Press Release of Senator Kirk


Panel Will Recommend Federal Judicial Candidates to Senator Kirk

Contact: Lance Trover 312-886-3506
Friday, February 18, 2011


CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk has formed a bipartisan, statewide Judicial Review Commission to recommend Federal District Court Judges for Illinois.  

Senator Kirk’s Commission will extensively review the applications, interview the applicants, and provide informed recommendations to ensure a successful process for submitting the most qualified federal judicial candidates to the President.  Senator Kirk plans to work closely with Senator Durbin (D-IL), who has formed a similar committee.  There are currently three judicial vacancies on the district court for the northern district of Illinois.  

“This panel will provide non-partisan recommendations for filling judicial openings in our federal court,” said Kirk.  “With the help of this statewide Commission we will submit the strongest applicants from Illinois for consideration by the President and U.S. Senate.”

Senator Kirk’s screening committee includes 14 members, and will be chaired by Peter Baugher of Schopf & Weiss LLP.

"This is an outstanding Commission,” said Baugher.  “It includes prominent civil and criminal practitioners, business lawyers, leaders of bar Associations, a former US District Judge, a law professor, and a senior member of the Illinois Congressional Delegation— all committed to helping Senator Kirk find the best women and men to serve as federal court judges.”

Additional Commission members include: Former Federal Court Judge Wayne Andersen of JAMS Arbitration, Mediation, and ADR Services; Keith Beyler of the Southern Illinois University School of Law; U.S. Congresswoman Judy Biggert; James Buda, General Counsel at Caterpillar Inc; Roxane Busey of Baker & McKenzie LLP; James Figliulo of Figliulo & Silverman, P.C.; Victor Henderson of Holland & Knight LLP, Larry Kuster of Rammelkamp Bradney; Lynn Mirabella of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC; James Montana of Vedder Price P.C.; Jennifer Nijman of Nijman Franzetti LLP; Richard Porter of Kirkland & Ellis LLP; and Ronald Safer of Schiff Harden LLP. 

Once Senator Kirk makes recommendations, the President will submit a nomination to the U.S. Senate after which the Senate Judiciary Committee will review the nominee and vote on whether the nominee should be considered by the full Senate.  Qualified applicants for federal judgeships can find an application here.  The application is similar to those used by the Senate Judiciary Committee; the deadline for submission is March 18, close of business. 

Judicial Review Commission Members:

Peter Baugher (chair). Mr. Baugher is a senior partner in the business litigation firm Schopf & Weiss LLP where he works across the country defending and prosecuting commercial cases. He has taken part in and won major trials including a million dollar jury verdict in a business acquisition dispute, a multi-million dollar contractual indemnification suit, and a multi-million dollar claim against the U.S. government.  Mr. Baugher is also President of the Chicago International Dispute Resolution Association, was prime drafter of Illinois’ International Commercial Arbitration Act, and co-authored A Trial Lawyer's Guide to Discovery, and Litigation Risk and Opportunity in the United States.  He is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School.

Congresswoman Judy Biggert. Ms. Biggert was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 1998. Congresswoman Biggert was voted by her colleagues as one of the ten most bi-partisan Republican members of the House, having led the Congressional Women’s Caucus, promoting issues such as judicial and legislative cooperation through the Congressional Judicial Caucus. She is a graduate of Stanford University and Northwestern University School of Law. The Congresswoman began her legal career as clerk to the Honorable Luther Swygert, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the DuPage Bar Association and the DuPage Association of Women Lawyers. 

Hon. Wayne Andersen (Ret.). Mr. Andersen served as a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois for 19 years. Before joining the federal court, he served seven years as a state court trial judge. He has conducted thousands of settlement conferences on the state and federal judiciary. His private practice in law has covered federal and state court general litigation, estate planning, real estate, property taxation, corporate law, banking, probate, and bankruptcy. 

Keith Beyler. Mr. Beyler has been a faculty member at the Southern Illinois University School of Law since 1982. He teaches Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, and Federal Courts with a special interest in personal jurisdiction, publishing an article on the subject that led to a change in the Illinois personal jurisdiction statute. For over a decade Professor Beyler has served as an officer or director of Green Earth Inc., a local land trust involved in preserving the Carbondale area’s natural resources. He has also served as Professor-Reporter for the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee for the past 15 years, working with Illinois judges and attorneys to improve the Illinois Supreme Court Rules.

James Buda. Mr. Buda serves as vice president of the Legal Services Division at Caterpillar Inc. in Peoria, IL. He also serves as chief legal officer of Caterpillar Inc. In 1987 Mr. Buda joined Caterpillar in the legal department as an attorney. He has served in various senior corporate attorney positions and was named associate general counsel in 1996. He has maintained his current position since 2001.

Roxane Busey. Ms. Busey is a Partner at Baker & McKenzie  and has over 30 years of experience advising companies on a wide range of antitrust issues. Ms. Busey has been recognized as a leading antitrust authority by Chambers USA, America’s Leading Business Lawyers, The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, and Who’s Who in the Word, and Illinois Top 10 Women Lawyers. Ms. Busey also served as Chair of ABA Antitrust Section from 2001 to 2002 and is a graduate of the Northwestern Law School.

James Figliulo. Mr. Figliulo graduated cum laude in 1971 from St. Mary’s College in 1971 and received his J.D. from the University of Arizona in 1974. He is a founding partner in Figliulo & Silverman, P.C., an 18 year old law firm which concentrates on business related litigation. As a trial lawyer, Figliulo has over 33 years of experience in this field along with significant experience in jury and bench trials and arbitrations in federal and state courts representing clients in a wide range of complex business disputes. Figliulo is a Fellow of The American College of Trial Lawyers and Chairman of its State Committee for northern Illinois.  Figliulo is a former president of the 7th Circuit Bar Association. 

Victor Henderson.  Mr. Henderson is a trial lawyer with the Chicago Office of Holland & Knight and currently serves as the Executive Partner of one of the largest offices in his firm.  He sits on the Board of Trustees for the John Marshall Law School and was recently appointed by Governor Quinn to serve on the Illinois Community College Board.  He is a past president of the 23,000 member Chicago Bar Association, Illinois Equal Justice Foundation and former Chairman of the Chicago Committee On Minorities in Large Law firms. Mr. Henderson practiced as a Certified Public Accountant before becoming a lawyer.  He is the recipient of numerous awards and has been listed in the Illinois Super Lawyers. 

Larry Kuster.  Mr. Kuster is the senior shareholder in Rammelkamp Bradney P.C., a 116-year old Jacksonville law firm with a litigation and school law practice. He has been designated an Illinois Leading Lawyer and serves on the Illinois Association of School Board PRESS Advisory Council. He is a former President of the Lincoln Douglas Inn of Court, former MacMurray College Trustee, and a member of the Illinois and Morgan County Bar Associations. 

Lynn Mirabella. Ms. Mirabella is a partner at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick, & Mirabella, LLC. The firm was founded by her grandfather and has been in existence since 1949. Her practice is concentrated in family law, with a high volume of guardian ad litem and meditation files. She is currently on the Executive Counsels for the DuPage County Bar Association and Justinian Society of Lawyers, DuPage Chapter. Previously, she served on the DuPage County Judiciary Screening Committee for a 3 year term.

James Montana. Mr. Montana is a Partner at Vedder Price PC, where he specializes in federal, civil, and criminal litigation. He was a former United States Attorney in Chicago, a Chief Legal Counsel to then Governor Jim Edgar of Illinois, and former Chief Justice of the Illinois Court of Claims. Montana is a graduate of Georgetown University and Northwestern Law School.

Jennifer Nijman. Ms. Nijman concentrates her practice in the areas of Environmental Law and Litigation.  She was formerly chair of the environmental practice group at a large Chicago firm and started the environmental law firm of Nijman Franzetti LLP in 2008.  She is a certified mediator through the Center for Conflict Resolution and an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.  In 2009, she served on the Magistrate Judge Merit Review Panel and the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois.  She was the President of the Chicago Bar Association in 2002–2003.  She is a member of the Federal Trial Bar for the Northern District of Illinois and is admitted to the Illinois and Wisconsin Bar, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. She received her J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1987.  

Richard Porter. Mr. Porter is a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP with a practice focusing on business financings, acquisitions, dispositions and reorganizations.  He represents several Illinois-based private equity firms, as well as public and private companies in several industries.  A member of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Chapter of the Association for Corporate Growth, Mr. Porter is a former Special Assistant to President George H.W. Bush and Counselor to Vice President Dan Quayle, where he worked on that Administration's legal reform initiatives.  Mr. Porter is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and awarded the John Olin Prize for excellence in Law and Economics, and was a law clerk for the Honorable Richard A. Posner, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Ronald Safer. Mr Safer has been a managing partner at Schiff Hardin LLP since 2005. He was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois for ten years (1989-1999) where he was Chief of the Criminal Division.  While there, he led the prosecution of the 40 leaders of the Gangster Disciples, which was the largest monolithic gang in the nation with over 30,000 members.  He assisted in the prosecution of Richard Bailey for the murder of candy heiress Helen Brach and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas A. Flannery, United States District Court for the District of Columbia as an appointee by President Nixon.  Safer graduated first in his class in the day division at Georgetown University Law Center (1983).