Judge Dorothy Kirie Kinnaird (1949 – 2020)

The CBF mourns the sudden passing of Judge Dorothy Kirie Kinnaird.  Throughout her career, Judge Kinnaird worked to make our justice system more fair, accessible, and efficient for all.  She believed deeply in serving others and dedicated countless hours to improving the legal profession and access to the courts, exemplified by her exemplary leadership service on the boards of the CBF, The Chicago Bar Association, and the Center for Conflict Resolution. 

Judge Kinnaird enjoys the CBF Fall Benefit with her husband, Burke (far right), and CBA Executive Director Terry Murphy and his wife, Karen.

As Presiding Judge of the Chancery Division, Judge Kinnaird saw firsthand how thousands of homeowners in Cook County risked losing their homes as the Great Recession took hold in 2008.  A longtime proponent of mediation in the courts and access to justice for all, Judge Kinnaird envisioned creating a program to help homeowners resolve their foreclosure in the most fair and effective manner possible.  She led a group of partners and stakeholders, including the CBF, in the development and launch of the Circuit Court’s Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program, an innovative program that saved over 7,200 number of homes before the program ended in 2017 and helped many thousands more. 

Following her retirement from the bench in 2010, Judge Kinnaird continued her involvement with the CBF and other mediation and legal aid organizations.  Her integrity, passion for justice, and friendship will be sorely missed by everyone in the CBF family.  We send our deepest condolences to her husband Burke and two children.  More information about her passing is available at:



Judge Kinnaird (middle) pictured with Judge Sophia Hall (left) and Judge Jaqueline Cox (right) at the 2019 CBA/CBF Pro Bono & Public Service Awards Luncheon.