The big four-oh

Opening Statement

Paul Dailing


December 2017

Your 40th year on the planet is always a big one — the celebrations, the friends wishing you good cheer, the access to online-only premium content.

To clarify, I’m not turning 40. Chicago Lawyer is. And we’re kicking it off with some changes.

But before we get into that, a look back at 2017, our 39th year of life. It’s been a turbulent year for the legal profession, with national policy changes announced via Twitter and glutted races for the highest offices in Illinois. Remember when lawyers flooded to O’Hare to help stranded travelers? Remember the Cook County Circuit Court judge who refused to do anything other than weddings? Remember the pop tax, Obama’s jury duty and the Museum of Science and Industry’s legal battle over a rocket car?

We remember. And we broke down this craziest of years starting on Page 24.

As you saw on the cover, this issue also announces our Person of the Year. For this honor, we selected Chief Cook County Circuit Judge Timothy C. Evans. In 2017 alone, this longtime official signed an administrative order to assign public and private defense attorneys to represent defendants while they are at the police station; changed the cash/bail system to ensure that monetary bail is set in an amount someone can afford; and opened a Restorative Justice Community Court designed to reintegrate offenders back into the community through service.

Evans’ 40-year career already gave him many laurels he could have rested upon. But he chose not to rest. For that, we salute him. His story’s on Page 18.

Another local civil servant who made news in 2017 was Public Defender Amy Campanelli. Faced with impending cuts an overturned soda tax would have prevented, Campanelli’s already understaffed, underfunded office has the same constitutionally mandated duties no matter what the budget brings. Reporter Dustin Seibert sat down with Campanelli to talk about the cuts, and about a recent lawsuit from her own staff. It’s a thought-provoking look starting on Page 16.

This issue has all that, plus photos of the legal profession cutting loose, interviews with local attorneys about their pro bono work, articles about the most innovative of firm spaces and our regular slate of columns from practitioners at the top of their games.

Now to see what 2018 will look like.

We’re proud of the work that has appeared in these pages since the Chicago Council of Lawyers put out a small black-and-white issue No. 1 on Nov. 1, 1978. It’s been a great 39 years, but the past has been prologue for what’s next.

First off, we’re going to 12 issues a year from the current 11. Same price, more news, trends, features, columns, moves, photos and other legal goodness in your mailbox in 2018 and after.

Second, starting Jan. 2, 2018, access to will require a subscription, user name and password. If you’re a current subscriber, reach out to Alyssa Gawlinski at (312) 644-2394 or to get your user name and password — and to get a special rate if you want to renew your subscription before Dec. 31.

To ensure your digital investment is worth it, we’re going to be bolstering the site, starting with exclusive, web-only content. We’re kicking that off this month with a long-form investigative piece by staff writer David Thomas on the Chicago Police Department’s use of “stingrays,” surveillance technology that can crack into the cellphones of anyone within range. They were designed for the U.S. military but are sold to local law enforcement across the nation.

Stingrays are shrouded in secrecy. Any agency buying a stingray must sign nondisclosure agreements requiring FBI approval before revealing the device even exists — even in discovery before a stingray-based arrest hits a courtroom. Dave’s story is a powerful piece that you won’t find in these pages.

To read it, visit


Paul Dailing