Joel Bertocchi Talks to the Press about the Retirement of Famed Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner

September 11, 2017

Joel Bertocchi—a Chicago-based partner at Hinshaw, who previously served as the Illinois Solicitor General and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney—was cited in several press articles reporting on last Friday's retirement announcement by Judge Richard A. Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Posner served on the Seventh Circuit for more than three decades, and is widely seen as one of the most influential jurists of his era.

Bertocchi—who has argued before Posner on many occasions—offered insight on what made Posner one of the nation's leading appellate judges.

In an article published by The Chicago Tribune, Bertocchi said he, "learned that Posner's academic style was [employed in order] to use rigorous argument as a way of testing whose views stood up to scrutiny." He added that "you sort of had to leave your feelings behind, and learn to take a case on his terms and go where he wanted to go with it."

Read "Richard Posner announces sudden retirement from federal appeals court in Chicago" on the Chicago Tribune website

In an article published by Law360, Bertocchi noted that Posner challenged attorneys, but in a way that improved them in the long run. According to Bertocchi, the tough demeanor was especially difficult for lawyers who sought a judge's personal approval. "If a lawyer knew the case and was willing to abandon his or her practice remarks to dig into the intellectual issue at hand," Bertocchi said, "he or she would do well in front of [Posner]."

Bertocchi said he will miss Posner's unique approach to the law. "He made people think about things in a different way. And it’s going to be a little less exciting [without Posner]," he said. "I’m not sure whether I’d say I will miss the challenge, but I would hate to have gone through my whole career without knowing what it was like to argue in front of Judge Posner."

Read "Judge Posner Stepping Down After 36 Years At 7th Circ." on the Law360 website (subscription required)

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