Tuesday, October 31, 2023

James Murphy to make 10th Subcircuit bid

James Murphy, a long-time Assistant Cook County State's Attorney now in private practice, has announced plans to seek the Wojokowski vacancy in the re-drawn 10th Subcircuit. A campaign website has been launched in support of this venture. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the Sidebar on this site as well.

Licensed to practice law in Illinois since 1997, according to ARDC, Murphy touts his extensive trial experience ("over 81 felony jury trials and hundreds of bench trials ranging from property crimes to the most violent of felonies") on his website. According to his campaign website, during his tenure with the CCSAO, Murphy served as "Supervisor of the Felony Review Unit and the Supervisor of the Branch 66 Homicide/ Sex Unit, Preliminary Hearings, Central Bond Court and the Grand Jury."

Murphy's campaign bio notes his Chicago roots: His paternal grandfather was a Chicago firefighter; his maternal grandfather was a Chicago police officer. A graduate of Loyola Academy, Murphy worked his way through college at the University of Illinois as a busboy and waiter at Alexander's Steakhouse in Champaign, according to his campaign bio.

The campaign bio also notes that Murphy currently serves as President of the Sauganash Community Association. He and his wife and their two children reside on Chicago's Northwest Side. Murphy is active in his children's school and extracurricular activities and in the Queen of All Saints Parish Men’s Club.

CBA Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Fall Concert November 4

The Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will hold its Fall Concert: Conductor Quest on Saturday evening, November 4, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., at St. James Episcopal Cathedral, 65 E. Huron St.

Two individuals seeking to become the next Music Director of the CBASO, Nicholas Wallin and Silas Huff, will present dueling programs featuring, inter alia, music by Schubert and Bizet, Sibelius' Finlandia, John Williams' Olympic Fanfare, and the CBA Chorus in Haydn's joyful Te Deum.

Tickets for the program are available at the door or at this Eventbrite link. Adult tickets are $15 each on line, $20 at the door; student tickets (law students or 18 and younger) are $10 apiece, or $15 at the door.

Friday, October 27, 2023

4,000 posts and counting

This post isn't itself the 4,000th post I've published on FWIW. Strictly speaking, and if you're only talking about this site, and not counting what I call Page Two of FWIW (where I've also put up over 500 posts), my 4,000th FWIW post went up last week sometime.

But a 4,000th post is a significant milestone -- a monument to stubbornness, perhaps -- even though not all the 4,000+ posts that have appeared here have been mine. I've been gratful for the opportunity to publish a number of guest posts, such as the many substantive posts from Albert J. Klumpp, who has provided scholarly analysis of the last several judicial election cycles.

Another bunch of these 4,000 posts that I did not write, but in which I nevertheless take particular pride, are the "In Their Own Words" posts that I have solicited and published in every campaign cycle since 2008. These are posts in which I've let Cook County judicial candidates write whatever they want to say to the voters, however they want to say it. I'll be asking for these again in a couple of months. Not every candidate takes me up on this offer; I wish it were otherwise. But I link to the all the candidate statements I do receive from the Organizing the Data posts that I feature in the last weeks before the primary or (when there's been the odd, contested election) the November election.

As for the rest... well... in my more candid and reflective moments I will concede that most, indeed the vast majority, are (at best) informational. The Pulitzer Prize Board has committed no grievous oversight in passing me by. On the other hand, I did win a Kogan Award from the Chicago Bar Association in 2012
and an Honorable Mention from the Kogan Committee in 2014. (The CBA seems to have disbanded the Kogan Committee recently; I'm not sure how much I am to blame for this.)

Some of the posts I've put up here and on Page Two have included personal recollections of my own ill-fated runs for the bench in 1994 and 1996. I tried to distill and offer lessons from my own electoral failures in these 2021 posts:
Some of the posts I've put up here and on Page Two are humorous; some posts were intended to be humorous. I like to think there's a substantial overlap between those two categories....

But even in strictly informational posts, I sometimes try and slip in a zinger or two. I used to do this in appellate briefs, too. My thought was that the judges (and/or their clerks) who had to read those things might appreciate a little diversion. You know... never a joke, certainly, but perhaps a play on words, or an unexpected allusion... a little levity to leaven the grim necessity of plowing through page after page of dense legal prose. It never occurred to me that it might cause some judges (and/or their clerks) not to take me seriously... but, now, looking back, considering some of the results that obtained... well, I can't help but wonder....

I've written some posts for FWIW that I consider substantive -- even if I try to approach serious topics in a readable, conversational way. By way of example, I hope that one of these days, the courts will realize that access to justice in civil cases and meaningful employment for lawyers are both negatively impacted by the soaring costs of discovery. When that day comes, I hope the courts will remember that I've been advocating for "Zero-Based Discovery" for some years now (and, if you're interested in what I mean by this, perhaps start with this post).

But I realize that what keeps readers returing to FWIW is my coverage of Cook County judicial elections. People tell me I am providing a useful service with this site. I hope I am.

For those of you who may be new here, and unfamiliar with how I've tried to cover these elections in the past, this FAQ post may be of some assistance.

If you've consulted one of my FAQ posts, now or ever, you know that I don't accept ads from candidates and I don't charge candidates to promote their websites or events. I will accept ads from persons or companies looking to sell services to candidates... but I don't suffer from the burden of too many ads. I do accept reader donations. If you're viewing this article on a laptop or desktop, you can see there's a "Donate" button toward the top of the Sidebar on this site. You are welcome to contribute to the upkeep of this site by clicking there.

The "Donate" button links to PayPal, and allows readers to pay either by PayPal (if you have an account) or by credit card. And PayPal has recently added another donation option, for those generous souls who may be reading this only on their phones and/or who already have a PayPal account (I'm told it's quite common). This link -- PayPal.Me/FWIWChicago -- supposedly will allow you to help support this venture as well.

Charlie Meyerson, in his hugely popular email news briefing, Chicago Public Square, regularly solicits support from his readers, and occasionaly he will publish a list of those who have most recently taken him up on that invitation.

But be not afraid. I realize that everyone who reads this site seems to prefer, and even cherish, anonymity. Much as I would like to publicly thank anyone who contributes -- I am truly grateful for any and all support -- I won't mention anyone who donates by name unless they ask me to do so.

I may not know how to 'read a room' well, but I'm not totally illiterate either.

More posts to come....

Monday, October 23, 2023

Cook County Bar Association co-hosts Joint Reception on November 8

The Cook County Bar Association, the Illinois Judicial Council, the Black Women Lawyers' Association, and the Black Men Lawyers' Association will hold a Joint Reception on Wednesday, November 8, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at Taste 222, 222 N. Canal Street.

Tickets are $65 each. The price includes one drink ticket and dinner. There will be a cash bar available as well.

No tickets will be sold at the door. However, tickets are available at this TicketFalcon link.

CBA Lawyers in the Classroom Civic Education Appreciation Awards presentation set for November 2

The Chicago Bar Association's Edward J. Lewis II Lawyers in the Classroom Program will hold its Second Annual Lawyers in the Classroom Civic Appreciation Awards ceremony on Thursday, November 2, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the CBA Building, 321 S. Plymouth Ct.

The program will honor and celebrate the Lawyers in the Classroom program teacher and attorney team partners.

Tickets for the event are $50 each and are available at this link.

Bridget Colleen Duignan to make 19th Subcircuit run

There's no campaign website yet, at least none that I can find, but there is a campaign Facebook page to indicate that Bridget Colleen Duignan is planning a run for judge in the new 19th Subcircuit.

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 2004, according to ARDC, Duignan is a partner in the firm of Latherow & Duignan. Her firm bio notes that she served as Assistant Counsel to the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives prior to joining the firm, also serving, during that time, as Parliamentarian to the State Government and Insurance Committees. According to her firm bio, Duignan began her legal career as a defense attorney, working in workers' compensation and employment law.

Duignan was elected Third Vice President of the Illinois State Bar Association in 2022; she currently serves as Second Vice President and will, in due course, succeed to the presidency of the ISBA in 2025. According to her firm bio, Duignan also serves on the School Advisory Board of St. Barnabas School, having served as Board Chair in 2021-22.

Hellenic Bar Association Foundation Scholarship Ball set for November 18

Updated 11/16/23 to advise, per this Instagram post, that this event has sold out.
The Helenic Bar Association Foundation, the charitable arm of the Hellenic Bar Association, will hold its 73rd Annual Scholarship Ball on Saturday, November 18, at the Westin O'Hare, 6100 North River Road, Rosemont. The event will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:00 p.m.; dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m. In addition to the awards program, there will be a silent auction and dancing.

At the ball, in addition to awarding scholarships to law students of Hellenic descent, the HBAF will confer these awards on the following persons:
  • Hellene of the Year - Chris Atsaves
    Senior Vice President, Weatlh Advisor, and Certified Financial Planner at UBS

  • Service Award - Arlene Siavelis Kehl
    National Piloptochos President

  • Lawyer of the Year - Perry Siatis
    Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of AbbVie

  • Rising Star - Eleni Katsoulis
    Senior Claims Counsel with Northwestern Memorial Healthcare
For additional information about the awardees, click here.

Tickets for the ball are $275 each; there is an $550 option for a 'couples ticket.' Tables of 10 may be had for $2,750. Discounted tickets for students are available for $175 each. All tickets are available at this link.

Sponsorships are also available. Persons contributing an additional $100 will be designated as Patrons of the event; persons contributing an additonal $250 will be designated as Supporters. In addition, there are the following premium sponsorship levels:
  • Bronze Sponsor - $500
    Includes name or logo listed on marketing materials and website recognition before and after the event

  • Silver Sponsor - $1,000
    Includes Bronze Sponsorship benefits, with Silver Sponsorship status duly noted, plus live recognition during the event

  • Gold Sponsor - $2,500
    Includes Silver Sponsorship benefits, with Gold Sponsorship status duly noted, plus 2 complimentary event tickets

  • Platinum Sponsor - $5,000
    Includes Gold Sponsorship benefits, with Platinum Sponsorship status duly noted, but 4 complimentary event tickets instead of two

  • Grand Benefactor - $10,000
    Includes Platinum Sponsorship benefits, with Grand Benefactor status duly noted, but VIP seating and up to 6 complimentary event tickets instead of four, and premium signage at the event
To sign up for a sponsorship, or for more information about sponsorships, including a sponsorship packet, click here Silent auction prizes will be posted at this page on or about November 11.

The Hellenic Bar Association Foundation promotes various initiatives that support students of Hellenic descent. In addition to awarding scholarships, the HBAF promotes education by hosting an annual Law Day Essay Contest for elementary school children. Students from Greek-American schools in the Chicagoland area participate in this contest. The HBAF also operates a pro bono legal clinic, Hel.LAS.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Jennifer Callahan fundraiser October 25 at Harry Caray's

Supporters of Jennifer Callahan's countywide judicial bid are planning a fundraiser for their candidate on Wednesday, October 25, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Harry Caray's, 33 W. Kinzie Street.

Tickets for the event are $100 apiece. Sponsorships are also available (Friend - $500, Host - $1,000, Event Sponsor - $6,900). There is no event-specific link on the candidate's web page at this point, but campaign donations are accepted at this link. Questions about the event should be emailed to info@callahanforjudge.com.

Listed as co-hosts of the event are Frederick E. Agustin and Maura Furey Agustin, Leonard F. Amari, Edward J. Austin, Kathy Byrne, Hon. Jack Callahan (ret.), Anthony J. Carballo, Joe Cook, Robert J. Cooney, Jr., Michael Cooney, Bradley Cosgrove, Mary Helen and Thomas Cronin, Carolyn Daley, Daniel J. Downes, Joseph Enright, Patrick Enright, Michael L. Gallagher, Michael Gruszeczki, Nicholas J. Hynes, Mary Ann Hynes, Anthony J. Jacob, Hon. Christopher Lawler (ret.), Hon. Daniel Lynch (ret.), Brendan "Buzz" McClelland, Sara McGann, Hon. James M. McGing (ret.), Alastar L. McGrath, Eileen and Mark McNabola, John L. McNamara, Hon. Clare E. McWilliams (ret.), Colleen Mixan Mikaitis, Thomas Murphy, Sean O'Callaghan, Peter O'Mara, James C. Pullos, Michael Roche, Karen Callahan and Joseph P. Roddy, Sheila and Daniel T. Ryan, Susan and Matthew J. Schueler, Michael Sorich, Marcy Twardak, and Katherine Ann Twardak.

Dawn Gonzalez claims slating in 11th Subcircuit, announces October 30 campaign event

Supporters of Dawn Gonzalez's 11th Subcircuit judicial bid are planning a Meet-N-Greet for their candidate on Monday, October 30, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at the Madison Street Theater, 1010 Madison Street, Oak Park.

There is no charge to attend this event (although campaign donations for the event are available at this link) but reservations are required (same link). Light snacks will be served. There will also be a cash bar, the proceeds of which will benefit the Madison Street Theater Performing Arts Center.

The Gonzalez campaign is also claiming slating for their candidate from the Democratic Party Committeepersons whose wards or townships have precincts in the newly reconfigured 11th Subcircuit.

As of this writing, FWIW has not received confirmation of this assertion from any of the Committeepersons involved. While the Democratic Party's countywide slating is a semi-public event (the candidate presentations are open to the public, while voting for the slate is conducted in closed session), subcircuit slating meetings are not necessarily announced in advance... and sometimes never at all.

There are two vacancies in the 11th Subcircuit. A separate post will follow if and when I can verify the outcome of any 11th Subcircuit slating process. I will be looking into that in the coming days.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Maryland judge murdered in his driveway

The suspected killer of Washington County, Maryland Circuit Court Judge Andrew F. Wilkinson is still at large this evening, according to this recent post from CBS News.

Wilkinson had awarded custody of Pedro Argote's four children to the children's mother in an order entered yesterday, only hours before Argote allegedly shot the judge in the judge's Hagerstown driveway.

Wilkinson's wife and son were at home at the time.

According to the Hagerstown Herald-Mail, the order specified that there was to be no visitation or contact between Argote and his children. There also was to be no contact between Argote and the children's mother. The order also barred Argote from the family home, giving his ex-wife "sole use and possession." In addition to paying his ex-wife $1,120 a month for child support, Argote was also supposed to make his 2009 Mercedes available to the children's mother "upon reasonable request to attend to necessary shopping or medical or dental appointments" for her or the children.

The Herald-Mail site notes that Argote was believed to be driving that Mercedes.

Divorce cases can be especially perilous for judges.

Some FWIW readers may remember when Judge Henry Gentile was murdered in his Daley Center courtroom, back in 1983. Wheelchair-bound Hutchie Moore, in court contesting a divorce settlement, pulled a gun out from under a lap blanket and shot and killed Gentile and James Piszczor, who was representing Moore's ex-wife. This archived UPI story notes how Moore, having done what he had set out to do, sat waiting for police to come arrest him.

The bench can be an attractive destination for many lawyers. The pay is good, the pension generous (even if it is not as good as it once was). There are many benefits.

But there are also risks.

Attorney fired for antisemitic statements on social media, loses bar presidency

Updated 10/21/23 to include CBA statement

Several media outlets, including NBC Chicago, are reporting today that Sarah Chowdhury, who had been working as an attorney in the Office of the Illinois Comptroller, was fired Thursday after making antisemitic statements on line. Quoting rather extensively from the NBC Chicago article (which itself quotes from an earlier Reuters article) (it's not necessarily plagarism if you give proper attribution):
Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office contacted the employee about an hour and a half later, then fired her after she admitted to some of the comments, the office said.

“Comptroller Mendoza has zero tolerance for antisemitism or hate speech,” a statement from Mendoza’s office said.

According to Reuters, the employee fired is legal counsel Sarah Chowdhury, who made the comments in private direct messages with an Instagram account called Big Law Boiz.

“All you zionists will pay” and “Hitler should have eradicated all of you,” were among the remarks she allegedly made in the exchange, according to Reuters.

A screenshot of other messages she allegedly sent, which the Big Law Boiz account made public earlier Thursday, included, “Hopefully someone sends you anthrax or poison and you die a slow terrible death” and “Burn in hell.”
Chowdhury was also removed as president of the South Asian Bar Association as a consequence of these remarks. This statement, dated October 19, was posted on the SABA Executive Board page of its website:
The South Asian Bar Association of Chicago stands against hate, bigotry and bias in any form. Today, our board was made aware of antisemitic comments made by SABA Chicago's President toward the Jewish community through her personal social media account. Immediately upon learning of these statements, her role as president and membership in SABA-Chicago were terminated. We are deeply saddened and horrified by her words and their impact on our friends, families, and colleagues, and apologize for any harm they may have caused. Her words are not and will never be reflective of SABA Chicago. To be clear, SABA Chicago condemns such hateful rhetoric and is committed to supporting our communities and all those impacted by hate. We will not tolerate such behavior by any of our members.

As our nation responds to the rising hate violence we have seen at home, we endeavor to work together with other professional organizations to combat hate in all its forms—whether anti-Semitic, anti-Asian, anti-Muslim, white supremacy, or any other bigotry--and will always denounce such acts unequivocally and without qualification.

Our board, along with our newly installed President Maliha Siddiqui, remains committed to working with our partners in the legal community and beyond to ensure hate has no place in our profession or society. If you have any comments or concerns please reach out to info@sabachicago.org.
Chowdhury also had leadership roles with the Chicago Bar Association. This statement from the CBA was obtained from Facebook on October 21:
Chowdhury was licensed to practice law in 2018, according to ARDC.

Additional coverage of this story on CapitolFax.

NSBA Annual Installation and Recognition Dinner set for November 8

Updated 11/3/23
The North Suburban Bar Association will hold its Annual Installation and Regognition Dinner on Wednesday, November 8, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the North Shore Country Club, 134o Glenview Rd., Glenview.

MK Gamble will be installed as the new President of the NSBA at this event, and Appellate Court Justice Cynthia Y. Cobbs will receive the NSBA's L. Sanford Blustin Award.

Other officers to be sworn in at the November 8 dinner are:
  • Hon. Jeanne Wrenn | 1st Vice President
  • Kristin Barnette McCarthy | 2nd Vice President
  • Joel Bruckman | 3rd Vice President
  • Jeff Moskowitz | 4th Vice President
  • Dimitrie Umbrarescu | Secretary & Public Relations
  • Hon. Pamela Stratigakis | Treasurer
  • Marvin Mendez | Mock Trial Chair
  • Kilby Macfadden | Immediate Past President
Tickets for this event are $175 each for NSBA members, $200 for non-members. Tables of 10 may be purchased for $1,750.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available:
  • Silver Sponsor - $325
    Includes one event ticket and the display of sponsor's name or logo on the NSBA event registration landing page

  • Gold Sponsor - $500
    Includes one event ticket, advertisement and verbal recognition at the event, and a linked logo on the event registration landing page

  • Platinum Sponsor - $1,000
    Includes two event tickets, prominent display of name or logo on event signage, acknowledgment of sponsorship in inivitations and promotions, and verbal recognition at the event. Also, the sponsor's name or logo will be displayed on the NSBA website with a linked logo on the event landing page.
Click here to proceed to the 'event landing page.' Tickets and all sponsorships can obtained at this link.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Area law schools to compete for the Chicago Cup

Six Illinois law schools are co-sponsoring a mock trial competition from Thursday, November 9 to Saturday, November 11 and real trial lawyers and jurists are needed to judge the event.

The participating schools are UIC-Law, Chicago-Kent, DePaul, Loyola, U of I, and Northwestern. All competition will take place in the courtrooms of the four downtown law schools. (Northwestern is even offering free parking.) CLE credit is available.

Competition times are as follows:
Thursday, Nov. 9 at 6:00 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 10 at 10:00 a.m.
Friday, Nov. 10 at 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 11 at 9:00 a.m.
Saturday, Nov. 11 at 1:00 p.m.
All judges must be in place 15 minutes before the scheduled start of competition.

This year's fact pattern is a public corruption case (which may remind those old enough of Operation Greylord):
In March of 2022, the FBI began “Operation Bluelady,” an ambitious investigation into allegations of corruption in the judicial system in the City of Wind. Operation Bluelady led to charges against numerous attorneys and judges in Wind. Among the first people caught up in the investigation was Blake Peters, a local attorney. Peters admitted to extensive involvement in bribery schemes related to traffic cases and agreed to cooperate with the FBI to collect evidence against others in an attempt to obtain a reduced sentence for his own crimes. Peters made successful cases against several attorneys. This case is the result of Peters’s attempts to collect evidence that Judge Mary Samuels was taking bribes. The FBI created a fictitious case and placed it on Judge Samuels’s docket. Peters then wore a wire and recorded conversations in which he attempted to bribe Judge Samuels. He then delivered an envelope including money for the bribe to Judge Samuels’s clerk, Trevor Flowers. Judge Samuels ultimately decided the case in Peters’s favor. Judge Samuels denies that any bribe took place and contends that she at most violated some ethical rules regarding ex parte communication with litigants.
Persons interested in volunteering should click here for a registration form. Questions about the event should be directed to joshua.jones@law.northwestern.edu or navarrok@uic.edu.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Arrangements announced for Judge James P. Flannery, Jr.

Law Division Presiding Judge James P. Flannery, Jr. passed away over the weekend. He was 73.

Judge Flannery was elected to a countywide vacancy in 1990. He had served as Presiding Judge of the Law Division since 2014.

After receiving his law license in 1976, Flannery began his legal career as an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Chicago. In 1980, Flannery moved into the private sector, working for two different firms and as a solo practitioner before joining the Attorney General's Office as Chief of the Land Acquisition Division in 1985.

"The Circuit Court of Cook County has lost a widely respected jurist and a dear friend with the passing of Law Division Presiding Judge James P. Flannery, Jr.," said Cook County Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans in a written statement. "We will miss his experience, his willingness to innovate, and his kind and generous nature. I offer my sincere condolences to his family."

Flannery is survived by a wife, daughter, and two grandchildren. He will be waked on Wednesday, October 18, from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Dalcamo Funeral Home, 470 W. 26th St. The funeral Mass is set for Thursday, October 19, at 10:00 a.m., at St. Barbara Catholic Church, 2859 South Throop Street. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers, the Flannery family has requested donations to The Share Foundation.

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Nadine Wichern to seek 20th Subcircuit vacancy

Nadine Wichern, the Chief of the Civil Appeals Division in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, is planning a run for the vacancy in Cook County's new 20th Judicial Subcircuit.

That's a link to her campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the Candidate List on this site's Sidebar as well. There us also a campaign Facebook page.

Licensed in Illinois since 2000, according to ARDC, Wichern's candidate bio notes that she has been Chief of the Civil Appeals Division since 2015. She began her legal career as a law clerk for Judge William J. Bauer of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, according to her campaign bio, later serving as a United States Supreme Court Fellow for the National Association of Attorneys General. She has taught legal writing courses at area law schools for more than a decade.

Wichern's campaign bio describes her as a California native, growing up near the poverty line. Her truck driver father passed away when she was a high school freshman; her mother declared bankruptcy soon thereafter. Her family faced mortgage foreclosure. Wichern's only brother, who had Down Syndrome, died at age four (Wichern was only two). She lost her mother during her first year of law school (at DePaul).

Also according to her campaign bio, Wichern and her husband, Ryan, have lived in the Southport Corridor area of Lakeview for almost 13 years. She has lived in what is now the 20th Subcircuit for more than 26 years.

Wichern applied for an associate judgeship in 2022. This is her first run for elected judicial office.

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Campaign website for Brian Freiman found online

A campaign website is now online in support of Brian Freiman's 18th Subcircuit judicial bid. That's a link to the campaign website in the preceding sentence; a link has been added to the Candidate List in the Sidebar on this site.

Licensed in Illinois since 2009, according to ARDC, Freiman's campaign bio notes that he practices criminal and family law in the Northwest suburbs. He began his legal career clerking for the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender; it was here, he says, that he found his calling.

According to his campaign bio, Freiman received awards in 2012 and 2018 from the Instituto Del Progresso Latino for his volunteer work with immigration clinics. He has started and continues to maintain food pantries in three local high schools. He also started an annual coat drive at the Rolling Meadows Courthouse.

Freiman is the current Chair of the Executive Board of Northwest Compass, Inc., a charity that assists "people in meeting the challenges of having a safe environment for themselves and their families, from which they can create a path to a positive future." He also serves on the advisory board of Smiles Against Cancer. Freiman's campaign bio also notes that he has served as a mentor with Bridge Youth and Family Services.

This is Freiman's first campaign for judicial office.

Found on the Internet: Campaign website for Cecilia Abundis

Cecilia Abundis, until recently the Director of the Division of Professional Regulation for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, is planning a run for judge in Cook County's new 16th Subcircuit.

A campaign website has been launched in support of this venture. That's a link to the site in the preceding sentence; a link has also been added to the Sidebar on this site.

Licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2004, according to ARDC, Abundis came to IDFPR in 2019 from the Attorney General's Office, where she served in the Consumer Fraud Bureau. Her campaign bio notes that Abundis began her legal career working at the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing during her second year of law school (at DePaul). She obtained her 711 license as a third year student and, with her supervising attorney, reprsented renters in eviction court.

Abundis became an Equal Justice Works Fellow in 2004, working on a source of income project representing tenants and fair housing organizations who were victims of housing discrimination or facing eviction. She continues volunteering Equal Justice Works, serving as an alumni reviewer of project proposals submitted by prospective EJW Fellows. Abundis joined the AG's office in 2006, according to her campaign bio.

Her campaign bio describes Abundis as the daughter of Mexican immigrants and the first woman in her family to obtain a post-graduate degree. Among other honors during her career, Abundis received the Excellence in Legal Service award from the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

This campaign marks Abundis's first attempt to attain judicial office.

CBA Barristers Big Band concert Saturday, October 21

If I understand this correctly, the Chicago Bar Association's Barristers Big Band is going to hold a battle of the bands on Saturday, October 21, starting at 6:00 p.m., at Ganz Hall, 425 S. Wabash, and the band is going to battle... itself.

The band will feature some classic Big Band arrangements and juxtapose these with all the instrumentation, power, and finesse of arrangements for a modern Big Band. Two world premiere pieces will debut at this concert. I'm not making this up -- that's pretty much what it says on the Barristers Big Band's Facebook Events Page. See for yourselves.

Tickets for the event are $15 apiece and are available at this Eventbrite link. (Law students and persons under 18 will be admitted for $10 each.)

Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Risa Lanier to make 19th Subcircuit judicial bid

A number of commenters have advised that First Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Risa Lanier is running for judge in the new 19th Judicial Subcircuit. That's a link to the candidate's website in the preceding page; a link has been added to the Sidebar on this site as well.

Lanier has served as the top deputy to State's Attorney Kim Foxx since September 2021. She was the prosecutor who obtained the conviction against Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer's killer; she was also the initial prosecutor in the Jussie Smollett case. (According to this December 2021 WTTW report, Special Prosecutor Dan Webb reportedly found conflicting evidence regarding the role played by Lanier and her then-superiors regarding the provenance of the initial deal offered to Smollett.)

Licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1999, according to ARDC, Lanier's campaign résumé details her career service in the CCSAO.

Lanier's campaign bio notes that she is a native South Sider and a graduate of Percy L. Julian High School. In her role as first assistant, Lanier "oversees the operations of the office of approximately 1200 employees and works alongside members of the executive staff to create policies and procedures in the State’s Attorney’s Office that promote public safety, equity, and integrity in the criminal justice system," according to her campaign bio.

Lanier sought slating for a countywide judicial post at this summer's slatemaking meeting. She was named the ninth alternate at that time.

Illinois Bar Foundation Gala set for October 20

The Illinois Bar Foundation will hold its 24th Annual Black-Tie Gala on Friday, October 20, at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Deleware Place. The general reception begins at 6:30 p.m.; a VIP reception starts at 6:00 p.m.

The IBF will confer its Distinguished Award for Excellence on Patrick A. Salvi at this event. The Gala is meant to raise funds for the IBF's programs assisting lawyers in crisis and advancing equal justice.

Music will be provided by the Ken Arlen Evolution Orchestra; there will be live and silent auctions, and a full seated dinner before the awards program. Valet parking and coat check will be complimentary.

There will also be a program book. Ads start at $200 (with options up to $1,500). For more information about the program book, click here.

Sit down dinners with dance bands at the Four Seasons don't come cheap. Even if parking and coat checking weren't on the cuff.

Still, some FWIW readers may need to keep the smelling salts handy....

Tickets for this event are $500 each. Judges or lawyers working for non-profits will be admitted for $400 each. Either way, tickets including the dinner and the VIP reception are $1,000 each. Tickets can be obtained via this page of the IBF website.

And, yes, thanks for asking, there are sponsorships available:
  • Champions Sponsor - $1,500 (non-exclusive)
    Includes two tickets, half-page recognition in the printed program book, inclusion on all promotional materials and on display screens throughout event

  • Half Table Sponsor - $2,500 (non exclusive)
    Includes half table of five, recognition in the program book, inclusion on all promotional materials and on display screens throughout event

  • Gold Program Book Sponsor - $2,500 (non-exclusive)
    Includes two tickets, gold-page recognition in the printed program book, with full-page displayed in program book and on digital display screens, inclusion on all promotional materials and on display screens throughout event

  • Table Sponsor - $5,000 (non-exclusive)
    Table of 10, half-page recognition in the program book, inclusion on all promotional materials and on display screens throughout event

  • Young Lawyers Sponsor - $10,000 (non-exclusive)
    Table of 10 with priorty seating, underwrite half-table of five to be filled with ISBA Young Lawyers Division members, recognition from the podium and in program presentation, full-page recognition in the program book, inclusion on all promotional materials and on display screens throughout event

  • Benefactor Sponsor - $10,000 (non-exclusive)
    Priority seating table of 10 and VIP Reception access for all guests, recognition from the podium and in program presentation, full-page recognition in the program book, inclusion on all promotional materials and on display screens throughout event

  • Gala Patron - $20,000 (non-exclusive)
    Table of 10 with Priority Seating and VIP Reception access for all guests, Credit for $5,000 Fund-a-Need Contribution, Special recognition from the podium and in the program presentation, Full page recognition in the program book, Inclusion on all promotional materials and on display screens throughout event

  • Gala Partner - $25,000 (non-exclusive)
    Two tables of 10 with Priority Seating and VIP Reception access for all guests, Special recognition from the podium and in the program presentation, Full page recognition in the program book, Inclusion on all promotional materials and on display screens throughout event
Now, if you've worked through this list and still haven't found a level of support that you can get behind -- let's face it, you want something exclusive -- there are still a couple of options: You can underwrite the orchestra (a $10,000 contribution - but you get your own table of 10 - maybe near the band? - access to the VIP reception, recognition from the podium and all the other stuff those non-exclusive folks have) or, for $50,000, you can be the one and only Presenting Sponsor.

The Presenting Sponsor will get three tables of 10, all with priority seating and VIP Reception access. The Presenting Sponsor's firm logo will be included in the Gala logo. The Presenting sponsor will get special recognition from the podium, recognition on the program cover, and, basically, anywhere the IBF can find a way to drop the Presenting Sponsor's name, said name will be dropped.

There's nothing on the IBF website page, wherein all these ticket and sponsorship options are displayed, that discusses the strewing of rose petals in the path of the Presenting Sponsor as he or she advances into the ballroom. The hotel might have something to say about that. But... if you've got the 50,000 smackers, and a willingness to part with same, but your heart is set on rose petals, you can at least ask Jessie Reeves (at jreeves@illinoisbarfoundation.org).

In fact, all questions about the event or ads in the program book should be directed to Jessie Reeves at jreeves@illinoisbarfoundation.org.

CBA Golf Outing rescheduled to October 23

You may have read here previously about the CBA's 98th Annual Golf Outing. If you showed up on the appointed day or, rather, on the day then appointed, you were disappointed.

If you did not know about this previously, it is possible, and perhaps even likely, that you did not particularly care.

But, on the off chance that you now care, you are herewith informed the CBA golf outing has now been rescheduled, and it is now set for Monday, October 23.

Though it is set for a different date, the outing will still be at Chicago Highlands in Westchester.

The shotgun start for all golfers is at 12:30 p.m. Registration opens at 10:30 a.m. and the driving range and practice greens will be available at 11:00 a.m. A buffet lunch for all golfers will also be available at 11:00 a.m.

A post-golf reception will follow at 5:30 p.m. Drinks and appetizers will be served. Awards will be conferred.

Individuals can golf for $350; foursomes can be reigstered for $1,400. Interested persons have the option of signing up for the post-golf reception only; these tickets cost $75 each. Tickets are available at this page of the CBA website.

And, of course, there are a host of sponsorship opoprtunities, ranging from a $500 Hole Sponsor to a $5,000 Event Sponsor (which includes two hole sponsorships), with several opportunities in between. The above link contains a further link for interested persons, at which a complete list of available sponsorships, and the benefits accruing to each, may be viewed.

Questions about the golf outing should be directed to Michele Spodarek at mspodarek@chicagobar.org.

Geary W. Kull named Acting Presiding Judge of 4th Municipal District

The elevation of Judge Ramon Ocasio III to the Appellate Court created an opening for Presiding Judge in the 4th Municipal District.

Yesterday evening, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans announced that the vacancy has been filled. Here's the press release:
The Hon. Geary W. Kull has been named Acting Presiding Judge of the Fourth Municipal District of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans said.

Judge Kull has been a judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County since 2009, and has served in the Fourth Municipal District, located in Maywood, since 2011. He was first appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court, and won election to the 9th Subcircuit in 2010.

In the Fourth Municipal District, Judge Kull handled misdemeanors from 2011 to 2013, and has since presided over a busy felony trial courtroom. He has disposed of more than 40 murder cases, along with handling multiple other felony cases.

Prior to joining the bench, Judge Kull maintained a private criminal defense practice between October 1981 and 2009. He served as an assistant public defender for Cook County between 1975 and 1981, including as a member of the Murder Task Force between 1979 and 1981. Before going to the Public Defender’s Office, Judge Kull served for three years as a case worker for the Cook County Department of Public Aid.

Judge Kull is a graduate of John Marshall Law School (now the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law), and has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Arizona. He replaces the Hon. Ramon Ocasio III, who was appointed a justice with the First District Appellate Court.

“Judge Kull has had many years of experience as a judge, mainly for criminal matters, and is known as a hard worker who handles a heavy call,” said Judge Evans. “I am sure that the Fourth Municipal District will benefit from his leadership and knowledge.”

“I am of course honored and humbled by the confidence shown by Chief Judge Evans,” Judge Kull said. “I am further cognizant of the tradition established by a long list of predecessors: men and women whom I have known as friends and mentors.” Judge Kull named former Fourth Municipal District Presiding Judges Ocasio, Cheyrl D. Ingram, Edmund Ponce de Leon, Themis Karnezis, Stuart A. Nudelman, and Frank W. Barbaro.

Judge Kull added that he is “excited to oversee a group of young, talented, passionate judges who ‘bring it’ every day. We look forward to building upon the work of all of our predecessors to ensure that the Fourth Municipal District is a vibrant, progressive arm of the largest unified court system in the country.”

Besides his work in the Fourth Municipal District, Judge Kull is also a frequent substitute professor for trial advocacy classes at both the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law and Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Sunday, October 01, 2023

Two new subcircuit positions opening up

This goes under the category of informed speculation.

At least I think it's informed. Informed to the best of my ability.

As of now, when this article is posted, the Illinois Supreme Court website shows only four vacancies available in the new Cook County Subcircuits, one each in Subcircuits 16, 17, 18, and 19.

However, two more Cook County associate judges recently announced retirement plans which, I believe, will shortly result in the posting of an "A" vacancy in the new 20th Subcircuit and a "B" vacancy in the 16th.

I make no warranties or guarantees in this regard. But I think this is going to happen. Stay tuned.

Annual Advocates Society Judges Night October 19 at Polish Museum of America

The Advocates Society will host its annual Judges Night on Thursday, October 19, from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m., at the Polish Museum of America, 984 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Sitting judges will be admitted gratis; tickets for their guests will be $75 apiece until October 9 (after October 10, the guest ticket price goes up to $100).

Early bird pricing is also available for retired judges ($75 until Ocotber 9, $100 from October 10), Advocates members ($75 until October 9, $100 from October 10), and non-Advocates members ($100 each until October 9, $125 from October 10).

Limited numbers of sponsorships are also available:
  • Bronze - $250
    Includes one event ticket, logo or individual name displayed on signage at first level entrance and elevator entrance, and verbal recognition at the event

  • Silver - $500 (only 4 available)
    Includes two event tickets, all other benefits of Bronze sponsorship, logo or individual name displayhed on table signange and resource table, linked logo or individual name on Advocates website and event registration answering page, shout-out on social media posts, and verbal recognition at the event

  • Gold - $1,000 (2 available - Bar & Dessert Table)
    Includes three event tickets, all other benefits of Silver sponsorship, listing on email marketing as Gold sponsor, exclusive sponsorship of the bar or dessert table, with your logo and materials exclusively placed there

  • Platinum - $2,000 (1 available)
    Includes four event tickets, all other benefits of Silver sponsorship, listing on all event marketing, including emails, as the Event Sponsor, and all table napkins exclusively branded with your logo
Ticket sales and sponsor registration closes on October 17.

To purchase tickets or sponsorships, click on this page of the Advocates website. Sitting judges can register from this same link.

Questions about the event should be directed to advocatessociety@gmail.com.

Circuit Court Job Fair Monday, October 16

I realize that a great many FWIW readers only want to work as judges of the Circuit Court.

Hopefully, all of you already know that, technically, judges really work for the State of Illinois. So a lot of you only want to work in the Circuit Court, not for it.

But some of you will have friends or relations or neighbors who might be interested in the Circuit Court's upcoming Job Fair on Monday, October 16, on the 22nd floor of the George W. Dunne Administration Building, 69 W. Washington. You can tell them.

And, moreover, if you scan the list of jobs available on the Circuit Court website, you will note that there are hearing officer and law clerk positions as well as attorney openings in the Office of the Public Guardian that might, potentially, someday, be a stepping stone to a judicial post.

You have to get noticed somehow.