Justice Sharon Oden Johnson currently serves on the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court. Prior thereto Justice Johnson was elected to the Circuit Court of Cook County, where she served in the Domestic Relations Division and Traffic Section from 2010 to 2020.
Before joining the Illinois Judiciary, Justice Johnson owned a small boutique law firm for 13 years, worked for the Chicago Mayor’s Office of Employment and Training, served as a Law Clerk for the Honorable Lawrence M. Lawson of the New Jersey Superior Court, and externed for the United States Department of Justice. A native of Illinois, Justice Johnson is a proud graduate of Bradley University, in Peoria, Illinois, and Howard University School of Law, in Washington, D.C.
A proven leader among judges, she has served dutifully on the Illinois Judicial Council (former President and Scholarship Committee Chairperson); Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Professional Responsibility (Unauthorized Practice of Law Subcommittee Chairperson); Chicago Bar Association Task Force Subcommittee Working Group on the Sustainable Practice of Law; Illinois Judges Association subcommittee: Restoring Confidence in the Legal System; Cook County Bar Association; Cook County Judicial Mentor Program; Judicial Education faculty; National Bar Association; Alternative Dispute Resolution Exploratory Committee; Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County Expungement Summit (Hearing Judge); Cook County Bar Association Foundation Law Day Committee (Judicial Coordinator); Abolitionist Institute, South Suburban NAACP; National Hook-Up of Black Women, Lansing Christian School Parent Club (President); International Pentecostal Assembly Ecumenical Network (IPAE); Operation PUSH; and Musical Arts Institute Board of Directors.
As a result of her commitment to the law, she has received and accepted many awards, and speaking engagements: Cook County Bar Association Judicial Award; Illinois Judicial Council Chairperson’s Service Award (under three administrations); Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County Outstanding Women in the Judiciary; Illinois Judicial Council “Conversations with Judges” panelist; Annual Black History Month Courthouse Tours; Legal Services Honorary Civic Committee; Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court “Community Treasures” Master of Ceremonies; “As Judges See it: Top Mistakes Attorneys Make in the Domestic Relations Court,” National Business Institute; “Domestic Relations Court Judicial Forum,” National Business Institute; “Mediating Domestic Violence – Knowing what we don’t know, but need to do?” LEDDED, Ltd; “Intimate Partner Violence – DV Rules, Regulations, and Remedies,” LEDDED, Ltd.; “When Economic Struggles Constrain Family Choices,” Schiff Hardin LLP; “Changing Landscape of Family Law in the 21st Century” Panel Member, LEDDED, Ltd.; “Liberia: The Restructuring of a Legal System in a Reemerging African Nation,” Africa International House, African Political Action Committee, The Liberian Consulate and Illinois Judicial Council; and, “Community Conversation Project,” Chicago Department of Family and Support Services Office on Violence against Women and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
She has also been recognized for her contributions to the community she serves: Phi Beta Sigma Crescent Award; Alpha Gamma Pi Community Service Award; Black Businesswoman of the Year - Parkway Community House; National Hook-Up of Black Women Community Service Award; Top Ladies of Distinction - Skyline Chapter; Project A.C.H.I.E.V.E. Outstanding Service Award; Kizzy Award – Revlon Special Student Fund; Prairie State College Single Parent Day Panelist; Christian Tabernacle Church Black History Month Guest Speaker; “Straight Talk Radio featuring My Community Plan Foundation” guest host on WVON 1690AM; “Community Forum” panelist, Chicago 26th Ward; and, Chicago Pastor’s Rally Excellence in Leadership Award.