P. Michael Mahoney (Rockford, Illinois) Chapter

The Stanley J. Rozkowski United States Courthouse. Rockford, Illinois


The P. Michael Mahoney (Rockford, IL) Chapter of the FBA was chartered in June of 2014 with a grand total of ten members. Since then, the membership has tripled and continues to grow. The Mahoney Chapter has sponsored several high-quality continuing legal education programs and social events, all intended to foster collegiality and improve the federal bar and bench in the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division.

Along the way we’ve had a lot of help and support. We’ve leaned on our big-brother Chapter, the Chicago Chapter, which serves the Eastern Division of the Northern District. The Chief Judge of the Northern District, Ruben Castillo, has made it a personal mission to support our Chapter, appearing for and often presenting at our programs and events. Several judges are chartering members; U.S. Bankruptcy Judges Thomas Lynch and Mary Gorman, U.S. Magistrate Judges Iain Johnston and Michael Mahoney (ret.), and Illinois Appellate Court Justice (ret.) and former Cook County State’s Attorney, Jack O’Malley, all of whom still serve as directors. Sheri Mecklenburg, FBA Vice President for the Seventh Circuit, has been our mentor and head cheerleader since day one.

The Chapter is named for Magistrate Judge P. Michael “Mike” Mahoney who, at the time of his retirement, was the longest serving magistrate judge in the federal district courts. Mike is a member of the Chapter and continues to work in private practice as a mediator. The chartering members chose to name the Chapter after Mike because he is the embodiment of the FBA’s mission: serving the federal practitioner, the federal judiciary and the public. And he’s a nice guy to boot.

The most exciting undertaking for me is that the Chapter is working with the district court and the Northern Illinois University College of Law to establish a clinical program at the law school which will allow third-year law students to represent incarcerated individuals in § 1983 actions in trials before the court. The Foundation of the Federal Bar Association has provided a New Chapter grant, the Dean of the law school is enthusiastic, and the federal judiciary has committed to make this a reality.

I’ve genuinely enjoyed my experience in the Mahoney Chapter and attending national events. It has allowed me to interact informally with the judiciary and fellow practitioners – including adversaries – and improved my practice. If you’re interested or have questions, give me a call. I’d love to have the opportunity to make the pitch.

Steve Balogh


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