The Justice Thomas L. Kilbride Public Service 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.