2023 – Carina M.C. Segalini

Throughout her legal career, Carina Segalini has been dedicated to making the justice system more accessible and functional for all. After a stint in private practice, and while continuing to teach as an adjunct professor, Carina returned to the Circuit Court in 2009 amidst the mortgage foreclosure crisis, taking on the new role of Mortgage Foreclosure Case Management Coordinator at a challenging time for the court and our community. 

In that role she helped develop, refine, and manage the Circuit Court’s groundbreaking Mortgage Foreclosure Mediation Program (MFMP), which provided many thousands of homeowners with access to free housing counseling, legal services, and mediation to help them reach fair resolutions to their foreclosure cases that helped them remain stably housed whenever possible. In this role, Carina implemented new courtroom procedures, negotiated intergovernmental agreements, managed program partners and staff, and much more. This program received wide acclaim and made a difference in many people’s lives.

That was just the first of many examples of Carina’s impact on the courts and access to justice. In 2019, she became Court Administrator and Program Manager for the Circuit Court of Cook County. In this role, Carina has been at the forefront of the Early Resolution Program (ERP), an innovative project addressing eviction, housing, and debt issues. Like the MFMP, it has received much praise and has had a huge positive impact on helping people without lawyers to navigate the courts and reach fair resolutions for their cases. Carina was also instrumental in leading the Court’s Remote Video Proceedings Program in 2019, which played a key role in helping the court to transition to remote access during the COVID-19 pandemic and move towards the new hybrid court model of the future.

Over her entire varied career, Carina has demonstrated her dedication to making the court system fair and accessible for all. As one of the judges she regularly works with in the Court’s Chancery Division aptly put it, she works to “increase access to justice and procedural fairness while never drawing attention to herself.” Her selfless service and commitment to the public sector make her an ideal recipient of the Justice Thomas L. Kilbride Public Service Award.