About Judge James Shapiro

Chicago Legal Experience Spanning Four Decades

Judge James Shapiro is a longtime presence in the Chicago legal community who is the first ever judge in the Complex Litigation section (formerly called Expedited Trials) in the Circuit Court of Cook County’s Domestic Relations Division. His experience in law extends back to the mid-1980s, when he served as an associate with Hinshaw, Culbertson, Moelmann, Hoban & Fuller. In this position, he defended tort cases related to auto and products liability, employment discrimination, and the Structural Work Act (a law related to construction litigation that was repealed in 1995). He took and defended hundreds of depositions, handled several appeals, and tried his first case to a jury in 1988.

With the Civil and Criminal Divisions of the US Attorney’s Office (part of the U.S. Department of Justice) from 1989 to 1995, Judge Shapiro prosecuted and defended cases that ranged from white collar crime to bank robbery. He was first sworn in as a judge in 2007, when he heard commercial litigation and landlord/tenant cases in the Circuit Court of Cook County, as well as criminal and traffic matters.

After more than five years, Judge Shapiro took a hiatus from the bench to serve in a position as an arbitrator and mediator with Resolute Systems, where he settled disputes outside of the formal court system. Also maintaining a private law practice, he engaged with clients in the white collar criminal, defamation, and commercial spheres with Robinson, Shapiro & Schwartz, LLC.

Over the years, he has provided pro bono services in a number of settings, most recently participating in the Lawyers in the Classroom program at Joseph Lovett Elementary School in the Chicago’s West Side.