Raising triplets as a single mother, representing the people of Cook County as an Assistant States Attorney, and being an active member of our community has prepared Marcia O’Brien Conway to serve as a judge.

Marcia grew up in a close-knit family where family, country, and community were an integral part of life. As a family they supported each other through successes and failures, always encouraging the application of perseverance and humor in both the best and worst of times.

Her father was a World War II veteran; his father immigrated to the United States and later served in World War I. Marcia’s mother, through her mother’s ancestry, served as an officer in the Daughters of the American Revolution and was also the child of a father who was an immigrant. The promise and the reality of a better way of life in the United States was important to her grandparents and parents and was instilled in their children. Marcia learned at a young age the importance of giving back to the community and helping others whenever possible.

As a young woman working as a government lawyer, and also a mother of triplets with serious medical conditions, Marcia was often cash-strapped. She cites as a formative moment being asked for a loan by someone less fortunate. She sought her father’s advice as to whether to make the loan and create a more precarious financial situation for her children and herself. His response was immediate. He advised making the loan. When asked for his reasoning, he responded, “You wouldn’t be asking me if it was impossible for you to make this loan, and so you should, because you can.”

In emulating their parents’ example, Marcia, and her brother and sister all studied the law and became lawyers, which has allowed each to do the greatest amount of good. For Marcia, the opportunity to give back through legal work began while in law school. She worked at her school’s legal clinic. The clinic represented people who were unable to afford legal representation. While at the clinic, she successfully represented a client with intellectual disabilities who had previously been denied Medicare benefits. She presented the facts, and the law, and as a result, an administrative law judge reversed the prior decision and ordered Medicare benefits for the client.

In her practice with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Civil Division, Marcia worked to assist residents in need. For example, the county intended to engage in the Home Program—federal grants to local governments designed to increase affordable housing opportunities for low and very low-income persons. In order for the county to actively participate, she drafted the legal documents (e.g., note, mortgage, restrictive covenants, loan agreements) tailored for, and utilized by, the Home Program to distribute funds, primarily to Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs). Marcia conducted dozens of closings with CHDOs that used the funds to develop affordable housing for low and very low-income residents in Cook County, including group homes for people with disabilities.

Her legal work also assisted Cook County in helping disadvantaged persons in other areas. She performed the legal work that provided the leasing of county land and the provision of county services for the construction and operation of the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center. The mission of the Center is to care for people with infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS, without regard to their ability to pay. Another rewarding area of legal work was obtaining federal and county approval for Vision House to provide apartments and a continuum of care to individuals and families affected by a protected medical disability on Provident Hospital grounds.

In representing the county and its officers in property tax litigation with commercial and industrial property owners, Marcia has saved local tax districts in Cook County as much as $50 million in public revenue per year—revenue that otherwise would not be available for providing needed public services to the people of Cook County through their communities.

In addition to her legal work, Marcia has served for several years on various local commissions in the community. At her children’s school, while working for the State’s Attorney’s Office, she served as room mom, art mom and Cub Scout leader, for multiple years. During the course of raising her triplets she met her best friend who recently became her husband.

Marcia raised her children from birth as a single mother, while working as an attorney. Mike, Maggie and Jack have undergone numerous surgeries, therapies and doctors’ visits. She understands what it is like to struggle medically, physically, emotionally and financially, and to be viewed as outsiders as a result. Her life experiences have made her a more compassionate person to those who are struggling in any area of life.

Marcia has learned to juggle numerous responsibilities at once and to always seek balance in life. Her circumstances have increased her creativity and problem-solving skills, while she always remains aware that good and fair decisions must be made, and often in an accelerated fashion for the benefit of those affected by the outcome. These professional and personal experiences would serve to enhance Marcia’s skills, compassion, and temperament as a judge.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

2008–2018 Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (Real Estate Tax Division)
Represented Cook County and County officials in a wide-range of real estate
tax litigation, including valuation disputes on commercial and industrial
properties, tax sales, exemptions, injunctive actions and actions against Cook
County’s Indemnity Fund.

Conducted all phases of litigation, including document and written discovery,
deposing expert witnesses, preparing discovery motions and dispositive
motions, such as motions to dismiss and summary judgment, and examining
witnesses at trial.

Drafted opinion letters to members of the Cook County Board advising on the
legality of legislative proposals involving property taxation.

Experiences included successfully obtaining dismissal of several lawsuits
against Cook County’s Indemnity Fund; representing the Cook County Board
of Review in hearings before the Property Tax Appeal Board; representing the
Cook County Assessor in erroneous exemption hearings; investigating abusive
tax-buying practices; defending against petitions to vacate tax sales; and
negotiating settlements of tax disputes brought in Circuit Court thereby saving
local tax districts on average over $50 million in public revenue per year.

1994–2007 Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (Corporate Transactions)
Drafted and negotiated purchase and sale agreements and closed title on
various County properties, including 69 W. Washington St., Chicago, and 555
W. Harrison St., Chicago.

Drafted and negotiated ground leases and leasebacks on numerous Countyowned
properties for important public purposes, including the Ruth M.
Rothstein Core Center; State of Illinois In-Patient Mental Health Facility on
Oak Forest Hospital campus; and Vision House, Inc.’s Child Care Center for
children diagnosed as HIV-positive on Provident Hospital campus.

Drafted the template documents, including the mortgage, note, loan agreement
and restrictive covenants tailored for, and utilized by, the Cook County HOME
Program. Represented Cook County as lender at dozens of loan closings
conducted under the HOME Program.

Drafted numerous ordinances and resolutions for consideration and
enactment/execution by the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Drafted numerous advice letters based upon requests made by members of the
Cook County Board of Commissioners and County officials.

Drafted and negotiated numerous contracts for services and goods provided to
Cook County.

Drafted and negotiated multi-million dollar settlement award to Cook County
in dispute with AT&T.

1993–1994 Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office (Chancery)
Defended numerous and various lawsuits filed against Cook County and
County officials.

1986–1991 Solo Practitioner
Negotiated contracts in real estate transactions, conducted closings, and
drafted lease agreements.

1988 Winston & Strawn
Consulting Attorney
Participated in Staley Continental Inc. v. Drexel Burnham Lambert, Inc., a
federal RICO action. Researched and advised on viability of our client’s RICO
claims concerning an unsettled area of the law.

1984–1986 Winston & Strawn
Associate Attorney
Participated in both commercial litigation and real estate transactions as an
associate in the litigation and real estate departments.

Participated in pre-trial matters and six-week trial in Northern Indiana Public
Service Comm. v. Carbon County Coal Co. (N.D. Ind.), where the jury awarded
our client, the counterclaimant, $181 million dollars—the largest jury award
in Indiana history at the time. Notably, our legal theories and trial strategies
were premised on my pre-lawsuit research and advice, which anticipated the
future claims brought by plaintiff to excuse its contractual performance (such
as force majeure, frustration of purpose and unilateral mistake) and
articulated successful defenses. Affirmed on appeal at 735 F.2d.

Summer 1983 Winston & Strawn
Summer Associate
Drafted various legal memoranda for litigation purposes, most notably
possible causes of action against a brokerage house for the alleged “churning”
of stock.

Summer 1982 U.S. District Court for Northern District of Illinois
Intern for Judge Charles Kocoras
Researched and drafted preliminary drafts of opinions utilized by the Judge’s
Law Clerk.

Summer 1982 Illinois Attorney General
Law Clerk
Researched legal issues involving payment of student loan obligations to
the State of Illinois.

TEACHING

1989–1991 Roosevelt University
Adjunct Instructor, Legal Assistance Program
Taught principles of real estate law to paralegal students.

EDUCATION

1984 Juris Doctor
Loyola University, School of Law
Editor-in-Chief, Loyola Law Review
Teaching Assistant for Legal Writing
Graduated Cum Laude (top 10%)
GPA: 3.5/4.0

1980 B.A., History
University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana
GPA: 4.9/5.0
Magna Cum Laude

Honors & Activities

  • Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society
  • Edward J. James Scholar
  • Phi Alpha Delta History Honorary
  • Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society
  • Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society
  • Dean’s List for seven semesters
  • Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority
    Scholarship Chairman, Panhellenic Rush Counselor