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Sullivan appointed Cook County Circuit Judge

Justice Mary Jane Theis and the Illinois Supreme Court on Monday announced the appointment of veteran Oak Park attorney William B. Sullivan as Cook County Circuit Judge in the Eleventh Judicial Subcircuit.

Mr. Sullivan, a longtime resident of the Eleventh Subcircuit, was appointed by the Court to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Susan Zwick. The appointment takes effect June 11, 2015 and will terminate Dec. 5, 2016, when the position is filled by the 2016 General Election.

Justice Theis recommended Mr. Sullivan's appointment to her colleagues on the Supreme Court after an application process and after candidates were reviewed by local bar associations and a special bi-partisian judicial screening committee the justice established in 2013.

Mr. Sullivan received qualified or recommended ratings from the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screenings, which is comprised of 11 bar groups that work together to screen judicial candidates in Cook County. The Chicago Bar Association also found him qualified.

Justice Theis' screening committee is made up of 15 persons, both lawyers and non-lawyers. The committee is co-chaired by retired U.S. District Court Judge Wayne R. Andersen and retired Illinois Appellate Court Justice Michael J. Gallagher.

"I am so very grateful to Justice Theis and the Supreme Court for the confidence shown in me by this appointment and am very much looking forward to serving the citizens of Cook County and the Eleventh Subcircuit in this important role," Mr. Sullivan said.

"I give thanks to my parents, wife, children and all of those who have supported me in pursuit of this position. I have worked hard throughout my career to resolve the real world problems of everyday people and look forward to bringing this pragmatic experience to the bench."

The appointment will put behind the bench an active member of the legal and local communities in Oak Park, where Mr. Sullivan attended school, started his legal career and currently lives with his family.

Mr. Sullivan, a graduate of Oak Park River Forest High School, received Bachelor of Arts degrees in music and history from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in1989. He earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1992 from DePaul University College of Law.

After law school, Mr. Sullivan opened a law practice in Oak Park, where he has worked ever since as a solo practitioner focusing on a variety of civil matters including real estate, bank and business transactions, estate planning, landlord-tenant disputes and probate and trust administration.

In addition to his practice, Mr. Sullivan has worked as an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University College of Law and as a Hearing Officer with the Illinois State Board of Elections. He was also twice elected President of the Cicero Township Trustees of Schools, an entity that collected, invested and distributed tax monies on behalf of Oak Park, Berwyn and Cicero.

Mr. Sullivan is a member of the West Suburban Bar Association and the Arab American Bar Association. He also served on the Board of Governors of the West Suburban Bar Association and volunteered for the Suburban Bar Coalition Judicial Screening Committee.

Throughout his career, Mr. Sullivan has provided a substantial amount of pro bono work, including helping pro se litigants during small claims calls. He has also made it a point to work with and represent first-generation individuals on either a pro bono or limited fee basis. He took a course to learn basic Arabic words and phrases to enhance his ability to communicate with the many first generation Arab-Americans he has represented.

Mr. Sullivan's dedication to his community is why he wanted to become a judge.

"My parents ingrained in me the importance of community involvement and I believe serving as a member of the judiciary is the highest form of public service," Mr. Sullivan said.

When it comes to his community involvement outside of the legal profession, Mr. Sullivan has served as president of the Oak Park-River Forest High School Alumni Association; vice-president of the Oak Park Area Arts Council; president of the Oak Park Huskies Baseball Club; and as a member of the Board of Directors of L'Arche Chicago, a not-for-profit social services organization, and the Oak Park Township Senior Services Committee.

He has also volunteered his time as a coach with Oak Park Youth Baseball program and serves as a cantor and lector at St. Catherine of Siena-St Lucy Parish. And as a proud alumnus of Oak Park River Forest High School's theater department, Mr. Sullivan co-authored a book published in 2011 that was an oral biography of the department's longtime chairman. He has performed in several community and professional theater productions.

Mr. Sullivan lives in Oak Park with his wife, Cheryl, and three children Cali, Patrick and Megan.

Under the Illinois Constitution, the Supreme Court holds the authority to fill interim judicial vacancies until the next General Election. Traditionally, the three justices from the First Judicial District in Cook County rotate in recommending a candidate to the Court for the appointment.

In addition to co-chairs Judges Andersen and Gallagher, Justice Theis' screening committee includes: retired U.S. District Court Judge David H. Coar; Mary A. Dempsey; Jean M. Golden; Denise Kane; Elizabeth A. Kaveny; Michael D. Monico; Michael I. Rothstein; Sr. Catherine M. Ryan; Francine Soliunas; Miguel del Valle; Richard Waris; and Mark E. Wojcik.

Posted on April 20, 2015 by Chris Bonjean
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