2015 – Leslie Landis

Leslie LandisFor 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 Division.

Leslie has worn many hats in the area of domestic violence work in her career, beginning as Special Counsel to the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence, followed by a stint as Executive Director at Life Span, an organization providing legal and social services to victims of abuse. During her time in the Mayor’s Office on Domestic Violence as a project manager and later as Director, Leslie designed, implemented, and supported many programs and systems that now are relied upon throughout the community. These include the City’s Domestic Violence Help Line and Safe Haven supervised visitation and exchange centers. Collectively, these programs have contributed to the safety of tens of thousands of victims. Leslie was also responsible for many of the City’s policies on domestic violence, including police training on domestic violence and a written protocol for police officers to ensure a uniform and effective response that holds abusers accountable.

Among her many accomplishments at the Circuit Court, Leslie helped launch the Pro Bono Project in the Domestic Violence Division. She recruited many of Chicago’s top law firms to participate in the project, and has helped train hundreds of attorneys to handle order of protection cases. They in turn have become passionate advocates for victims of abuse, thus expanding the impact of the project in the community.

Much of the progress at the Domestic Violence Courthouse is due to Leslie’s tireless efforts, including the increase of legal services at all phases of the process and greater transparency and accountability at every level in the Division.