WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today announced they will begin accepting nominations persons interested in serving as a judge of the Federal District Court in the Northern District of the Eastern Division of Illinois. Senators will be assisted by a selection committee whose task is to review and vet candidates from district courts and advise Senators on the qualifications of candidates and their suitability for the office.
“Our constitutional responsibility to advise and consent is one of the most important jobs we have in the Senate. As we make recommendations for lifelong judicial appointments, we will benefit from the advice and insights of our distinguished Selection Committee ”, said the senators. “We thank the members of the selection committee for their willingness to serve and look forward to recommending qualified and experienced individuals to the White House.”
The Northern District of Illinois Senators Selection Committee will be chaired by the Honorable David Coar (ret’d), former United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. The other members of the Northern District committee are Alejandro Caffarelli, Michael Chu, Kevin Conway, Herschella Conyers, Edward Feldman, Betty Jang, Monica Llorente, Laurie Mikva, Carlina Tapia-Ruano, Zaldwaynaka (“Z”) Scott and Diana White.
You will find below the biographies of each member of the selection committee.
Federal District Court applicants should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae and a completed copy of this questionnaire to [email protected] by 5 p.m. CST on Monday, October 25. Applicants are requested to integrate their cover letter, curriculum vitae, completed questionnaire and all questionnaire attachments into one PDF document if possible. Please note that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the affidavit accompanying the questionnaire does not need to be notarized.
The candidacy questionnaire is almost identical to that used by the Senate Judiciary Commission and will help to better understand the backgrounds and qualifications of the candidates. The selection committee will review the candidates and advise senators, who will make recommendations on potential candidates for president. Once the president submits a nomination to the United States Senate, the nominee will be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Senator Durbin chairs, and will receive a vote on the committee. If an appointment is approved by the Judicial Committee, the appointment will be sent to the entire Senate for review.
Selection Committee for the Northern District of Illinois:
The Honorable David H. Coar (retired) (chairman of the committee): Judge Coar served as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois for sixteen years, from 1994 to 2010. He previously served the Northern District for eight years as a United States Bankruptcy Judge and for three years as a bankruptcy trustee in the United States. Justice Coar taught for over a decade at DePaul University College of Law as an Associate Professor of Law and was also Associate Dean. He has also practiced in private practice and as an arbitrator. Justice Coar holds a BA from Syracuse University, a JD from Loyola University Law School and an LLM from Harvard Law School. He is a United States Marine Corps Reserve Veteran.
Alejandro Caffarelli: Mr. Caffarelli is the founding shareholder of Caffarelli & Associates Ltd in Chicago. He is a past president of the National Employment Lawyers ‘Association – Illinois affiliate, as well as a past board member of the Hispanic Lawyers’ Association of Illinois. In 2014, Mr. Caffarelli was appointed by Judge Rubén Castillo to the Pro Bono Advisory Committee of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Since 2005, Mr. Caffarelli has also volunteered to help indigent workers through the community organization ARISE-Chicago, and currently serves on the ARISE Legal Advisory Board. Mr. Caffarelli holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a JD from the University of Minnesota.
Michael Chu: Mr. Chu is a partner in the Chicago office of McDermott Will & Emery and serves as the chair of the firm’s racial and ethnic diversity subcommittee. He is also the local head of McDermott’s intellectual property litigation practice group. Mr. Chu is the Past President of the Board of Directors of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Chicago (2013-2020) and is a Past President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (2004-2005). He received his BS from the University of Illinois in 1989 and his JD from William and Mary Law School in 1992.
Kevin Conway: Mr. Conway is a partner at Cooney & Conway law firm in Chicago. His practice focuses on mesothelioma, mass crime, wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases. He is a fellow of the International Society of Barristers and the American College of Trial Lawyers, and past president of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association. He is also past chairman of the Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund, past chairman of the Celtic Legal Society of Chicago, and a board member of Lawyers for the Creative Arts. He received his BA and JD from Loyola University in Chicago.
Herschella Conyers: Ms. Conyers is the Lillian E. Kraemer Clinical Professor of Public Interest Law and Director of the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School. Prior to joining Law School, she served as the Assistant Public Defender, Supervisor and Deputy 6th District Chief in the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. His work included conflicts and capital litigation. She is also actively engaged in criminal and juvenile justice policy and is currently President of the Juvenile Justice Initiative. She is a professor emeritus and a former member of the board of trustees of the National Criminal Defense College. She received her BA and JD from the University of Chicago.
Edward Feldman: Mr. Feldman is a partner at the Chicago law firm Miller Shakman Levine & Feldman LLP, where he has worked since 1988. His practice focuses on complex civil litigation and professional liability issues. Previously, he served as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Marvin E. Aspen, then worked for two years as a clinical researcher at Northwestern University Legal Clinic. He has been an Assistant Law Professor at Northwestern since 1988, teaching advocacy and trial ethics. He has served as Chairman of the Professional Liability Committee of the Chicago Bar Association and of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. He received his BA / BS from the University of Illinois and his JD from Harvard Law School.
Betty Y. Jang: Ms. Jang is General Counsel at Tegria. Previously, she was an executive in several companies, practiced in a national law firm, was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois School of Law and began her career as an assistant to the public defender. at the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. . Ms. Jang has volunteered as a Scholarship Evaluator for the APIA Scholars Program, is an alumnus of the Galvanize Chicago Program in the United States, and has served in numerous board positions for bar associations. local, state and national. She received her BA from the University of Illinois and her JD from the Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Monica L. Llorente: Ms. Llorente teaches at the Pritzker School of Law at Northwestern University and the Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences. She has advocated for children’s rights in several national campaigns and has represented children in need in various legal and administrative proceedings. She is currently the Education Co-Chair of the ABA Child Rights Litigation Committee. Ms. Llorente has also served on the board of directors of the Illinois Hispanic Lawyers Association. Prior to working at Northwestern, she practiced law at Baker & McKenzie in Chicago. She received her AB from Duke University and her JD from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.
Laurie Mikva: Ms. Mikva is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. Previously, she worked as an attorney with the Illinois Department of Employment Security and the Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation, and was also an assistant attorney in the Champaign County Public Defender’s Office and the Advocate’s Office. Maryland Public, Appeal Division. She is a Commissioner of the Illinois Court of Claims and also sits on the Board of Directors of the Legal Services Corporation and the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Volunteering and Public Service. She received her BA from Beloit College and her JD from New York University School of Law.
Carlina Tapia Ruano: Ms. Tapia-Ruano is the Director and Founder of the Chicago office of Tapia-Ruano & Gunn PC. She has practiced in the field of immigration law for over thirty years, focusing on family and employment matters. She is a past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and past chair of the Immigration Law Section of the Chicago Bar Association. Ms. Tapia-Ruano is currently Assistant Professor at IIT-Chicago Kent School of Law and has also taught at DePaul University College of Law. She holds a BA from Illinois Wesleyan University and a JD from DePaul University College of Law.
Zaldwaynaka (“Z”) Scott: Ms. Scott is currently President of Chicago State University, a position she held in 2018. From 1987 to 2003, she worked as a Federal Criminal Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of the Illinois, in various leadership positions, including that of head of the General Crimes Section. After her service in the United States Attorney’s Office, she served as Executive Inspector General for the Illinois Governor’s Office (2003-05) and worked as an associate in the Chicago office of Foley & Lardner LLP. She also worked for four years in the Office of the Legal Counsel of the City of Chicago (1983-87). She has taught as an adjunct professor at Northwestern University School of Law, University of Chicago Law School, and John Marshall School of Law. She received her BS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her JD from Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington.
Diane Blanche: Ms. White worked at Legal Aid Chicago (formerly LAF) for over 20 years, 10 of which were as Executive Director. She retired in July 2017. Legal Aid Chicago is the largest provider of free legal services in civil matters in the Chicago metro area. Its full-time staff of more than 100 attorneys and paralegals provide legal aid that puts people back in poverty and strengthens communities throughout Cook County. Previously, Ms White was a partner at Jenner & Block and legal assistant to Chief Justice Walter Cummings at the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. She received her BA from Smith College and her JD from the University of Chicago.