Judge Brian Jacobs

(From the March 2017 Issue)

“I wanted to be a football player but it turns out, I wasn’t cut out for that” a wry Brian Jacobs said during the interview for this piece. Jacobs, who was Highly Recommended by the Judiciary Committee of the DCBA for appointment to the office of Associate Judge was recently tapped to fill the vacancy created when the Honorable Karen Wilson was appointed Circuit Judge, has long been a team player of another variety. A longtime member of the Office of the Public Defender of DuPage County, Brian was drawn to the role of an advocate starting in college when he worked as a runner for the Chicago law firm of Stone, Pogrund & Korey for two summers.

Jacobs grew up in Bolingbrook and Lisle, Illinois and graduated from Benet Academy (class of 1989) before matriculating at the University of Illinois. After graduation with a degree in History in 1993, he attended law school at Boston College. During his law school years, Jacobs had the opportunity to work for the Public Defender’s offices in Roxbury MA and Philadelphia, PA. Upon graduation he began his full time career in the Public Defender’s office for Kane County under now judge David Kliment. “My time working in Roxbury and Philadelphia convinced me that I would enjoy being a full time advocate for individuals so the opportunity to work for the Kane County PD was one I was grateful to have,” says Jacobs.

Brian’s experience is not limited to criminal defense matters, however. He was employed by the Smith Amundsen firm in Chicago, Illinois in 2000-01 where he had two civil jury trials in less than a year before returning to public service in DuPage County. Although his time at Smith Amundsen was educational, he found he really missed the camaraderie of his earlier position and had the opportunity to join up with one of his Kane County associates, Steve Dalton, who had moved to the Office of the Public Defender in DuPage County. Additionally, his duties included multiple mental health matters in both bench trials and before juries. “Those matters can be quite a challenge, because you often have only a short while to meet with the allegedly disabled person before undertaking the defense in a matter which invariably includes expert testimony.”

Brian remained with that office until his elevation to the bench, rising to the level First Assistant. Now 45 and a resident of Wheaton, Judge Jacobs loves to travel. He has visited 25 countries and plans to go to Morocco in May. He is also a movie buff having seen every film nominated for best picture before the Oscars since the beginning of law school.

Judge Jacobs’ favorite memories from the public defender’s office are of the people. “I am profoundly glad that I had a chance to work with some of the most amazing attorneys, and have made lifelong friendships. By “people” I also, however, mean the clients. There is a day to day excitement in working for criminal defendants, as I never knew what would end up in my caseload. Truly, though, the best memories are the trials. There is nothing better, and the thing that I will miss the most, are the jury trials. Having a couple of week’s trial on a murder or a sex assault case is the most fun that I ever had as an attorney. They are so stressful, but in the end, they end up being the best memories that I have.”

Judge Jacobs indicates that he is looking forward to a long career on the bench and hopes to be able to make a difference in the lives of people who come before him. He is currently assigned to Addison Field Court.