Chief Judge James F. Holderman
James C. Wood Distinguished Lecturer in Intellectual Property
Chief Judge James F. Holderman has been a United States district judge in Chicago since 1985 and was named chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in July 2006. During his tenure on the bench, Judge Holderman has presided over numerous cases in all areas of federal jurisdiction, including intellectual property cases. He has also served by designation as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Before his appointment to the United States District Court, Judge Holderman was a partner in the law firm of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal where he specialized in federal court litigation across the United States. Before his years in private practice, he was an assistant United States attorney in Chicago.
As chief judge, Holderman is responsible for the administration of a court with a budget of more than $27 million and a staff of nearly 450 people, including judicial support staff, court reporters, members of the clerk's office, and probation and pretrial services workers. His duties also include empaneling grand juries, handling whistleblower suits that have been filed under seal, and considering applications from the federal government to install wiretaps or conduct other forms of electronic surveillance. He is also the judicial coordinator in the District Court's transition from paper filing to electronic filing and is the co-chair of the 7th Circuit Bar Association American Jury Project Commission.
Among the practices proposed by the American Jury Project Commission include a written questionnaire in jury selection and permitting jurors to ask questions during a trial.
Judge Holderman has been a speaker at numerous judicial and bar association seminars, both nationally and internationally. He has also been a long-standing faculty member at trial advocacy programs sponsored by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. He was recently honored with the Distinguished Judicial Service Award by the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago for exemplary service in continuing legal education.
Judge Holderman has taught various courses at several law schools, including the University of Chicago, the John Marshall Law School, and the University of Illinois College of Law where he currently teaches an intensive course, Intellectual Property Trial Advocacy, with Adjunct Professor Paula Holderman.
Judge Holderman has authored several articles for law reviews and other legal publications on various legal topics. While he was in private practice, he represented the members of the American Bar Association before the United States Congress on ways to improve the rules and procedures applied by the United States Courts. Judge Holderman received both his undergraduate degree (1968, Agriculture Science) and his law degree (1971) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and during law school served as the managing editor of the law review.