The Justice Thomas L. Kilbride Public Service Award
More on the Kilbride Award
The Justice Thomas L. Kilbride Public Service Award honors attorneys and judges who have dedicated a significant portion of their legal career to the public sector, achieved excellence in their work and demonstrated a firm commitment to increasing access to justice and making the court system fairer and more accessible.
This Award is presented by The Chicago Bar Foundation in honor of Justice Thomas L. Kilbride, who throughout his career has served as a champion for making our justice system fair and accessible to all. Justice Kilbride began his legal career as a legal aid attorney, setting the stage for his lifelong commitment to access to justice. He went on to build a successful private practice representing a broad range of clients, including pro bono clients, before his election to the Illinois Supreme Court in 2000. Justice Kilbride served on the Court with dedication for 20 years, and during his tenure as Chief Justice he spearheaded the formation of the Illinois Supreme Court’s Commission on Access to Justice and his leadership was instrumental in the creation of the Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network.
Newly established in 2021, this award allows the recipient to designate a special Chicago Bar Foundation grant to the legal aid or public interest law organization of their choice.
Our Past Kilbride Award Recipients
2022 – Hon. Catherine Schneider
Described appropriately by her colleagues as an “unsung hero,” Judge Catherine Schneider has been dedicated to legal aid, pro bono, and access to justice from the time she graduated from Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 1994. Early in her legal career, she was the Pro Bono Coordinator for Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing and a public interest career counselor at Loyola. While in private practice she served as a volunteer attorney, associate board member, and then treasurer of the Board of Directors at CARPLS.
2021 – Hon. Maxwell Griffin, Jr.
The Honorable Maxwell Griffin, Jr. has spent his nearly two decades as a judge dedicated to serving vulnerable families and children. After many successful years as an attorney in private practice, Judge Griffin began serving as an Associate Judge in the Child Protection Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County in October, 2003. In his time there, Judge Griffin has earned a reputation as a highly knowledgeable and hardworking judge who truly cares about the community he serves. As one of his nominators writes, “He is a true public servant in the spirit of all the great qualities embodied in Justice Kilbride.”