Tom was born and raised on the Northwest Side of Chicago in the current 9th Subcircuit. The seventh of eight children, he left Chicago for the University of Notre Dame (B.A. English & Government ‘83) and came back to work in the West Town/Humboldt Park neighborhood as a Sixth Grade teacher at St. Mark School.
After teaching for two years, Tom entered Loyola University as a full time law student, and continued at St. Mark as a volunteer coach and religious education teacher. Tom thought it was important to be a mentor and build a girls’ basketball program where none had previously existed – introducing girls from immigrant families to competition, leadership roles and the value of working with a group toward a common purpose. Although Tom spent many hours volunteering, he supported himself throughout law school (J.D. ‘88) by working as a law clerk.
It was during this period that Tom met his wife, Ellen, also a law student. Ellen and Tom settled in Evanston twenty-one years ago where they are raising four wonderful children – three daughters and a son (two in college and two in high school).
Over the years Tom has volunteered in numerous settings, including serving 21 years on the Board of Regents at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, coaching girls/boys basketball, softball and baseball, and presiding as School Board Chairman at St. Athanasius. Much like his volunteer life, Tom has excelled professionally. A lawyer for 25 years, Tom has had an extraordinarily successful and varied legal career. He has secured multiple verdicts and settlements for injury victims and small businesses in excess of $1M. He has represented companies in commercial disputes, as well as organizations advocating for a cleaner, more sustainable society. In addition, Tom has taken all of his practical experience to the classroom as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Loyola Law School.
On separate occasions, the Chicago Bar Association stated:
“Mr. Cushing has a wealth of trial experience and is highly regarded by his peers for his knowledge of the law and his legal ability.”
“[He] is well respected for his integrity, legal knowledge and outstanding demeanor.”
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:
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:
“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.
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.
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
• 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