Welcome to website of Judge William Haddad (Ret.)



Former Cook County Circuit Court Judge William Haddad was a civil jury trial judge in the Law Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.  He resigned on September 6, 2013 to join his old law firm and to become a Senior Mediator and Arbitrator with Alternative Dispute Resolution Systems, Inc. (ADR Mediation Systems). He is currently is an Adjunct Professor of Trial Advocacy and Mediation at The John Marshall Law School. During his 11 years on the bench, Judge Haddad presided over 350 jury trials to verdict and mediated countless cases to settlement, including medical and legal malpractice, construction accidents, major motor vehicle accidents, product liability, commercial disputes, and nursing home care. ADR stated that he has a reputation "for his ability to deftly navigate complicated matters and carefully bring parties to resolution"

Before assuming the bench in 2003, Judge Haddad was a partner and litigator with Haddad, Schlack & Associates. He served as President of United States Mutual Association which merged with the Official Information Company in 2000. He was a founder of a community bank in suburban Cook County where he served on the Board.

He began his legal career as Assistant State's Attorney of Cook County. Judge Haddad’s extensive professional experiences include: President and Founder of the Suburban Bar Coalition of Cook County in 1998; President and Founder of the Arab-American Bar Association of Illinois in 1990; Past President of the West Suburban Bar Association in 1997; and Past Chair of the Chicagoland Chambers Crime Prevention Awards Committee. 

Judge Haddad has lectured and authored articles extensively on issues concerning civil litigation mediation and professionalism which were published or presented in The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Illinois State Bar Journal, Illinois Trial Lawyer's Association, Chicago Bar Association, West Suburban Bar Association, Southwest Suburban Bar Association, Arab-American Bar Association, University of Wisconsin Law School, Loyola School of Law, Robert Morris College, National Business Institute, Anti-Defamation League, Illinois State Bar Diversity Leadership Council, Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Cook County Sheriff’s Police, Illinois State Bar Constitutional Law Newsletter, United States Commission on Civil Rights, American Bar Association Convention, International Law Section and American Bar Associations Council on Racial/Ethnic Justic.

He received his B.S. degree from Marquette University and J.D. from DePaul University School of Law. Judge Haddad was identified as the first and only Arab American to sit as a Circuit Court judge in Cook County, Illinois in 2003. He has received dozens of honors and awards for his contribution to the profession of law, including The Board of Governors Award from the Illinois State Bar Association in 2001. During his 11 years on the bench he enjoyed high judicial evaluation recommendations from bar groups throughout Illinois. In 2007 the Chicago Council of Lawyers' evaluation said of then Judge Haddad:

"Haddad is considered to have excellent legal ability  with substantial litigation experience in both criminal and civil law matters. He is an effective and  well versed in the law. His temperament is excellent and his  integrity is unquestioned. He is praised widely for his community service. The Council finds Mr. Haddad Well Qualified to serve in Circuit Court."



Chicago Daily Law Bulletin 

ADR Mediation Systems

The American Bar Association

The Illinois State Bar Association

The Chicago Bar Association

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Haddad to resign after decade on the bench in Cook County

By Mary Kate Malone
Law Bulletin staff writer - 7/31/2013

Cook County’s first Arab-American circuit judge plans to resign in September after 10 years in a position he held by order of the Illinois Supreme Court.

Circuit Judge William J. Haddad submitted his resignation letter on Monday and his last day will be Sept. 6.

"It’s been great. It’s been a rush," Haddad said. "People say I work too hard, but it’s like playing baseball. You love it, and get paid for doing it. That’s why you put a lot of effort into it — because you enjoy the job."

Haddad, 67, was appointed to the bench in 2003 to fill a vacancy. He narrowly lost his bid to keep his seat in the 2004 primary election.

His term was scheduled to expire at the end of 2004, but the state high court recalled him to the bench for a six-year period. The court recalled him again in 2010 for a three-year period ending Nov. 30.

Haddad’s chance to get recalled a third time disappeared when the state high court announced in 2011 that it would no longer recall judges who had not won election.

Circuit Judge William D. Maddux, presiding judge of the Law Division, said he sent letters to the Illinois Supreme Court trying to have Haddad recalled again, "but to no avail."

"He’s one of the finest judges I’ve ever encountered in the circuit court," Maddux said. "The man is bright, he’s able, very intelligent and has sound judgment. … We’re losing a good person.

Though Haddad could have stayed until Nov. 30, he decided to leave early because he is "anxious" to start his new career.

He plans to mediate cases with ADR Systems of America LLC and become active with the American Middle East Voter Alliance, which helps organize Arab-American voters in Cook County "into one cogent group" and will evaluate local candidates’ sensitivity to minority issues.

"It’s a community that often undervotes and is overlooked by officeholders who have the power to appoint them to positions that otherwise they would not be elected to," Haddad said.

Haddad chose not to run for election in part because he doesn’t believe he could win, he said.

When he lost the primary in 2004, he had the backing of many government officials including then-Mayor Richard M. Daley, yet it still wasn’t enough, he said.

"I don’t want to say men with unusual last names have a difficult time getting elected, but there is some history there," he said.

Since 2005, Haddad has worked in the trial section of the Law Division, handling cases involving medical malpractice, product liability and construction injuries.

"He is a wonderful judge," said Joseph W. Balesteri, a partner at Power, Rogers & Smith P.C., who represents plaintiffs in personal-injury cases and has appeared before Haddad. "It’s a sad day for Cook County citizens and our trial bar."

For complex, high-dollar trials in the Daley Center, when both sides may request the trial judge, Haddad is often named, Balesteri said.

"He’s equal to a World Series-quality umpire … It’s sad we’re losing him. He’s a great man."

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