Commissioner Hon. Diane Shelley to be Honored with CBA Earl B. Dickerson Award

diane shelleyThe Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that The Chicago Bar Association will honor Commissioner Hon. Diane Shelley, Circuit Court of Cook County, with the Earl B. Dickerson Award. An award reception and luncheon will be held on Thursday, Feb. 27, at The Standard Club in Chicago.

The Dickerson Award was established in honor of the late Earl B. Dickerson, a notable lawyer who devoted his life and professional career to helping others gain equality and justice. In this spirit, The Chicago Bar Association established the Dickerson Award to recognize minority lawyers and judges who’ve dedicated their careers to making the law the key to justice for all in our society. Past honorees include Hon. Thurgood Marshall, Hon. Timothy Evans, Hon. Ann Claire Williams, and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

“Throughout her career, Judge Shelley has set an example of integrity and professionalism that all lawyers and judges should emulate,” said Jayne Reardon, Executive Director of the Commission on Professionalism. “In her work at the Commission, Judge Shelley plays an integral role in our mission of educating members of the legal profession — from law students to justices – on the importance of ethics, civility, and inclusion in delivering efficient and effective justice to the people of Illinois. On behalf of the Commission, I congratulate Judge Shelley on this well-deserved honor.”

Shelley was elected judge from Cook County’s 5th Judicial Subcircuit in 2006. She presided over 100 municipal jury trials before being assigned to the Law Division Jury Trial Section. She is currently assigned to an individual commercial calendar handling complex commercial litigation from inception through trial.

Prior to being elected judge, Shelley practiced law for almost 25 years, including serving as head of litigation at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. She began her legal career at Florida Rural Legal Services working with migrant workers.

Shelley was appointed to the Commission on Professionalism in 2018. She also serves as First Vice-President of the Illinois Judges Association, a faculty member of the Illinois Judicial Conference on Education, and as a member of the Special Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Justice and Mental Health Planning. Shelley is the former Chair of the Illinois Judicial Council and a member of numerous bar associations and civic organizations.

Born and raised in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, Shelley became involved in civic, social, and religious organizations at a young age. She participated in the first Free Breakfast for Children Program and Free Busing to Prisons Program. She received a J.D. from the University of Iowa College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

About the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism 

The Illinois Supreme Court established the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism under Supreme Court Rule 799(c) to foster increased civility, professionalism, and inclusiveness among lawyers and judges in Illinois. By advancing the highest standards of conduct among lawyers and judges, the Commission on Professionalism works to better serve clients and society alike. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @2CivilityOrg.

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