Passing the Baton at the Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice

This summer was a time of important transitions on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice. After a distinguished and impactful run that culminated with her serving as Commission Chair, Justice Mary K. Rochford—the CBF’s inaugural representative on the Commission when it started in 2012–completed her term in June. Judge Alison Conlon is the CBF’s new representative on the Commission, and Judge Jorge Ortiz has taken the helm as the new Chair of the Commission.

As noted in last month’s edition of Illinois Courts Connect, the Commission has come a long way and accomplished great things under Justice Rochford’s leadership, and she very deservedly will receive the Commission’s Hon. Thomas L. Kilbride Access to Justice Award in October. CBF Executive Director Bob Glaves has this to say in Courts Connect:

“As we start our 75th Anniversary year at The Chicago Bar Foundation, one of the most impactful actions over that time was the CBF’s appointment of Justice Mary K. Rochford as our inaugural representative on the Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice. First, as a Commissioner and for many years after as Commission Chair, Justice Rochford has rolled up her sleeves and led by example in helping the Commission transform access to justice in Illinois. Our justice system and the people in Illinois are all much better for it thanks to her humble leadership, dedication, and great work.”

As much as Justice Rochford leaves big shoes to fill as the CBF representative on the Commission, Judge Conlon is a very worthy successor and is well-positioned to help build on its many successes since its inception. As a current CBF board member and having just completed a successful tenure as co-chair for the joint CBF/Circuit Court of Cook County Pro Se Advisory Committee, Judge Conlon has led by example on access to justice throughout her time as a judge and before that as a successful lawyer in private practice.

Judge Ortiz is a Judge in Lake County and a natural leader who brings a distinguished track record on access to justice to his new role as Chair of the Commission. We also congratulate the Commission’s other new member, Sally McDonald, a former CBF Board President and longtime leader in pro bono and access to justice initiatives.