Caroline Jamieson Golden
Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (4th Subcircuit (Davy Vacancy district)
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 earned my law degree from DePaul College of Law in 1992, where I graduated in the top 10% of my class. At DePaul, I was involved in student government, was a member and a General Editor of the DePaul Law Review, student taught Legal Writing, published an article on intellectual property, interned with the U.S. Attorney's Office (N.D. Ill.), interned with a federal judge (N.D. Ill.), and earned American Jurisprudence Awards in Evidence and Civil Procedure.
Upon graduation, I accepted a job at Querrey and Harrow. I worked on a wide variety of cases at Querrey, including, premises, automobile, common carrier, medical malpractice, construction, insurance coverage, sexual harassment and professional liability cases. I had primary responsibility for a large number of smaller value cases and secondary responsibility for a smaller number of higher value cases. I learned how to manage a heavy caseload at Querrey. I also learned how to try a case, how to think on my feet, and how to learn by doing. Most importantly, I also learned that being prepared is the best tool in any litigator's toolbox.
I left Querrey in 1995 for the litigation department at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg. At Neal Gerber I worked on class action and mass tort multi-district federal litigation. I handled matters in state and federal court at both the trial and appellate levels. I handled intellectual property disputes, high-stakes commercial claims, products liability litigation, insurance coverage matters, legal professional malpractice litigation, and employment litigation. I learned how to manage large-scale litigation matters while still paying attention to every detail.
My success at Neal Gerber was recognized when I was named to be a litigation partner there. It takes legal talent and a lot of hard work to partner with this special group; being a partner there is one of my proudest professional achievements. In 2002, after the birth of my third child, I put my career on hold to stay home with my three children (all under the age of 5).
I navigated the transition from working parent to stay-at-home parent by doing what I usually do; I watched, listened, and learned. I surrounded myself with other parents in my same position, and sought their advice and counsel, just as I had previously solicited the advice and opinions of other lawyers. I soon came to love this new "position" too.
Once my children were settled in school, I was eager to return to practicing law. I found a perfect fit at Sotos Law. Since 2010, I have had the pleasure of practicing law with the highly esteemed and knowledgeable lawyers at Sotos Law.
My practice there consists of civil rights litigation, municipal law and appellate work in federal and state court, at both the trial and appellate levels. Handling these cases requires a deep understanding of civil, criminal and Constitutional law. The appellate briefs have been on the subjects of employment law, appellate procedure, civil rights and Constitutional claims. My work here reinforces the notion that there are (at least) two sides to every story, even the ones which appear most one-sided. I am now ready for another professional challenge: a seat on the bench.
As I have in all past personal and professional pursuits, I am ready to dedicate whatever time and energy is necessary to be successful in that endeavor as well. Why I am Qualified. I have Integrity. I am an honest person and I have the moral courage to do the right thing. I stand up for people who are unable to stand up for themselves, even when it is unpopular or unseemly to do so. I have a depth and breadth of Legal Knowledge and Ability.
I am familiar with established legal concepts, procedural rules, and a wide variety of litigation subject matters. I also realize that the law is constantly changing, and the facts of each case are unique. So, although I have litigation experience in a great number of different subject matters, I do not "know it all," as no one can. But, as my background and experience demonstrates, I am eminently educable, adept at legal writing and research, and confident that whatever the subject matter, and whether or not I have any experience in it, I will be able to identify the critical issues and apply the facts to the law without bias or prejudice.
I can make well-reasoned decisions that can withstand appellate review. I have a good Judicial Temperament. I am open-minded, but willing to make decisions. I am patient, but firm. I understand that the continued vitality of our judicial system requires that all persons in the process feel heard and understood. I am Diligent. I am a hard worker.
My family was of limited means so I put myself through college and law school. I graduated with a tremendous amount of debt and worked hard to pay it off quickly. At every job I have had, I have been commended and rewarded for hard work and diligence. Most of this is internally driven; I am not satisfied until the job is done, and done well. Why I Want to be a Judge.
The world is a scary place for many people. We and those we love struggle with many things, including raising children, aging parents, physical and mental illness, death of loved ones, separation from family and friends, substance abuse and financial concerns, just to name a few. One of the scariest of feelings, whatever the obstacle in one's path, is to feel alone, unheard and misunderstood. I believe that this feeling greatly contributes to the divisiveness in our country today.
I want to serve our community by working every day to make sure that every person who enters my courtroom is heard, understood, and treated with dignity. My hope is that one day at a time, one case at a time, this will bring us together and make the world we live in a better place.
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
I'm a camper. It started when my boyfriend Kevin and I decided to celebrate taking (and hopefully passing) the bar exam by camping together in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
The plan was to leave the stress of studying for the exam behind us, get back to basics, and enjoy the great outdoors. What could go wrong? I soon found out; camping is not as easy as it looks. We had a small "disagreement" over setting up the tent. We were two exhausted and hopefully-soon-to-be lawyers trying to figure it out on our own, and it was no simple task (although I did recommend we follow the directions . . . well, you get the picture).
Once the tent was up, it was smooth sailing, until it rained. Then I discovered you need a tarp under your tent to keep the wet ground from soaking through. Another lesson learned. But, that was not the last of camping (or Kevin) for me. Kevin and I married and had three children. We taught them to love the outdoors by taking them camping with us.
At one point, we put the tent aside and splurged on a pop-up camper for our family camping adventures. With the advent of the camper, the price of camping went up; now it was $25 per night, not $12. It was a family vacation even the tightest of budgets could afford. Eventually I started camping with my friends and their children.
Jill and Ellen were master campers in their own right. Sarah and Gina were newcomers to camping but, like me, willing to learn and always willing to lend a hand. We camped with our children almost every year until schedules were too crowded, the kids had summer jobs, and the older ones left for college. I miss those days, when the biggest worry we had was how long it was going to take the water to boil and whether the campground had a pool.
We've camped all over this beautiful country. We've camped in Yellowstone, where we saw Old Faithful and fell asleep to the sound of distant howling wolves; Glacier National Park where we walked on glaciers and watched a momma bear and her two cubs play in a stream; Devil's Tower, where we listened to Native American folklore and were mesmerized by an enormous field of prairie dogs; Yosemite, where we hiked up alongside majestic waterfalls and were reminded that altitude makes for a cold night; and the Black Hills, where we toured Crazy Horse Memorial and witnessed the illumination of Mount Rushmore.
But, no matter where we go, there are several constants: family, new friends, campfires, (and s'mores of course)! I have seen many wonderful things as a camper. But the best thing, and the thing I most look forward to at the end of every camping day, is the time spent by the fire at the end of the night. Although I'm almost always tired and dirty, it's usually been a very good day.