As a practicing attorney, it has been written – William Hooks can be your best friend or worst enemy. It’s all a matter of time, place and the circumstances of your encounter. On August 3, 2008, when the Illinois Supreme Court swore in William H. Hooks as a Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County at Large, Hooks ceased to operate in "Best Friend or Worst Enemy" mode.
Judge William H. Hooks, a retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel with experience that spans more than a quarter century and includes work as an intelligence officer, law school adjunct professor, prosecutor, judge advocate, civil litigator, Cook County Special State’s Attorney, and Criminal Defense Counsel, has a reputation as one of Chicago’s toughest lawyers. Hooks has defended persons and/or companies facing grand jury investigations, felonies and misdemeanors in the state and federal courts involving a myriad of charges ranging from street crimes, to a full array of white collar, blue collar and no collar matters.
Hooks Law Offices successfully advocated on behalf of lawyers, investment professionals, judges, athletes, civil rights activists, business owners, corporations, medical professionals, and others. An overwhelming number of Hooks’ clients were referred to him from other lawyers and judges. His former courtroom adversaries often recommended Hooks for their relatives, friends and even retained Hooks for themselves when trouble knocked.
Chicago Magazine featured him as one of Chicago’s “30 Tough Lawyers.” N’DIGO Magazine branded Hooks in its annual Dr. King issue, in the article, “Attorney Bill Hooks: A Lawyer’s Lawyer with a Few Things to Say.” One of his winning closing arguments is featured in ten sections of the esteemed Steins Closing Arguments.
Hooks was the first African-American president of Chicago’s Federal Bar Association, and is a past president of the Cook County Bar Association, the oldest African American Bar Association in America. He is frequently a legal commentator for radio, television, bar groups, community, and other audiences.
Judge Hooks has received a number of awards and recognitions as both a lawyer and as a judge. As a judge some of his most recent honors have included the Law Day USA, Liberty Bell Award (2011); the Phi Alpha Delta Honorable Justice Mary McMorrow Distinguished Service to the Profession Award (2012); and the United States Marine Corps, Recruiting Command Birthday Ball Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker Award (2012).
Judge Hooks is also a statutory member of the Cook County Board’s Justice Advisory Council. In that appointment Hooks recently organized and chaired the Steering Committee tasked with the renaming of the Cook County Criminal Courts Building in honor of Judge George N. Leighton.
The Illinois Supreme Court has appointed Judge Hooks to two other positions to assist the Court. He now serves on the Illinois Courts Commission, where he hears matters as a member of the court of last resort after actions against judges and justices have been heard by the Illinois Judicial Board. He also sits as a member of the Courts' Illinois Judicial Conference on its Criminal Law and Probation Committee.
With Hooks' advocate role on a hanger and with his black judicial robe fully activated, he remains a friend of social justice and equal protection under the law. He also remains an enemy of injustice, bias and prejudice in our civil and criminal justice systems. Judge Hooks is now assigned to the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County where he presides over felony matters.