 for non-members. Sponsorships are also available:

  • Bronze Sponsor - $150
  • Includes one ticket, a quarter-page ad in the digital program, and one social media post shortly following purchase
  • Silver Sponsor - $300
  • Includes two tickets, a half-page ad in the digital program, and two social media posts (shortly following purchase and week of program
  • Gold Sponsor - $500
  • Includes four tickets, Remo Table Signage & Room Border Signage, a half-page ad in the digital program, and social media posts once a week until event
  • Platinum Sponsor - $1,000
  • Includes six tickets, a full page ad in the digital program, Center Room Signage, weekly social media posts once a week until event, verbal recognition of sponsorship at event, and premier follow-up recognition in the Tablets newsletter

Ads can also be purchased for the digital program without buying event tickets: A full-page ad is $250, half-page $125, and quarter-page $75.

To register for the event, click here. For questions, email

Meridth Hammer announces Cook County judicial bid

Meridth Hammer, fromer Deputy General Counsel to the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, has announced plans to seek a Cook County judicial vacancy in the 2022 Democratic Primary. That's a link to her new campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link will be added to the Candidate List Sidebar on this site just as soon as it is set up.

Hammer's campaign announcement touts 20 years of experience in real estate law, contract law, and trust and estate planning. She is, accrding to her campaign announcement, licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Indiana, and Illinois. (Hammer did not obtain her Illinois license until 2020, according to ARDC.)

Because of her service as Deputy General Counsel to the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Hammer has "a unique view into the inner workings of the largest court system in the country," according to her campaign announcement.

Earlier in her legal career, in 2011, according to her campaign announcement, Hammer served as Lead Escrow Agent for the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority "performing cost accounting, accounts payable and cash management functions to ensure those homeowners in mortgage foreclosure would receive payment towards their mortgages and property tax bills. Also in 2011, Ms. Hammer served as Legal Counsel for Family & Social Services Administration (FSSA), Office of Medicaid Policy & Planning working within the court system to ensure FSSA’s compliance with probate and estate laws for Medicaid recipients."

Hammer has also taught at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Ivy Tech Community College, according to her campaign announcement.

Website established, October 12 Campaign Kickoff set for Judge Ehrlich

A campaign website has been launched and a Campaign Kickoff event scheduled for Judge John Ehrlich, who hopes to become "the first member of the LGBTQ+ community ever elected to a court of appeal in the State of Illinois."

Yes, that's a link to, and a quote from, the new Ehrlich website in the preceding sentence. A candidate statement on the new website cites this campaign for the Illinois Appellate Court as "a natural next step" in Ehrlich's "28-year public service career, the last 10 of which has been as a judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County."

The Campaign Kickoff event is scheduled for Tuesday, October 12, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at 161 N. Clark Street, 12th Floor.

Tickets for the event are priced at $150 each, but sponsorships of $350, $500, $1,000, $3,000, and $6,000 are also available. Tickets can be obtained by clicking here or through the campaign website. For more information about the event, please email

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A sign of things to come? Sights seen....

This caught my eye as I was driving around recently, flitting from obligation to obligation.

A campaign sign? Already?

Deidre Baumann has run for judge before, most recently in the 2020 primary, and candidate announcements are starting to come in... but signs? So soon? With the primary in June?

I retraced my path later, when my duties permitted, to confirm what I thought I had seen. And I had seen it -- but I hadn't seen it completely.

This may be a harbinger of things to come... or not. But someone on the far Northwest Side of Chicago is hopeful, anyway.

Annual Red Mass next Monday evening, in person or livestream

The 87th Annual Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit, traditionally known as the Red Mass, will be celebrated on Monday, October 4 (the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi), at 5:15 p.m. at Holy Name Cathedral. The Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago is inviting "lawyers, judges, and law professionals" of all faiths to participate. Persons are invited to attend in person (with masks) or via livestream.

The CLG notes that the Red Mass has been celebrated annually in churches throughout the world since the 12th Century. The Red Mass "brings together members of the community from all faith traditions to pray for all those responsible for the administration of justice," according to the CLG.

The Mass is preceded by a procession of judges, in their robes. Judges need to arrive by 5:00 p.m. in order to be included.

The CLG will also bestow four awards at this event. Judge Ramon Ocasio III will be honored with the Catholic Lawyer of the the Year for his dedication to public service. Attorneys Matthew Simon and Elizabeth Clarke will both be honored with the Guild’s Special Service Award. Simon will be cited for his dedication to Restorative Justice and the passage of SB 64. Clarke will be honored for her commitment to ensuring human rights for all children and young adults in conflict with the law through her work with the Juvenile Justice Initiative. Professor Michael Seng, co-executive director of UIC John Marshall Law School’s Fair Housing Legal Support Center & Clinic, will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for his long career of work focused on discrimination in housing and our Chicago community.

Attendance is complimentary, but donations are requested through the CLG website. Sponsorships of $250 or $500 are also available. For questions about the Mass, or for more information, email

Late primary complicates evaluation process: Potential candidates take note

Moving next year's Illinois Primary from March to June 28 will have unintended consequences beyond trimming the length of some of next year's St. Patrick's Day parades.

For one thing, moving the primary another three months closer to the November general election will create severe time challenges for the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening, according to Joyce Williams, Alliance Administrator.

Some candidates may be unknown to the bar groups before they file next March. And the Alliance will still have to conduct evaluations of the many judges seeking retention in November.

While the Alliance usually evaluates primary canndidates first, many of these candidates are as yet unknown while the identities of all potential retention candidates are already known. Therefore, for this election cycle, Williams advises that "the Alliance members have determined that we will begin our evaluation process this year with the retention class."

But the Alliance will continue to evaluate primary candidates where possible. Accordingly, anyone who is interested in running next year and who does not yet have Alliance ratings needs to advise the Alliance by downloading the candidate questionaire request application from the ISBA website. Yes, that's a link to the form.

Some persons may be exploring the idea but have not fully committed to a run. That's alright. Beginning the evaluation process does not force a person into making a run. Circulating petitions does not force a person into making a run. As a practical matter, in every election cycle, including the one now underway, there will be persons who file for judicial office -- and then withdraw. So even filing for office does not commit a person into making a run. If you are even thinking about making a run next year, let the Alliance know. Now.

With the primary in June, it seems unduly alarmist to suggest that time is already short. But, as Williams told FWIW, "Candidates also need to know that the Alliance does not expedite its evaluation process to meet slating deadlines." It may already be too late for first-time candidates to secure ratings before the slatemakers meet in December. And it is long since too late for first-time candidates to secure ratings before the Democratic Party's pre-slating meetings on October 14 and 15 -- but first time candidates can expect to be asked, by the slatemakers, if they've initiated the process.

So initiate already.

Joint event tomorrow for Judges Van Tine and Tailor

Avanti Bakane, Tara Raghavan, Rishi Agrawal, Radhika Lohia, Avani Patel, and Shekar Jayaraman are the listed hosts for the event tomorrow, Wednesday, September 29, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Bárbaro Taqueria y Cantina, 2525 West North Avenue, Chicago.

Judges Rena Marie Van Tine and Sanjay Tailor are billed, not only as candidates for the Circuit Court, but also as founding members of SABA-Chicago

Appetizers will be provided, but there is a cash bar. The group will be inside or out, depending on the weather, and sponsors caution that, per State guidelines, masks will be required indoors.

The suggested minimum contribution for the event is $100 per person (to be divided equally between the candidates). Sponsorships are available as well, and these will also be divided equally between the candidates (Friend - $250, Host - $500). Contributions can be made at the event.

For more information, or to RSVP, email Avani Patel at

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Lisa Taylor to make 2022 judicial bid

Lisa Taylor is planning a 2022 judicial campaign. That's a link to her campaign website in the preceding sentence; this link will be added to the candidate list in this site's Sidebar when it is set up.

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2001, according to ARDC, Taylor practices with the Chicago firm of Schwartz Gilligan Ltd.

Taylor's campaign biography stresses her years of service as a "Court Appointed Special Advocate in Cook County for cases involving minors removed from their homes." She also served on the City of Chicago Board of Ethics (until 2012).

A past recipient of Phi Beta Sigma Crescent Moon Award for Legal Excellence, according to her campaign biography, Taylor has also received the Cook County Special Advocate Volunteer Spirit Award.

A graduate of John Marshall Law School, Taylor mentors students at the school and awarded the Black Law Students Association’s Legacy Action Award in 2019.

Taylor was a finalist for associate judge in the 2018 selection process.

Diversity Scholarship Fund to host Judicial Reception on October 5

The Diversity Scholarship Foundation will host its 2021 Judicial Reception on Tuesday, October 5, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The reception will be held virtually via REMO.

Appellate Court Justice Jesse G. Reyes will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the event which will honor Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans and recognize his 20 years of service in that post.

The DSF will also be recognizing four of its members who were recently selected as Cook County associate judges, Barbara Flores, Matthew Jannusch, Martha-Victoria Jimenez, and Ankur Srivastava.

Tickets for the event are $25 each and are available at this link. Funds raised from this event will go toward future DSF scholarships and its continuing efforts to promote diversity in the legal community.

The event will take place virtually using the REMO conferencing software. According to the DSF, "REMO offers the unique opportunity to network with other guests and move around the room to other tables." Registrants will receive links to the event via email within a couple of days thereof.

Real news about fake orders from current and former judges in 2nd Municipal District

Updated September 23, 2021 with new information

Someone is going to be in a heap of trouble over this. Here is the updated press release from the Cook County Chief Judge's Office:

Highly offensive documents, falsely claiming to be orders from various current or retired Circuit Court of Cook County judges, are being circulated by some person or group, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans said on Wednesday. The documents are forgeries, and the Office of the Chief Judge finds the content appalling. The documents appear to be intended as a means of intimidating the recipients and others.

The documents use the names of several sitting and retired judges out of the Skokie Courthouse.

“I’m indignant over this blatant attack on the judiciary,” Judge Evans said. “By falsely attributing abusive and racist comments to Circuit Court of Cook County judges, it impugns their hard work and integrity and may create a dangerous situation.”

The Niles, Morton Grove, Skokie, and Evanston police departments, as well as the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, are investigating. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office also have been notified. The Office of the Chief Judge is fully cooperating with law enforcement authorities to discover who is circulating these fraudulent and disturbing documents.

The Office of the Chief Judge asks that anybody who receives a copy of one of these fraudulent documents contact the police.

Over the course of 40-some years, I have seen some faked orders. I recall one case in which a number were used to persuade a client that his or her case was ongoing -- although it had never been filed -- and the statute of limitations had been blown. Yes, that was in conjunction with a legal malpractice matter. And, many years ago, I recall a controversy about falsified time stamps on documents filed with the Clerk of the Circuit Court -- not merely inaccurate dates (although that sometimes happened also) but deliberately falsified ones to make documents that were late appear timely. That didn't end well for the lawyers or the clerks involved either.

UPDATE: Since this post appeared, I have received a copy of one of these new faked "orders" from CWB Chicago. The document provided is offensive, and deliberately so. It even provides paranthetical translations of the racist slurs it uses. But it in no way, shape, or form resembles an actual court order. It certainly falls far, far short of the faked orders I was recalling in the paragraph above.

Initially I assumed that the fake order must have appeared sufficiently authentic to warrant the level of concern evident in the Chief Judge's press release. That would have suggested that the person or persons in question had some working knowledge of court systems and procedures. But, once again, I am reminded that one should never assume. And I do understand that the average person, having little or no contact with the court system, might not recognize how clumsy a forgery this is. And that is the source of the concern. I'll continue to update this story if I can.


Related coverage:

Racist letters sent to Evanston restaurants faked to look like court orders -- Chicago Sun-Times

Fake court orders containing hate messages sent to local restaurants -- Evanston RoundTable

New countywide appointment, no new countywide vacancy

Judge Cara Lefevour Smith had been serving by Supreme Court appointment to the countywide McGury vacancy since July 2020. She has now resigned that seat. And so, this past Monday, the Supreme Court appointed Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Ruth I. Gudino to the McGury vacancy.

Gudino's appointment is effective October 15. It will terminate December 5, 2022.

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1995, according to ARDC, Gudino was a finalist in the 2019 associate judge selection process.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Five former appointed judges among the 22 Cook County associate judges named today

The names of 22 new associate judges, selected in a vote of Cook County Circuit Court judges, were announced today by Marcia M. Meis, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.

Ballots listing the names of 44 finalists, chosen from 225 candidates, were distributed to 249 circuit judges. Ballots were due September 7, 2021.

Five of the 22 new associate judges had previously served on the bench. These are Maryam Ahmad, Lloyd James Brooks, James Thomas Derico, Jr., Kerrie Elizabeth Maloney Laytin, and Anthony Charles Swanagan.

There were no ties this time, and no write-in winners. Four of the five finalists who had appeared on prior short lists were selected, including three of the four carryovers from the 2019 short list (Brooks, Eric Michael Sauceda, and Theresa Marie Smith Conyers). Former Judge Maryam Ahmad was a short list finalist in 2016.

Here is the complete list of the 22 new associate judges:

  1. Maryam Ahmad
  2. Lloyd James Brooks
  3. Barbara Lynette Dawkins
  4. James Thomas Derico, Jr.
  5. Sabra Lynne Ebersole
  6. Carl Lauras Evans, Jr.
  7. William Nicholas Fahy
  8. Barbara Nubia Flores
  9. Mitchell Benjamin Goldberg
  10. Jasmine Villaflor Hernandez
  11. Matthew William Jannusch
  12. Martha-Victoria Jimenez
  13. Diana Elena Lopez
  14. Kerrie Elizabeth Maloney Laytin
  15. Thomas A. Morrissey
  16. James Bryan Novy
  17. Eric Michael Sauceda
  18. Theresa Marie Smith Conyers
  19. Ankur Srivastava
  20. Pamela J. Stratigakis
  21. Anthony Charles Swanagan
  22. Andreana Ann Turano

Supreme Court Rule 39 provides that the term for all associate judges expires on June 30, 2023. The 22 judges appointed today, as well as those associate judges currently serving, must seek reappointment from their full circuit colleagues by July 1, 2023. There are 146 associate judge positions currently authorized for Cook County.

Another candidacy confirmed: Amanda "Mandy" Pillsbury to make 2022 judicial bid

What do you know about that? Anonymous got another one right.

A recent comment suggested that Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Amanda "Mandy" Pillsbury was planning a 2022 judicial campaign. And, sure enough, there's already a campaign website; that's a link to the site in the preceding sentence. (A list of all candidate websites will be put up in this site's Sidebar sometime in the next several weeks.)

Pillsbury's campaign biography stresses her courtroom experience (she is now a Trial Supervisor in the Felony Review Unit, it says) and her roots on Chicago's Northwest Side. A graduate of (the recently closed) Mother Theodore Guerin High School, the campaign bio also notes the many "proud union members" among her family. Licensed in Illinois since 2004, according to ARDC, Pillsbury is a career Assistant State's Attorney.

Pillsbury previously sought countywide vacancies in the 2018 and 2020 election cycles.

University of Chicago looking for Moot Court judges

I was going to make some snide comment about this being the only way I could hope to get into the University of Chicago... and then I noticed that the Fall Invitational Moot Court will be virtual on Zoom. *Sigh*

But the University of Chicago is looking for judges for its Fall 2021 Moot Court Invitational, to be held October 15 and 16. Interested persons can fill out this interest form. Questions about the tournament should be directed to

H/T Jennifer Barron

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Cook County Democratic Party to hold Pre-Slating on October 14 and 15

The Party's slating meeting has been reset for December 13-14, according to information received.

Persons interested in the pre-slating process need to fill out a Candidate Interest Form. That's the link to the form (which has not yet been updated with the new dates).

Pre-slating applies only to countywide judicial vacancies. Slating for subcircuit vacancies -- whenever the new subcircuit boundaries are actually determined -- are handled by the committeepersons in each subcircuit.

EDITED TO ADD: Candidate Interest Form has been updated.

Something tells me it's all happening at the zoo

The Illinois Lawyers' Assistance Program is holding its Fall Fundraiser at Brookfield Zoo on Wednesday, September 29, starting at 3:00 p.m. with admission to the zoo. A reception, with food stations, will be held from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., and the formal program will begin at 5:30 p.m. Here's the poster:

Tickets are $150 apiece -- and, of course, there are numerous sponsorship opportunities available. These include:

  • Friends of LAP - $250 (includes one event ticket and company name or logo on event signage);

  • Bronze Sponsor - $500 (includes two tickets, recognition on website and social media, and company name or logo on event signage);

  • Sliver Sponsor - $1,000 (includes four tickets, all the recognition that is accorded lower-level sponsors, plus recognition from the Master of Ceremonies);

  • Gold Sponsor - $2,500 (includes everything accorded to Silver Sponsors but includes six tickets instead of four);

  • Platinum Sponsor - $3,500 (includes 10 tickets, special recognition from the Master of Ceremonies, plus the mentions that Gold Sponsors receive; and

  • Presenting Sponsor - $5,000 (includes 10 tickets, company logo on printed and electronic invitations, an opportunity to address the audience during the program, and all the other benefits accorded to Platinum Sponsors.

And that's not all. There are also exclusive sponsorship opportunities, to wit:

  • Animal Experience Sponsor - $750;

  • Coffee Sponsor - $1,500; and

  • Dessert Sponsor - $2,000

To buy tickets or sponsorships, click here. For any questions, or for more information, contact Courtney Ryan at (630) 833-7722 or

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

September 22 fundraiser for Judge Rena Marie Van Tine

Supporters of Judge Rena Marie Van Tine's bid to hold the seat to which she was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court are holding a fundraiser for their candidate on Wednesday, September 22, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., at the Cliff Dwellers Club, 200 S. Michigan Ave.

Aurora Austriaco, Olivia Bedi, Jenny Han, and Hon. Larry Rogers Jr. are listed as co-hosts for this fundraiser.

Tickets for this event are $100 each, but sponsorships are available (Bronze - $250, Silver - $500, Gold - $1,000). To purchase tickets, click here.

This event will be held both inside and outside (on the Cliff Dwellers' rooftop patio). While inside, guests will be expected to observe COVID-19 protocols, such as the wearing of masks. For questions, or additional information, about the fundraiser, email

Friday, September 03, 2021

Dominique C. Ross to make Appellate Court bid, too

Sometimes Anonymous shares good (and verifiable) information.

An anonymous commenter to yesterday's post about Judge John Ehrlich's Appellate Court campaign announcement took me to task for not knowing that Judge Dominique C. Ross is also running for the Appellate Court. Well, now I know -- and, yes, that's a link to Judge Ross's campaign website in the preceding sentence. It will be added to the Sidebar in due course.

Ross was elected to a 5th Subcircuit vacancy in 2008 and retained in 2014 and 2020. She currently serves in the Domestic Relations Division. She is a former President of the Illinois Judicial Council.

Ross's campaign biography also includes a statement about how she dealt with the COVID-19 pandemic:

During the unprecedented times of the current worldwide pandemic, Judge Ross has worked diligently within her Division and Trial Team to ensure that the parties appearing before her remotely continue being served fairly and judiciously. She is a member of the Post Pandemic Committee headed by the Division’s Presiding Judge, formed for the purpose of determining and implementing court procedures that will remain in place or change upon reemergence from the pandemic.

It will be interesting to see if other candidates advise of their individual responses to the pandeic as more campaign sites go up.

Thursday, September 02, 2021

John H. Ehrlich to seek Appellate Court vacancy; files Notification of Self-Funding

Circuit Court Judge John H. Ehrlich has filed papers with the Illinois State Board of Elections advising of his intent to seek a vacancy on the Appellate Court in the 2022 election. Among these papers is a disclosure that he has donated $110,000 to his campaign, thereby obviating the contribution caps which would ordinarily apply in his race.

Insofar as FWIW knows, there is only one vacancy up for election on the Appellate Court in 2022. Justice Robert E. Gordon, who had been serving on the Appellate Court by assignment, was appointed to the Shelvin Louise Marie Hall vacancy late last year. Circuit Court Judge Debra Walker has also announced an interest in seeking that vacancy.

Ehrlich was elected to an 8th Subcircuit vacancy in 2012; he was retained in 2018. He is currently assigned to a Motion calendar in the Law Division.

Diversity Scholarship Foundation announces Fall Semester for First Generation Mentor-Mentee Program

The Diversity Scholarship Foundation is looking for mentors to participate in its Fall 2021 First Generation Mentorship Program.

The program is designed to introduce first-generation law students to lawyers and judges who will provide guidance to navigate law school and beyond.

An orientation meeting for prospective mentors will take place next Thursday, September 9, at 5:00 p.m. Interested persons should complete this Google Doc form. Questions about the program may be directed to Maria Virginia Martinez, the Chair of the DSF First Generation Mentorship Program at

Readers who know law students who might be interested in being mentored should direct those persons to complete this Google Doc form.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Justice Theis announces application process for new countywide vacancy

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis today announced an application process for a temporary appointment to a countywide vacancy that will be created by the forthcoming retirement of Circuit Court Judge Joan M. O'Brien.

Today's announcement indicates that persons who have already applied for the Sullivan vacancy recently announced by Justice Theis will be automatically considered for this vacancy as well. There is no need for those persons to submit an additional application to be considered for the O'Brien vacancy. (With that sole exception, persons who have submitted applications for other, prior application processes must submit a new application in order to be considered for this vacancy.)

Applications for the O'Brien vacancy must be submitted by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 1, 2021. Application forms are available here and may be submitted electronically to

Under the Illinois Constitution, judicial vacancies are filled on an interim basis by Supreme Court appointment. Justice Theis will make recommendations to the Supreme Court for both the Sullivan and O'Brien vacancies after applicants undergo a screening and evaluation process. The persons appointed to these vacancies would serve until the first Monday in December following the November 2022 general election. To be eligible for consideration for appointment, applicants must be a lawyer in good standing, licensed to practice law in Illinois, and a resident of Cook County.

Applicants for this vacancy will be subject to further evaluation by both the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening, a collaboration of 12 area bar groups, and the Chicago Bar Association. Further review will be conducted by a special judicial screening committee that Justice Theis established in 2013. Applicants who already have bar evaluations should include copies with their applications. Applications may be submitted without bar evaluations.