The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Commissioner Hon. Debra Walker has been named President of the Illinois Judges Foundation (IJF). Walker was installed for a 1-year term on Friday, May 31, at a meeting of the IJF Board of Directors.
The IJF was established in 2007 to serve as the charitable arm of the Illinois Judges Association. Its membership includes current sitting and retired judges.
The IJF funds educational, civic and scholarship projects that advance the legal profession and the rule of law. This includes sponsoring the Harold Sullivan Scholarship, which was established in 2007 in honor of Judge Harold W. Sullivan to transmit ethical values to new generations of law students. The IJF also encourages judicial participation in its projects. Through its in-school educational programming, judges visit Illinois classrooms to teach on topics like violence reduction and smart decision-making.
“Judge Debra Walker has dedicated her career to advancing the highest standards of conduct among judges and lawyers to better serve the profession and society,” said Jayne Reardon, Executive Director of the Commission on Professionalism. “Her work on and off the bench has elevated integrity, professionalism and civility in the judiciary. We congratulate Judge Walker on this honor and thank her for her commitment to instilling these values in the next generation of lawyers and judges.”
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. In addition to the IJF, she is 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. in 1987 and a bachelor’s in accounting in 1982 from the University of Illinois, Urbana. She was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019, 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