A six-member committee has been appointed to help in the search for Chicago's next top federal prosecutor, U.S. Sens. Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and Mark Steven Kirk, R-Ill., announced today.
The committee will screen applicants to succeed former U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who stepped down from his post June 30.
David H. Coar and Mark R. Filip will head the committee.
Coar served on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for 16 years before retiring from the bench and joining JAMS Inc.
Filip served alongside Coar on the district court before joining President George W. Bush's Justice Department in 2008. Filip currently is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
Filip said he was honored to be chosen to help lead the committee and pleased to be working with Coar.
Coar could not be reached for comment.
Durbin and Kirk said applications for the position of U.S. attorney will be available on their websites beginning on Monday. Completed applications are due Aug. 31.
The committee will screen applicants and make recommendations to Durbin and Kirk.
Durbin and Kirk will review the committee's recommendations and interview the finalists before submitting an agreed list of names to the White House.
President Barack Obama will nominate a candidate for the position. The candidate must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before he or she may take the bench.
Durbin and Kirk said it takes an average of two to four months to confirm a U.S. attorney once a nomination is sent to the Senate.
They each selected a co-chairman and two other members of the screening committee.
Durbin said he and Kirk "are committed to conducting an open, transparent and nonpartisan search" for a candidate to succeed Fitzgerald.
"The committee combines a wealth of legal experience — from federal prosecutors to district court judges, corporate litigators to criminal defense attorneys," Durbin said in a written statement. "It is a balanced, impressive group of legal experts who understand the rigors of the job of U.S. attorney and will help recommend the best applicants for the position."
Kirk said "some of the top legal minds in the country" make up the committee's membership.
"Illinois is grateful to Patrick Fitzgerald for his record of accomplishments," Kirk said in a written statement. "My goal is for the new U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois to follow his lead, and I am proud that Sen. Durbin and I have teamed up to put together a distinguished panel of nonpartisan reviewers to make sure we send the best candidates to the president for nomination."
Committee members are attorney Zaldwaynaka L. Scott of Kaye, Scholer LLP; Christina M. Egan of McGuireWoods LLP; Terence F. MacCarthy, former executive director of the Federal Defender Program for the Northern District of Illinois; and Lawrence Oliver II, chief counsel and head of investigations at The Boeing Co.
Gary S. Shapiro continues to serve as acting U.S. attorney during the search.