Crystal Lake attorney David Gervais was sworn in as McHenry County’s newest Circuit Court Judge Thursday.
Gervais was selected by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Robert Thomas and will be assigned to Traffic Court replacing appointed Judge Tiffany Davis, who was sworn in last September.
In a long speech, he outlined how he had wanted to be an attorney since 8th grade and the work it had taken to earn enough money to attend college and, later, law school at Chicago Kent School of Law.
I am hopeful his remarks will be posted on YouTube in the near future.
The video will be too long for most people to view, but those who want to know what kind of a judge Gervais will be would do well to listen to it.
Certainly, attorneys practicing before him will look before an important case.
And how often does one see a Judge shedding tears?
After the talk, members of the public were allowed to comment.
Former lawyer associate Tom Leahy sent me the remarks he made, which are published below:
I’m Tom Leahy. I’ve been a McHenry County lawyer since 1972; and was privileged to be a member of Dave Gervais’ law firm since 2004 – until I recently retired.
In 2004, my prior law firm dissolved because of the retirement of one of my partners.
Then, Dave graciously invited me to join his firm.
I gladly accepted since he was well-respected, and I was only 57 and not ready to retire.
I thought I’d practice law for 4 or 5 more years.
Somehow, that 4 or 5 years stretched into almost 14, and the bet at the firm became: who would leave first, Dave or I.
Appropriately, Dave’s appointment to the bench made our departures virtually simultaneous.The Law Office of David R. Gervais was a wonderful place to practice law.
Dave, the staff, and lawyers he brought to the firm were smart, ethical, conscientious, dedicated and compassionate; and they shared Dave’s philosophy that the clients always came first.
We have been through a lot together at the firm, during those 14 years.
We experienced some difficult personal losses; but we also shared many happy milestones… and, I got to know Dave well – like a brother.
He really is a lawyer’s lawyer.
He has practiced law for 36 years and has a deep respect, love for, and dedication to it.
He was always enthusiastic about the whole complex process of meeting with clients, hearing their stories/ problems, handling and worrying about their cases, yet confident he could help them.
Dave had a special knack for calming client’s anxieties, earning their trust, and guiding them to the right decisions.
He also knows how to listen well.
He has a quietly stubborn persistence, and an acute sense of fairness which served his clients well.
His advice was always sound and he was not afraid of difficult cases.
He has been a credit to our profession.
I have a lot more I could say about Dave, especially his fierce pride in his French ancestry and all the French memorabilia at the firm (not to mention his other accomplishments, interests and abilities).
But I’m reminded of some profound advice I received once from Judge Condon during a motion to strike argument, and I still remember his words clearly: “Mr. Leahy, I’ve heard enough, your motion is denied.”
So, I’ll just add: Dave is a pretty remarkable person; and I’ll close with:
Judge Gervais is a good man, he’s loyal and generous.
He will be an excellent judge; he has the temperament, experience, intellect and the heart … he cares.
Finally, I’d like to congratulate Dave on being a great man …and thank him for being my very good friend.
Here’s to the French!
Gervais also alluded to his French name and demonstrated his sense of humor by ending his talk with
“Let eat some cake.”
After shaking a lot of hands in the standing room only courtroom, many in the audience went up to the jury room and ask some cake.
Beth Marchello, a long-time friend and former law client, expressed her appreciation at Gervais’ kind words about his education.
She met Gervais when she approached him to allow one of two of her McHenry High School students who wanted to become legal secretaries to work in his office a day each week.
Gervais took them both on.
His decision may have come from having been in a similar program while a senior attending Crystal Lake Central High School working for Algonquin Township Assessor Forrest B. Hare (with my little sister Ellen).
A former colleague who came from Michigan for the ceremony told of Gervais’ as a perfectionist.
The example she used was of an Illinois Supreme Court brief she wrote.
“You can do better,” he repeatedly advised her.
And, she explained, they won the case.
She told lawyers in attendance that they better be prepared when they appear before the new judge.