Daniel A. Cotter is a Partner at Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC. Daniel serves as Co-Chair of the Section's Fair and Impartial Courts Committee.
Where are you from? How have your experiences here, or throughout your upbringing, influenced your passions and aspirations today?
Chicago, son of a Chicago policeman. I saw from that end the stresses and dangers of police work but also have tried to better understand and see the situation from the community side. I think my passions and aspirations today are driven by growing up in my home.
What drives you?
In my career, supporting and providing my family. On the other stuff, the need to pay it forward, to mentor, and to educate the public on what is taking place with the rule of law, the Constitution, and the courts. Also, a desire to leave the place better than when I started walking.
Why is the Fair and Impartial Courts Committee important and what do you hope to accomplish with it?
I write in each of my books that I sign, “An independent judiciary is essential to a free nation.” I believe strongly in the need for courts to be fair and impartial and fear that at the federal level there is some erosion from the top on down. I hope to advocate and educate on the need for these ideals and to focus attention on the dark money that has invaded the third branch.
What does economic justice mean to you?
An ecosystem or community where all have an opportunity to succeed and a system that is fairer.
What do you feel is the greatest challenge to economic justice today?
In recent years, the ripping off of the mask or bandaid or whatever metaphor that revealed the sick nation we remain. Folks are so polarized and worried about someone else based on their identifiers rather than how we can implement a fair level.
How does economic justice interact with the FIC Committee and how can it accomplish change?
Jodi [Levine] and I have discussed getting a webinar going to discuss what fair and impartial means to the judges and lawyers versus the community. There are things like cash bail and other areas where economic justice directly interacts.
When you look back, what is it that you want your advocacy and professional career to stand for?
That I was someone who fought for what was right and raised awareness and discussion and potentially solutions to the issues.
What CRSJ project(s) are you working on? Or, what have you undertaken in CRSJ that you found most rewarding to have worked on? Are there any upcoming events or projects you want us all to know about?
Jodi and I are in the early stages of a series of webinars or seminars on what the terms fair and impartial stand for and some other projects.
What do you do to relax in your spare time?
Walk, lift and write. And spend time with my family.
What is one thing most people do not know about you that you feel they should?
I was a competitive powerlifter that has held 20+ records at the state and national levels in various federations and raised more than $300,000 for inner city mentoring.