CBA Sept.-Oct. 2020

Y O U N G L A W Y E R S J O U R N A L Celebrating the Life of Past YLS Chair Judge Dorothy Kirie Kinnaird August 31, 1949 - June 27, 2020 By Kenneth Matuszewski E ven as a child, Judge Kinnaird under- stood the importance of family. She was the granddaughter of Greek

ing, and impactful public service projects. Her term as Chair was legendary. Among her many accomplishments: YLS membership grew by 3,000; she expanded Law Day into Community Law Week; and she worked with CVLS to sponsor a mobile pro bono Disability Law Clinic for low-income and physically disabled people. Combining her love of family and justice, Judge Kinnaird created the YLS Daycare, YLS Representation of Public Agencies, YLS Resolution of Small Disputes, and YLS Trial Participation and Experience Committees. She also developed the first Court Walk-Through program, a YLS project that continues to this day. Due in large part to Judge Kinnaird’s work, the YLS won the American Bar Association’s YLD Award of Achievement for the Best Large City Bar Association for the first time. Judge Kinnaird went on to serve as the CBA’s Secretary from 1985 to 1987, becoming the second woman to serve as a CBA Officer. Through her work in the YLS, Judge Kinnaird realized her true calling: public service. In 1992, she was elected a judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County. After serving in the First Municipal District, she was assigned to the County Division, and then moved to the Chancery Division in 1994, where she remained, ultimately being appointed Presiding Judge by Chief Judge Evans. When she started in the Chancery Division, she was the only female judge. Her legacy of uplifting women and shattering the glass ceiling could be seen by the fact that by the time she retired in 2010, eight of the fifteen judges in the Chancery Division were women. Mentoring According to Veronica Milos, her court- room deputy for eight and a half years, Judge Kinnaird “settled cases like a champ.”

immigrants who owned Kirie’s, a restaurant in River Grove. Her father, James, taught her the importance of public service: he started out in the family business and went on to hold some form of public office for 69 years, until his death. According to Judge Kinnaird’s husband, Burke Kinnaird, James would tell his children that there was no higher calling than public office. His daughter took these words to heart. Judge Kinnaird received her B.A. from Lawrence University in Appleton, WI and her J.D. fromChicago’s DePaul University College of Law in 1974. But she also took the opportunity to travel by studying abroad at both the University of Vienna in Austria and the University of Geneva in Switzerland. She had a diverse range of experiences at the start of her career. Her first job out of law school was at the State’s Attorney’s Office, where she handled state and fed- eral court litigation. She and her husband then founded their own firm, Kinnaird and Kinnaird, where she specialized in local government law and civil litigation, among other areas. She also taught classes at Chicago-Kent College of Law and served as the village attorney for the Village of Franklin Park. YLS and CBA Judge Kinnaird found the time to get involved in the new Young Lawyers Section YLS of the Chicago Bar Association. After holding several YLS leadership roles, she became the second woman to serve as YLS Chair from 1981-1982 and left an awe- inspiring YLS legacy. According to Leon Edelman, YLS Chair from 1985-1986, Judge Kinnaird had “the vision,” which allowed her to develop memorable, engag-

She practiced her craft with precision while also finding the time to mentor attorneys. While Judge Kinnaird might have been firm on the bench, Diane O’Donnell, who also worked with Judge Kinnaird in the Chancery Division, noted that she always looked out for her staff. Even though her YLS days were behind her, Judge Kinnaird’s commitment to improving the civil justice system never wavered. Retired judge Patrick McGann noted that her work to improve access to justice built a solid foundation for the Chicago Bar Foundation and the Center for Conflict Resolution. Judge Kinnaird made significant con- tributions to improving professionalism on the bench as well as in the bar by her mentoring commitments. Rosa Maria Silva, one of her judicial interns, attests to the power of Judge Kinnaird’s men- toring in teaching that with dedication and persistence, one could achieve their dreams. After watching Judge Kinnaird in action, Silva realized she wanted to be a judge. Several years later, those dreams became a reality: currently, she is a judge in the First Municipal Division, the same

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