Hon. Debjani D. Desai was appointed as a judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County by the Illinois Supreme Court on June 2, 2023. She currently presides in the Traffic Division. Previously, she served as the General Counsel for the Illinois Office of Comptroller, where she led a team of lawyers in Chicago and Springfield to provide legal counsel on state comptroller mandates, such as ordering payments through the treasury, managing the state’s fiscal accounts, and conducting audits and reports on the state’s fiscal health. In prior roles, she served as an Administrative Law Judge, presiding over Medicaid and child support appeals. She also managed state and federal litigation for the state Medicaid agency, serving elderly, disabled, and indigent populations. In addition, she formerly advocated for victims as a prosecutor of financial crimes and public corruption, juvenile justice, and civil actions. She also served as a Special Prosecutor in child protection cases in juvenile court.
Judge Desai sits in leadership positions for various bar associations and community organizations that promote diversity, inclusion, and equity. She is Treasurer of the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago, a Board Member of the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago’s (SABA) Foundation, and a SABA Chicago Advisory Council member. She is also a junior board member of the Chicago Lighthouse. Judge Desai is an adjunct professor teaching Counseling and Negotiations at UIC Law, and she frequently assists as a grade school tutor and mock trial coach for high schools and colleges.