Note To Potential Candidate Clients Page

Richard Means

Law Practice

Election Law
Public Interest Litigation

Best Win-Loss Record Whether Fighting for Incumbents or Insurgents.
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806 Fair Oaks Avenue
Oak Park, Illinois 60302-1547
Telephone: (708) 386-1122
Cellular: (312) 391-8808
Note To Potential Candidate Clients
Working With an Election Lawyer
Nominating Petition Traps



Legal Representation for Candidates, Political Organizations, Governmental Entities, Unions, and Business Organizations

(708) 386-1122


Note To Potential Candidate Clients

In order for you to determine whether you want to hire me as your election lawyer, please read the attached documents which include my résumé and a sample retainer contract.

Over the last 50 years I have represented candidates for offices ranging from Chicago suburban library board trustee to President of the United States.

My services have included:

My representation supplies you with an extensive series of internal campaign forms and instructional materials custom-designed for each particular campaign which are tried and proven through many years to assure a successful campaign when followed faithfully. Most important, I provide my clients with the formal nomination papers custom-designed to eliminate the petition errors which often trip up even the most experienced campaigners.

As careful as it normally is, the State Board of Elections has currently published and distributed petition forms with potentially fatal errors. Recently, even after the State Board had corrected one clearly fatal error, I found 21 remaining legal and practical problems with that form. Some local election agencies also publish sample forms, as do printers, and all a candidate can be certain of is that these forms are worth no more than what he paid for them. It does not matter where one gets a form, if it has a fatal error, the candidacy is finished if there is an objection. Blindly relying on a form used in the past is suicidal since that old form may never have been effectively tested in litigation and because petition requirement law changes frequently.

As in most endeavors, early preparation is best advised. I have never had a candidate I advised early (and who followed my advice) fail to qualify for the ballot. After being certain that the candidate meets or exceeds all legal and practical qualifications, my next step is the design and drafting of nomination papers which are both legally compliant and actually aid, rather than impede, the campaign. The money saved on not paying an experienced lawyer to draft the nomination papers is dwarfed by the cost of a defense to a challenge to ballot access, a public gaffe, or the abject embarrassment of failing to achieve ballot access.

As is always the situation in which there is a relatively small group of potential clients and an even smaller group of lawyers available to represent them, I may already represent someone with interests contrary to yours which would then give me a conflict of interest preventing me from representing you. Should you wish me to represent you, you need to let me know your intentions and I will survey my current client list to determine whether I am available. If you delay until close to petition filing time and then seek to retain me to be sure that your papers are in order or if you delay until after the filing deadline and then seek to retain me to defend you or prosecute a ballot access objection against an opponent, the chances are very good that you have made an irretrievable error and/or I would then be unavailable. There are about a dozen lawyers in Illinois who are very experienced in all aspects of election law. The best way to determine which lawyer to hire, don't rely on lawyers' claims as to how wonderful they are, consult people who have actually won important offices. They likely know my work and the work of others. They can give you a reliable evaluation.

I am pleased to have good relations in both major parties and with all significant party factions and organized independents. An ideal situation is for me to prepare a candidate and campaign so well that he or she captures the party endorsement and then goes on to win the primary election. This is how most of my clients who are now in office got there. Waiting until endorsement time passes before hiring counsel results in both being unprepared to claim entitlement to an important endorsement and also being unprepared to mount a winning campaign.

The second goal for beginning a campaign is to have a bulletproof petition package. This means petitions which are properly drafted, filled out, circulated and presented so that opponents will doubt any chance of success with an objection. The money, time and effort expended in ensuring that filing is perfect is a small fraction of the cost of even a successful objection defense.

Best wishes for a successful campaign.