More About Finding a Lawyer

Commenting on my description of how I picked a lawyer, Gideon says:

Interesting stuff there: He presumes that proximity to the courthouse means familiarity with the court

At first I didn’t understand why he thought it odd that I assumed a lawyer close to the courthouse would be more familiar with it. Re-reading what I wrote, I think Gideon and other out-of-town readers might assume I’m talking about the distance from the lawyer’s office to the Cook County Courthouse, e.g. next door, a block away, a mile away, and so on.

That’s not what I meant. There is no Cook Country Courthouse. There are many of them. I was just trying to find lawyers with lots of experience at the courthouse my case was at.

From the Court’s web page:

The Circuit Court of Cook County is not only the largest of the 22 circuits in Illinois, it is also one of the largest unified court systems in the world. It was created by a 1964 amendment to the Illinois Constitution which reorganized the courts of our state. The amendment effectively merged the often confusing and overlapping jurisdictions of Cook County’s 161 courts into one uniform and cohesive court of general jurisdiction.

Today, Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans and more than 400 judges serve the 5.1 million residents of Cook County within the City of Chicago and its 126 surrounding suburbs.

More than 2.4 million cases are filed every year.

As near as I can tell, there are eight courthouses in Chicago (Daley Center in downtown Chicago, a juvenile court on Hamilton, the big criminal court at 26th and California, and 5 outlying courts that handle misdemeanor/ordinance and preliminary felony matters), and one each in Skokie, Rolling Meadows, Maywood, Bridgeview, and Markham, for a total of 13 Cook County courthouses.

At the extremes, the Rolling Meadows and Markham courthouses are about 40 miles apart, which is probably a 90-minute drive in heavy Chicago traffic. Most lawyers advertise for clients in the parts of Chicago or the suburbs near their offices, and I’m assuming that even if a lawyer advertises for cases all over the county, he’s probably more familiar with the courthouse closest to his office.

3 Responses to More About Finding a Lawyer

Leave a reply