James F. McCluskey (’78) was installed as president of the Illinois State Bar Association on June 15, 2018, which serves more than 33,000 members statewide.
McCluskey was a founding member of Momkus McCluskey LLC, concentrating in transactional, commercial litigation and insurance defense litigation, family law, estate planning and real estate transactional law. Founded in 1990, the firm grew from three lawyers and one client to 28 lawyers and thousands of clients.
During his 39-year career as a practicing lawyer, McCluskey has tried over 60 juries to verdict. He has handled numerous cases involving complex civil litigation.
As McCluskey takes the helm of the state’s largest bar organization on July 1, 2018, one of his priorities during his presidency includes the creation of continuing legal education programs addressing business and succession planning. The ISBA will invite various professionals to provide guidance to Illinois lawyers in the areas of finance, business organization, accounting, lifestyle planning, etc. He hopes this will help lawyers, especially smaller firms, with handling financial matters, selecting good business software, and also with long-term planning in the event of illness.
Another priority will be helping support attorneys who struggle with emotional, financial, and mental health issues. Because of the reportedly high number of lawyers in the U.S. with substance abuse problems, McCluskey is forming a committee on wellness that will include the director of the Illinois Lawyers’ Assistance Program (LAP), psychologists, judges, and lawyers in different areas of practice who will plan wellness-related offerings.
His awards include the highest rating by Martindale Hubbell, the Super Lawyers’ list of the best Illinois lawyers for the past ten years. In 2005, the DuPage County Bar Association awarded him the Ralph Gabric Award for distinguished leadership and professionalism. In 2008, he received the Lawyer of the Year Award for distinguished leadership and meritorious service for the DuPage County Bar Association and its members. In 2018 he received the Alumni Achievement in Public Service Award from Northern Illinois University.
Besides the Illinois State Bar Association, he is also a member of the DuPage County Bar Association, West Suburban Bar Association, and the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association.