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James L. Kaplan

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James L. Kaplan
Court Information:
Illinois Cook Judicial Circuit Court Subcircuits
Title:   Judge
Position:   12th Subcircuit
Appointed by:   Illinois Supreme Court
Active:   2012-11/30/2014; 2/1/2015-12/5/2016
Preceded by:   Patrick O'Brien
Past post:   Judge, Cook County 8th Subcircuit
Past term:   2010-2012
Personal History
Born:   9/24/1944
Party:   Democratic
Religion:   Judaism
Undergraduate:   University of Arizona, 1967
Law School:   Chicago-Kent Law School, 1971
Candidate 2012:
Candidate for:  8th Subcircuit
State:  Illinois
Confirmation:   Vacancy of Melvin Cole
Election information 2012:
Incumbent:  Yes
Primary date:  March 20, 2012
Primary vote:  19.41%DefeatedD
Election vote:  DefeatedD
Candidate 2014:
Candidate for:  Cook County 12th Subcircuit
Position:  Jordan vacancy
State:  Illinois
Election information 2014:
Party:   Democratic
Incumbent:  No
Primary date:  03/18/2014
Primary vote:  38.3%ApprovedA
Election date:  11/04/2014
Election vote:  49.4%DefeatedD

James L. Kaplan is a judge on the Cook Judicial Circuit Court in Illinois.[1][2] Kaplan was first appointed to the Illinois Court of Claims by Governor Rod Blagojevich in 2005. The Illinois Supreme Court appointed him in December 2010 to the Cook County 8th Subcircuit, but he lost in the March 2012 Democratic primary election. His appointment to that court remained effective through December 3, 2012.[2][3] The Illinois Supreme Court then appointed him to the Cook County 12th Subcircuit, but he was defeated in the 2014 general election. His last day on the court was November 30, 2014.[4][5] He was then appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill the vacancy of Patrick O'Brien on the Cook Judicial Circuit Court. His current term began on February 1, 2015, and will expire on December 5, 2016.[6]



See also: Illinois judicial elections, 2014
Kaplan ran for election to the Cook County 12th Subcircuit.
Primary: He was successful in the Democratic primary on March 18, 2014, receiving 38.3 percent of the vote. He competed against James Edward Hanlon, Jr., Ralph Eugene Meczyk and Samuel Bae.
General: He was defeated in the general election on November 4, 2014, after receiving 49.4 percent of the vote. He competed against James Paul Pieczonka.[4]


The Illinois State Bar Association rated James L. Kaplan as Qualified for election in 2014.[7]


Kaplan ran for election to a full term on the Cook County 8th Subcircuit in 2012 to fill the seat vacated by Melvin J. Cole. He was defeated by John H. Ehrlich in the Democratic primary on March 20, 2012. Kaplan received 19.41% of the vote in the six-way race.[8][9]

See also: Illinois judicial elections, 2012


Kaplan graduated from Lake View High School in 1961 and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 1967. He received his J.D. from the Chicago-Kent Law School in 1971.[3]


  • 2015-2016: Judge, Cook Judicial Circuit Court
  • 2012-2014: Judge, Cook County 12th Subcircuit
  • 2010-2012: Judge, Cook County 8th Subcircuit
  • 2005-2010: Judge, Illinois Court of Claims
  • 2009-2010: Attorney of counsel, Sheldon Sorosky, Ltd.
  • 1972-2009: Managing partner, Kaplan & Sorosky, Ltd.
  • 1968-1972: Paralegal and assistant corporation counsel, City of Chicago Department of Law
  • 1967-1968: Claims adjuster, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company[10]

Awards and associations


  • 2008: Charles E. Curry Spirit of Excellence Award, West-Side Association for Community Action
  • 2006: Designated Champion Award for the Rights of Disabled Students, Southern Illinois University
  • 2006: Illinois Community Colleges Trustees Association
  • 2006: Action for Children Award, Illinois Children’s Resources Community Advocacy
  • 2004: Distinguished Citizen Award, Presented by State Senator Daniel Cronin
  • 2004: Distinguished Alumnus Award, Chicago-Kent College of Law


  • Member, Chicago Bar Association
  • Member, Illinois State Bar Association
  • Member, Workers’ Compensation Lawyers’ Association
  • Past member, American Bar Association
  • Past member, Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
  • Past member, Chicago-Kent College of Law School Association[10]

See also

External links