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David Levitt Comments on Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's Judicial Election-Related Priorities

February 13, 2015

David H. Levitt, a Chicago-based partner in the firm's Business Litigation Practice was quoted in two articles — "Ready to Rumble," (Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, February 5, 2015) and "Rauner Wants Ban on Trial Lawyer Donations to Judges, Merit-Based Judicial Selection System" (Cook County Legal Journal, February 4, 2015) — discussing Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's comments on judicial election issues in his first state of the state address. Mr. Levitt was interviewed in his capacity as president of the Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel (IDC).

Governor Rauner stated in his speech, "In time, we should also take another step towards trustworthy government by prohibiting trial lawyer donations to elected judges, we should move toward merit-based judicial reform as supported by the American Bar Association." The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin article notes that Mr. Levitt is "pleased Rauner is talking about changing judicial elections" and that although "[h]e's not certain limiting who can donate or moving to a system of appointed judges is the best route to take . . . at least there are ideas on the table." Adds Mr. Levitt in the article, "I don’t pretend to know what the right answer is. But I know what the wrong answer is. And the wrong answer is what’s currently happening[.]"

The Cook County Legal Journal article notes that Mr. Levitt "said he does know that a group of plaintiff lawyers put more than $1 million into a campaign opposing the retention of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lloyd Karmeier just weeks before the November election." Says Mr. Levitt in the article, "That much money into a Supreme Court retention is just wrong[.]" The article also points out that "Levitt said judicial campaign contributions and selection are issues in need of serious dialogue, but said lawyers who donate to a judge’s campaign or to one opposing a judge’s election or retention shouldn’t think their donations will let them pick the judge who will hear their case."

Mr. Levitt is an experienced trial lawyer who focuses his practice in a number of distinct areas. His primary practice is intellectual property, with wide experience in insurance, commercial litigation, products liability and trucking.

Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP is a national law firm with approximately 500 attorneys providing coordinated legal services across the United States and in London. Hinshaw lawyers partner with businesses, governmental entities and individuals to help them effectively address legal challenges and seize opportunities. Founded in 1934, the firm represents clients in complex litigation and in regulatory and transactional matters.

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