This month brought the bittersweet news that Judge Grace Dickler, Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division in the Circuit Court of Cook County, is retiring.
Judge Dickler has been a tremendous leader and innovator on access to justice issues throughout her nearly 35 years on the Circuit Court, culminating in her most recent Presiding Judge role where she has served with distinction since 2011.
As Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans aptly put in the Circuit Court’s press release announcing Judge Dickler’s retirement, “The depth and range of her experience and perspective, in addition to her practical wisdom, compassion and administrative skills, has made Grace Dickler a great judge and a great public servant. She will be missed.”
Just a few highlights of Judge Dickler’s wide-ranging impact during her judicial career include:
- As Co-Chair for the Language Access Committee of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice from its inception in 2012, Judge Dickler helped develop the Court’s first ever Language Access Policy, Interpreter Registry, and Interpreter Code of Ethics.
- In her role as Presiding Judge of the Domestic Relations Division, she was a leader in incorporating remote access options into court proceedings in the Domestic Relations Division to improve access and efficiency long before the pandemic. Starting in 2016, Judge Dickler developed and implemented an innovative program that made it possible for incarcerated litigants throughout the state with proceedings in the Circuit Court to participate remotely by videoconference.
- Her service on the Illinois Judicial Conference since it was reconstituted in 2018, playing a lead role in developing and implementing the first strategic agenda for the Judicial Branch in Illinois.
- And most recently, Judge Dickler led the Circuit Court of Cook County Committee on Domestic Violence Court, which developed a comprehensive plan to improve court access to help domestic violence victims that includes a pilot program to make the domestic violence court accessible to victims outside of regular court hours.
These are just a few highlights of Judge Dickler’s exemplary leadership on access to justice issues throughout her time on the bench. We thank her for all her good work and wish her all the best in her next act.