Hon. Matthew F. Kennelly See Rating Details
District Judge See Comments
N.D.Ill.  
Average Rating:7.6 - 31 rating(s)
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Ratings

*Temperament:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Scholarship:   (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Industriousness:   (1=Not at all industrious,10=Highly industrious)
*Ability to Handle Complex Litigation:    (1=Awful,10=Excellent)
*Punctuality:    (1=Chronic`y Late,10=Always on Time)
*Evenhandedness in Civil Litigation:    (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
*Evenhandedness in Criminal Litigation:   (1=Demonstrates Bias,10=Entirely Evenhanded)
Flexibility In Scheduling   (1=Completely Inflexible,10=Very Flexible)
General Inclination Regarding Bail (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Pre-Trial:   (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
Involvement in Civil Settlement Discussions:   (1=Least Involved,10=Most Involved)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Trial:    (1=Pro-Defense,10=Pro-Government)
General Inclination in Criminal Cases, Sentencing:    (1=Most Lenient,10=Most Harsh)
Typical Discount Off Guidelines for Cooperators:    (1=10%,10=100%)
  Items marked with (*) are averaged into the displayed overall rating
Comments



What others have said about Hon. Matthew F. Kennelly


Comments


Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 20838
Rating:9.3
Comments:
Judge Kennelly impresses me as a no-nonsense judge who is always prepared. But woe betide the counsel who doesn't follow his orders to the letter, and doesn't move for some relief from them.

Litigant

Comment #: 19666
Rating:1.0
Comments:
As a prose plaintiff, I was under horrible wave attack in front of his bench which made me not able to talk at all, and my body was keeping wobbling from attack. To me, he was siding and flattering the power and faces instead of justice. He did not even try to understand the nature of suit.
What a poor puppet honor guard.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 12788
Rating:8.2
Comments:
He is a good (hell, outstanding) judge. But wow, he is a "Holderman mini-me" when it comes to termperament. Not necessarily a bad thing when the lawyer deserves a good thrashing, but awful when you are the collateral damage. Be careful with this one, folks.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 12761
Rating:9.2
Comments:
Hard-working, fair, knows the law, and tolerates no nonsense. Best judge in the ND of Ill.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 12595
Rating:6.3
Comments:
Judge Kennelly is irratic, impatient and flys off the handle - much like Judge Darrah in this regard - another cross between Mr. Know-it-all and Dr. Jeckle-Mr. Hyde. He's fulll of himself and jumps too fast to conclusions about issues, lawyers and parties. Smart, but lacks real wisdom - but, heck, isn't a Federal Judge supposed to be "smart".

Also much too quick to take unnecessary and unwarranted shots a lawyers. It seems he can't restrain himself from doing so. He's like a time-bomb, ready to go off. He doesn't know that he that he could sure use huge doses of humility, patience andĀ ValiumĀ (Diazepam).
Too bad there's no ready cure for his condescension, other than to disgorge him of his Ivy League - his doesn't stink - superiority complex.
Must give him one thing - he's a very hard worker - a real type "A" - but he should slow down and smell the justice.

Having said all this, one could do much worse, believe it or not, in the Northern District's judge assignment lotto.

Other

Comment #: 12098
Rating:10.0
Comments:
I am not a lawyer, just a supporter of someone who had jury trial and bench trial where Judge Kennelly was presiding. He really was very fair and square in his decision. I was very impressed with his handling of the case. The only thing that I thought he did wrong was that he allowed the prosecutors witness to lie under oath. The prosector witness were a bunch of blatant liars. Judge Kennelly should not have allowed that, should have dismissed the witness immediately because it clouds the minds of the jurors which isn't fair to the defendant.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 11815
Rating:4.5
Comments:
You never know what to expect from this guy. One minute, he's relatively pleasant, but then the medication wears off and the wolfman appears. Clearly smart and highly competent, but will fly off the handle in a heartbeat.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 11747
Rating:9.3
Comments:
Judge Kennelly is one of the best judges in the ND Ill. He works hard, is sharp and gives both sides, including the little guy, a fair chance. He doesn't tolerate game-playing; he's very no-nonsense. He does lose his cool sometimes too quickly, but it doesn't affect his judgement and so is a small price to pay to have an intelligent fair judge handle your case. If you have a case in front of him just be sure to be on top of your case.

Court Staff

Comment #: 10497
Rating:5.6
Comments:
What a monster! A bleeding heart liberal who handles criminals and nutjob litigants with deference while flipping out--all the time--on his loyal staff. Very smart, if not nearly as smart as he thinks he is. Ill-suited for his dream job.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: 10231
Rating:3.3
Comments:
Absolutely terrible, condescending, knows the law but chooses to ignore it, irrational, will do a SOJ as a matter of right if I get him again. Would rather have Guzman then him if that says anything.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 10198
Rating:9.7
Comments:
Post 6864 has Kennelly's number on the money! This guy is no joke. He's prepared like a boy scout and expects you to be too. If you have a solid argument/position, he'll say it on the spot. If not, he'll tell you that too. That type of candor might upset a lawyer's ego, but he's the one you want if you simply want a ruling.

There is no basis for comparing him with Chief Judge Holderman in the context of temperament. But neither of those judges tolerate games and make you pay the consequences for engaging in questionable litigation conduct. Don't hate the players, just don't play games.

Civil Litigation - Govt.

Comment #: 9726
Rating:Not Rated
Comments:
Has become erratic and irascible lately, blowing up at lawyers, stomping around behind the bench, fining people spontaneously.

It's like he's decided Holderman ought to be his role model.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 9048
Rating:9.0
Comments:
Very direct, extremely intelligent and extremely prepared. Does not suffer fools gladly, but who should?

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 7872
Rating:5.0
Comments:
Awful judge. He apparently developed a bias against my client early on and carried it over, even with new counsel. Has a great lack of courtesy. He ignores Federal Circuit decisions in patent cases, and is apparently more interested in having his own theories tested on appeal.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 7703
Rating:8.7
Comments:
Judge Kennelly is an astute judge and has displayed an outstanding ability and resolve issues arising in complex litigation in an expedient manner. One small criticism would be that at times Judge Kennelly can lose civility towards attorneys before him. Nonetheless, I admire his no-nonsense, workmanlike manner and believe he is an excellent talent on the bench.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 6864
Rating:9.3
Comments:
Extremely capable. Judge Kennelly's motion call is a model of efficiency. He can quickly spot weak and made-up arguments and they can exasperate him and cause him to speak sharply to let the lawyer know he knows. He wants counsel to cooperate and dislikes discovery disputes in particular. He is flexible in scheduling with the caveat that he moves cases along, and if there is no good reason for extensions he may not grant them. Rulings are prompt and to the point.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 6816
Rating:7.7
Comments:
Judge Kennelly is smart and quickly identifies whether he thinks the parties have good arguments. He is somewhat no-nonsense, and if you make a stupid argument, he will not be pleased with you. However, he is extraordinarily fair and reasonable in setting deadlines, etc. He will try to schedule in such a way to make cases settle if he thinks the case should settle, and he is willing to grant summary judgment when there are no issues of fact - he won't invent a fact. Very patient with pro bono plaintiffs and attorneys on appointment.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 6420
Rating:8.8
Comments:
Smart, fair, and a good draw in the Northern District. You could do far worse than drawing Kennelly, that's for sure.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 5367
Rating:2.7
Comments:
Condescending and rude without the scholorship to back it up. Doesn't keep to his own schedule. Someone needs to tell him he is not on the Supreme Court.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 4141
Rating:4.2
Comments:
Who died and made this guy king? Pretty bright, seems to work hard, but really thinks highly of himself, to the point of being extremely rude to lawyers and parties. Not a very pleasant experience to be in his courtroom.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 3867
Rating:8.7
Comments:
By far one of the better judges in the building. While I wouldn't characterize drawing him to be the equivalent of winning the lottery, I can undertand the feelings expressed by earlier respondents. There is one thing that I really DO NOT like about Kennelly -- the guy can really lose his temper. Perhaps not as badly as another judge in the building whose bad temper, particularly towards the U.S. Attorney's Office, has become the stuff of legend, but a temper nonetheless. One can only hope that he will mellow with age and quit reading his press releases.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 3419
Rating:10.0
Comments:
This Judge is GREAT. His work ethic is amazing. His Judgement is the fairest in the building.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 3288
Rating:9.9
Comments:
Judge Kennelly is far and away the strongest judge on a bench that has some very strong judges. There can be no doubt about the power of his intellect and his work-ethic. As for fairness, he is willing to hold both the prosecution and the defense to the highest standards of professional conduct. True, some might walk away with hurt feelings when he displays his dismay at their unreasonableness, but he does this fairly and never in a mean or personal way.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 2922
Rating:5.6
Comments:
Grossly over rated and overly impressed with himself. Could be a great judge if he was told that Chief Justice John Marshall didn't just die and leave him in charge of the third branch of government. Will mellow with age and time in the saddle, we hope.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 2894
Rating:9.0
Comments:
Excellent judge. I feel I've "won" the lottery when I'm assigned him.

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Comment #: 2780
Rating:5.7
Comments:
Easily the single most over-rated district judge on the federal bench. Does not delve deepily on issues presented in parties briefs, particularly for civil matters, and has a disposition to rely too heavily on arguments. One of those judges with a tendency to "split-the-baby" to be fair even when fairness might dictate a different result.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 2647
Rating:10.0
Comments:
I beleive if life was fair, this judge would be elevated directly to the Supreme Court. He is fair, he cares about what he does, he renders fair, if not conservative decisions. His one drawback is that he will not go out on a limb to make the "right decision" when it is still in his discresion to do so. He will rule middle of the road.

Civil Litigation - Private

Comment #: 2238
Rating:9.7
Comments:
Kennelly went from being a lawyer's lawyer to a judge's judge. I have had several cases before him. Each time makes me wonder how some of the other ones in the building are allowed to keep their jobs because they are the pits compared to him. He is reasonable, fair, but will shut you down when you try to play the games. His reversal rate is comparatively low and he is great at trial. He only has one weakness that I have observed: he sometimes loses his temper with lawyers, but often for good reason and he doesn't appear to hold grudges against lawyers.