Judge Cobbs


Who is Judge Cobbs?

June 18, 2013

Judge Cynthia Y. Cobbs was appointed by unanimous vote by the Supreme Court of Illinois as a circuit court judge in September 2011.  Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge Cobbs served as the Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts.  Appointed as Director in March 2002, Judge Cobbs was the first woman and the first African American appointed by the Supreme Court to serve as the state courts administrator. Prior to her appointment as Director, Judge Cobbs worked in the Administrative Office as Chief Legal Counsel, having previously worked as a staff attorney in the office’s Executive Division. Before joining the staff at the Administrative Office, Judge Cobbs served as senior judicial law clerk to former Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles E. Freeman.

As Administrative Director, Judge Cobbs functioned as the chief operating officer for the Illinois judiciary, frequently interfacing with the legislative branch and agencies within the executive branch of government, including the Secretary of State, State Attorney General and the State Board of Elections.  Directing the five operational divisions of the Administrative Office, Judge Cobbs developed and managed the judicial branch’s nearly $300 million annual budget, developed policies for the uniform delivery of the state’s adult and juvenile probation services, oversaw the development of judicial education programs for Illinois judges, enhanced the use of technology in the state courts, and developed the first policies for implementation of e-filing and e-access in the trial courts.

Achievements:  Implemented evidence based practices in sentencing in Illinois’ trial courts (2004). Developed and hosted Illinois’ first statewide child welfare summit, bringing together national speakers, the Mayor of the City of Chicago, state trial court judges, state’s attorneys, prosecutors and child welfare practitioners, for the purpose of developing strategic planning devoted to improving outcomes for children in Illinois’ child welfare system (2007).  Developed major proposals/policies adopted by the Supreme Court, including,  E-filing in Illinois Trial Courts (2003); E-access to Trial Court Records (2003); Performance and Accountability Strategies for Illinois Judges (2008); and Emergency Preparedness Plans in Illinois’ Trial Courts (2008).

Awards:  Chicago-Kent College of Law Alumni Association Recognition Award (2006), The Chicago Bar Association’s Earl Burris Dickerson Award (2011), Resolution – Chicago City Council (2011), Cook County Bar Association Judicial Award (2012), Illinois Judicial Council Chairperson’s Award (2012).

 Committees/Associations: Supreme Court Committees: Judicial Conduct, Judicial Performance Evaluations, Illinois Pattern Jury Instructions; Illinois Judicial Conference, Study Committee on Juvenile Justice, Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution; CBA Legislative Committee. Board of Directors: Center for Conflict Resolution, South Suburban PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter), Conference of State Court Administrators (2008-10), New Faith Baptist Church (1995-2002).  

 Bench and Bar Associations:  Illinois Judges Association, Illinois Judicial Council, Illinois State Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Cook County Bar Association, and Black Women Lawyers’ Association

Education: B.A., Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland; Master of Social Work, University of Maryland; Juris Doctor, IIT-Chicago Kent College of Law

Current Judicial Assignment:  First Municipal District – Civil Trials