2021 – Hon. Maxwell Griffin, Jr.

The Honorable Maxwell Griffin, Jr. has spent his nearly two decades as a judge dedicated to serving vulnerable families and children. After many successful years as an attorney in private practice, Judge Griffin began serving as an Associate Judge in the Child Protection Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County in October, 2003. In his time there, Judge Griffin has earned a reputation as a highly knowledgeable and hardworking judge who truly cares about the community he serves. As one of his nominators writes, “He is a true public servant in the spirit of all the great qualities embodied in Justice Kilbride.” 

Judge Griffin has been a pillar of his community for years. Alongside his work as a judge, he simultaneously served as an Adjunct Law Professor at IIT–Chicago Kent School of Law from 2003-2017, and even coached the school’s mock trial team. He has written practice manuals in the areas of child protection, child mental health and treatment, and juvenile child protection rights and is regarded highly by his colleagues for his legal acumen. Judge Griffin has also served three terms, including one as Board Secretary, on the Board of Directors for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, which works to support judges and improve the system for the families these courts serve.

Most impressive, however, is Judge Griffin’s devotion to supporting young children and families. Since its establishment in July of 2017, Judge Griffin has presided over Cook County’s Early Childhood Court, which was created specifically to handle cases involving children under the age of 4. The field of Child Protection is often very demanding, but Judge Griffin’s commitment to this underserved portion of the community is a true testament of his character. He prioritizes the wellbeing of the children he works with, aware of the role he plays in keeping kids on a path to success. As one of his recommenders wrote, “If we brought back all the children and families that Judge Griffin has either reunited or for whom a loving family has been found, we could fill a stadium.”