Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Announces Search for New Public Defender

Preckwinkle Thanks Outgoing Public Defender Abishi Cunningham for his Years of Service

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle today announced that she is forming a new search committee, chaired by the Honorable Joy Cunningham, to help identify Cook County’s next Public Defender. Outgoing Public Defender Abishi Cunningham (no relation to Joy Cunningham) will conclude his six-year term on March 31, 2015.

The committee will review resumes, interview highly-qualified individuals, and present its top three recommended candidates to President Preckwinkle for her final decision. The President’s selected candidate for the position of Public Defender is expected to be submitted to the Cook County Board of Commissioners for its approval in March 2015.

The President is seeking a highly qualified individual whose practice of law has clearly demonstrated experience in the representation of persons accused of crime and who is dedicated to the goals of providing high-quality representation to defendants and improving the quality of defense services.

The President seeks candidates who are both motivated and capable of leading a large staff charged with the crucial work of defending large numbers of individuals in need of first-rate representation. The Office of the Cook County Public Defender currently employs approximately 506 attorneys, 68 Investigators and 109 support staff.

Interested candidates must submit their resume and cover letters by January 26, 2015 by email to or by mail to the Justice Advisory Council, 69 West Washington, Suite 1100, Chicago, IL 60602 Attention: Public DefenderSearch.

Preckwinkle also thanked current Public Defender Abishi Cunningham for his six years of service. “Our criminal justice system is reliant upon the efforts of the Public Defender’s Office to rigorously uphold the protections of the Constitution and be a zealous advocate for the clients they represent. I am grateful to Abishi Cunningham for his partnership in this effort.“


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