Madison County’s newly appointed associate judge has for a long time wanted to serve on the bench.
But Donald M. Flack, 42, said he knew it would take a while before he could achieve his goal.
Flack, whose Wood River practice focuses on personal injury – including some asbestos work, medical malpractice and product liability, previously applied for the associate judge position and said he thinks the process for interviewing is not a standard one.
“I think the process is by applicant,” he said, adding that the process he went through was different because he knew many of the judges from often appearing in front of them in court.
He said he met with several judges and others who didn’t want to do a formal interview because they already knew his qualifications.
“To have a majority of the nine circuit judges put their faith in you for a very serious position…it’s truly an honor,” Flack said.
Flack will be sworn in on May 25 and assigned to traffic court.
He said being a practicing attorney will help him on the bench because he has a good depth of knowledge and experience in different areas of the law.
He said he thinks his experience from working with different people will give him an understanding of the courtroom and sometimes an understanding on why situations are happening.
Flack said he will be helped on the bench by “having an idea of the types of people who practice law and the different points of view that they bring to it.”
“It will allow you to see a case more clearly if you understand where the parties are coming from, as well as what the real legal issue is,” he said.
Flack said he previously associated himself with the Democratic Party, but goes issue to issue on his views because many times the local Democratic views are different from the national Democratic views.
He completed his undergraduate studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he earned a degree in economics. After undergraduate school he worked a couple of years at Laclede Steel, where his father had worked for more than 20 years.
Flack said he was glad he took some time off to work before going to law school because gained more life experience.
“You learn to manage your time differently and learn to prioritize,” he said.
Flack started law school at St. Louis University a week after his first son was born.
During law school, Flack began writing for the Public Law Review and in his third year became the editor-n-chief. Not only did Flack commute every day to law school, while raising a son, he also spent his summers doing clerkships.
In 1998, after graduating from law school he began working for Pratt & Tobin, P.C.
“Being the new guy, I got many of the unique assignments that others didn’t want,” he said.
Flack said he practiced civil litigation, workers’ compensation and smaller cases for about a year and a half.
From there, Flack went on to work at KoreinTillery for eight years.
In 2008, he opened his own practice, Flack Law Office.
“When I first started, I did just about anything,” Flack said.
He has experience representing local businesses, doing personal injury and general and civil litigation, he said, but most of his business lately has been referrals from other law firms.
“I developed a niche,” he said. “I developed a network of people who would refer matters to me because I am more comfortable with the local courts.”
In 2010, he became assistant State’s Attorney in Madison County.
Flack also has been a trustee for the Village of Bethalto for nearly 12 years.
“Community service has been a part of my life as long as I can remember,” Flack said. “It’s how I was raised.”
Flack’s father was a trustee and he immediately became involved after law school.
“I’ve been tied to it,” Flack said of the community he has lived in or near his entire life.
Over the years of being a trustee, Flack said he has helped with road improvements, community development and cleaning up parks and athletic fields.
Flack also has been involved with numerous other clubs and community activities, specifically the Bethalto Eagles Baseball and Softball Club.
Flack has been involved with athletics because of his three children, ages 16, 12 and 9.
Flack and his wife, Gillian, met his freshman year at SIUE. She earned her degree in education from SIUE, and now is a stay-at- home mother and helps out at Flack Law Office.
Flack and his family are active members of Cornerstone Church in Bethalto. He plays drums at services and is a Sunday school teacher to a group of high school students.
When Flack is not spending time with his family or three older sisters, he is either on the baseball field or working out.
“I like to workout,” Flack said of his hobbies. “I am either running, riding a bike or doing some sort of fitness routine.”
“In the summer time, I am on a softball or baseball field every day after work,” he said, adding that his children are active in sports as well.
Flack is also a member of the Illinois State Bar Association, Madison County Bar Association and past member of the American Bar Association.
He also serves on the Local Rules Committee for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.