Tried & True
Helland adds experienced lawyers to assist in State's Attorney's office
The biggest asset Grundy County's two new assistant state's attorneys' bring to the office is their wide range of experience.
Mike Quinlan, first assistant state's attorney, and Perry Rudman, assistant state's attorney handling the civil division, both started with the office Jan. 14.
Grundy County State's Attorney Jason Helland took over the office in December 2012, after beating former state's attorney John Bates in the November election. Since then, assistants Susan Bates and Ron Ellis have left the office.
Quinlan joins Helland's staff from the Kankakee County State's Attorney's office, while Rudman left the private sector to join the county. Rudman has previous experience in the Will County State's Attorney's office, as well.
"There are a lot of issues that come through this office and I have no doubt they are competent to handle it," said Helland of his new assistants.
Quinlan, of Bradley, is in his 20th year of practicing law. Prior to coming to Grundy, he spent the last 11 years as an assistant state's attorney in Kankakee.
Helland and Quinlan worked in Kankakee together. In that office, they handled about 800 felony cases a year, said Quinlan. Here in Grundy, it is about 250 to 300 felonies a year.
"I'm working my way through the cases. A lot are the same type of cases I've handled in the past, so there is nothing in here that is coming in as a surprise to me," he said.
His dream of becoming a lawyer began at the end of high school. A local attorney had a good relationship with the school and became sort of a mentor to Quinlan.
"I was always impressed with him and thought I wouldn't mind being like him," he said.
After doing two years of clerking for the appellate court after law school, he said he knew being on the prosecution end of the law was where he wanted to be.
"With bringing Mike into the first assistant position, he brings a wealth of knowledge because he's been a career prosecutor for 20 years. With this experience, everything he is going to come across with the criminal cases, he's handled. He's been there, done that," said Helland.
Rudman joins Grundy with even more years of experience anda diverse background, Helland said.
Rudman said he lost track of the amount of cases he's tried through the decades while practicing in Will County. Although he worked in Will, he's lived in Grundy County for more than 30 years.
After working in the Will County State's Attorneys office for about eight years, he went into private practice for many years until he shut his practice down to work in the Grundy County State's Attorney's office.
"I really love this job. It's not the kind of work I was exactly doing, but the work I was doing folds into this beautifully," Rudman said.
He said he always wants to be learning and in this position he gets to do that.
Helland said Rudman sought him out to work for him even before he was elected. This worked out well because Helland hoped to hire Grundy County residents as his assistants.
Helland still posted the open positions, but Rudman was always at the top of his list.
"I had been a criminal prosecutor, so everything I handled was criminal and I was looking for someone with a well-rounded and diverse background to handle the civil division, and that's what Perry brought to the table," Helland said.
Even if he doesn't know the answer right away, Rudman's extensive background allows him to quickly find the answer, he said.