Jenner & Block

US District Court Selects Partner Gabriel Fuentes to Serve as US Magistrate Judge for Northern District of Illinois

On February 27, Chief Judge Rubén Castillo announced that the US District Court selected Partner Gabriel A. Fuentes to be the new United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.  The Northern District of Illinois is the third largest district court in the United States; it stretches across 18 counties, with a population of 9.3 million people.
“I am pleased to have Gabe Fuentes join the court,” said the Chief Judge Castillo, who is a former Jenner & Block lawyer.  “The magistrate judge bench in the Northern District of Illinois is the finest in the country, and Mr. Fuentes will be a great addition to the team.  Our District relies heavily on its magistrate judges in order manage our dockets, and we are confident that the litigants will be well served by Mr. Fuentes joining the bench.” 
Mr. Fuentes has been a litigation partner at Jenner & Block focusing on antitrust criminal defense and complex civil matters for the last 13 years.  He served as a former law clerk to the Honorable John F. Grady and was an Assistant United States Attorney for five years, after seven additional years in civil practice with Jenner & Block.  Mr. Fuentes is also an adjunct faculty member at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, teaching Introduction to Trial Advocacy.
In pro bono advocacy, Mr. Fuentes has actively litigated and supported numerous pro bono cases throughout his career. He currently serves on the Northern District Court’s Pro Bono Advisory Committee.  In recognition of his outstanding pro bono work, he has received several awards, including Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year from the Hispanic National Bar Association (2015) and the Edward J. Lewis II Pro Bono Service Award from the Chicago Bar Association and Chicago Bar Foundation (2015).
Mr. Fuentes’ appointment is a result of the Judicial Conference of the United States Courts held in September 2018.  Their approval to add Mr. Fuentes as the 12th magistrate judge in the Eastern Division has been the first time a new magistrate judge position has been opened in nine years.
The selection of a magistrate judge is governed by statute and regulations adopted by the Judicial Conference of the United States.  The process included the work of the district’s Merit Selection Panel, which screened and interviewed candidates and recommended  to the district judges the five candidates it found best qualified out of nearly 130 applicants.  The Panel is statutorily required to include among its members at least two non-lawyers and cannot include any sitting judge. 
Magistrate judges perform a variety of duties for the court, including conducting preliminary proceedings in federal criminal cases and the trial and disposition of federal misdemeanor cases upon consent of the litigants.  During their eight-year term, they conduct various pretrial matters and evidentiary proceedings upon referral from a district judge of the court, including the trial and disposition of federal civil cases upon consent of the litigants. 
To read the court’s official press release, please click here.