About Judge Thomas M. Cushing

tom-cushing-profile-thumbJudge Thomas Cushing was appointed by unanimous vote of the Illinois Supreme Court to serve on the Circuit Court of Cook County in May, 2019. After less than a month in traffic court, Judge Cushing was transferred to the Domestic Violence Division where he hears cases seeking orders of protection for victims of domestic violence.

In that assignment he hears petitions for emergency orders of protection, as well as trials for civil and criminal orders of protection. In his first three months, Judge Cushing has proven his value to the court, having heard all four calls in the Domestic Violence Division.

Tom’s practice before joining the bench was marked by decades of complex civil litigation and a devotion to environmental policy. He conducted dozens of trials and appeals in state and federal courts, most recently in multi-million-dollar commercial disputes with multinational insurers and with regulated utilities. Earlier in his career, Tom represented victims of workplace injury, professional negligence and governmental malfeasance.

Tom has been a pioneer in the movement to preserve and strengthen the environment, marked by his experience in environmental finance – developing financial incentives for polluting companies to reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases. In his roles with the Chicago Climate Exchange, Delta Institute and Clean Energy Trust, Tom worked with top innovators committed to building a sustainable future. He facilitated Mayor Emanuel’s Task Force on coal plant redevelopment, served on Mayor Tisdahl’s Committee on offshore wind development, and was on the steering committee of the Midwest Energy and Sustainability Leadership Alliance run out of Northwestern University.

Tom’s roots in and commitment to community are deep. Born in Evanston, he and his wife Ellen settled there twenty-seven years ago where they raised their four children. From coaching in the Fellowship of African American Men and Evanston baseball and softball leagues, to serving as school board president at St. Athanasius, to coaching basketball at Pope John XXIII school, Tom has committed himself to the youth of Evanston.

He currently serves on the board of the Moran Center’s community based legal clinic. Outside of Evanston, Tom has served as a Board member at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls in Chicago, formed an immigration amnesty clinic in Chicago, built a girls’ basketball program in a Humboldt Park school where none had previously existed – introducing girls from immigrant families to competition and leadership. In the legal arena, Tom has served as a mediator, served on a panel that hears attorney misconduct cases at the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission and has been an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola Law School.

Judge Cushing has won the support of dozens of attorneys and community members for his legal skills, even demeanor, and commitment to fairness. As a Judge for the Circuit Court, he is committed to serving all the people of Cook County.

Litigation Experience

As a trial and appellate attorney Tom has focused on civil litigation, ultimately with a concentration on complex professional and landowner liability. He has served as the principal or co-principal trial attorney on the following noteworthy matters:

  • $4.7 million verdict in lender liability suit
  • $1 million verdict for victim of police shooting
  • $2.3 million verdict for neurosurgery patient
  • $4 million verdict for MVA traumatic brain injury
  • $1 million verdict, chronic pain following MVA
  • Confidential settlement, wrongful death, improper police chase
  • $1 million settlement at trial, wrongful death, funeral procession
  • Confidential multi-million dollar settlement for Wrongful Death of mother and son in truck versus van crossover collision in Florida
  • $900,000 settlement, wrongful death from upper airway obstruction for estate of profoundly handicapped child victim
  • Confidential settlement for high rise fire victim, oxygen deprivation/PTSD against local government
  • Confidential settlement, wrongful death, delay in cervical cancer diagnosis
  • Confidential settlement, wrongful death, delay in prostate cancer diagnosis
  • Wrongful Death verdict against CTA for un-witnessed accident, selected as one of Ten Best Verdicts of the Year
  • Confidential settlement for hip and shoulder replacement surgeries necessitated by over-prescription of steroids
  • Confidential wrongful death settlement against a US auto manufacturer, crashworthiness theory on rollover accident
  • Largest known award at time for loss of consortium in Wyoming
  • Civil Rights violation claim for former Alderman arrested in peaceful protest against public agency for violation of minority hiring policies
  • Wrongful Death case tried for estate of infant who died of malnutrition
  • Professional negligence/Wrongful Death suit tried for infant who died of undiagnosed heart defect following plastic surgery
  • Suit for graduate student for wrongful dismissal from doctoral program at nationally renowned university
  • Suit on behalf of investor cheated out of capital by unethical business owners
  • Multiple cases for injuries/abuse of mentally challenged or elderly clients while in the care of professional caretakers or nursing facilities
  • Multiple claims on behalf of workers at construction or other jobsites for wrongful death or injury arising from unsafe workplaces
  • Multiple appeals to Illinois Appellate Court, as well as appeals to the Illinois Supreme Court and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals



Top Lawyers Back Thomas M. Cushing

The Cushing for Judge campaign has announced the support of dozens of the most respected attorneys in Chicago, urging voters to throw their support and votes behind Thomas M. Cushing. 

Eleven of Cushing’s leading supporters serve or have served as President or Chairman of the top trial lawyers and judicial associations.  Joseph A. Power, Jr., Todd A. Smith, Gino L. DiVito, Richard J. Prendergast, Thomas A. Clancy, Tom Leahy, Jerry A. Latherow, Robert J. Bingle, Kevin J. Conway, Neil K. Quinn and Daniel M.  Kotin lead or are Past Presidents/Chairmen of the following bar associations:


  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
  • Association of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Society of Trial Lawyers, Illinois
  • Illinois Judges Association
  • Appellate Lawyers Association
  • International Association of Defense Council
  • Illinois Chapter of the American Judicature Association
  • Markey/Wigmore Inn of Court



“Some of the finest attorneys and firms in the city — and in the country, for that matter — are represented in this list of supporters.  I couldn’t be more grateful for their endorsement,” said Tom Cushing, candidate for Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Cushing is a twenty-five year attorney whose career has focused extensively on civil trial work on behalf of injury victims as well as on environmental advocacy.  He has earned the respect and support of his colleagues in the plaintiffs’ trial bar as well as defense and corporate attorneys in Chicago. 

“The universal respect Tom has earned as a trial lawyer and as a person, from colleagues and opponents alike, is the distinguishing characteristic of his career.  The endorsement of this group of stellar attorneys says it all,” said Cushing for Judge campaign supporter and trial attorney John M. Saletta. 


Environmental Advocate

Mayor Emanuel’s Task Force for Redevelopment of Coal Power Plants

Along with Jean Pogge, CEO of Delta Institute, Tom has led the efforts of Mayor Emanuel’s Task Force for the redevelopment of the last two major coal burning power plants in the city of Chicago, the Fisk and Crawford plants, strategizing for their conversion into clean economic engines for their communities.

Senior Vice President of Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX)

Allocating allowances to emit greenhouse gases, carbon trading, was pioneered in Chicago by CCX and its founder, Richard Sandor, Ph.D. Dr. Sandor was named one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of the Environment, was admitted to the French Legion of Honor for his environmental innovation, and is founder of the Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics at the University of Chicago School of Law. Tom worked along-side Dr. Sandor as a senior officer at CCX, helping to build the world’s largest national cap and trade program for the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Senior Advisor at Delta Institute

Tom spearheaded the efforts at this Chicago not-for-profit to develop strategies for private companies to improve environmental performance as a way to improve business performance.

Clean Energy Trust

Tom is an Advisor to this not-for-profit whose mission is to find and nurture the innovations that are turning into the clean-technology business of the twenty-first century. As energy is produced and distributed in cleaner ways, new companies leading those markets should develop in Chicago and the Midwest.

Mayor’s Committee on Off-Shore Wind Development

Tom was appointed to explore the potential for energy from off-shore wind in Lake Michigan by his home-town mayor, Liz Tisdahl of Evanston. The committee studied the energy potential and economic realities for off-shore wind in order to advise the Evanston City Council.

Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago

Provided insights and guidance on emerging carbon policies in Chicago.

Professional Speaking on the Environment

Tom has been an invited lecturer on over fifty occasions on the issues of environmental improvement and its intersection with business realities. He is an expert in the strategies to improve the environment as well as the bottom line. Speaking venues include the Kellogg School at Northwestern, University of Chicago’s Graham School, University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Lecture on Earth Day, Washington University School of Law, Northwestern University School of Law, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Community Involvement

Tom has a long history of community involvement. His work to improve the lives of others has included:

• Sixth Grade teacher at St. Mark School in Humboldt Park from 1983-1985
• Volunteer coach and religious education teacher at St. Mark School in Humboldt Park from 1983-1988
• Helped organize and run volunteer immigration amnesty clinic in Humboldt Park in late 1980’s
• Board Member at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls for twenty-one years
• Volunteer coach for Evanston Baseball and Softball Association for four years
• Volunteer coach for Fellowship of African American Males (FAAM) community basketball program in Evanston for four years
• School Board Chairman at St. Athanasius School in Evanston
• Volunteer basketball coach at St. Athanasius School in Evanston
• Regular soup kitchen volunteer at Hilda’s Place for Connections for the Homeless in Evanston
• Volunteer for overnight homeless census in January 2013 for Connections for the Homeless in Evanston
• Member of Mayor’s Committee on Off-Shore Wind Power in Evanston
• Advisor to Technology Innovation Center in Evanston
• Advisor to Clean Energy Trust in Chicago
• Steering Committee Member for Midwest Energy and Sustainability Leadership Alliance (MESLA) in Chicago
• Member of the Energy Roundtable with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Legal Service/Involvement:

• Appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court, Member of the Hearing Board of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission to judge claims of attorney misconduct
• Pro Bono attorney for Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, representing victims of home foreclosures
• Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola University School of Law, primarily teaching trial techniques, rules of procedure and alternative dispute resolution
• Former Instructor in Continuing Legal Education courses for attorneys in courtroom advocacy with National Institute of Trial Advocacy
• Registered Mediator with the Circuit Court of Cook County, Law Division and Chancery Division
• Pro Bono mediator for Will County courts, small claims resolution