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Vacancy of Edward R. Jordan

For Cook County Circuit Judge - 12th Subcircuit

Democratic Candidate:

- Samuel Bae
     - Present Duties: Attorney in private practice
     - Website: LinkedIn
     - Campaign Committee: Samuel Bae for Judge

     - Chicago Tribune Profile
     - Rated "Qualified" by the Illinois State Bar Association Judicial Evaluation
     - Rated "Qualified" by the Chicago Bar Association Judicial Evaluation
     - Rated "Not Qualified" by the Chicago Council of Lawyers

- Ralph Eugene Meczyk
     - Present Duties: Attorney in private practice
     - Website: http://www.ralphmeczykforjudge.org/
     - Campaign Committee: Citizens for Ralph E Meczyk

     - Chicago Tribune Profile
     - Rated "Qualified" by the Illinois State Bar Association Judicial Evaluation
     - Rated "Qualified" by the Chicago Bar Association Judicial Evaluation
     - Rated "Not Qualified" by the Chicago Council of Lawyers

- James Edward Hanlon, Jr.
     - Present Duties: Director of Client Development & Knowledge Management at Novus Law LLC
     - Website: http://www.hanlonforjudge.com/
     - Campaign Committee: Hanlon for Judge

     - Chicago Tribune Profile
     - Rated "Qualified" by the Illinois State Bar Association Judicial Evaluation
     - Rated "Qualified" by the Chicago Bar Association Judicial Evaluation
     - Rated "Qualified" by the Chicago Council of Lawyers

- James L. Kaplan
     - Present Duties: Cook County Circuit Judge - Domestic Relations Division
     - Website: http://www.judgekaplan.com/
     - Campaign Committee: Committee to Elect Judge James L Kaplan

     - Chicago Tribune Profile
     - Candidate Statement (Cook County Clerk's Website)
     - Rated "Qualified" by the Illinois State Bar Association Judicial Evaluation
     - Rated "Qualified" by the Chicago Bar Association Judicial Evaluation
     - Rated "Qualified" by the Chicago Council of Lawyers

Republican Candidate:

- James Paul Pieczonka
     - Present Duties: Attorney in private practice
     - Website: http://www.pieczonka4judge.com/
     - Campaign Committee: James Pieczonka 4 Judge

     - Rated "Not Qualified" by the Illinois State Bar Association Judicial Evaluation
     - Rated "Not Recommended" by the Chicago Bar Association Judicial Evaluation
     - Rated "Not Qualified" by the Chicago Council of Lawyers

ENDORSEMENTS:
- Chicago Tribune - James Edward Hanlon Jr.
Chicago Federation of Labor - James Edward Hanlon, Jr.
- Independent Voters of IL (IVI-IPO) - James L. Kaplan
- Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters - James Edward Hanlon Jr.
- United Hellenic Voters of America - James Edward Hanlon Jr.
- Jewish Chicago - James L. Kaplan

Chicago Tribune Endorsement:

12th subcircuit (Jordan vacancy): Our choice is James Edward Hanlon Jr., a well-rounded attorney skilled at complex commercial litigation. Another candidate, Judge James L. Kaplan, boasts of "a lifetime of service to our community," but a WGN/Medill Watchdog report found that he rented an apartment in this subcircuit while his family home — where his wife and son live — is in Lake County. Attorney Samuel Bae's practice is built around personal injury and domestic relations cases. Ralph Eugene Meczyk, one of ex-cop Drew Peterson's defense lawyers, was found not qualified by the Council of Lawyers because of a 1980 felony conviction for underreporting income. (He was pardoned by President Bill Clinton.)

Chicago Council of Lawyers & Chicago Bar Association Analysis:

- Samuel Bae

CCL: Samuel S. Bae was admitted to practice in 1999. He was admitted in the state of Texas in 2005. He is a solo practitioner representing individuals and businesses in domestic relations, commercial litigation, and personal injury litigation. From 2000 to 2012, he was a co-owner of a small firm where he focused on litigation and business counseling. From 1999 to 2000 he was an associate with Sanchez & Daniels. He is reported to have good legal ability and does a good job representing his clients. However, most of his legal work does not involve actual trials, although he is active in doing discovery work, settlement negotiations, and other aspects of litigation, albeit in less sophisticated matters. While the Council notes that Mr. Bae is a respected lawyer, we are concerned that he does not have sufficient litigation experience in complex matters. On balance, the Council finds him Not Qualified for the Circuit Court.

CBA: Samuel Bae is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Mr. Bae was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1999 and concentrates his practice in personal injury and domestic relations. Mr. Bae is well regarded by his peers and the judges before whom he appears for his knowledge of the law and fine temperament. Mr. Bae is actively involved in community service and possesses the requisite qualifications to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.

- Ralph Eugene Meczyk

CCL: Eugene Meczyk was admitted to practice in 1977. He is a sole practitioner. Mr. Meczyk is a highly respected practitioner with substantial litigation experience in complex matters. He is praised for his temperament and his legal ability. Several years ago in a past evaluation, the Council said the following:

“Without further consideration, the Council would find Mr. Meczyk qualified for the bench. The Council is concerned, however, that Mr. Meczyk was convicted for failing to report income on
his partnership and tax returns in 1980. He claims that he and his law partner did not keep adequate records and when he filed his tax return in 1981, he underreported the 1980 income. Judge Aspen sentenced him to a 30 day work release program, four years probation, a fine, and 500 hours of community service. He was censured by the ARDC in 1988, and ordered to permit the ARDC or its designee to review his bookkeeping from time to time for up to two years. Mr. Meczyk was pardoned fully and unconditionally by President Bill Clinton in December 2000. The Council as a matter of policy, is unable to find Mr. Meczyk qualified due to his past felony conviction.”

While the current evaluation of Mr. Meczyk establishes that he is still considered to be a good
litigator, the Council as a matter of policy, is unable to find him qualified due to his past felony conviction.

CBA: Ralph Eugene Meczyk is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Mr. Meczyk was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1977 and has extensive civil and criminal trial experience. Mr. Meczyk is well regarded for his legal knowledge and ability.

- James Edward Hanlon, Jr.

CCL: James Edward Hanlon, Jr. was admitted to practice in 1984. He is in private practice. He is considered to have good legal ability and temperament. He has substantial litigation experience. The Council finds him Qualified for the Circuit Court.

CBA: James Edward Hanlon, Jr. is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Mr. Hanlon was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1984 and worked as an associate and partner at a large Chicago law firm concentrating in commercial litigation. In 2000, Mr. Hanlon became an equity partner at another large firm where he worked until 2007. From 2007-2009, Mr. Hanlon was engaged in the solo practice of law concentrating in commercial litigation and criminal misdemeanor matters. In 2009, Mr. Hanlon became Director of Client Services for Novus Law, LLC, where his duties included e-discovery, document review, and management analysis. Mr. Hanlon is well rounded in the practice of law and has considerable experience in complex commercial litigation matters. Mr. Hanlon has a fine temperament and possesses all the requisite qualifications to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.

- James L. Kaplan

CCL: Judge James L. Kaplan was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2010. He was admitted to practice in 1971. Before becoming a Circuit Judge, he was senior partner with the law firm of Kaplan & Sorosky Ltd., and served as a judge on the Illinois Court of Claims. His practice primarily involved workers’ compensation matters. Judge Kaplan was considered to be a good lawyer with good legal ability and temperament. As a judge, he is reported to demonstrate a good temperament and ability to manage a courtroom. The Council finds Mr. Kaplan Qualified for the Circuit Court.

CBA: Judge James L. Kaplan is “Qualified” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Judge Kaplan was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1971 and was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2010. Judge Kaplan is thoughtful, possesses a good demeanor, and has performed well on the bench.

- James Paul Pieczonka

CCL: James Paul Pieczonka was admitted to practice in 1983. He has spent most of his career as a sole practitioner doing both transactional work and litigation. In addition to his legal practice, he has been involved in real estate development matters. From 1985 to 1996, he also worked as an Administrative Law Judge for the Illinois Department of Revenue in the Hearings Division. Mr. Pieczonka has limited litigation experience. Some question his litigation skills. Much of his career has been related to transactional work and real estate development. The Council finds him Not Qualified for the Circuit Court.

CBA: James Pieczonka is “Not Recommended” for the office of Circuit Court Judge. Mr. Pieczonka was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1983 and is currently a solo practitioner concentrating in Taxation, Real Estate and Condominium Law. Mr. Pieczonka’s practice and court experience is limited. Mr. Pieczonka held a real estate broker’s license from 2004-2007 and was actively involved as a broker during this period. The candidate owns a number of properties that are currently in foreclosure and is personally involved in several residual court actions. Mr. Pieczonka needs to gain additional practice experience and resolve these financial responsibility concerns before reapplying to serve as a Circuit Court Judge.

 

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