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Firm paid by taxpayers also suing the county

Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Daily Herald
by Rob Olmstead

Querrey & Harrow is the Cook County sheriff's go-to firm when it comes to defending the office against claims of overcrowding and complaints of guard brutality at the jail.
As such, it rakes in hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money each year.
Why, then, is the same law firm representing someone who's suing Cook County government?
Querrey & Harrow is the law firm that has brought former Sheriff Michael Sheahan's lawsuit against Cook County. Sheahan contends he is owed money by the county for the separate job of running the county's boot camp program.
"At the time we filed that, Mike Sheahan was still the sheriff," said Dan Gallagher of Querrey & Harrow. Since it is hardly unusual for the sheriff's department -- a separate agency from county government -- to need representation against the county, there was no conflict, Gallagher said.
"That case is being resolved anyway," said Gallagher, although he declined to elaborate.
Patrick Driscoll, the head of the civil bureau for the county who is defending the county against the suit, said the question of conflict is a legitimate one, but that his office didn't feel it was enough of a conflict to ask that Querrey & Harrow be taken off the case.
Commissioner Mike Quigley of Chicago didn't see it that way, however.
"They must be a good law firm, because they have all the angles of the county figured out," he said.


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