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Ashonta Rice-Akiwowo

Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (15th Subcircuit (Scully Jr Vacancy district)

Ashonta Rice-Akiwowo

Ashonta Rice-Akiwowo

Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (15th Subcircuit (Scully Jr Vacancy district)

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, BA Finance '01 Loyola University New Orleans, JD '04
Akiwowo Law Group, PC- Principal Attorney
Tinley Park
Past Political/Civic Experience

Responses to our questions

Please submit an essay that explains your legal background, why you are qualified for this position and why you seek this position.

I am an attorney because of my mother, Sharon Rice from Chicago Heights, Illinois and my father, Thomas O'Brien from Ford Heights, Illinois.

Sharon and Thomas graduated from their respective high schools in 1978 and welcomed my mother's only child, my father's firstborn child, in February 1979. I resided with my mother in Chicago Heights and Park Forest with my father never further than a 20 min drive away in an adjacent suburb.

These young, African-American parents decided to successfully parent their child in common through adulthood and through many sacrifices, I attended Homewood-Flossmoor High School, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, majoring in Finance, and Loyola University New Orleans School of Law.

Upon receiving my Juris Doctorate, I returned to Cook County working as a guardian ad litem at the office of the Public Guardian and three years later opening my own litigation firm practicing primarily in the area of family law since 2007.

I've explained my background to you because it is my core belief that judges on the Cook Circuit bench must take something more into the courtroom and what has been learned in law school and in the practice of law, they must take with them an understanding of how life is lived for average people, as this is fundamental to judicial diversity.

My African-American heritage services my particular subcircuit - specifically Bloom, Bremen, and Rich Townships by being a present role model for the young girls and women currently maturing in an environment that promotes the lifestyle of a reality TV star as more aspirational than that of our beloved Michelle Obama.

As the demographics of our subcircuit change for both the better and for worse, we all know that young women aspire to become like the women they have seen. It is my goal for them to see me serving in our township is a Judge who has earned the public confidence. Additionally my law practice experience will bring to the bench an understanding of how the application of our state laws impact the lives of the women and the girls those laws affect.

My presence will enrich my colleagues' understanding of the intended purpose and effect of the law that our courts are charged with applying. The fact that I am a woman benefits the decision-making process specifically by subjecting any case to not only a rigorous and comprehensive legal analysis but also taking into account differing viewpoints and perspectives that of been shaped by my personal and professional knowledge and experience.

My extensive bench trial and arbitration experience qualifies me with the knowledge of trial procedure, fact-finding and the importance of procedural rules in the application of justice. Additionally, I understand the common interactions between law-enforcement and criminal defendants as well as how government agencies work, which are both essential to effective adjudications. Having been recommended for service on the bench by the Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago, the Cook County Bar Association, the Decalogue Society, the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association, and the Women's Bar Association, the judicial evaluation committee unanimously found that my colleagues consider my demeanor to be polite and my trial work on even the most contentious cases to always be professional.

I would also like you to know that I view myself as a confident decision-maker, effectively equipped to manage a high volume court calendar.

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.

I have two children and as I was completing the above essay my 2 year old deleted it.

Candidates for Cook County Circuit (15th Subcircuit (Scully Jr Vacancy district)