Friday, April 28, 2023

Back to "normal," but now maybe with some video status calls....

What follows (eventually) is the text of the Circuit Court of Cook County's General Administrative Order 2023-05 -- the order that's been publicized as the one sending judges back to work at the county's courthouses.

The news stories that I heard about this week's back to work order never mentioned masks. But, as you'll see, the April 21 order also says that, as of May 1, mask wearing will be optional in court facilities.

As of May 1? Really?

Before getting to the text of the Order, a little unsolicited advice for my brothers and sisters at the bar and on the bench:

I had business at a suburban courthouse recently. As a not-wholly-voluntary retiree, I don't get to court as often as I'd like, so I wasn't entirely certain about the masking regulations. I had a mask in my pocket, just in case, and as I walked up toward the entrance I saw the prominent sign insisting that masks were to be worn at all times while inside. I dutifully put on my mask before going through the revolving doors and presenting my credentials to the Deputy Sheriff gaurding the portal. The Deputy Sheriff was masked, and he was standing next to a table generously supplied with paper masks for those members of the public who might not have brought their own. Because, even a couple of weeks ago, not a lot of members of the general public were sporting masks as they went about their daily business.

These masks at the entrance were pretty much the last masks that I saw. I can't say with certainty that no one else in that building was wearing a mask during the time I was there, but I was there for several hours and, to appease my Fitbit, I wandered around the building extensively when I had the chance, and I didn't see anyone else wearing a mask. Not in a courtroom. Not in an office. Not in the hallways.

Brothers and Sisters, this is a disaster. Not because I am so enamored of masks. Granted, I voluntarily wore mine a lot longer than most. I will wear one on the train pretty much forever, just as they have done for years in Japan. But I'm no pro-mask zealot. The issue isn't masks.

The issue is rules. Law itself. How can we, the gaurdians of the law, who depend on respect for the law for our very professional existence, show such disregard for the law? Well, you say, wearing a mask in 2023 is silly, maybe even paranoid. Masks are inconvenient and uncomfortable. Mask requirements, you say, are stupid. Let us so stipulate to all of this, if you wish.

But this silly, stupid rule was on the books. More important, it was posted on the courthouse door. And on several interior walls. Where the public could see both the signs and our noncompliance with same. And if we flout our own rules in the very civic temples we have built in honor of the law, buildings dedicated to the rule of law, we undermine the public's confidence in the law. All laws. And we undermine the public's confidence in us, as honest officers and guardians of the law.

I'm no saint. After several hours of wearing a mask, and being apparently alone in so doing, I quietly removed my mask and put it back in my pocket. When in Rome and so forth. If you don't care, why should I?

But you really should care. If you're going to have rules, you have to enforce them. If you want performative virtue signals, that's fine, too. Perform and signal like crazy. But don't make rules or laws you can't or won't enforce. Because performative laws that can't or won't be enforced undermine the very foundation of our profession. And of our country.

[Stepping down from soapbox now.]

Without further adieu, then, the complete text of General Administrative Order No. 2023-05:

In light of the May 11, 2023, termination of the National Health Emergency by President Joseph Biden and the State of Illinois Public Health Emergency by Governor J.B. Pritzker; consistent with public health guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and advice from the Chief Medical Officer for the Cook County Department of Public Health; mindful of the technological capabilities developed and employed to carry on the work of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, during the COVID-19 pandemic and the enhancement of access to justice afforded by those technologies; cognizant that public confidence in the court requires that the court not only do justice, but be seen to do justice; and pursuant to this court’s inherent authority,

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, except as expressly provided below or in extraordinary or compelling circumstances, all matters in all Districts and Divisions of the court shall be conducted as set forth in General Administrative Order 2023-03;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, effective May 14 or as otherwise ordered, all judges and employees of the court, including its administrative departments, shall return to work in their regularly assigned workspaces and conduct business in person, telephonically or by videoconference from their regular work locations, subject to accommodations required by law, as follows:
  1. Effective May 14, 2023, all judges and employees shall report to work at their regular work locations no less than 70% of each pay period;
  2. Effective May 21, 2023, all judges and employees shall report to work at their regular work locations no less than 80% of each pay period;
  3. Effective June 4, 2023, work from a remote location will not be permitted except as required by law or otherwise ordered;
Nothing in this section is intended or should be construed as a limitation on authority or discretion of the Presiding Judges of each Division or District, or the Directors or Department Heads of the court’s administrative departments to direct the judges or employees under their respective supervision to report to work, or continue to report to work, in person in excess of the percentages set forth above;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that there shall be created by the Chief Judge a committee to study the feasibility of resumption of a degree of remote work at a future date and to make recommendations to the Chief Judge;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that self-represented litigants and other participants without access to the internet or a telephone shall be encouraged by the court and the circuit clerk to make use of the spaces and equipment provided by the court in each courthouse to participate in court proceedings by videoconference, but shall be permitted/encouraged to appear in person before the judge presiding in their matters if they present themselves in the Zoom Room in the courthouse where their matters are pending;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the wearing of masks or other face coverings in court facilities is optional effective May 1, 2023, subject to resumption of the Office of the Chief Judge Face Covering Policy should public health experts indicate such resumption is advisable for the protection of the public, employees, and other users of court facilities. Anyone who chooses to wear a face covering is welcome to continue to do so;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that, at the direction received from the Cook County Department of Public Health, requests for removal of plexiglass from courtrooms and workspaces should be submitted to the appropriate Presiding Judge, Director or Department Head for approval;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that official court reporters and interpreters shall be available for remote proceedings conducted in courthouses as they would be for in-person proceedings; digital reporters shall operate the electronic recording system for in-person proceedings in courtrooms using an electronic recording system; when an electronic recording system is not available, at the discretion of the judge presiding, official court reporters and interpreters shall be present in the courtroom for in-person proceedings not using an electronic recording system; broadcasting, transmitting or publishing audio or video recordings of teleconference and videoconference court proceedings are prohibited, except as authorized by Ill. S. Ct. Rs. 44 and 46;

  1. MANDATORY ARBITRATION Mandatory arbitration hearings, including those previously scheduled, shall be held by videoconference or in person;
  2. MARRIAGES: Marriages shall be performed by appointment or on a first come, first served basis for those without appointments;
  3. HELP DESKS. All help desks, including, but not limited to, the Guardianship Assistance Desk for Minors, 69 W. Washington St., Chicago, shall operate by videoconference and in person;

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this order is effective immediately.

Dated this 21st day of April 2023.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Hock campaign to host get acquainted session on May 11

Supporters of John Hock's campaign for an 18th Subcircuit vacancy are planning a 'get acquainted' meeting with their candidate on Thursday, May 11, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Beacon Tap, 1374 Lee St., Des Plaines. Pizza and drinks will be provided.

There is no charge to attend this event, although (unsurprisingly) campaign donations will be accepted. Registration is required. To register, email

Owens J. Shelby appointed to 7th Subcircuit vacancy

In an Order entered yesterday, the Illinois Supreme Court announced the appointment of Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Ownes J. Shelby to the 7th Subcircuit vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Irwin J. Solganick.

The appointment is effective May 19; it terminates December 2, 2024.

Shelby was a candidate for a 7th Subcircuit vacancy in both the 2022 and 2020 election cycles.

Shelby has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2007, according to ARDC. Shelby's 2022 campaign bio stated that he has been employed as a Cook County Assistant State's Attorney for most of his legal career. Before joining the CCSAO, however, Shelby served as Assistant Counsel to the Illinois House of Representatives, Office of the Speaker.

A graduate of Providence St. Mel High School, Morehouse College, and the Chicago Kent College of Law, according to his 2022 campaign bio, Shelby has served "on boards for St. Angela School, Better Boy’s Foundation, NAACP Westside Chapter, College Mentoring Experience, St. Joseph Services, and the National Black Prosecutor’s Association."

If past practice is followed in this case, Judge Solganick's name will not appear on the 2024 ballot. Instead, assuming he runs, Shelby would be a candidate for the "A" vacancy in the new 7th Subcircuit (which, like the old 7th Subcircuit, is centered on the West Side of Chicago and near western suburbs).

It will be the "A" vacancy because Judge Solganick was one of the few remaining judges elected before 1992. Before Cook County was carved into the 15 original subcircuits, many judges were elected to either City-only or suburb-only vacancies. Those judgeships, as they came vacant in the course of events, were allocated to the then-new subcircuits according to lot, the order of which was memorialized in a Supreme Court Order.

This existing allocation method is set forth in 705 ILCS 35/2f(d).

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Sr. Helen Prejean to speak at Catholic Lawyers Guild luncheon Friday

Sr. Helen Prejean will be the featured speaker this Friday, April 28, at a luncheon co-sponsored by the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago.

The luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the University Club of Chicago, 76 E. Monroe St., in the Michigan Room.

Tickets for the event are $75 apiece; tables of 10 are available for $750. Sponsorships are also available (Table Sponsor - $1,000, Supporting Sponsor - $2,500, Event Sponsor - $5,000). Advance registration is required. Tickets and sponsorships are available at this link. One hour of CLE credit will be availble for persons attending this program.

Friday's event is co-sponsored by the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage and the Lumen Christi Institute.

Road trip? IJF/IBF Legal Luminary Reception in Springfield May 16

The Illinois Bar Foundation and the Illinois Judicial Foundation will co-host a Legal Luminary Reception on Tuesday, May 16, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the Illinois State Library, 300 S. 2nd Street, Springfield. Proceeds of the event will benefit the educational, scholarship, legal aid and lawyer assistance programs funded by the IJF and IBF across the State.

Two sets of luminaries will be honored at this year's event, the 2020 honorees (something about a global pandemic...) and the class of 2023. The honorees are:
2020 Luminaries
  • Hon. Andreas Matoesian, Ret., Circuit Court of Madison County
  • Hon. Ilana Diamond Rovner, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • Richard L. Thies, Webber & Thies, P.C. (awarded posthumously)
2023 Luminaries:
  • Hon. Rita B. Garman, Ret., Illinois Supreme Court
  • James D. Montgomery, James D. Montgomery & Associates
  • Hon. Milton S. Wharton, Ret., Illinois Fifth District Appellate Court
Attendees will be able to participate in an optional CLE presentation preceding the reception at the State Library, from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m., co-sponsored by the Illinois State Bar Association. The CLE will be complimentary for those purchasing tickets or sponsorships for the reception. The topic will be "The 'Independent State Legislature' -- Potential Impacts on American Constitutional Democracy," and the presenter will be Vikram Amar, Dean and Iwan Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

And, at the risk of sounding like a Ginsu Knives commercial, wait, there's more: Ticketholders can also participate in complimentary Supreme Court Building tours beginning at 4:00 or 4:30 p.m. These approximate 30-minute tours will be led by John Lupton, the Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Preservation. Tours are limited to 25 people each and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

To book either (or both) the tour and the CLE, be sure to click-on the appropriate add-ons when purchasing tickets. Tickets are $75 each and (wouldn't you know it) sponsorships are also available (Friend - $250, Patron - $500, Pillar Sponsor - $1,500, or Presenting Sponsor - $3,000). Each successive sponsorship level comes with increasingly elaborate benefits, all of which -- tickets, CLE and tour add-ons, and sponsorships -- may be found at this page of the Illinois Bar Foundation website.

Persons making the trip from the Chicago area should also note that a limited block of rooms has been reserved for this event at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre Hotel in downtown Springfield, a three-minute drive or eight-minute walk away from the State Library, according to event sponsors. The room price is $85 plus tax for the night of May 16. The deadline for reservations using this discount is May 2. Click here for hotel reservations.

John Hock announces bid for 18th Subcircuit seat

New map -- new subcircuits -- and, now, new candidates.

First to publicly declare an interest in an 18th Subcircuit vacancy (which does not yet officially exist) is Cook County Assistant State's Attorney John Hock. That's a link to Hock's new campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link will be added to the candidate list in this site's Sidebar when that is eventually set up.

Licensed in Illinois since 2009, according to ARDC, Hock's campaign biography notes that he served as a public defender before joining the CCSAO. Currently representing the State in post-conviction matters, Hock's bio notes that he formerly handled misdemeanor and felony cases, including juvenile matters, as a public defender.

A native of Joliet, Hock currently resides in Des Plaines with his wife and their two daughters. According to his campaign bio, Hock is "active as a youth sports coach and volunteers throughout the community."

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Cook County Democratic Party to offer "Road to the Robe" presentation on May 17

The Cook County Democratic Party will offer potential judicial candidates a program on "the ins and outs about running for judge," with presentations from "experts in the field," on Wednesday, May 17, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., at the Mid-America Carpenters Chicago Training Facility, 2141 S. Union Ave. Free parking will be provided for this in-person "Road to the Robe" event.

Jacob Kaplan, the Executive Director of the Cook County Democratic Party, told FWIW that the lineup of speakers has not yet been finalized, though he does not expect elected officials to be among the main speakers. In other words, the event will not provide any meaningful opportunity to buttonhole Cook County Board President (and Party Chair) Toni Preckwinkle or State Senate President Don Harmon, the Chair of the Party's Circuit Court Committee. Would anyone seriously expect otherwise? And how could anyone hope to elbow all the other judicial hopefuls aside whilst doing so?

But chances are pretty good that someone like election lawyer Thomas M. Jaconnetty will be pressed into service. He has spoken at events like this previously. Jaconetty has traditionally represented slated candidates, and has a wealth of experience. Someone will talk about fundraising and record-keeping and reporting. Kaplan will talk about how the Party's slating process works. If I receive any more definite information about speakers, I will update.

The event is free, but registration is required. To register, visit

ALA to host Fireside Chat with the newest justices of the Illinois Supreme Court

The Appellate Lawyers Association will present a "Fireside Chat" with the four newest justices of the Illinois Supreme Court, Justices Lisa Holder White, Joy V. Cunningham, Mary K. O'Brien, and Elizabeth Rochford, on Thursday, April 27, from noon to 1:00 p.m.

I'm not certain how a fireside chat is actually done on Zoom, but that is the plan for this event. Persons will receive a Zoom link for the program after completing their registration.

Tickets are $10 for ALA members, $25 for nonmembers. One hour of CLE will be awarded to attendees. The organizers promise that only the speakers will be visible at this event, so no one needs to worry about accessorizing. To register, visit this page of the ALA website.

Vanguard Awards Luncheon set for May 2

The Chicago Bar Association will host the 2023 Vanguard Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, May 2, at the Union League Club of Chicago, 65 W. Jackson.

The luncheon will begin at noon, following an 11:30 a.m. reception.

Tickets for the event are $75 each; tables of 10 may be reserved for $750. Click here to be taken to the CBA website page where tickets may be obtained.

In alphabetical order, this year's honorees are:
  • Steven M. Elrod
    The Decalogue Society of Lawyers

  • Hon. Ramón M. Escapa (posthumously)
    Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois

  • Alexander Z. Fiedotjew (posthumously)
    Advocates Society

  • Sandra A. Frantzen
    Arab American Bar Association of Illinois

  • Hon. Jasmine V. Hernandez Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago

  • Marisel Hernandez
    HLAI - Serving the Hispanic Lawyers of Illinois

  • Nathalina A. Hudson
    Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, Inc.

  • Rachel Huan Kao
    Chinese American Bar Association

  • Hon. Freddrenna M. Lyle
    Cook County Bar Association

  • Samera Syeda Ludwig
    Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago

  • Hon. Mary Cay Marubio
    LAGBAC, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ Bar Association

  • Dina M. Ninfo
    Women’s Bar Association of Illinois

  • Binal J. Patel
    South Asian Bar Association of Chicago

  • Hon. Nichole C. Patton
    The Chicago Bar Association

    Wednesday, April 19, 2023

    2024 judicial campaigns already getting underway....

    Gad, what a depressing thought, right? The results of the April election will not even be official until next week (April 25, to be precise) and, yet, 2024 judicial campaign websites are already being launched.

    But, however unsettling it may be for the rest of us, serious judicial candidates pretty much have to be setting their campaigns in motion already. The primary is only 11 months hence, even though the winners of those primary races (assuming, as has been the case in nearly all Cook County races in recent years, that those primary winners will not be troubled by opposition on the November ballot) will have to wait another 8½ months thereafter before being sworn into office.

    The forthcoming election cycle will feature the first test of Cook County's new 20-subcircuit map.

    The Cook County Clerk will issue maps of each subcircuit soon -- probably in June, according to the best information that FWIW has been able to determine -- but that doesn't mean that the boundaries of the redrawn subcircuits are not yet known. They are known, and have been known, since January 2022. This map, an interactive version of which is presently available via the Cook County Clerk's website, shows the boundary lines:
    Persons interested in seeking a seat in a new subcircuit will want to consult this map, but should actually study 705 ILCS 24/5, Section 5 of the Judicial Circuits Districting Act of 2022. These seemingly endless chains of apparently random numbers may seem impenetrable to the general reader, but, trust me, they have been carefully digested and analyzed by many prospective judicial candidates and the political gurus who will support their campaigns.

    FWIW will have the official Subcircuit maps when they come out.

    But this will be mostly for the edification of potential voters. Prosepctive candidates who are waiting for the maps to launch their campaigns may never get off the ground.

    Of course, being first to declare is no guarantee of victory -- but an early start may help someone stand out (and build vital name recognition) in a crowded field.

    With that in mind, the first 2024 Cook County judicial campaign website that has been called to my attention (so far) is Liam Kelly's. That's a link to the website in the preceding sentence; there's also a campaign Facebook page. Eventually, this site will be included on FWIW's Sidebar, which will show a list of all Cook County judicial campaign websites. (Just not for a while, yet, please.) Kelly was a candidate for a 10th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2020 election cycle. He has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2011, according to ARDC, which also notes that Kelly presently works for the Law Offices of Robert Louis Rascia, Ltd.

    I will post other Cook County judicial campaign websites as I stumble across them or they are called to my attention.

    It isn't just Cook County that has to contend with new subcircuits this year. Readers may recall the post I put up in January concerning the appointment of Jennifer Barron (with whom I used to work) to a DuPage County vacancy. Judge Barron now has a campaign website, too (yes, that's a link). Although she was appointed to an at-large vacancy (the link here is to the Supreme Court's appointment order), the new website makes clear that Barron will be seeking election to a vacancy in DuPage County's new Second Judicial Subcircuit. I don't pretend to know why this is so; the process of allocating existing vacancies in the new suburban subcircuits is no doubt different from the process being followed in our own County Cook.

    AABAR program to offer practical advice to law students in April 26 Zoom event

    This Zoom presentation, set for Wednesday, April 26, from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m., is not being offered for CLE credit, and its very title, "Navigating the Legal Field: Advice from MENA Legal Professionals," suggests that this program is aimed at law students or new admittees.

    But it is free... and some FWIW readers may know one or more persons who might benefit from the event.

    Sponsored by both the Arab American Bar Association of Illinois and Northern Illinois University's Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association (MENALSA), the panelists will discuss their own "cultural and academic experiences, current professions and hopes for Arab American lawyers," according to a Facebook promotion of the event. The panelists scheduled to appear are:
    • Judge William Haddad (ret.) - ADR Systems
    • Judge Rouhy Shalabi - Circuit Court of Cook County
    • Nura Yanaki - Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
    • Marvet Sweis - MSD Injury Lawyers
    • Lana Nassar - Jackson Lewis, P.C.
    • Jon Baloch - Baker & McKenzie
    • Sara Ghantous - Amdocs, Inc.
    To register for this event, visit this page of the AABAR website.

    Thursday, April 13, 2023

    Sarah Rodak Johnson appointed to countywide vacancy

    In an Order entered yesterday, the Illinois Supreme Court, on the recommendation of Justice Joy V. Cunningham, appointed Sarah Rodak Johnson to a countywide vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Catherine Haberkorn. The appointment is effective April 24 and expires on December 2, 2024. (The Court's press release concerning this appointment can be found at this link.)

    Johnson was a finalist for the recently-seated class of associate judges. She is a partner in the firm of Cunningham, Meyer & Verdine, P.C.. Her firm bio says her practice has been focused on practice on the defense of hospitals, healthcare organizations, and medical providers against claims of medical and institutional negligence.

    Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2006, according to ARDC, Johnson has, according to the Supreme Court's press release, tried over a dozen medical malpractice and product liability cases to verdict. "From 2006 to 2009," the Court's press release continues, Johnson "was an attorney at Parrillo, Weiss & O'Halloran where she tried over 40 cases to verdict."

    Johnson tutors with the CBA's Lawyers-Lend-A-Hand program and co-chairs the Positive School Climate Committee for District 102. She also serves on Misericordia's Women's Board. The Supreme Court's press release notes also that Johnson "was named as an Illinois Rising Star by Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021."

    I did not see this coming: New round of applications opens for Cook County associate judge

    Most of the 22 members of the newest class of Cook County associate judges are still getting oriented to their new responsibilities, but the Circuit Court of Cook County has already posted a new vacancy.

    It is at least unusual, and certainly unprecedented in the course of my career, for Cook County vacancies to be posted one at a time, but these are unusual times: Starting June 1, associate judge vacancies will be automatically converted and assigned to subcircuit vacancies in the newly created 16th through 20th subcircuits. If more than 10 such vacancies occur before the end of this election cycle, there may be a new class posted then because only 10 such vacancies can be allocated during any given election cycle. (Details in this post.)

    Meanwhile, however, because of the passing of Associate Judge Lana Charisse Johnson on February 20, just after the last short list was announced, there is a vacancy that the Circuit Court can fill now. Any additional vacancies occurring between now and May 31 will be filled in this newest class as well. I will not specultate as to whether some judges (who may have been considering retirement) are being encouraged to put in their papers sooner rather than later, but I would not be surprised if such encouragements are reported.

    Meanwhile, applications are available on the Supreme Court website. The deadline to return electronically-submitted applications is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 12. If mailed or hand delivered (to the Chicago office of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, at 222 N. LaSalle Street, 13th Floor), the deadline is 5:00 p.m. that same day.

    The Circuit Court Nominating Committee just interviewed a large number of associate judge hopefuls. The court may dispense with interviews for those it has recently seen: The Circuit Court's announcement of the new vacancy states, "Applicants for this position may also be required to make themselves available for an interview" with the court's Nominating Committee. The use of the word "may" in this context is telling.

    The names of all applicants for this post will be made public. FWIW will post these when they are available.

    Tuesday, April 11, 2023

    Appellate Lawyers Association Judicial Ethics online seminar set for April 13

    The Appellate Lawyers Association will present a Zoom seminar this Thursday, April 13, from noon to 1:00 p.m. on the new Code of Judicial Code Conduct that became effective for all Illinois judges on January 1.

    The ALA says that the program "will highlight important changes in the new Code and discuss the judicial ethics provisions that are of greatest interest to lawyers." The program will feature a panel of three Appellate Court justices, all of whom serve on the Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee, Justices Eugene G. Doherty (4th Dist.), Michael B. Hyman (1st Dist.), and Ann B. Jorgensen (2nd Dist.). Steven F. Pflaum, the Chair of the Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee (and a former ALA president), will serve as moderator.

    Attendees will be able to receive one hour of Professional Responsibility MCLE Credit. The cost is $25 for nonmembers (ALA members can attend for free). A Zoom link will be provided upon registration. Registration may be accomplished via this link.

    Of course, if you don't want to plow through the new 56-page code, you can take the entirely unpatented FWIW short, short course in judicial ethics (which happens to be the same course for legal ethics, too): If you have to stop to consider whether a proposed course of action may violate some ethical rule, perhaps you should stop considering that proposed course of action. But there's no CLE credit in that.

    Wednesday, April 05, 2023

    Decalogue Society and Jewish Judges Association to hold Third Seder on April 19

    The Decalogue Society of Lawyers and the Jewish Judges Association are holding a Third Seder on Wednesday, April 19, starting at 5:30 p.m., at Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen, 1141 S. Jefferson St. Kosher meals from Milt's BBQ are available at no additional cost, but registration for the event must be made by April 14.

    Tickets are $50 each and registration is available at this link on the Decalogue website.

    Sponsorships are available for $500, which includes eight tickets at a reserved table, social media recognition, and verbal recognition at the Seder.

    The Seder is being offered in partnership with the Cook County Bar Association, LAGBAC, the Illinois Judicial Council, and the Alliance of Illinois Judges.

    20th Annual Barristers Big Band Benefit Ball set for April 28 at the Union League Club

    The Chicago Bar Association Barristers Big Band will hold its 20th Annual Big Band Benefit Ball on Friday, April 28 at the Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson Blvd.

    Dancing, featuring the music of Glenn Miller and (Chicago's very own) Benny Goodman, begins at 7:00 p.m., following a 6:00 p.m. reception.

    Tickets are $75 each and are available at this link. The price includes a free dance lesson.

    There will be a dance contest and a silent auction. (To review items or bid in the silent auction, click here. New items will be added until April 21.) All proceeds benefit the CBA's Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

    For more information about the event, or to order tickets without creating a nonmember account, email Mark J. Cellini at For sponsorship opportunities, contact BBB Band Leader John Vishneski.

    Monday, April 03, 2023

    Deidre M. Dyer appointed to countywide vacancy

    In an order entered March 30, the Illinois Supreme Court announced the appointment of Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Deidre M. Dyer to the countywide vacancy created by the recent retirement of Judge Arnette R. Hubbard. The appointment is effective April 28 and expires on December 2, 2024.

    In a press release accompanying the Order, Justice Joy Cunningham and the Illinois Supreme Court note that Dyer has served in the CCSAO since 2009, currently working as Deputy Supervisor of Public Corruption, Financial Crimes, Money Laundering, and Consumer Fraud, as well as the Chair of the Benefit Fraud Committee.

    Dyer has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2000, according to ARDC. She began her legal career in the Kankakee County State's Attorney's Office, before moving to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services Office of Legal Services, working as Supervising Regional Counsel for DCFS from 2001 to 2006. From 2006 to 2009, Dyer was Assistant Attorney General in the Special Prosecutions Bureau in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

    A member of the Cook County Bar Association and the South Suburban Bar Association, Dyer was named as the National Insurance Crime Bureau's Prosecutor Partner of the Year in 2020.

    Chloé G. Pedersen appointed to countywide vacancy

    In an order entered last Thursday, the Illinois Supreme Court announced the appointment of Chloé G. Pedersen to the countywide Circuit Court vacancy created last year, when Judge Debra B. Walker was elected to the Illinois Appellate Court.

    Pedersen's appointment is effective May 12 and terminates December 2, 2024.

    Currently, Pedersen works as a partner in the firm of Fletcher & Sippel, LLC. Her firm biography recites that Pedersen's practice with that firm has been on behalf of employers in matters including employee retention, discipline and separation (severance and termination), performance management, workplace investigations, policy development and enforcement, employment agreements, work place accommodations, FMLA, FLSA and wage and hour issues.

    Before joining her present firm, Pedersen was Chief Legal & Labor Counsel for the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. Earlier in her career, Pedersen served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Illinois Attorney General’s Government Representation Division. She has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2007, according to ARDC.

    Pedersen was a candidate for a 4th Subcircuit vacancy in the 2022 election cycle.

    Interestingly, when Pedersen is sworn in next month, all three candidates in that race will have attained the bench: ShawnTe Raines-Welch won the primary and was unnopposed in last November's general election, while Jerry Barrido has just begun serving as a Cook County Associate Judge.

    Philip Fowler appointed to 4th Subcircuit vacancy

    In an order entered March 30, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed attorney Phillip J. Fowler to a 4th Subcircuit vacancy created when Judge Edward J. King chose not to seek retention in 2022.

    Licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1986, according to ARDC, Fowler is currently an attorney with the firm of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC. His appointment is effective May 5 and terminates December 2, 2024.

    In a press release that accompanied the Order announcing the appointment, the Supreme Court noted that Fowler has worked his entire career in "private law firms handling a diverse range of civil litigation, including personal injury, civil rights, and commercial cases, as well as the area of legal ethics. He has represented attorneys before the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, has advised law firms on legal ethics and professional liability, and has testified as an expert witness on legal ethics. He has also dedicated himself over the last thirty-five years to protecting the legal rights of wards of the Department of Children and Family Services."

    Fowler's firm biography reports that Fowler began his legal career working for the late Donald Hubert (later rising to partner in a firm known as Hubert, Fowler & Quinn. Fowler later became "Of Counsel" to the Gloor Law Group, LLC, and thereafter, a director in the firm of Tribler, Orpett & Meyer, P.C. before joining Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC.

    Fowler has sat on the boards of the Foundation Board of the Special Olympics of Illinois, the International Organization of Adolescents (which combats the human trafficking of teens throughout the world), and the Catholic Lawyer’s Guild.