Alison Conlon, a relative to a well-connected lawyer William F. Conlon*, (daughter?), was appointed on February 2, 2015, as a Circuit Court Judge by the Illinois Supreme Court, at the recommendation of Justice Mary Jane Theis, whom William F. Conlon gave $3,500 for election. Justice Theis regularly assigns her cronies, (like former clerks Judge Jean M. Prendergast Rooney and Judge Clare J. Quish); and other well-connected lawyers and their families members to judicial seats. Alison Conlon sits in the Jury Section of the First Municipal District in Room 1403 in the Daley Center; but based on her credentials, will be moved to the higher Division promptly.
Alison Conlon never mentioned to IL voters how well-connected is her family in Illinois legal field. In her own words .
Her connections included the top partner of a law Firm Sidley Austin LLP, William F. Conlon, who worked with former President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama. (Barack and Michelle worked at Sidley Austin, a law firm that defends Johnson & Johnson. Michelle traded her law career for full-time health care admin with a $100,000 a year salary. After Barack, who previously worked at Davis, Miner, Barnhill and Galland, who often practiced with Judge Nathaniel R. Howse, Jr. won his first office, she took a part-time position and her salary tripled).
Alison Conlon is likely a relative to the Federal Judge Suzanne B. Conlon**, who could be her mother or aunt; and James J. Conlon, likely uncle, who works for Cook County Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans; and is an extremely valuable connection to any lawyer who practices in Cook County Court (specially when they need a particular judge to be assigned on their cases).
*William F. Conlon, is Sidley Austin LLP’s senior counsel in the Chicago office; and the top Rated White Collar Crimes Attorney in Chicago, IL. He for many years served as Chair of the Illinois Judicial Inquiry Board from 1992-1997, as a member and Chair of the Illinois State Board of Ethics from 1982-1988, and as a member of the Chicago Police Board from 2011-2016. Appointed to the Board and named by Mayor Emanuel as Chair in October 2016, lawyer William F. Conlon serves on Chicago Board of Ethics where he criticized for covering illegal lobbying violation. According to Tribune (in numerous publications)” “The reappointment of attorney William F. Conlon as chairman of the Chicago Board of Ethics was approved without fanfare. Conlon had taken a strong stand on illegal lobbying violations found in Emanuel’s emails, drew criticism” Emanuel’s Ethic Board.
Prior to joining the firm, Bill was an Assistant United States Attorney between 1974-1979 of the Northern District of Illinois, under supervision of James R. Thompson, a good friend with Judge William J. Bauer, (whose niece Julia Bauer is a crony with Alison Conlon; and whose wife Judge Patricia S. Spratt was also assigned by Justice Theis). He also serves as Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University Law School.
**Judge Suzanne B. Conlon , was an Assistant United States Attorney of the Northern District of Illinois from 1976 to 1977. She has been an adjunct professor at the Northwestern University School of Law from 1991 to the present. Currently she is a Senior United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
However, average people did not support her election campaign. Alison Conlon, who is assigned to Cook County Municipal Division and handles ordinary cases under $30,000.00 such as evictions and collection, received a massive financial support from the top echelon lawyers who rarely (if ever) appear in Municipal Division, but very often represent their clients in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of IL where Judge Suzanne B. Conlon holds a senior position.
Alison Conlon’s appointment to judicial seat came with a very handsome price tag.
Sidley Austin LLP, who regularly involved in fraud, perjury , corruption and sexual assaults scandals (like sales of bogus tax shelters designed to help wealthy individuals avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes; harassed a veteran agent during a deposition; made false testimony in Grail and Mitsubishi case; sexually assaulting an 18-year-old man), are very good friends with many Judges and politicians, particularly with Justice Mary Jane Theis, who received at least $9,500.00 from Sidley Austin LLP (including $3,500 from William F. Conlon); Ald. Edward Burke who received $1,500 from William Conlon and $25,500 from Sidley Austin LLP.; and his wife, Justice Anne Burke, who is responsible for judicial appointments received over $14,000 from Sidley Austin LLP and their partners.
Alison Conlon’s donors included but not limited to:
Julie Bauer, ($1,000.00) Winston Strawn partner where she works from 1987 following a clerkship with the Hon. Charles P. Kocoras of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, where Alison Conlon clerked between 2000-2001. Julie Bauer is a niece to well-connected Judge William J. Bauer, a Senior Judge for Federal Court of Appeals, and a long-time friend with Justice Theis, whose son clerked for Judge Bauer. In 2015 Justice Theis assigned Judge Bauer’s wife, Judge Patricia S. Spratt, on Anita Rivkin-Carothers’ seat (aunt to convicted in bribes Isaak Carothers, whom Patricia Spratt paid $25,100.00 for some “consulting” services.William F. Conlon gave $700.00 to Judge Bauer’s wife, Patricia Spratt for her 2015 “election”
Another relative, James J. Conlon, who gave Alison $500.00 as “individual” – and not included his employer’s information, currently works for Cook County Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans; and regularly donate to various campaigns, particularly Clerk Dorothy Brown who was investigated by FBI for sales of Jobs.
The employee told federal investigators that the “going rate” to buy a job in Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown’s office was $10,000, to be paid to her personal bagman. Another said in an FBI interview it was well-known that showering gifts on Brown could earn you a promotion, citing a trip Brown took to India that was partially paid for by relatives of one of her top employees.
Brian W. Lewis, top Barnes & Thornburg LLP partner and donor to Justice Theis.
Worth to mention, Barnes & Thornburg LLP are Gold Sponsors for The Better Government Association a watchdog, shining a light on government and holding public officials accountable. The BGA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit civic watchdog organization that works for government reform – transparency, accountability, honesty and efficiency – through investigative journalism, public policy advocacy and civic engagement.
Alison Conlon was supported by a cohort of other well-connected personal injury lawyers in Illinois who will stop at nothing to elect their handpicked candidates to Illinois’ higher courts. For some reason they heavily supported Alison Conlon’s judicial candidacy for a Municipal Division where these lawyers usually do not appear…
One of the biggest expense in Alison Conlon’s judicial campaign was her $40,200.00 payment to Cook County Democratic Party, which suppose to be used for advertisement and promotion Alison Conlon. However, I do not recall any single promotion on behalf of Alison Conlon to potential voters, so, $40,200 went to Cook County Democratic Party as a compensation to slotting Alison Conlon as a judge.
Name: Alison C. Conlon Age: 43 Party: Democratic
Current position: Cook County circuit judge (appointment effective Feb. 2, 2015)
Past legal experience: Partner and co-chair of commercial litigation practice group, Barnes & Thornburg LLP, 2010-15; partner, Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon LLP, 2003-10; assistant corporation counsel, city of Chicago, 2001-02; law clerk for U.S. District Judge Charles P. Kocoras, 2000-01
Campaign funds available, July 1 to Dec. 31: $126,795.87
Campaign funds spent, July 1 to Dec. 31: $73,181.37
Law school: Duke University School of Law, 2000
Campaign website: electjudgeconlon.com
Family: One daughter, age 15
Hobbies/interests: Golf, music, watching my daughter’s volleyball team
Have you ever run for office before?
Why should voters support your candidacy?
On Feb. 2, 2015, after a thorough vetting process:), the Illinois Supreme Court appointed me to the circuit court to fill a retirement vacancy. ( Judge Thomas L. Hogan who received $4,550.00 from Law Firm Hinshaw &Culbertson LLP to fix consolidation of a frivolous defamation case filed in Chancery Division by Chicagoland Community Management, Inc. with my Law Division claim. Hogan, who was sitting on a different floor, suddenly replaced Judge James P. Flannery, Jr. in his stead, without disclosing his financial connections with my Defendants’ lawyers. I guess H&C have beneficial connections with certain employees responsible for assignment of judges on their cases)
I currently sit in the Jury Section of the 1st Municipal Division at the Daley Center and have presided over more than 70 trials, 18 of which were jury trials. Previously, I was a partner and co-chair of the commercial litigation practice group at Barnes & Thornburg where I had an award-winning pro bono practice (2010-15); partner and associate in the litigation department of Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon (2003-10); assistant corporation counsel for the city of Chicago specializing in constitutional and commercial litigation (2001-02); and law clerk to U.S. District Judge Charles P. Kocoras (2000-01).
All of the reviewing bar associations have found me “qualified” or “highly qualified” to serve as a judge based on my legal experience, reputation and temperament, and I have a broad base of political and institutional support including the endorsements of the Cook County Democratic Party, dozens of state and local elected officials and the Chicago Federation of Labor.
Why do you want to be a judge?
Every day I serve the public as a judge is a privilege. People do not bring casual problems to court. The issues they raise are important to them and are important to me. I enjoy the challenge and reward of giving every party the time they deserve to present their case; weighing what they say; applying the law and using my discretion where appropriate; and making the best decisions I can to help people resolve their legal problems.
What was the most interesting case you handled as a lawyer?
As a lawyer, I represented people, businesses and municipalities in a broad range of complex civil litigation including commercial, personal injury, class actions, real estate, insurance coverage, antitrust and environmental law.
I handled many interesting issues. Some of my favorite cases involved helping victims of business fraud obtain recoveries, including two brothers who were lured into investing the hard-earned profits of the family business they started from their garage into a fraudulent tax shelter. More generally, it was always interesting and gratifying to work collaboratively with clients and colleagues to figure out solutions to tough problems.
What would you consider your greatest career accomplishment?
Having the honor of being appointed as a circuit judge by the Illinois Supreme Court.
What qualities do you plan to bring to the bench?
Every day I strive to bring fairness, impartiality and kindness to the bench, treating each party and lawyer with dignity; giving them the time they need to say what they want to say; carefully considering their position; and providing a clear explanation for my rulings. Several longtime courtroom personnel have commented that I am patient and respectful toward litigants, which is very meaningful to me.
Worth to mention, Alison Conlon never mentioned in any to the voters how well-connected is her family in Illinois legal fied.