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The Illinois State Bar Association will begin running print and online ads statewide for the upcoming judicial elections. The online ad will be running on daily newspaper webites and is shown above.

The message of the print ads includes:

"Vote for Qualified Judges: Our court system relies on informed voters choosing qualified candidates for judicial office. Be an informed voter - visit to learn about the judicial candidates on your ballot."

At the Dec. 11, 2010, meeting of the ISBA Assembly, two at-large delegates to the ABA House of Delegates will be elected, one from Cook County and one from the area outside Cook County.  The nominees for these positions must be members of the ISBA in good standing from the appropriate area.  The elected delegates will serve for two-year terms commencing June 2011 and will join the ISBA delegation at the ABA meeting in Toronto in August 2011.

The current incumbents are Timothy L. Bertschy of Peoria and Joseph G. Bisceglia of Chicago. Both incumbents are eligible for re-election.

Nominations must be made in writing by at least 20 ISBA members in good standing from the appropriate area.  Nominations must be filed with the office of the Executive Director not later than Friday, Nov. 12, 2010.  Further information and nominating petitions are available from the office of the Executive Director, Illinois State Bar Association, 424 S. Second Street, Springfield, IL 62701 or by contacting JoAnn Hibbs at (800) 252-8908 or

Click here for the nominating petition

The Illinois State Bar Association through the Association’s Standing Committee on Supreme and Appellate Court Judicial Election Campaign Tone and Conduct has been asked to review certain tactics by an entity identified as “JUSTPAC” in opposition to the retention of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas L. Kilbride.

The Standing Committee has a role in educating the public on ethical conduct in judicial elections and discouraging campaign activities that are unfair and reflect negatively on the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

The Standing Committee finds that the “JUSTPAC” campaign directed at Justice Kilbride is inappropriate and distorts his record.  As such, it reflects negatively on the integrity and independence of the judiciary. Specifically, based upon the advertisements reviewed by the Standing Committee, we find that “JUSTPAC” has distorted the record and rulings of Justice Kilbride by characterizing him as allegedly soft on crime and criminals.

Voters should become informed about the qualifications of Justice Kilbride. And while the decision regarding the retention of Justice Kilbride or any other judge rests with the voters, that decision should not be based on distortions regarding a judge’s record.

Voters may learn more about Justice Kilbride and all other judicial candidates by visiting:

"LGBT Marriage & Family Issues" and "Violence Against LGBT Persons," which have been airing this month on CAN-21 in Chicago are now available online.

LGBT Marriage and Family Issues Part 2

Violence Against LGBT Persons Part 2

ISBA President Mark Hassakis congratulates new Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis

Chicago attorney John Nisivaco was named to the ISBA Board of Governors on Friday. Nisivaco won a two-tiered election and takes over the seat vacated by Mary Jane Theis - who resigned her seat after being appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Theis was on hand to address the Board and had these words, "It was one of the greatest honors of my careers to serve on this Board, an incredible experience. I've learned so much about the practice of law and issues from around the entire state." She went on to say that the Illinois Supreme Court and the ISBA have a great working relationship and she expects that to continue during her time on the high court.

Nisivaco is a principal in the Chicago firm Boudreau & Nisivaco, LLC. He is a 1993 graduate of the DePaul University College of Law.  He has been elected to the ISBA Assembly three times, serves on the Illinois Bar Foundation Board of Directors and has served as chairperson for the Standing Committee on Judicial Evaluations and for the Tort Law Section Council.

The Board also congratulated Russell Hartigan on his swearing-in on Thursday as a Cook County Circuit Judge.

Ratings of all candidates for judicial office in Illinois in the November 2 election are available on the ISBA web site –

“The Illinois Constitution gives voters an important responsibility in deciding who should serve in the office of judge,” said Mark D. Hassakis of Mt. Vernon, president of the ISBA. “Judges make decisions affecting the rights and responsibilities of all citizens, and it’s crucial that qualified individuals serve in these positions.”

Candidates for election to judicial vacancies and sitting judges seeking retention in office were rated by two methods. All candidates in Cook County and candidates for the Supreme and Appellate courts statewide were reviewed in a comprehensive evaluation process. All judicial candidates outside of Cook County were rated in a poll of lawyers conducted by ISBA.

The comprehensive evaluation process involves a detailed background investigation by members of the ISBA Judicial Evaluations Committee, followed by an in-person interview of the candidate. The Committee then decides whether to recommend the candidate for the judicial office being sought.

“Our members volunteer countless hours away from their busy law practices to complete these evaluations, which represent the opinion of the Illinois State Bar Association,” said Hassakis. “Other lawyers are given the opportunity in the judicial advisory poll to express their own opinions. I urge voters to consider these ratings in choosing how to vote in judicial elections.”

The Illinois State Bar Association provides professional services to lawyers, and education and services to the public.

This historical marker for Robert Fitzgerald sits on the current site of the ISBA office. Photo credit: Mark Skube

Translator, poet and scholar Robert Fitzgerald was honored today with a historical marker on the property of the Illinois State Bar Association in Springfield. Fitzgerald, who would have turned 100 today, grew up in a house on the site of the current ISBA office.

Fitzgerald is highly regarded for his English translations of Homer and Virgil. He was the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard University and consultant in poetry to the Library of Congress, a title eventually renamed National Poet Laureate.

Attendees of the 2010 Unity Dinner included (from left): Rick Felice, ISBA Board member Russell Hartigan, ISBA Past President Tim Eaton and ISBA 2nd Vice President John Thies.

ISBA Immediate Past President John O'Brien and ISBA Executive Director Robert Craghead received Outstanding Diversity Leader awards at the Unity Dinner and and 8th Annual Swearing-in of Bar Presidents on Thursday at the Palmer House Hilton.

Other awardees included Winston & Strawn Chairman Dan K. Webb (Unity Award), U.S. District Court Judge Ruben Castillo (Advocate for Diversity Award) and Institute for the Inclusion in the Legal Profession CEO Sandra S. Yamate (Advocate for Diversity Award.

ISBA President Mark Hassakis appeared on a live segment Thursday night to discuss judicial elections, judicial retention and merit selection of judges.

The program aired on WTTW-Channel 11.

The ISBA continued its push for merit selection of judges at the recent judicial symposium.

The ISBA Young Lawyer's Division recently presented a check for $3,000 to Life Span of Des Plaines. On hand for the presentation were (from left): YLD Secretary Meghan O'Brien, YLD Council member Marron Mahoney, Life Span Child and Teen Counselor Ari Bernstein and Life Span attorney Sandra Blake.

The ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund, in concert with the Illinois Bar Foundation, seeks to provide grants to organizations across the state related to children and law. Nonprofit organizations wishing to submit proposals to the ISBA YLD Children’s Assistance Fund should review these guidelines to determine their eligibility and the application process.