Justice, Appellate Court,1st District
Why are you a member of the WBAI?
It has always been clear to me that women need to connect with, and mentor other women in our profession. This organization is one great way to do that. It provides me with both legal information and personal connections. I am a Lifetime member of the WBAI. One of my proudest moments was receiving the Mary Heftel Hooton Award.
Want do you think is the best way to empower women in law?
Empowerment comes with opportunity. Making sure that all attorneys in any organization, including women, are told about opportunities, and encouraged to take them, is the best way to empower all. Talent can only rise if an opportunity is presented. Diversity is important in every aspect, women, ethnic and racial minorities, LGBTQ and those differently abled, and that diversity comes with open and transparent notice of opportunities for jobs and advancement, and social occasions. This should also be applied to administrative staff. I have encouraged staff at the Appellate Court when more senior positions were open because I believe in supporting people whose good work I know. I will always promote diversity in every way I can, including women.
What are qualities you have seen and admired in a senior female attorney you know?
Two women in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office were role models and mentors. Patti Bobb and Lorna Propes were trying significant cases at a time when few women did. Patti is still well known for her prosecution of the Columbo case. Patti and Lorna mentored me and many others and set high professional standards for us to follow. Patti and Lorna went on to become very successful trial lawyers and principals of their own law firms. Patti later served as the third female CBA President and Lorna Propes, now a Circuit Court judge, is considered to be one of the best Judges in the Law Division. She is universally admired by all lawyers who practice in front of her. Lorna chose me to help with the in house trial advocacy program in the State’s Attorney’s Office and that led me to teach nationally for the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.
Tell us about a story or time when being a female attorney was advantageous.
As a female attorney I am sensitive to two issues in particular, children and domestic violence. When I was a supervisor in the State’s Attorney’s Office I created the first child sexual assault victim/witnesses advocacy room. Its purpose was to create a more comfortable place for children involved in these difficult cases. This became the model for other children’s advocacy rooms across the County. When I was the Presiding Judge of the Third District, I was appointed the Chair of the first Cook County Circuit Court’s Domestic Violence Coordinating Council. The Council was formed to set uniform policies and procedures for domestic violence cases in the 6 Municipal Districts of Cook County. All important stakeholders were involved in the Council process.
What are you most looking forward to in the following year, personally/professionally?
I’m currently running as a candidate for the Illinois Supreme Court. It is quite a task. Spring is just around the corner and I can’t wait for the peace of my back yard in warmer weather.
Tell us something interesting about you.
I enjoy golf. This is not just a form of exercise, but it is relaxation for me, and also a way to connect with friends. It can, of course, also be a good way to network. But for me it is truly relaxing and I think that it is important for everyone to find a way to do that.