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Thompson resigns

Wednesday, Aug 23, 2006

Maybe now he’ll go to work full time for the Blagojevich campaign.

Former Gov. James R. Thompson is resigning as chairman of law firm Winston & Strawn LLP.

He plans to leave the chairman position next month after 13 years—nearly matching his record 14-year tenure as governor—but remain active as a Winston partner, he says.

“It is time,” he says.

The move comes as Winston partners are voting on whether to curtail the chairman’s authority by consolidating operational responsibilities under the managing partner.

I was just kidding at the top of this post, of course.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - connie - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 3:59 pm:

    Everything that Thompson does, whether on the Hollinger board or Blagojevich supporter, brings to mind what Adlai Stevenson had said, during his campaign to unseat him, that if Thompson were a woman he’d be pregnant his entire life because he hasn’t learned how to say no.

  2. - Anon - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 4:26 pm:

    Wondering…. is this fallout from the Ryan defense?

  3. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 4:44 pm:

    Anon–I was thinking the same thing. Millions of dollars out the door of a quintesentially greedy law firm. Even Thompson must have had trouble selling that.

  4. - Bill - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 4:46 pm:

    Big Jim is my second favorite Rhino after Judy”Education Lady”Topinka. Don’t tell anyone but in all those years he never lived in Springfield.

  5. - Guy Fawkes - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 4:50 pm:

    Or maybe Big Jim’s resigning because of the writing on the wall with regards to the impending indictments of the Blago administration.

  6. - Bubs - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 4:57 pm:

    Adlai stole the line. It was originally used on Warren Harding (by a friend of his) during the Teapot Dome Scandal. Plus, it does not apply here.

    It would be historic for Illinois if Big Jim came home to the GOP and acted as a Bull Elephant Behind the Sscenes to restore some order, both in the party and the state. He remains hugely influential in both.

    But don’t turn your lonely eyes to him, Pachyderm Lovers. Mrs. Robinson says that Big Jim has left and gone away . . .

  7. - Reddbyrd - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 5:08 pm:

    Big Jim did a great job @Winston. I think the story mentionss partner profits were $1 million each! Maybe Bush wants to make him an Ambassador

  8. - R.I.P. McMurphee - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 5:21 pm:

    Maybe he’s leaving Winston to join the firm of Nicolay and Dart, of Counsel, of course.

  9. - capitol view - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 5:36 pm:

    My guess is that he is off to co-chairing a new federal task force on terrorism and intelligence agencies’ responses to the West’s challenge by Radical Islammic factions. He had a leading role in a previous federal committee involved with intelligence and screening candidates for federal service. There are two many Republican critics of the Bush gang over foreign policy and military reactions to the war being waging against us by Radical Islam. Time for the Republicans to regroup and look to a post-Bush strategy other than “stay the course”. Thompson is a logical player in that process.

    Of course, the tens of millions of dollars that he had his firm spend on George Ryan (not allowable by the courts as pro bono credits for the past two years) may have made it easier for him and his law partners to respond to this call to return to public service…

  10. - anon - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 5:57 pm:

    According to the Topinka camp it should be:
    Thompson to leave George Ryan’s law firm.

    Hey, the guy’s 70 and was supposed to have been forced to give up the chairman post a couple years ago, not that Big Jim ever let those messy rules get in his way.

  11. - jaundiced eye - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 6:21 pm:

    Why not just let him go quietly away, which is what his partners have been trying to accomplish for a good number of years? He’s no longer a rainmaker in terms of business for the firm … or even a figurehead for bipartisan economic or cultural development efforts for the state. He just doesn’t have the clout any more — or the nonpartisan “wisdom” or credibility one usually associates with a multi-term statewide figure to return to public service. His 15 minutes of fame (as Andy Warhol put it) are over.

  12. - B Hicks - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 6:24 pm:

    What short memories they have; you didn’t hear Ms. Pretty complaining about Big Jim living on the Gold Coast in Chicago and commuting to Springfield for all of those years.

    Her hypocrisy is breathtaking.

  13. - NumbersGuy - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 6:48 pm:

    Some of you guys didn’t even bother to read the post, let alone the article. He’s not leaving the firm, just stepping down as chairman.

    I see this as classic JRT. The guy who never lost an election keeps the string intact and goes out on his terms.

    B. Hicks, the reason a lot of people view Thompson’s and Blago’s Chicago residency differently is because Thompson spent meaningful amounts of time in Springfield and didn’t view the place as enemy territory. The Mansion was alive and actually looked occupied, no press wrote of the Governor “making a rare appearance in Springfield”, and where the Governor was on a given day was a non-issue.

    Bubs, I agree that Adlai stole that line. Besides, he buried himself with the infamous “I am not a wimp” line. Thompson was on every TV station in the state repeating that over and over. “I didn’t call the Senator a wimp. I’m certain no one in my campaign called the Senator a wimp..etc, etc.”

  14. - Norseman - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 7:15 pm:

    Bill and B Hicks, you need to do your research better before you speak. Thompson did live in Springfield during his early years as Governor. Even after he moved to Chicago, he spent a lot of time in Springfield. Far more than Blago can ever dream of.

  15. - Reddbyrd - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 7:27 pm:

    Norseman is on track
    Big Jim spent more time in Chi when his daughter got school age…but that was term #3

  16. - Anno-yed - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 8:26 pm:

    For those that don’t know, now Schillerstrom can run for governor next time up.

  17. - Snidely Whiplash - Wednesday, Aug 23, 06 @ 8:29 pm:

    Awwww … now he’s gotta find yet ANOTHER way to give away OTHER people’s money for the benefit of himself and his mega-rich pals. Guess the rest of the partners got tired of paying for his generousity to his influential pals.

  18. - Just Observing - Thursday, Aug 24, 06 @ 12:27 am:

    Everyone, please, stop the asinine comments. He is not stepping down because of Blago indictments. The partners have not been trying to get rid of him for years. He still brings in tons of business for the firm. BTW… Rod Blagojevich and other political work probably account for .000000001% of the firms revenue.

  19. - wndycty - Thursday, Aug 24, 06 @ 7:30 am:

    And he is not leaving the firm he is staying on as a partner. As usual it appears people are letting their dislike of Big Jim not read the story which states that he is staying on as a partner. Why is it people ignore the facts before they comment?

    “He plans to leave the chairman position at the end of the month — nearly matching his record 14-year tenure as governor — but remain active as a Winston partner, he says.”

  20. - Lawyer Lem - Thursday, Aug 24, 06 @ 8:39 am:

    Looks like the $20 million charity case for George Ryan and the pending criminal/civil mess with “Lord” Black and Hollinger, on which Thompson headed the audit committee during the looting of the Sun-Times and other properties, was finally enough for other Winston partners.

  21. - Captain America - Thursday, Aug 24, 06 @ 8:52 am:

    I never voted for him, but I think he’s had a very distinguished career - as a prosecutor, a Governor, and as a mover and shaker after his gubernatorial career. We need more Illinois leaders like him in both political parties. I’ve always wondered why he never capped his career with a high level post in Washington.

  22. - Gus Frerotte's Clipboard - Thursday, Aug 24, 06 @ 8:58 am:

    Norseman, I don’t think Governor Blagojevich dreams of being in Springfield.

  23. - Skeeter - Thursday, Aug 24, 06 @ 9:21 am:

    That firm has lost a lot of prestige in the past few years. Now they are known more of annoying judges with very long briefs [I’ve seen many juges roll their eyes when Winston’s people ask for leave to file a 72 page brief] as opposed to the quality of their work. I’m not sure they even have an appellate department anymore.

    I’m not sure that Thompson is to blame (not an insider) but it is unfortunate to see a firm like that lose so much respect. I respect Thompson — he was always a much better lawyer than he was a gov. — but they needed to make a change.

  24. - Dark Knight - Thursday, Aug 24, 06 @ 12:33 pm:

    Something is wrong at Winston & Strawn. You don’t move to take away the chairman’s power unless things are amiss. Some part of this story is not being told

  25. - Disgusted - Friday, Aug 25, 06 @ 7:00 am:

    Well at least Jim Thompson’s name was his own, not “Public Official A” and it was not followed by “…has not been charged with any…”.

  26. - Bill - Friday, Aug 25, 06 @ 7:24 am:

    Hey disgusted,
    Ask Otto Kerner’s kid about what a great prosecutor Big Jim was and about the Official A’s and Thompson’s name and who should be charged and held accountable for the Hollinger ripoff.
    And after all that Big Jim has not been charged with any…

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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