The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Commissioner Hon. Debra Walker will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Illinois College of Law. The Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented at the College of Law’s Annual Dinner on Thursday, April 11, in Chicago.
Since 1966, the College of Law has chosen individuals annually to receive the Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of their professional achievements and leadership in their communities. Past recipients include the Hon. Barbara Crowder (Ret.), Circuit Court of Madison County, Ill., and the Hon. Anthony Black, Florida Second District Court of Appeals.
“Judge Debra Walker exemplifies the ideals of leadership, integrity and professionalism in her courtroom, at the Commission and in the legal community,” said Jayne Reardon, Executive Director of the Commission on Professionalism. “As Chair of the Commission for six years, she had a guiding hand in establishing the organization as a national leader in promoting professionalism. As a Commissioner, she’s played a key role in the facilitation of educational programming for lawyers and judges on issues including civility and sexual harassment. In addition, she led the development of our first-in-the-nation courthouse professionalism training. On behalf of the Commission, I congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.”
Walker was elected to the Circuit Court of Cook County in 2008. She currently sits in the Domestic Relations Division as a Team Lead. Walker hears disputes pertaining to custody, visitation, property division, maintenance, child support and domestic violence.
Walker has served on the Commission on Professionalism since its 2005 inception. She was Commission Chair from 2012 – 2018. In 2001, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Walker to the Special Supreme Court Committee on Civility, which recommended the establishment of the Commission on Professionalism.
Outside of her work with the Commission on Professionalism, Walker serves as the Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice’s proxy on the Illinois Judicial Pension Board and served several terms on the Illinois Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission. She is vice president of the Illinois Judges Foundation board of directors and an active member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Judges Association and the Economic Club of Chicago.
Walker is a former president of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, the Illinois Bar Foundation and the North Michigan Avenue Business & Professional Women’s Network. She was also a member of the National Conference of Bar Foundations board of directors.
Walker received a J.D. from the University of Illinois in 1987 and a bachelor’s in accounting in 1982. She was honored with the Alumni Loyalty Award in 2014 and the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award for Alumni Service in 1997.
About the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
The Illinois Supreme Court established the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism in 2005 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 2Civility.org and follow us on Twitter @2CivilityOrg.
Laura Bagby, Communications Director