Suzanne B. Conlon

Last updated
Suzanne B. Conlon
Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Assumed office
April 17, 2004

Conlon was rated by lawyers as a judge that had the lowest number of pending cases in the entire Northern District of Illinois but was criticized over her temperament throughout her career. Lawyers have said to accomplish her goal of a small docket, Conlon made inappropriate demands on attorneys. Attorneys have been critical of Conlon's scheduling, claiming it was unrealistic, but nonetheless enforced inflexibly. The Chicago Bar Association and many judicial rating websites claimed she had unacceptable behavior for a federal judge. It was suggested that she had the tendency to use the jury or others to call out attorneys that are late. While the majority of criticism focused on her temperament, her substantive case management was also criticized. [6]

In a 2007 evaluation of senior judges of the Northern District of Illinois, the Chicago Council of Lawyers developed a 34-question written survey designed to assess each judge's legal ability, integrity, temperament, decisiveness, and diligence. [7] The surveys were disseminated widely, and completed surveys were returned by 137 lawyers. [7] Conlon was praised "for her intelligence, legal ability, and the quality and timeliness of her written opinions." [7] Her written opinions were rated as consistently thoughtful and well reasoned; however, she received the worst mark of any judge in the category of "gives due consideration to the convenience of lawyers and litigants in scheduling proceedings" and was described by attorneys as "abrupt, unpleasant, intolerant, and condescending." [7] She also received the worst marks of any judge for "courtesy towards lawyers and litigants" and was criticized for an unwillingness to facilitate settlements of civil matters, receiving the worst mark of any judge for "effectively assist[ing] the parties to reach settlement." [7] The council's assessment of Judge Conlon concluded: "In summary, Judge Conlon's rigidity in scheduling matters, her poor judicial temperament, and her refusal to facilitate settlements in civil matters appear to have overshadowed her excellent legal abilities and diligence on the bench." [7]

Conlon's temperament has also been noted in several notable controversies during her tenure as a federal judge. First, she fired a law clerk for refusing to carry her lunch up a flight of stairs when the elevator was not working. Second, she fired a law clerk on September 11, 2001 for complying with an evacuation order on the Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse in Downtown Chicago. [8] On judicial ratings websites, court staff noted that Conlon's voluntary law clerk attrition rate was very high and that she consistently fired secretaries and courtroom deputies. [6]

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References

  1. COMFIRMATION HEARINGS ON FEDERAL APPOINTMENTS. the Library of Congress. 1989. Retrieved 9 August 2021.
  2. 1 2 3 "Conlon, Suzanne B. - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
  3. "Judge Matthew F. Kennelly Page Information". Archived from the original on 2013-04-14. Retrieved 2013-07-06.
  4. Don Terry, Eavesdropping Laws Mean That Turning On an Audio Recorder Could Send You to Prison Archived 2011-01-24 at the Wayback Machine , Chicago News Cooperative (January 22, 2011).
  5. 1 2 "Alvarez ruling" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-03-19.
  6. 1 2 "The Robing Room". www.therobingroom.com.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "2007 Evaluation of Senior Judges" (PDF).[ permanent dead link ]
  8. http://judgepedia.org/index.php/Suzanne_Conlon Archived 2011-10-22 at the Wayback Machine ).

Sources

Legal offices
Preceded byJudge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
1988–2004
Succeeded by