2014 – Denice Wolf Markham
Denice Wolf Markham has been a fierce advocate for domestic violence victims for her entire legal career, spanning more than 30 years. While raising her young son as a single parent, Denice put herself through college and then earned a J.D. from Loyola University School of Law in Chicago. During law school, she worked at LAF as the “battered women’s paralegal” and set course on her life’s work helping domestic violence victims and their children. Since that time, she has distinguished herself as a passionate and innovative leader in the domestic violence field.
Denice is the Executive Director of Life Span, a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that combines counseling, criminal court advocacy and legal representation to offer clients a comprehensive solution to the violence in their lives. She joined Life Span in 1993, following a stint as a supervisory attorney at LAF, and has served as Life Span’s Executive Director since 1997. Under her leadership, the organization has grown exponentially and launched a number of innovative initiatives, including, in partnership with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, the Targeted Abuser Call, a nationally recognized model to address high risk domestic violence cases at the misdemeanor level.
Denice has a reputation in the legal and domestic violence communities as a formidable advocate who is not afraid to stand up to power or institutions to secure justice for her clients. During her tenure at Life Span, Denice has always maintained a caseload while at the same time mentoring and training dozens of lawyers, court advocates and law students, and providing technical assistance to other domestic violence organizations. Denice’s caseload includes some of the most urgent and complicated cases at Life Span. She has always felt strongly that management must maintain a caseload to lead by example and keep in touch with the evolving needs of Life Span’s clients.
The CBF is proud to recognize Denice for the innovator and leader she is. Her hard work, passion and vision have helped thousands of domestic violence victims and their children to secure safety.