40 Under Forty 2023

T hroughout his legal career, James Hartmann has been driven by a desire to serve the public and bring clarity to Illinois state laws. This desire to help others makes his current role as chief counsel to the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives such a perfect fit. Hartmann, for example, has played a key role in criminal justice re- form, where he drafted and served as lead House negotiator on both the Safe-T Act, which included the Pretrial Fairness Act that eliminates cash bail in Illinois, and its three successive trailer bills. Hartmann, who started his career as a Cook County State’s Attorney, also served as counsel on the bill legalizing sports betting in Illinois and was lead negotiator and drafter of the bill bringing a casino to Chica- go. He negotiated and drafted the firearms restraining order act that enacted gun red-flag laws in Illinois and did the same with the “Fix the FOID” act, a comprehensive overhaul of the state’s Firearms Owners Identification. In addition, Hartmann served as the lead House attorney on the bill enacting gun dealer licensing in Illinois and oversaw the passage of the assault weapons ban. Kevin Sherlock, general counsel and corporate secretary with SpotHero, said that Hartmann is that rare attorney who has found his ideal job. “I’ve continued to be impressed by his drive to serve the public through his unique skill set of not only being extremely bright but also very congenial,” Sherlock said. “His personality and intelligence make him a perfect fit to serve as Chief Counsel to the Speaker, House Parlia- mentarian and House Democrats Ethics Officer.” Michael Kasper, attorney with Chicago’s Kasper & Nottage, said that he has been especially impressed with Hartmann’s work as one of the authors of the Protect Communities Act that bans the sale of mili- tary-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Hartmann wrote the legislation in such a way that it has survived mul- tiple constitutional challenges and has been upheld on three occasions by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. “The difficulties in writing gun-related legislation that is strong enough for the advocates, reasonable enough for the skeptics and sound enough for the courts, simply cannot be overstated,” Kasper said. “James’ leadership, determination and professional skill on this issue has helped make Illinois a safer place to live, and he deserves recognition and congratulations on that accomplishment.” Hartmann is also versatile enough to take on issues as complicated as gaming legislation, including the bill that finally brought a casino to the City of Chicago; a massive Ethics Reform omnibus in 2021; vote-by-mail expansion and other election reform measures. “It is not an overstatement to say that James has led in the draft- ing and negotiation of some of the most consequential legislation enacted in the State of Illinois over the last six years,” said Patrick Hall, general counsel and managing deputy procurement officer for the city of Chicago Department of Procurement Services.


AGE 3 8

FIRM Office of the Speaker of the House, Illinois General Assembly

LAW SCHOOL Notre Dame Law School

AREA OF PRACTICE Legislation, election law, criminal justice reform, gaming, ethics


His personality and intelligence make him a perfect fit to serve as Chief Counsel to the Speaker, House Parliamentarian and House Democrats Ethics Officer.”



Powered by