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The USA list

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* The Sun-Times has the list of potential replacements for retired US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. US Sen. Dick Durbin will make the pick, but Sen. Mark Kirk has veto power. Check it out

◆ Patrick Collins, who led the successful high-profile prosecution of former Gov. George Ryan and now works with law firm Perkins Coie.

◆ Zach Fardon, who also prosecuted Ryan and is now in private practice with Latham and Watkins.

◆ Judge Virginia Kendall, appointed to the federal bench in 2006 by President George W. Bush. Kendall has had her criminal cases reassigned while she competes for the top prosecutor’s job.

◆ Lori Lightfoot, one of the city’s leading African-American attorneys, once the chief administrator at the Chicago Police Department’s Office of Professional Standards, now works with law firm Mayer Brown.

◆ John Bunge, a former deputy chief of the U.S. attorney’s general crimes section in Chicago, who now works with the Kirkland & Ellis law firm.

◆ John Lausch, who led the prosecution of several corrupt cops cases and now also works with Kirkland & Ellis, specializing in white-collar criminal defense and securities enforcement.

◆ Ricardo Meza, the former head of the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, appointed Executive Inspector General for Illinois by Quinn in 2010.

◆ Gil Soffer, who worked in Washington, D.C., under former Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip, has served as a commissioner on the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission and now works with law firm Katten.


posted by Rich Miller
Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 12:37 pm


  1. WHATTTTTT???? No Sam Adam Jr?? Think how much fun that would be..

    Comment by Anonymous Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 12:44 pm

  2. These are all good candidates, but if it was up to me, Lori Lightfoot would get the nod. She’s tough, smart, relentless and most importantly, beholden to no one.

    Comment by 47th Ward Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 12:48 pm

  3. Struck me that all of the finalists are former federal prosecutors. Not sure if I like that as a pre-requisite for the top job, as sometimes (not necessarily now, mind you), a fresh outside perspective can be good. Consider many federal judges also come from the federal prosecutor and defender ranks, and those posts are not easy to land, things can become a bit insular if they are not careful.

    Comment by Ron Burgundy Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 12:49 pm

  4. I am not to worried about getting a former prosecutor because they have gone onto other things and will return with a fresh perspective.

    Comment by Huh? Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 1:23 pm

  5. Not going to claim to be an expert in this department, but I’d lean more towards Lausch or Collins due to their experience prosecuting corruption cases.

    Comment by TJ Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 1:28 pm

  6. Is that pat Collins, the reformer, who ticked people off w his attitude and behavior?

    Comment by Langhorne Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 1:38 pm

  7. I have no idea… eenie, meenie, miney, moe.

    Comment by Just Observing Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 1:40 pm

  8. Doesn’t Lori Lightfoot have some ethical issues?

    217 F.3d 914 (7th Cir. 2000)
    No. D-00-0002

    Hearing, April 18, 2000.
    Decision, May 19, 2000.
    Before POSNER, Chief Judge, and CUDAHY and DIANE P. WOOD, Circuit Judges.

    Comment by anon Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 1:48 pm

  9. The most important parts of the job are:
    - complete honesty and independence;
    - good judgment on legal and factual issues;
    - putting excellent people in supervisory positions;
    - working well with (and motivating) the law enforcement agencies, and making sure they work together;
    - fairness;
    - making wise decisions on resource allocations;
    - not taking yourself too seriously (and not having politcal ambitions);
    - being straight with your employees, then getting out of the way to let people do their jobs; and
    - backing up your subordinates when they deserve your support (and knowing those occasions when they don’t).

    Those qualities do not necessarily go with being a big name — or even with much experience. Fred Foreman, for example, was no legal superstar, and there were many better candidates, but he did an ok job as U.S. Attorney because he appreciated most of these points.

    Having exceptional intelligence and investigative sense help — Pat Fitzgerald had those — but they are not the only skills required.

    Unfortunately, some of the most experienced people in town who have all of these qualities chose not to apply. Using a selection panel and publishing a list of finalists discourages many stellar candidats from applying, because word gets around and it could hurt their standing with their clients and their firms if they are not chosen.

    Most of the people on this list would be fine. Some would be better than others. The skills involved in maximizing public attention for cases on which you have worked do not necessarily correlate with the skills needed to be a good U.S. Attorney.

    Comment by Anonymous Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 1:52 pm

  10. I think that a new president would put this whole process up for grabs. Yes, conventionally the senators have some say here and are able to put blocks on appointments. But to suggest that Romney would be limited to this list of 8 that he had nothing to do with coming up with would be to deny him a privilege.

    In the past, I thought that the attorneys submitted resignations under the new president.

    obviously it’s moot with an obama reelection. but this sounds like a story floated by Durbin to get in front of this process in case Romney gets elected

    Comment by CU Voter Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 2:04 pm

  11. Sens. Kirk and Durbin jointly selected the panel, and said they would agree on a choice that they would recommend regardless of the outcome of the election.

    Comment by Anonymous Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 2:06 pm

  12. The best lawyers in the city did not apply. Everyone who is with a big law firm has all sorts of ties to various establishments that would color their judgment. Job needs an outsider, or a smart small-firm lawyer.

    Comment by Ace Matson Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 2:31 pm

  13. there are lots of good candidates on the list. Kendall has experience as prosecutor and judge. Lausch was the captain of the football team at Harvard. Patrick Collins seems to be very much like the resigned Mr. Fitzgerald, but with a difference. he’s from the Chicago area. Zach Fardon appears to come from another state, as in he practiced in another state before coming to Chicago so might mean his ties here are not as close. I’m for someone not from here. worked with Fitzgerald, why not do it again.

    Comment by amalia Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 2:52 pm

  14. This group contains a lot of lightweights in the Chicago legal community. Former federal prosecutor doesn’t mean too much, there are hundreds in the Chicagoland area. Durbin loves to have the first (fill in the blank)so look for a woman, a minority or an easy choice that Kirk will support- Collins.

    Comment by Siskel Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 2:54 pm

  15. I think Lori Lightfoot would be the best selection for the job.

    Comment by Honesty Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 3:26 pm

  16. Collins would seem to be the easy political choice for both Durbin and Kirk. The media would applaud them both for choosing the person with the right credentials and they know the best.

    Comment by Meanderthal Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 4:42 pm

  17. The easy political choice is Judge Kendall. She would be the first woman to head the office, and is very competent, experienced,and fair. As a district judge, she’s lready been confirmed by the Senate.

    Fardon and Soffer both have leadership experience in the Justice Department (Fardon was the First Assistant U.S. Attorney in Tenn.), and each has a very good temperament.

    Comment by Anonymous Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 5:11 pm

  18. What about David Hoffman former Chicago Inspector General? His personal wealth will allow him not to worry about leaving the office in time to make money. He’d be there long enought to follow through on long term investigations. We just need to lower the bar that says “you must be this tall to be U.S. Attorney”.

    Comment by 13th one Tuesday, Oct 16, 12 @ 10:33 pm

  19. I don’t know all the players but love Anon’s suggestion about Sam Adam Jr. He would be fun to watch - that’s for sure!

    Comment by Stones Wednesday, Oct 17, 12 @ 8:31 am

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