2017 – Sheri Mecklenburg

After leaving a successful career in private practice 19 years ago, Sheri Mecklenburg not only has demonstrated excellence in her work in the public sector, she has continually gone above and beyond the call of duty to improve the justice system.

Sheri began her public service career at the City of Chicago Law Department and later […]

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2016 – Deborah Hagan

For over 30 years, Deborah Hagan has been a strong and exemplary advocate for consumer protection in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. In her role as leader of the Consumer Protection Division, Deborah advances and defends the interests of Illinois consumers in critical areas such as mortgage origination and servicing, student loan servicing, […]

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2015 – Leslie Landis

For more than three decades, Leslie Landis has been a strong voice for victims of domestic violence through direct service, advocacy, and policy work. In her current role as Chief Court Administrator in the Domestic Violence Division, Leslie works to support and implement the court’s goals while improving access to justice for litigants within the […]

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2014 – Michael J. Pelletier

Michael J. Pelletier is described by colleagues as a “zealous advocate,” “a skilled appellate attorney of unimpeachable ethics” and a “highly regarded leader in the criminal defense bar.” In his 38 years at the Office of the State Appellate Defender (OSAD), Michael has worked tirelessly to ensure that every OSAD client receives the high-quality representation that they deserve…

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2013 – Carol A. Casey

Throughout her 21 year tenure as an attorney with the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian, Carol Casey has been guided by a single purpose: advocacy and the pursuit of justice on behalf of marginalized children. Her devotion to a legal career in public service and commitment to increasing access to justice has helped improve the lives of many thousands…

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2012 – Laurel Spahn

For over 20 years, Laurel Spahn has worked to protect and empower people with mental illness. As a lawyer at the Illinois Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, Laurel represents individuals facing involuntary civil commitment or forced treatment in mental health proceedings. She advocates tirelessly on behalf of her clients, ensuring that their rights…

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2011 – Kendall Hill

For nearly thirty years, Kendall Hill has been a dedicated lawyer in the Office of Cook County Public Defender, working to protect the rights of indigent individuals accused of crimes. As an accomplished advocate and leader within the office, Kendall provides exemplary service to the public.

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2010 – Daniel A. Kirk

Throughout his legal career, Daniel Kirk has served the public good with dedication, compassion and competence. In 1997, Dan began his career in the Cook County State Attorney’s Office as an Assistant State’s Attorney and served for almost five years. After a successful stint in private practice, Dan rejoined the State’s Attorney’s Office as Chief of Staff for Anita Alvarez…

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2009 – Julie G. Sollinger

Julie Sollinger has dedicated her entire legal career to fighting for the legal rights of children who otherwise are frequently forgotten. She began her career in public service during law school, where she advocated for the rights of children in foster care. On graduating from law school, Julie joined the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian, where she has served…

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2008 – Sergio E. Acosta, U.S. Attorney’s Office

2007 – James L. Dunn, City of Chicago Department of Law

2006 – Ann M. Spillane, Office of the Illinois Attorney General

2005 – D. Jean Ortega-Piron, Illinois Department of Children & Family Services

2004 – Michael J. Morrissey, Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender

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