Fredrick H. Bates
Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (2nd Subcircuit (Lampkin 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 want to continue to serve as a Circuit Court Judge, and I view the role of a Judge as a public servant, as the culmination of a career dedicated to service to the public, the Bar, and the administration of justice.
I am a past-president of the Cook County Bar Association (1996-97), and the co-founder and past-chairperson of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms (1987-90). In 2011 I was appointed to the Supreme Court's Character & Fitness Committee, and as a Hearing Panelist at the Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission.
The Court again showed its confidence in me as a servant by appointing me as a Circuit Court Judge in 2015. I attended Creighton University School of Law graduating magna cum laude in 1983. I was an editor on the law review, and received the distinguished service award at graduation. After matriculating from Creighton I clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, gaining valuable experience as a writer of judicial opinions.
In 1985 I returned to Chicago as an associate at a large law firm. I served as a litigation attorney, while beginning my journey of service to our profession, and to the community. In 1987 I co-founded and chaired the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms, and went on to ultimately serve as President of the Cook County Bar Association.
I also served on the inaugural Circuit Court of Cook County, Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Sexual Orientation Awareness. In 1990 I became an equity partner at another large Chicago law firm, and a member of the Federal Trial Bar. I then served as president of my own minority-owned corporate law firm. In 1996, my brother — also a lawyer —died suddenly.
That was a life altering event. I decided to spend more time with my family, and develop an Independent Administrative Law Judge & Hearing Official practice. I merged my practice into a large law firm, and negotiated a structured buy-out. I left the firm January 1, 2000. I became active at my children's school, and took on the added role as father to my niece. I increased an already active role in the community serving on a myriad of Boards, and as a mentor to at-risk youth.
For 15 years I served full-time as an Independent Administrative Law Judge & Hearing Official. I am blessed to have been re-appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court after an unsuccessful County-wide race. I am favorably rated by every bar association.
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
I was 15 years old when I started college, and 18 when I graduated. I took a year off work to be my son's caregiver when he battled against pediatric cancer. I then raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for pediatric cancer research, and for those touched by pediatric cancer.
I have two children: Robert (28, a pediatric cancer survivor, 2011 graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and recent graduate of Northwestern University's Public Policy Graduate Program-Masters Degree); and Genevieve (27, a 2012 graduate of Yale University, and PhD student at the University of Chicago-Comparative Politics, and recent graduate of the University of Chicago's Graduate Program in Political Science-Masters Degree).
There are hundreds of young men who know me simply as "Coach Bates" because I ran basketball camps for over a decade for at-risk youth. I am a man of service: Current Boards: Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation Legacy Board; Creighton University School of Law Advisory Board; Mendel Catholic Prep Alumni Legacy Foundation; Gilda's Club African American Advisory Council; Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee of the Illinois Supreme Court's Commission on Professionalism. Fellow, Leadership Greater Chicago Life Fellow, American Bar Foundation Life Member, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary International Club Holy Name Society, St. Dorothy's Parish/Church Past Boards & Commissions: Swish Dreams Sports & Educational Foundation and Lyle for Kids Basketball Program, both of which I helped create; Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation; Hearing Panel Member, Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission of the Illinois Supreme Court; Illinois Supreme Court's Committee on Character & Fitness; Chairman, Illinois Civil Service Commission; Circuit Court of Cook County, Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Sexual Orientation Awareness; Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation; Niles College Seminary of Loyola University; Swish Dreams Sports & Educational Foundation; Cook County Bar Association; I served as a Chicago Park District Volunteer, as director of youth basketball programs at various basketball camps at Cole, Sheridan and Tuley Parks, as well as Frances Xavier Warde School, where I also coached track. Formerly a Boy Scouts of America Volunteer, Scout Master & Unit Commissioner.
Recent Awards: I have received numerous awards & recognitions for my work in the community and for the profession: AV Preeminent rating by Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating of lawyers and judges for over 20 years. Selected to receive the Cook County Bar Association 2017 Presidential Service Award; Cook County Bar Association 2016 Judicial Award; Colour Me Social's 2016 Man of Distinction Award, the 2016 Archbishop Lyke African-American Male Image Award; and the 2015 Chicago Defender Men of Excellence Award. Top Lawyers in Illinois Recognition, The Legal Network, 2013-15. Legal Leaders, Chicago's Top Rated Lawyers of 2014. 2013 Inductee Mendel Catholic H.S. Hall of Fame. 2012 recipient of the William W. Hogan Award for Distinguished Service Award - Board member whose professionalism and dedication to Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation greatly assisted the advancements of the organization. In 2010 the Rotary Club of Chicago-Far North, awarded Paul Harris Fellowship Award for exemplary service.