William J. Campbell was born on March 19, 1905
in Chicago, and was a graduate of St. Rita High School. He received
an LL.B. degree from Loyola University in 1926 and an LL.M. from
the same school in 1928. Admitted to the Illinois Bar, he practiced
law in Chicago from 1927 to 1938 as a private practitioner with
the Chicago firm of Campbell and Burns.
Judge Campbell was designated United States
Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois by President Franklin
Delano Roosevelt in 1938. Two years later, at the age of 35,
he was appointed by President Roosevelt to the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. From 1959
until 1970 when he took senior status, he served as Chief Judge
of the district. During that period, Judge Campbell succeeded
in getting Congress to approve and fund the construction of two
federal buildings in Chicago. He oversaw construction of the
Dirksen Federal Building, and was directly responsible for the
building of Chicago's Metropolitan Correctional Center, which
was named for him. In 1965, Judge Campbell was instrumental in
creating the Federal Defender Program in Chicago. That innovation
became a prototype for similar programs throughout the country.
Judge Campbell was the first District Judge
Representative of the Seventh Circuit on the Judicial Conference
of the United States, an assignment he held from 1958 until 1962.
As the first Chairman of the Judicial Conference Committee on
the Budget, serving from 1960 to 1970, he was instrumental in
doubling the budget for the federal courts. He was also a member
of the Judicial Conference Committee on Pretrial and Protracted
Case Procedures from 1941 to 1960, during which time he authored
the first Manual on Protracted Case Procedures. His work on that
committee helped create the Federal Judicial Center. For fifteen
years, until November 1985, as Assistant Director of the Center
and Chairman of its Committee on Judicial Education, Judge Campbell
directed and presided over the Center's seminars for new judges.
He also chaired many sentencing institutes and judicial workshops
in spite of the fact that he was required to participate from
a wheelchair in later years.
Commenting on Judge Campbell's devotion and
service to the federal judiciary, Chief Justice Warren Burger
praised him for "the countless tasks willingly assumed and
the exceptional measure of vigor, dedication and accomplishment
in the improvement of the Federal Judicial System."
Among many honors accorded Judge Campbell are
degrees from Loyola University (LL.D. 1955); Lincoln College
(LL.D. 1960); Duquesne College (Litt.D., 1965); and Barat College
(J.C.D. 1966). He was named Chicagoan of the Year in 1965 and
Lincoln Laureate in Law in 1970. In 1986, he received the prestigious
Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award for having,
in the words of the Award, "earned a reputation as an imaginative,
innovative, courageous and practical jurist."
Judge Campbell died on October 19, 1988, two days
before the forty-eighth anniversary of his appointment to the
641 F. Supp. LXI: Devitt Award, photo on page 14
761 F. Supp. LXIII: in memoriam, photo on page LXVII