Illinois Judges Association

Pro Bono Spotlight - February 2022

Judge Ramona Sullivan is the spotlighted judge for February 2022.  She has been a Circuit Judge in Champaign County since December 2020.  Prior to taking the bench, she was an assistant public defender from January 2003 until October 2006, and again from November 2015 until November 2020.  In between her terms of service as an assistant public defender, Judge Sullivan was an attorney with Land of Lincoln Legal Aid from September 2008 through November 2015.

Judge Sullivan has promoted pro bono efforts throughout her career.  She was the chairperson for the Pro Bono Task Force comprising all 65 counties of the Land of Lincoln Legal Aid service area.  She was also the pro bono coordinator for the 15-county service area of Land of Lincoln Legal Aid’s Eastern Regional Office.  In addition, she served as chairperson of the Pro Bono Committee for both the Champaign County Bar Association and the Coles-Cumberland Bar Association.  When the Fifth and Sixth Judicial Circuits formed Pro Bono Committees, Judge Sullivan was a founding member of both.  She also served as chairperson of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Delivery of Legal Services Committee. 

When asked about the importance of pro bono service, Judge Sullivan explained: “Before I was elected as a Circuit Judge, I spent over twenty years providing legal services to low-income individuals as a civil legal aid attorney and as a public defender.  Every day for as long as I can remember, I have talked with someone experiencing significant negative consequences because they were unable to access timely assistance with one or more legal issues.  The unmet need for legal advice and representation is overwhelming.  Pro bono programs are extremely important for access to justice in the community.  As a lawyer, I quickly learned that having judicial support for pro bono work is critical to the success of pro bono programs.  As a judge, I continue to look for opportunities to promote pro bono work and to recognize volunteers who provide pro bono legal services.”

It is hard to imagine anyone who is more deserving of the IJA’s recognition than Judge Sullivan!