Corri Diane Fetman
Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (Dooling 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 have been fortunate to take on many roles in my illustrious career. I am now determined to set out in taking on the role of a lifetime —Honorable Judge in Circuit Court of Cook County. Being a Judge has been a lifelong dream as I believe it is the highest honor one can achieve as an attorney. Growing up as a child in a violent home instilled me with intense determination and valuable survival skills at a very young age.
I was raised by two strong, immigrant grandmothers who indoctrinated me with the will to be independent. I was taught to grow up fast and focus on my academics and after-school jobs — from working in a bakery, grocery store to a lumberyard — in order to ensure a clear path toward a college and law school scholarships.
I believe that I can relate to the public because I have worked hard since a very young age in various jobs in order to achieve my lofty goals. When I was presented with the privilege of attending college at DePaul University, I knew it was just the beginning of another challenge I would have to conquer. Even while working my way through college to pay off excessive student loans and expenses, I still managed to earn the grades necessary to be accepted to one of the top law schools. Despite working full time during law school, I graduated with top honors from DePaul College of Law in 1988 as member of the highly-regarded DePaul Law Review.
Thereafter, I began working as a litigator for BigLaw and thereafter juggling a stint as Appellate Law Clerk under renowned and honorable Justice Michael McCuskey. During this time, I gained invaluable experience in transactional law, labor and employment law, municipal law, school law, construction law and litigation earning the chance to second chair numerous trials and argue before the Appellate Court just months after being admitted to the bar.
After working for a prominent firm practicing in securities fraud and sophisticated class action work, I was soon approached by a divorce firm. I quickly found out that this was the work I loved most. It entailed all the different areas of the law I had experienced in previous jobs, allowed for litigation practice and engaged transactional work simultaneously — it was the ultimate challenge. In 1995, with several years of solid legal experience under my belt in various fields of the profession, I decided it was time to open my own law firm, Corri Fetman & Associates, Ltd.
The practice, which focuses not only on divorce law but transactional, business litigation and corporate law, as well, was formed in my then kitchen and grew exponentially in the following years through tireless hours of hard work and networking. I truly am a self made entrepeneur who learned a valuable lesson early on that challenges, hard work, humility and dedication are the keys to success. Inspired to market my practice as one run by strong-willed, powerful, hard-hitting women, I forged a new path in Chicago's legal community, earning a reputable name for myself amongst ultra-conservative male counterparts, and giving me the opportunity to capitalize on this cache to shake up the local legal scene.
One of my most notable successes was changing the traditionally uptight world of legal marketing in the form of an edgy advertisement campaign, "Life's Short. Get a Divorce", which would bring more notoriety to my law firm than anyone could have ever anticipated. The local marketing billboard went viral only after one week of exposure in Chicago. The invaluable media attention garnered by the campaign from spots on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, CNN, Inside Edition and Good Morning America, rendered international exposure with prospective clients who identified with my message — take back your life by taking back your happiness.
Since then, I have used my media presence to assist and give back to the public on a level very few have achieved in the legal profession. I also write a column for the Fraternal Order of Police magazine as I have represented and have business relationships with police, fire fighters and numerous organizations supporting first responders. I have continued my strong work ethic and have been fortunate to have a roster of well-known clientele, leadership roles with ISBA Women & the Law Council, ISBA Corporate Law Council and Women's Board of the Holocaust Museum, homeless and abused children organizations and membership and active roles in several other law-related organizations.
When voters enter the ballot box to vote this March, please consider my twenty- nine (29) years of dedicated work in both public and private law, as well as my commitment to empowering others not only through my legal practice, but through my charitable work with the community, as well. In honor of my Lithuanian and Russian grandmothers' last wish, I am entering the race for judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County with the full force of my career experience, confidence and humility behind me. It's a new challenge that I am certain I will conquer with an unwavering dedication to honest communication, fairness, hard work and impartiality.
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
In 2008, I posed in Playboy and wrote a column on love, relationships and the law where I was known as the "Lawyer of Love." I also regularly appear on a hip-hop, rap radio show in Florida as a legal consultant, and have also become a notable personality by appearing on Good Morning America, MSNBC,ABC, WGN and FOX and numerous radio shows over the years analyzing celebrity cases on-air and giving legal commentary on trending topics in the news.