Steve Bernstein announced that he is running for Judge of the 9th Judicial Subcircuit of Cook County in the primary election which will be held in Feb. 2010. The subcircuit includes Evanston, Rogers Park, Lincolnwood, Skokie, Morton Grove, Wilmette, and parts of Niles, Park Ridge, Glenview and Northfield.
Mr. Bernstein grew up in Skokie and graduated from Niles Township High School in 1964. He obtained a bachelor of science in psychology from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in 1968, and a law degree from DePaul College of Law in 1971.
Mr. Bernstein began practicing law as a staff attorney for the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services Foundation Civil Legal Aid and Social Services Project at Cook County Jail, where he represented detainees in civil and criminal matters. He subsequently practiced as a solo practitioner specializing in criminal defense and civil rights, before opening “Bernstein & Cleveland” law offices with his wife, Jeanne Cleveland, in 1978 at the corner of Chicago Avenue and South Boulevard, where his practice expanded to include zoning, real estate, domestic relations, and juvenile court cases.
He is currently Acting General Counsel for the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, where he has worked for the past three years.
Mr. Bernstein has held elective public offices in Evanston for 18 years. He served as Evanston Township Assessor, and then served for 12 years as an alderman of Evanston’s Fourth Ward.
Mr. Bernstein’s tenure as alderman coincided with the Evanston’s growth spurt. He supported most downtown development, but did not support the Evanston Downtown Plan, professing a belief in Council’s ability to study each new development on a case-by-case basis, rather than creating an overarching template for development in the downtown area. He voted against the residential tower at 708 Church St. He supported keeping development along Chicago Avenue lower and less dense, more in character with the neighborhood.
Throughout his tenure, Mr. Bernstein expressed his love for the City of Evanston. Often at the Call of the Wards – traditionally the last item on the City Council agenda, he would recount the delight of walking home from downtown with his family, seeing the excitement and beauty of Evanston.