Monday, November 28th, 2011

Former Partner Costello Reflects on Becoming a Judge

Kevin G. Costello departed Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle to join the bench on Nov. 30, 2011, becoming the third lawyer associated with ZRFM to serve as a McHenry County judge. Costello has practiced law for 24 years. Before joining ZRFM a decade ago, he was an insurance defense trial lawyer.

“I’ve had the chance to handle some pretty high-profile cases and a variety of cases [at ZRFM],” he said in an early November interview. “I’ve tried a wide variety of civil cases and even some divorce cases, and I think that helped my resume for becoming a judge.

“Once I gained enough trial experience, I thought the role of a judge would be a position I at least had the potential to be qualified for,” he explained, “and the temperament for.”

Costello says he sees serving as a judge as the pinnacle of the profession. He remembers how several judges helped him out when he was a new lawyer, and he remains grateful. Costello believes his new role will give him an excellent chance to give back to the legal community in Illinois.

During his legal career, Costello says many attorneys helped him professionally. Both they and some judges suggested to him from time to time that he would make a good judge.

Costello’s time at Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle accelerated the process of becoming an associate judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit, he believes, because Costello was able to handle some large cases essentially on his own. Moving his practice to McHenry County also helped him become familiar with the local judges and with others in the community.

“Rich Flood especially has given me a lot of help and certainly some assistance in applying to be a judge,” Costello adds. He says he will miss the camaraderie of the office and the relationships he developed there.

“The biggest thing I’ll miss, at least as a trial lawyer, will probably be the competitive nature of trying a case with the hope of winning it for a client – sort of the thrill of victory,” Costello says. Over the course of his law career, he has tried more than 50 civil cases to a jury verdict and has reached a verdict more than 200 times in bench trials.

The Cook County Jury Verdict Reporter recognized Costello in 1995 for being among the top 10 attorneys in the county for achieving jury verdicts the previous year. Costello earned a B.A. in 1984 from Loras College and a J.D. in 1987 from the University of Notre Dame.

Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle is the largest law firm in McHenry County, Illinois. The firm focuses especially on appellate law, banking, business law and transactional matters, civil litigation, construction, divorce and family law, employment law, estate trust and tax, land use, local government, and personal injury.