State Supreme Court justices have appointed an Oak Park lawyer to replace retired Cook County Circuit Judge Susan Zwick until voters can have their say in who serves on the bench.
Monday, the Illinois Supreme Court announced it had selected attorney William B. Sullivan to complete Zwick’s unexpired term in Cook County’s 11th Judicial Subcircuit.
Zwick retired in September 2014 after more than two decades of service as a circuit judge in Cook County. She was last retained by voters in 2010.
Sullivan’s appointment came at the recommendation of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis, after Sullivan cleared an application process. His candidacy also passed the review of the Chicago Bar Association and other local bar associations, and a 15-member bipartisan judicial screening committee.
The committee, chaired by retired U.S. District Court Judge Wayne R. Andersen and retired Illinois Appellate Court Justice Michael J. Gallagher, includes both lawyers and non-lawyers.
Sullivan will begin serving on the bench in June. His appointment will expire in December 2016 after voters select a candidate to fill the vacancy in the November 2016 General Election, according to a release from the Illinois Supreme Court.
The Illinois Constitution empowers the state Supreme Court to fill interim judicial vacancies until the next general election.
Sullivan has practiced law in Oak Park since receiving his law degree in 1992 from DePaul University. He has maintained a solo practice focused on civil matters, including real estate, bank and business transactions, estate planning, landlord-tenant disputes and probate and trust administration.
Aside from his legal practice, Sullivan has taught as an adjunct instructor at DePaul University’s College of Law, and has served as a hearing officer with the Illinois State Board of Elections. He was also twice elected president of the Cicero Township Schools Trustees, an entity responsible for funding schools in Cicero, Berwyn and Oak Park.
According to the Illinois Supreme Court’s release, Sullivan “has provided a substantial amount of pro bono legal work representing pro se litigants during small claims calls,” particularly assisting “first-generation individuals,” including Arab-Americans.
He lives in Oak Park with his wife, Cheryl, and three children.
"I am so very grateful to Justice Theis and the Supreme Court for the confidence shown in me by this appointment and am very much looking forward to serving the citizens of Cook County and the 11th Subcircuit in this important role,” Sullivan said in the release. “I have worked hard throughout my career to resolve the real world problems of everyday people and look forward to bringing this pragmatic experience to the bench.”