Senator Kirk's Commission is responsible for the extensive review of applications, interviewing applicants, and providing informed recommendations to ensure a successful, efficient process for recommending the most qualified federal judicial candidates to the President. Senator Kirk will continue to work closely with Senator Durbin (D-Ill.), who has formed a similar committee. There are currently four judicial vacancies on the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. President Obama nominated Thomas Durkin of Mayer Brown LLP, at the recommendation of Senators Kirk and Durbin, to fill one of these vacancies. Durkin’s nomination currently awaits a confirmation vote by the full Senate.
"This panel provides non-partisan recommendations for filling judicial openings in our federal courts," said Kirk. "With the help of this statewide Commission, we submit the strongest applicants from Illinois for consideration by the President and U.S. Senate."
Senator Kirk's 14 member screening committee is chaired by Peter Baugher of Schopf & Weiss LLP.
"This is an outstanding Commission," said Baugher. "It includes prominent civil and criminal practitioners, business lawyers, leaders of bar associations, a former U.S. District Judge, a law professor, and a senior member of the Illinois Congressional Delegation- all committed to helping Senator Kirk find the best women and men to serve as federal court judges."
Additional Commission members include: U.S. Congresswoman Judy Biggert; Former Federal Court Judge Wayne Andersen of JAMS Arbitration, Mediation, and ADR Services; Keith Beyler of the Southern Illinois University School of Law; Roxane Busey of Baker & McKenzie LLP; James Figliulo of Figliulo & Silverman, P.C.; Victor Henderson of Henderson Adam LLC; Larry Kuster of Rammelkamp Bradney P.C.; Lynn Mirabella of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC; James Montana of Vedder Price P.C.; Jennifer Nijman of Nijman Franzetti LLP; Richard Porter of Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Ronald Safer of Schiff Hardin LLP; and Marschall Smith, General Counsel at Archer Daniels Midland Company.
Once Senator Kirk makes recommendations, the President will submit a nomination to the U.S. Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee will then review the nominee and vote to advance the nominee for consideration by the full Senate. Qualified applicants for federal judgeships can find an application here. The application is similar to those used by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The deadline for submission is Tuesday, January 22, 2013, close of business.
Judicial Review Commission Members:
Peter Baugher (chair). Mr. Baugher is a senior partner in the business litigation firm Schopf & Weiss LLP where he works across the country defending and prosecuting commercial cases. He has won major trials and arbitrations including a multi-million dollar securities action, a million dollar jury verdict in a business acquisition dispute, a multi-million dollar contractual indemnification suit, and a large claim against the U.S. government. Mr. Baugher is also President of the Chicago International Dispute Resolution Association, was prime drafter of Illinois' International Commercial Arbitration Act, and co-authored A Trial Lawyer's Guide to Discovery, and Litigation Risk and Opportunity in the United States. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School, and was a law clerk for Judge Philip Tone on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Congresswoman Judy Biggert. Elected to the U.S. Congress in 1998, Mrs. Biggert combines a wealth of experience as a legislator, lawyer, and community leader. In 2005, she co-founded and co-chaired the Congressional Caucus on the Judicial Branch to help strengthen cooperation between the judiciary and the legislature. Additionally, she was selected by her peers as one of the top ten most bipartisan members of Congress. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Northwestern University School of Law. Congresswoman Biggert began her legal career as clerk to the Honorable Luther Swygert, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. She is a member of the American Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association.
Hon. Wayne Andersen (Ret.). Mr. Andersen served as a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois for 19 years. Before joining the federal court, he served seven years as a state court trial judge. He has presided over thousands of cases during his tenure on the state and federal judiciary. His private practice in law has covered federal and state court general litigation, estate planning, real estate, property taxation, corporate law, banking, probate, and bankruptcy.
Keith Beyler. Mr. Beyler has been a faculty member at the Southern Illinois University School of Law since 1982. He teaches Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, and Federal Courts with a special interest in personal jurisdiction, publishing an article on the subject that led to a change in the Illinois personal jurisdiction statute. For over a decade Professor Beyler has served as an officer or director of Green Earth Inc., a local land trust involved in preserving the Carbondale area's natural resources. He has also served as Professor-Reporter for the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee for the past 15 years, working with Illinois judges and attorneys to improve the Illinois Supreme Court Rules.
Roxane Busey. Ms. Busey is a Partner at Baker & McKenzie and has over 30 years of experience advising companies on a wide range of antitrust issues. Ms. Busey has been recognized as a leading antitrust authority by Chambers USA, America's Leading Business Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, and Who's Who in the Word, and Illinois Top 10 Women Lawyers. Ms. Busey also served as Chair of ABA Antitrust Section from 2001 to 2002 and is a graduate of the Northwestern Law School.
James Figliulo. Mr. Figliulo graduated cum laude from St. Mary's College and received his J.D. from the University of Arizona. He is a founding partner in Figliulo & Silverman, P.C., a 20 year old law firm which concentrates on business related litigation. As a trial lawyer, Figliulo has 35 years of experience in this field along with significant experience in jury and bench trials and arbitrations in federal and state courts representing clients in a wide range of complex business disputes. Mr. Figliulo is a Fellow of The American College of Trial Lawyers and Chairman of its State Committee for northern Illinois. He is a former president of the 7th Circuit Bar Association.
Victor Henderson. Mr. Henderson is a trial lawyer with Henderson Adam LLC. He sits on the Board of Trustees for the John Marshall Law School, the Illinois Community College Board, appointed by Governor Quinn, and the Cook County Justice Advisory Council, appointed by Board President Preckwinkle. He is a past president of the Chicago Bar Association, Illinois Equal Justice Foundation and former Chairman of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms. Mr. Henderson practiced as a certified public accountant before becoming a lawyer. He is the recipient of numerous awards and is regularly listed in the Illinois Super Lawyers.
Larry Kuster. Mr. Kuster is the senior shareholder in Rammelkamp Bradney P.C., a 118-year old Jacksonville law firm with a litigation and school law practice. He has been designated an Illinois Leading Lawyer and serves on the Illinois Association of School Board PRESS Advisory Council. He is a former President of the Lincoln Douglas Inn of Court, former MacMurray College Trustee, and a member of the Illinois and Morgan County Bar Associations. In 2012, Leading Lawyer magazine listed him as one of the top 100 downstate business lawyers.
Lynn Mirabella. Ms. Mirabella is a partner at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick, & Mirabella, LLC. The firm was founded by her grandfather and has been in existence since 1949. Her practice is concentrated in family law, with a high volume of guardian ad litem and meditation files. She is currently on the Executive Councils for the DuPage County Bar Association and Justinian Society of Lawyers, DuPage Chapter. Previously, she served on the DuPage County Judiciary Screening Committee for a 3-year term.
James Montana. Mr. Montana is a Partner at Vedder Price PC, where he specializes in federal, civil, and criminal litigation. He was a former United States Attorney in Chicago, a Chief Legal Counsel to then Governor Jim Edgar of Illinois, and former Chief Justice of the Illinois Court of Claims. Mr. Montana is a graduate of Georgetown University and Northwestern Law School.
Jennifer Nijman. Ms. Nijman concentrates her practice in the areas of Environmental Law and Litigation. She was formerly chair of the environmental practice group at a large Chicago firm and started the environmental law firm of Nijman Franzetti LLP in 2008. She is a certified mediator through the Center for Conflict Resolution and an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association. In 2009, she served on the Magistrate Judge Merit Review Panel and the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois. She was President of the Chicago Bar Association in 2002-2003. She is a member of the Federal Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois and is admitted to the Illinois and Wisconsin Bar, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. She received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.
Richard Porter. Mr. Porter is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP who focuses on business financings, acquisitions, dispositions and reorganizations. He represents several Illinois-based private equity firms, as well as public and private companies in several industries. A member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, Chicago Council on the Global Affairs and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, as well as a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, Mr. Porter is a former Special Assistant to George H.W. Bush and Counselor to Vice President Dan Quayle, where he worked on the Administration's legal reform initiatives. Mr. Porter is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and awarded the John Olin Prize for Law and Economics, and was a law clerk for the Honorable Richard A. Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Ronald Safer. Mr Safer has been a managing partner at Schiff Hardin LLP since 2005. He was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois for ten years (1989-1999) where he was Chief of the Criminal Division. While there, he led the prosecution of the 40 leaders of the Gangster Disciples, which was the largest monolithic gang in the nation with over 30,000 members. He assisted in the prosecution of Richard Bailey for the murder of candy heiress Helen Brach and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas A. Flannery, United States District Court for the District of Columbia as an appointee by President Nixon. Safer graduated first in his class at Georgetown University Law Center.
Marschall Smith. Mr. Smith serves as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary of Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) in Decatur. Prior to joining ADM, Mr. Smith worked with 3M Company as senior vice president, legal affairs, and general counsel, where he led the legal affairs team and was responsible for government affairs, ethics and environmental matters. In addition, he served as general counsel at Brunswick Corporation; Digitas, Inc.; and IMC Global, Inc. Mr. Smith also served in the law departments of Baxter Healthcare and ICI Americas, and began his career in private practice. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Princeton University, a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia, and an MBA from the University of Chicago, and he served in the United States Marine Corps.