Democratic candidate for Cook County Circuit (Rooney 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 an attorney for over 25 years. I am a partner in the law firm of Taft Stettinius & Hollister, LLP. In that capacity I have represented public and privately held companies, various units of local government and individuals in a wide array of complex litigation in state and federal court. I have focused my practice in complex civil litigation including class actions, claims for injunctive and declaratory relief and criminal matters.
I have represented judges in matters before the Judicial Inquiry Board. I have also handled appeals before the Illinois Appellate Court, the Illinois Supreme Court and the 7th Circuit court of Appeals. in what was no doubt the most significant accomplishment of my legal career, I served as lead counsel for the City of Chicago in a constitutional challenge brought by the Builder's Association of Greater Chicago against the City's Minority and Women Owned Business Ordinance in Construction.
After a six-week trial in Federal Court, Judge Moran ruled that the City had presented compelling evidence of the existence of discrimination against minority and women owned businesses in construction in Chicago. Until that point in time, municipalities across the country (including Cook County) had lost upwards of 75 similar cases. The decision by Judge Moran has been cited as precedent for the continuation of such procurement programs in the Chicago Metropolitan area.
I am also active in the community. Since 1979 I have been one of the co-hosts of the Hagerty Family Irish Hour, the longest running ethnic radio program in the country. The show's principal purpose is to provide access to individuals and community groups who organize and promote social and benevolent events, many of which are fundraisers for individuals who have fallen through social safety nets.
Since 2011 I have been an associate member of the Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Association, whose primary purpose is charitable. I also serve on the Board of Directors of The Irish Fellowship Club, an organization dedicated to a charitable mission.
More recently I became a Director of the Evans Scholars Foundation, which awards full college scholarships to young boys and girls based upon grades, recommendations and means. Since inception, over 10,000 full scholarships have been awarded. I am also a Director of Next Steps, an entity whose core function is to provide physical rehabilitation to people in the midwest who have suffered the devastation of a spinal cord injury.
Most recently, I joined the Board of Directors of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, whose core purpose is to find a cure for paralysis. I believe I will bring a unique perspective to the bench. As a young lawyer, it was always my aspiration to one day become a judge, as that job sits at the very pinnacle of our profession.
A little more than 3 years ago, I suffered a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the neck down. I promised myself that if I was fortunate enough to make a significant recovery that I would run for the Circuit Court. Although I was given little chance of a significant recovery, I have made incredible strides with the help and support of my doctors, therapists, family and friends. What happened to me and my family will inform my decision-making.
I believe my professional and personal experiences make me qualified to serve as a member of the judiciary. I have experience in a wide array of matters. Because of my experience and life lessons, I believe that I have a perspective that is different from other judges and candidates. I have been found Highly Qualified by the Chicago Bar Association and Qualified by the Illinois State Bar Association. My other bar association ratings are pending.
Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you.
I like to spend time every summer with my wife and 3 daughters on a cattle ranch in Deer Lodge, Montana.
Candidates for Cook County Circuit (Rooney Vacancy district)
- Jack Hagerty
- Mable Taylor (No survey)