Most of you reading this know me as President of the DuPage County Bar Association. I am going to take this opportunity to tell you a little but more about myself and my qualifications for your support of my candidacy for the Republican nomination for Appellate Court Judge for the Second District. I grew up in Centralia, a small town of about 13,000 people in southern Illinois. My mother stayed home with my two brothers and I until it was time for my oldest brother to go to college. She then began teaching grade school to supplement my father’s income so that all of us could go to college. I went to Eastern Illinois University in Charleston and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1975, majoring in History and Political Science. In 1976, I obtained my Master of Arts degree in History. I then taught for one year in St. Anne, Illinois, before moving to DuPage County. From 1977-1985, I taught history at Westmont High School, one of the schools in Unit School District 201. In my fourth year of teaching, I was elected president of the teacher’s association for the district, and the following year began law school at night at John Marshall Law School in Chicago. In 1985, I graduated from John Marshall, with distinction, and began my legal career.
Since 1985, I have been practicing primarily in the collar counties of DuPage, Kane, Kendall, DeKalb, and McHenry. My practice has concentrated in the area of personal injury trial work. My work has changed from being an insurance defense attorney to that of solely a plaintiff’s personal injury attorney. In this span of time, I have tried over fifty jury trials, over ten bench trials, personally written appellate and supreme court appeals, and argued before the appellate courts in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Districts. Initially, when doing insurance defense work, I was employed by Hinshaw & Culbertson, a Chicago law firm that consisted of 350 attorneys. Since then, I have worked for and as a partner in law firms, which have varied in size. Thus, I understand the pressures of working for a large law firm, as well as owning your own business and trying to make ends meet.
Besides the honor of having been elected president of this association, I also currently serve as a member of the Assembly of the Illinois State Bar Association, and I have been a Delegate of the American Bar Association. In addition, I am a member of the Kane County Bar Association, the American Trial Lawyers Association, the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, and the Justinian Society. As far as service to this organization, I have been Chair of the Planning Committee, Chair of Continuing Legal Education, Chair of the Legal-Medical Committee, Chair of the Lawyer Referral Service, a mediator for four Bench/Bar Symposiums, an instructor of trial advocacy, Chair of the Civil Law & Practice Committee, a member of the Judicial Committee, and a Director of the Bar Association.
In the 22 years that I have lived and worked in this district, I have lived in Clarendon Hills, Lombard, Wheaton, and now, Geneva, Illinois. My wife, Lynda, and I are the proud parents of two wonderful little boys, Ian and Zachary. Needless to say, we are very active in school and church events.
The week after Thanksgiving, 1999, Justice Michael Galasso, a person whom I strongly supported, called and advised me that he would be unable to seek this position. He gave me his blessing and encouragement to enter this campaign. I take that vote of confidence very seriously. My experience, as I have outlined above, provides me with the attributes for this honorable position. The Appellate Court hears cases appealed from lower level trial courts. It is my opinion that in order to be a capable Appellate Court Judge, one must have either served as a judge previously, or, be an active, experienced, trial attorney. I hope that I have earned your support through my commitment to the profession and my service to the people of this district.