This month, the Illinois Supreme Court announced it would reappoint Hon. Mary K. Rochford to serve as Chairperson of the Court’s Access to Justice Commission. Justice Rochford has served as Chair of the Commission since July of 2015, when she replaced Tim Kelly.
Since its inception in 2012, Justice Rochford has remained active with the Access to Justice Commission. When the Commission was established within Article X, Rule 10-100, she served as co-chair of both the standardized forms and appellate committees.
As Chair, Justice Rochford was instrumental in the launch of Illinois’ statewide standardized court forms. These forms serve as a valuable resource for first-time court goers.
By providing clear-cut instructions that eliminate legalese and other legal jargon, the forms simplify the legal process for those without a legal background. The forms are offered in a number of different languages including Spanish, Polish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and Korean.
To date, the Access to Justice Commission has created several standardized forms that cover fifteen different areas of the law. These areas were selected based on the demand of self-represented litigants (SRLs) in Illinois.
The Access to Justice Commission doesn’t just serve SRLs. In fact, the Commission provides a number of tools for attorneys as well, offering guidance on pro bono and limited scope representation.
In her role as Chair, Justice Rochford oversees a group of 11 volunteer members of the Commission (five members of the judiciary, five lawyers, and one member who is not a lawyer). Seven of members are appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court, while the remaining four seats are reserved for one member of the Illinois Bar Foundation, the Chicago Bar Association, the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation, and the Lawyers Trust Fund.
The Access to Justice Commission acts within a structure of the Civil Division of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts underneath the newly appointed Director Marcia Meis, replacing Michael Tardy this August.
Justice Rochford’s term begins June 16, 2017 and will expire on June 15, 2020.