March 23, 2020
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Justice Mary Jane Theis has been appointed as its Supreme Court Liaison. Justice Theis assumes the role from Justice Robert Thomas (Ret.), who retired from the Illinois Supreme Court in February.
“The Commission on Professionalism was established to promote the principles of integrity, civility, and inclusion among lawyers and judges in Illinois,” said Justice Theis. “Upholding these ideals is fundamental to effective and efficient dispute resolution in our state. I am delighted to work with the Commission as we advance this important mission.”
As Supreme Court Liaison, Justice Theis will oversee the collaboration between the Commission and the Illinois Supreme Court. She has been active in Commission initiatives from the organization’s beginning. Justice Theis has led annual professionalism orientations at Illinois law schools and spoke on future-focused court services at the 2019 The Future Is Now: Legal Services conference.
“On behalf of the Commission, I would like to welcome Justice Theis as our Supreme Court Liaison,” said Martin Sinclair, Chair of the Commission on Professionalism. “Justice Theis has encouraged the industry to embrace innovation to improve the delivery of legal services while holding onto the core values of our profession. She has played an essential role in our professionalism programming for many years, and we look forward to her ongoing counsel as Liaison.”
Justice Theis has served at every level of the Illinois judiciary. She was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court in 2010 to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Chief Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald. Prior to the Supreme Court, she was appointed to the Appellate Court, First District in 1993 and elected to the Appellate Court in 1994. In her 17 years on the Appellate Court, Justice Theis served as a Presiding Judge.
After being appointed an Associate Judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1983, Justice Theis was elected to the Circuit Court in 1988, where she was assigned to the criminal and chancery divisions. Justice Theis was an Assistant Public Defender in Cook County from 1974-83.
Justice Theis has served as Committee Chair of both the Committee on Judicial Education and the Committee on Judicial Conduct of the Illinois Judicial Conference, and a member of the Supreme Court Rules Committee. She was President of the Appellate Lawyers Association and the Illinois Judges Association, as well as President and founding member of the Illinois Judges Foundation.
Justice Theis has been a member of the Board of Governors of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Board of Managers of the Chicago Bar Association. She is currently a member of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois. Justice Theis has received various awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois Judges Association, the Access to Justice Award from the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association’s John Paul Stevens Award.
Justice Theis received her law degree from the University of San Francisco, School of Law in 1974 and a bachelor’s degree from Loyola University Chicago in 1971.