The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Justice Elizabeth M. Rochford has been appointed as its Supreme Court Liaison. Justice Rochford assumes the role from Chief Justice Mary Jane Theis, who was sworn in as Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice in November 2022.
“The Commission on Professionalism plays an essential role in the administration of justice in Illinois, promoting a culture of civility and inclusion among the state’s legal professionals to foster equitable, efficient, and effective resolution of problems,” said Justice Rochford. “I look forward to working with the Commissioners and Commission staff to advance the ideals of professionalism among Illinois’ lawyers and judges.”
As Supreme Court Liaison, Justice Rochford will oversee the collaboration between the work of the Commission and the Illinois Supreme Court.
“Throughout her career, Justice Rochford has been a leader in issues of professionalism, including ensuring access to justice for groups often neglected by our legal system, fostering diversity in the legal profession, and combatting bias in the courts,” said Martin Sinclair, Chair of the Commission on Professionalism. “We welcome Justice Rochford as our Supreme Court Liaison and look forward to her guidance as we promote professionalism in Illinois’ legal and judicial systems to ensure equitable, efficient, and effective resolution of problems.”
Justice Rochford was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court from the Second Judicial District in 2022. She was appointed as Associate Judge of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Lake County, Illinois, in 2012, where she was assigned to criminal matters, family law matters and in probate presiding over decedent’s estates and guardianships of minors and disabled adults.
In response to the Illinois Supreme Court’s Access to Justice mandate, Judge Rochford took the lead in developing and initially presiding over a courtroom dedicated to Self-Represented Litigants in family law.
Before being appointed to the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Justice Rochford was an Administrative Law Hearing Officer for Illinois municipalities including Lincolnwood, Skokie, Morton Grove, and Glenview, a Commissioner of the Court of Claims, a solo practitioner in trust and estates and real estate, and Assistant State’s Attorney. She also served as an Adjunct Professor of English for the City Colleges of Chicago.
Justice Rochford has been active in the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA), including serving on the Board of Governors from 2013 – 2022 and as a member of numerous committees and section councils, including Women and the Law, Bench and Bar, Trusts and Estates, and Mental Health. She also served on the Task Force on Lawyers Feeding Illinois (LFI) and was Chair of the LFI kick-off at the 2012 Mid-Year Meeting.
In addition, Justice Rochford has served as President of the Lake County Bar Association (LCBA) and Chair of the Community Outreach Committee, the Trusts and Estates Committee, and the Real Estate Committee.
She was President of the Illinois Judges Foundation (IJF) and is currently Secretary of the Illinois Judges Association (IJA), where she is a former co-editor and regular contributor to the IJA’s publication “The Gavel.”
Justice Rochford is an active volunteer for many organizations including as Co-Chair of the IJA’s “Paging It Forward” literacy initiative, the IJF’s Literacy Initiative, the LCBA Guardianship Help Desk, Volunteer Mediator, the Loan Modification Assistance Program, Volunteer Estate Planners, The People’s Law School, Lawyers in the Classroom, and others.
She has received the ISBA Woman of Influence Award, the IJA Presidential Service Award, the LCBA Access to Justice Award, the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit Liberty Bell Award, the Outstanding Diversity Leader Award from the Diversity Scholarship Foundation, and the LCBA Leadership Service Award, among others.
Justice Rochford received her Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University School of Law in Chicago and her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Loyola University of Chicago.
About the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
The Illinois Supreme Court established the Commission on Professionalism under Supreme Court Rule 799 to promote integrity, professionalism, and civility among the lawyers and judges of Illinois, to foster a commitment to the elimination of bias and divisiveness within the legal and judicial systems, and to ensure those systems provide equitable, effective, and efficient resolution of problems for the people of Illinois.
The Commission achieves this mission through professional responsibility CLE, lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring, legal professionalism programming, educational resources, and more. To learn more, visit 2Civility.org and follow us on Twitter @2CivilityOrg.
Laura Bagby, Communications Director