Name: Oran F. Whiting
Current residence: Chicago
Current position: Cook County circuit judge (appointed by Illinois Supreme Court)
Past legal experience with years of each job: Principal, Oran F. Whiting Law, 2008-17; partner, Quintairos Prieto Wood & Boyer P.A., 2016-17; partner, Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan LLP, 2012-16; hearing officer, Illinois Secretary of State, 2005-06; partner, Freeborn & Peters, 2001-04; commissioner, Illinois Court of Claims, 1997-06; counsel, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, 1995-98; counsel, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, 1995-97; partner, Peterson & Ross, 1990-95; litigation associate, Baker McKenzie LLP, 1986-90.
Campaign funds available, July 1 to Dec. 31: $173,343.55
Campaign funds spent, July 1 to Dec. 31: $157,283.74
Law school: Georgetown University Law Center, 1986
Campaign website: whitingforjudge.com
Family: Spouse, Sarah Ebner
Hobbies/interests: I am a frustrated pilot (and aviation fanatic) and like to race bicycles for recreation.
Have you ever run for office before? No.
Why should voters support your candidacy?
In my 30 years of law practice, I have amassed a broad range of legal experience qualifying me to continue serving the citizens of Cook County as a sitting circuit court judge. I was appointed to the bench by the Illinois Supreme Court on Aug. 9, 2017. Currently assigned to the 1st Municipal District, I preside in traffic court and over jury trials.
My legal background comprises substantial experience on both sides of the bench, serving as judge, quasi-judicial and hearing officer, advocate, client (general counsel), and legislative counsel. I practiced commercial litigation and regulatory law as a partner at the nation’s largest firms since graduating from Georgetown University Law Center. I tried jury and bench trials, drafted federal and state appellate court briefs, and argued before the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
I served as legislative counsel to the Illinois General Assembly for two years (while “on loan” from my law firm partnership); as an Illinois Court of Claims Commissioner for nine years, presiding over 26 civil and criminal bench trials, concurrently with being a law firm partner; and as a hearing officer for the Illinois Secretary of State. Serving as general counsel for Mercy Hospital (and several client businesses) completes my legal experience.
These experiences have honed my proficiency in litigation and its management statutory construction and interpretation and the act of judging among competing claims. I have taught, presented and published extensively on multiple areas of the law, and currently serve as executive editor of the American Bar Association’s Litigation News Magazine and as a member of the Illinois Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission’s Oversight Committee.
I have been unanimously favorably rated by all members of the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening, including The Chicago Bar Association, the Chicago Council of Lawyers and the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois. Four of the dozen rating organizations gave me their highest possible recommendation. I have been endorsed by the Democratic Party, as well as numerous elected officials and organizations, including the Chicago Federation of Labor.
Why do you want to be a judge?
I seek to continue as a judge because the citizens of Cook County expect and deserve an unbiased, fair, impartial, competent, diverse and efficient judiciary. I possess the integrity, ability, experience and temperament to fairly and impartially serve all citizens of the county. My judicial philosophy is to assess each case on its own merits, based on thorough understanding of the facts and thorough knowledge of the law, without prejudice against any party and with respect for all parties.
What was the most interesting case you handled as a lawyer?
I obtained summary judgment on behalf of Collins Stewart Ltd., a United Kingdom-based investment company, and Terry Smith, a world renowned investment advisor, a in a multimillion-dollar action alleging federal trademark infringement and dilution, copyright infringement and unfair competition concerning the use of a method of researching stocks. My brief in support of motion for summary judgment was adopted, in part, by U.S. District Judge Milton I. Shadur as his written opinion.
What would you consider your greatest career accomplishment?
I have had a long, enjoyable and productive career. Being appointed as a Cook County circuit judge by the Illinois Supreme Court ranks as my highest career accomplishment.
What qualities do you plan to bring to the bench?
As an African-American male born on the West Side of Chicago, raised on the South Side and educated on the North Side, I bring a unique perspective to the bench. I will use this perspective as well as my 30 years experience to assess each case on its own merits. I will serve with compassion and common sense.