Wall latest to show interest in Clary's seat on court
DANVILLE — A Vermilion County associate circuit judge has her eye on another judicial post in the 2014 general election.
Karen E. Wall, 41, of rural Danville announced Thursday she is seeking the Democratic nomination for a resident circuit judge post held by Michael Clary.
Clary officially steps down from the bench Thursday after a 34-year career, including the last 15 as circuit judge.
"I appreciate the many opportunities which have been given to me and welcome the challenges of a circuit judge position," Wall said in a release. She added she believes her experience both as an associate judge and attorney, as well as a mom and wife, makes her well-qualified for the job. "I know Vermilion County having practiced law here for my entire career."
She said her goals are to continue to treat all people fairly and with respected. She also said she is committed to providing justice.
Wall may face competition in the Democratic primary from Danville attorneys Edwin Barney, 39, of Westville, and Dan Brown, 57, of Danville, both of whom have said they are considering a run for their party's nomination. Barney is also a District 4 representative on the Vermilion County Board.
Thomas O'Shaughnessy — 55, of Catlin, the Vermilion County recorder of deeds and a Danville attorney — has said he's considering running for the Republican nomination for the judgeship.
Judicial candidates, who currently are circulating nominating petitions, must file their paperwork with the Illinois State Board of Elections in Springfield between Nov. 25 and Dec. 2.
An Iroquois County native, Wall graduated from Watseka High School. She received a bachelor's degree in political science from Illinois State University in 1994 and a law degree from John Marshall Law School in 1997.
While working toward her law degree, Wall was hired as a law clerk by Manion, Devens & McFetridge Ltd. in Danville and eventually became an associate attorney. She later worked in the firm's Hoopeston office and became a partner in 2002. As a general practitioner, she was involved in all types of cases including small claims, personal injury, criminal and real estate.
In 2005, Wall and James D. Spiros, one of her law partners, formed Spiros & Wall, P.C. They concentrated mostly on personal injury, workers' compensation, medical malpractice and Social Security cases.
In July 2010, Wall was appointed to her current post by the Illinois Supreme Court, after she was selected from among more than 20 applicants by the 12 circuit judges in the Fifth Judicial Circuit. She currently handles a high volume of case ranging from small claims, contested divorces, traffic, misdemeanors and other matters, and she is certified by the state Supreme Court to handle felony cases as well.
In a judicial advisory poll of Fifth Judicial Circuit judges and lawyers conducted in April 2011, Wall received an approval rating of more than a 91 percent.
Wall and her husband, Ron, have two sons. She is a member of the Bismarck United Methodist Church and the Vermilion County Bar Association.