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Details | State of Illinois Office of the Illinois Courts

Beyond the Bench with Chief Judge Clarence Darrow


Beyond the Bench is a monthly feature to get to know more about judges and justices in the Illinois Courts, beyond their legal duties.

Name: Clarence M. Darrow

Title: Chief Circuit Judge

Circuit or Judicial District: 14th Judicial Circuit

Given your experience as a judge, what would you tell your younger self about this job?

You've made the correct career choice - it's the best job in the world. Your worst day as a judge will be better than nearly every day in your career so far. Also, buy as many shares of Zoom as you can - you'll thank me later.

If you could choose what a judge wears in court, aside from a robe, what would the uniform be?

The referee's uniform worn by iconic boxing referee, U.S. Marine, Nevada state court judge, and TV personality - Mills Lane.

Are you looking forward to a particular movie coming soon to theaters?

'The Bikeriders', based upon a 1960's Chicago motorcycle gang, looks to be an interesting watch. I’m curious to hear the reactions and recollections of our justice system colleagues who had experiences during that era.

What’s your favorite beverage (soda, coffee, tea, etc.)?

It depends:

Every day- black coffee

Tailgates/Parties – Miller Lite or Sprecher Special Amber

Hot days – my Oma’s homemade berry juice. (I believe my friends of Polish descent know it as kompot.)

Walk us through a typical day-in-the-life for you during the work week.

One of my favorite parts of my job is that I don't have many typical days. As a judge serving in a mid-sized circuit, I enjoy handling a healthy variety of case types which always keeps things interesting. And, like other judges serving in an administrative capacity, the high rate of change in what we as judges do and how we do it keeps me on my toes. So, there's not much routine in my work.

What do you listen to in the car (Radio station, music app, podcast, etc.)?

My lovely wife's musings. Otherwise, I wander around Pandora and listen to a little bit of everything.