Retired Cook County Judge Sheila Murphy was selected as one of this year’s honorees of the Justice John Paul Stevens Award. Murphy, who currently serves as Co-Director of the Restorative Justice Project at UIC John Marshall Law School and as an adjunct professor, received the award from the Chicago Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Foundation.
Each year, the Justice Stevens Award is given to attorneys who best exemplify Justice Stevens’s commitment to public service and integrity while practicing the law. Justice Stevens had a distinguished career as a practicing lawyer in Chicago and was actively involved in the Chicago Bar Association.
Murphy’s nearly 50-year legal career has been nothing short of legendary. After graduating from DePaul Law School in 1970, Murphy became an Assistant Public Defender. She served in that role for nearly two decades before becoming an Associate Judge in 1989. That year, Murphy was one of 11 judges chosen and the only woman in a field of 257 candidates. In 1992, Murphy ran for and was elected to the Circuit Court of Cook County. She served as a Presiding Judge of the Sixth District until 1999.
From 1999 to 2011, Murphy served Of Counsel to Rothschild, Barry & Myers LLP, where she represented death-row inmates and actively lobbied for the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois. Since 2011, Murphy has been an adjunct professor and Co-Director of the Restorative Justice Project at John Marshall.
This is not the first time Murphy has been acknowledged for her contributions to the legal community. In addition to winning the Justice John Paul Stevens Award, she has also received the Meritorious Service Award from Illinois Judicial Council and the Cook County Bar Association’s Kenneth Wilson Award. Additionally, the American Bar Association and the National Association of Women Judges jointly honored Murphy for her restorative justice work.
Murphy is past Chair of the International Bar Association Judge’s Forum and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois Judges Association. She was also named an Illinois State Bar Association Laureate.