Hon. Joan B. Gottschall See Rating Details
District Judge See Comments
N.D.Ill.  
Average Rating:5.6 - 21 rating(s)
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Ratings

*Temperament:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Scholarship:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Industriousness:   (1=Not at all industrious,10=Highly industrious)
*Ability to Handle Complex Litigation:    (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Punctuality:    (1=Chronic`y Late,10=Always on Time)
*Evenhandedness in Civil Litigation:    (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
*Evenhandedness in Criminal Litigation:   (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
Flexibility In Scheduling   (1=Completely Inflexible,10=Very Flexible)
General Inclination Regarding Bail (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Pre-Trial:   (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
Involvement in Civil Settlement Discussions:   (1=Least Involved,10=Most Involved)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Trial:    (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Sentencing:    (1=Most Lenient,10=Most Harsh)
Typical Discount Off Guidelines for Cooperators:    (1=10%,10=100%)
  Items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating
Comments



What others have said about Hon. Joan B. Gottschall


Comments


Litigant

Comment #: 19234
Rating:Not Rated
Comments:
Honorable Judge Joan Gottschall . . . .

Congratulations and respectful appreciation!

Learning of your retirement from the bench is a heartfelt loss for the American people. Particularly any litigant who has had the honor and constitutional privilege for you to preside over their civil or criminal case, which is always a life altering experience, and divine appointment.

Judge Gottschall, thank you for your years of honorable service. I know first-hand how you set the standards for the administration of justice and have been the benchmark for due process throughout the "halls of justice". My Pro Se case more than fifteen years (15) ago (Chapman v. Consolidated Communications) was successfully settled only because of your judicial temperment and thoughtful reputation and desire to treat all parties fairly, with patience and respect. Your rulings are always fair because all parties leave your courtroom "equally dissatisfied" and justice is the only winner, as it rightfully should be.

My family and I learned over the past thirty (32) two years of litigation that the "Judge Gottschall Trait" is not all that common and should never be taken for granted.

Judge Gottschall it has been an honor to stand before you in a court of law and to address you as "Your Honor"! Your purpose-filled life has truly served its God-ordained purpose. It is lucid that you have honored God in your work.

Honorable Ms. Judge Gottschall, on behalf of my wife, family, and myself, along with the American people who held you as our "gatekeeper for freedom" for more than a quarter of a century, I humbly thank you for your esteem, service, and sacrifice for our Nation; to the Rule of Law; for the People of the Northern District of Illinois; and our Constitution of the United States.

Your presence on the bench will be truly missed!

Your Honor, may the Lord continue to bless you and your family this day and always! May the peace of the Lord go with you . . .

Respectfully Yours,
Lamar C. Chapman, III
Grateful Litigant

Oak Brook, Illinois
December 17, 2012

cc: The White House

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 18275
Rating:1.3
Comments:
This judge is clearly over her head in some matters. She has sided with the government and given them enough rope to hang themselves yet she hung my husband with no clear case against him. This judge is every family's nightmare in a criminal defense case! Even with more information pro " the criminal" and a cancer diagnosis for him she refused to reconsider her already heavy handed sentence. My husband's "co conspirator" was given 2 years and he comes from a family of career criminals and gave my husband 8 years for a first time offense. People like her and the prosecutorial team of Steven Heinz and Nancy Miller are what nightmares are made of. I hope they all rot in hell.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 12598
Rating:7.9
Comments:
A practical, thoughtful and sensible jurist. Though it often takes her too much time to make rulings, she usually gets them right. It would work much better for her and the bar to have 3 or 4 motion dates as opposed to just one, because it's a pain to get before her even to present and resolve minor matters.

She is kind, gracious and pleasant, and, unlike many gruff male judges in the Northern District, doesn't feel the need to take shots at lawyers.

I'm relieved having any type of case assigned to her over many of her peers who are often condecending, rude or ovely enamored of themselves!

She also has a surprising degree of courage to make a hard decision that will ruffle big government or big business, when appropriate. Way to go, Joan!

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 12550
Rating:2.7
Comments:
Judge Gottschall typically never moves rapidly, even in matters where bench rulings are common. Multiple motions in one large case took over a year each to obtain rulings. One ruling reversed by Seventh Circuit already in same case. I don't see a particular bias toward Plaintiffs or Defendants in general; I see that she makes up her mind about who the "bad guy" is very early in the case and steers the litigation against that party, evidence notwithstanding.

If you need to relax a deadline, Judge Gottschall is generous with such motions. However, she is arbitrarily fining attorneys who fail to deliver a copy of any filing the next business day after e-filing, effectively penalizing suburban small-firm practitioners.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: 12185
Rating:2.0
Comments:
We waited almost a year for a seven-page ruling in which the legal analysis comprised less than two pages. Disappointing is an understatement. She appeared not to understand fully the issue at hand. Very, very disappointing.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 11814
Rating:1.0
Comments:
She has never met a civil defendant that she could stand or a criminal defendant that she didn't love. She holds a single motion once a week and then has the nerve to whine about how she has too many cases on the call or how she is over-worked. Lazy, indecisive and completely disorganized sum her up nicely. The sad thing is that she is clearly intelligent. You would think that self respect would motivate her to do a better job. For the love of GOD, RETIRE SOON.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 9695
Rating:5.8
Comments:
Judge Gottschall clearly can not make decisions and has even deferred to her clerk when pressed. She takes forever to make make rulings and thus burdens the court, and all involved with her cases. While she does have a plesent demeanor, seems quite friendly, intelegent and knowledgable she is clearly outmatched in the management of her court. She should retire.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 9281
Rating:2.0
Comments:
Judge Gottschall seems like a pleasant enough person, but her weaknesses (and there are many) render her a totally ineffective judge. She is terribly slow and she lacks the ability to read and interpret case law at even a basic level. Consequently, after she decides to take a particular side in a civil case, usually on the basis of which will require the least work on her part, she will tend to copy a few lines from the side that seems to support that position, even if the case law she cites is completely irrelevant to the matter at hand. On the other hand, her inadequate and jejune opinions become easy fodder for appeal.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 7533
Rating:9.7
Comments:
Brilliant, fair-minded, and compassionate. Every judge should be like her.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 6830
Rating:6.5
Comments:
Post #s 5587 and 6486 are both right. She is a thoughtful and bright judge who renders good rulings; but she must get organized. She only hears motions on a single day of the week, creating a literal cattle call. That's no way to run a courtroom.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 6486
Rating:8.2
Comments:
Clearly overworked like every other active judge in the district? Please.

Her problem is that she never got organized after being elevated from the magistrate ranks. The net result is that her docket runs her instead of vice versa.

I like and respect Judge Gottschall, but she really needs to crack the whip and get organized.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5587
Rating:8.4
Comments:
Sure, there's that saying that "justice delayed is justice denied." But there's also that saying (from the Talmud): "Be deliberate in judgment. . . "

Judge Gottschall is deliberate. She takes her time,and gets it right. She has a first-rate legal mind, and is a genuinely nice person to boot.

And I have to give her credit for being even-handed with her deliberation -- she is very understanding with lawyers with busy dockets of their own (and I say that as someone who has, most recently, been jumping up and down in front of her to make the other side move faster -- I secretly admire her kindness to my opponents). In that, she is a sharp contrast to some judges, who never do anything on time, but expect lawyers to make every deadline.

Sure, she gripes about being overworked. But she, like every other active judge in this District, is indeed overworked, terribly. We shouldn't blame her for Congress's understaffing of the Court.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: 5527
Rating:1.0
Comments:
Judge Gottschall seems to be a genuinely nice person. However, she is clearly unable to make decisions in a timely fashion. She takes extraordinary amounts of time to make rulings. This clearly places a burden on the court, plaintiffs and defendants. At times, I have found Judge Gottschall to be unprepared for her call. She often complains of how overworked she is.

Court Staff

Comment #: 5520
Rating:9.6
Comments:
Judge Gottschall's decisions may not always be popular, though thoroughly considered, well-researched, and fair.
Comes prepared for her motion call for efficient use of litigators' time.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: 5501
Rating:1.0
Comments:
Judge Gottschall complained the entire time of the civil trial I was involved with, complaints of how overworked she and her staff were. She is indecisive on the bench, which makes her appear incompetent. She takes indecisiveness to a new level. She places undue burden on plantiffs and defendants with her inability to make rulings in a timely fashion. I think it is time for Judge Gottschall to take Senior Status. She brings a feeling of negativity to her court room.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 4158
Rating:2.3
Comments:
Judge Gottschall is the most indecisive and conflicted judge on the bench - she simply cannot make a decision. She also may be the slowest - her docket is a disaster because all she does is complain about how far behind she is and overworked. She clearly has never enjoyed her job and should take take Senior status asap. The favorable comments below must have been written by her law clerks. A nice person who is completely unsuited for the bench - she would have trouble deciding whether to carry an umbrella in the rain.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 3608
Rating:9.7
Comments:
A wonderful Judge! Always fair to both sides and courteous to lawyers.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: 3129
Rating:10.0
Comments:
A fair Judge, we need more like her on the bench.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 2915
Rating:9.7
Comments:
One of a kind judge and a wonderful person. A model jurist!!!

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 2233
Rating:8.5
Comments:
She's fair, but sometimes does a poor job of masking her sympathies for plaintiffs.

Other

Comment #: 1396
Rating:9.0
Comments:
Bright energetic former trial lawyer.