Gerald Cleary
Gerald Cleary

Name: Gerald Cleary

Age: 53

Party: Democratic

Current residence: Glenview

Current position: Cook County circuit judge, last appointed Oct. 21, 2016

Past legal experience with years of each job: Cook County circuit judge; 2015-present; Pappas O’Connor, 2010-2015; SmithAmundsen LLP, 1997-2010; Querrey & Harrow LLP, 1990-97; Cooney & Conway, 1987-89

Campaign funds available, July 1 to Dec. 31: $53,672.01

Campaign funds spent, July 1 to Dec. 31: $46,048.28

Law school: Loyola University Chicago School of Law, 1989

Campaign website:

Family: My wife of 24 years, Pattie, and our four children: Micaela, Ryan, Daniel and Jack.

Hobbies/interests: Family, live music, vintage cars and guitars.

Have you ever run for office before?

I ran for judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County in 2008 and 2012.

Why should voters support your candidacy?

I am the most qualified candidate in my judicial race because I am a well-regarded circuit court judge and civil trial attorney. The Chicago Bar Association found me “Highly Qualified” to be a judge and stated “Judge Cleary is highly regarded for his knowledge of the law, diligence and outstanding temperament.” Likewise, the Alliance of Bar Associations all found me qualified to be a judge. Prior to becoming a judge, I practiced civil litigation in Cook County for over 25 years, and my experience provides much-needed professional diversity to the bench that will best serve the people of Cook County.

Why do you want to be a judge?

I decided to become a judge when I reached the top of my profession as a partner of a large litigation law firm and I realized that I was not professionally satisfied. I determined that I wanted to use my legal skills to serve in a public office. I found that becoming a judge would best match my passion for the law and my goal to optimally use my abilities to serve the public.

What was the most interesting case you handled as a lawyer?

I was the first attorney in the country to bring a case to trial where the allegation was that an air carrier was negligent in failing to have an automatic external defibrillator on the plane to assist with an in-flight cardiac event that resulted in the death of a passenger. I won a defense verdict for the air carrier in a case that involved novel issues and the verdict was used across the country as a benchmark for similar claims.

What would you consider your greatest career accomplishment?

My greatest career accomplishment was being appointed judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County in 2015 after receiving a recommendation from Illinois Supreme Court Justice Ann Burke’s Judicial Screening Committee, and being re-appointed judge in 2016 after receiving a recommendation from Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis’ Judicial Evaluation Committee.

What qualities do you plan to bring to the bench?

I know the law and I apply the law in a fair and impartial manner regardless of race, creed, gender, national origin or sexual orientation. I am calm, level-headed and I treat all who come before me with dignity, compassion and respect. I am independent and not influenced by politics or special interests which is imperative to be an effective judge so that the people of Cook County can be assured that my decisions will be fair and based on the law and not based on outside influences.