2018 – Mercedes Luque-Rosales
For 29 years at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, Mercedes Luque-Rosales showed an unwavering commitment to public service. She started as an Assistant State’s Attorney beginning in 1989 and rose through the ranks to the position of Felony Trial Specialist, where she developed a well-earned reputation as an excellent trial attorney who demonstrated deep compassion for crime victims and their families. Although her work schedule was demanding, Mercedes consistently dedicated her time to civic, educational, and charitable activities.
As the daughter of immigrants from Cuba, Mercedes did not speak English when she started her education in the Chicago Public School system. Deeply affected by that experience, she always enjoyed speaking to schoolchildren and setting the example that everything is possible through education. This passion grew as she spent a significant amount of time participating in mentoring programs through the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois (HLAI), the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, and the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Mercedes helped found two bar associations, recognizing the need to diversify the legal community and demonstrating her leadership skills and commitment to making the profession more welcoming and inclusive for all. She co-founded the HLAI in 1995 and served as a board member for many years before being elected president in 2005. Through this association, Mercedes participated in many committees including the Latina Lawyers Committee, Professional Development Committee, and Holiday Food Basket Committee. She also helped found the National Association of Hispanic Prosecutors, which is the only national organization dedicated to the advancemen t of Hispanic attorneys as prosecutors in the United States. Mercedes served on the board for many years, and was elected National President in 2012.
Mercedes passed away in April of this year, but her legacy will live on. She worked tirelessly throughout her life to promote diversity, civility, and excellence in the legal community, and the impact of her work will be felt for many years to come.