The Illinois Supreme Court has announced that it is appointing Justice Joy V. Cunningham, currently serving on the Illinois Appellate Court, First Judicial District, to the Court effective December 1, 2022, filling the vacancy that will be created by Chief Justice Anne M. Burke’s retirement. Justice Cunningham will be the second Black woman to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court, following Justice Lisa Holder White’s appointment to the Court earlier this year.
Justice Cunningham began her legal career in 1982 as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Illinois Attorney General. She went on to serve as a law clerk to Justice Glenn T. Johnson in the appellate court and later worked as Associate General Counsel and Chief Counsel for HealthCare at Loyola University.
In 1996, Justice Cunningham was sworn in as an Associate Judge in Cook County Circuit Court, where she was assigned to the civil trial division. Four years later, she left the bench to serve as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, returning to the bench in December 2006 as an elected Appellate Court Justice in the First District. She was retained by voters in 2016.
Justice Cunningham was the first African American woman elected President of the Chicago Bar Association, the nation’s largest municipal bar association. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Loyola University Health System, the Chicago Bar Association’s Strategic Planning Committee, the Governor’s Commission for Eradicating Poverty, the Board of Directors of the James R. Jordan Foundation, the Board of Directors of the Chicago Bar Association Media Organization, and as the Chair of the Associate Commissioners of the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission. She also is a member of the Chicago Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Cook County Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, the Black Women Lawyers Association, the Illinois Judicial Council, the Illinois Judges Association, the Economic Club of Chicago, the Chicago Network, the CBA Past Presidents’ Council, the American Law Institute, and the American Bar Foundation.
The Illinois Supreme Court's full announcement regarding Justice Cunningham’s appointment may be found here.
The Appellate Lawyers Association congratulates Justice Cunningham on her historic appointment to the Illinois Supreme Court.