Judge James M. Varga
Judicial Experience: Judge James M. Varga presides over civil jury trials in the Law Division at the Daley Center in Chicago. He has presided over record verdicts, including the record of $387.4 million. In 2017 and 2016, he had the highest number of jury verdicts in the Law Division; in 2015, 2014, 2012, and 2011, he had the second highest.
Legal Experience: Judge Varga began his career with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, where he was a member of the prosecution team against John Gacy, the serial killer of thirty-three boys and young men. In private practice, he has been a trial attorney for plaintiffs and defendants. Before his initial election in 1994, he returned to the State’s Attorney’s Office to supervise the Medical Litigation Division, whose attorneys defend the Cook County Health and Hospital System in personal injury cases.
Education: Notre Dame Law School (J.D., 1978, associate editor of the law review); Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (perfect cumulative academic grade point average, 1975)
Teaching: Notre Dame Law School (Guest Faculty, Intensive Trial Advocacy Program); 8th Annual Symposium hosted by The Law Bulletin (2017); Illinois Judicial Education Conference Faculty (2014, 2012, 2010, 2004); Speaker at Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars, programs, and classes held at the Chicago Bar Association, Chicago-Kent Law School, and John Marshall Law School (2013-14)
Publications: “Pitfalls in Proving Proximate Cause,” Illinois Bar Journal (April 2017); “Pointers for Proving Future Damages,” Illinois Bar Journal (Aug. 2015); “A Short Guide to Using Cross Examination to Impeach Experts” Illinois Bar Journal (Sept. 2012); “Beyond the Verdict” trilogy, Illinois State Bar Association’s Bench & Bar newsletter (2011-12); contributor of three articles to the Law Division Jury Section Bench Book