Women in Law 2022



C ecilia A. Horan is a judge is the Circuit Court of Cook County. She joined the bench in 2017, and presently sits in the General Chancery Division where she hears a wide variety of cases seeking equitable and other relief. She was formerly assigned to the Mortgage Foreclosure/Mechanics Lien section of the Chancery Division, and the First Municipal Division, where she presided over cases involving tort and contract claims, evictions, and traffic matters. Prior to her judicial service, Judge Horan was a litigation partner at the national law firm of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, where she practiced for 20 years. Her law practice mainly involved the defense of individuals and businesses in high-exposure and complex personal injury lawsuits. She was actively involved in firm culture: she was a co-chair of her firm’s mentoring committee in the Chicago office and a co-founder of her firm’s LGBTQ affinity group. Judge Horan is a member of the Illinois Judges Association (“IJA”), and co-chairs its Media Committee. Her committee founded the IJA’s Judicial Independence Project, which endeavors to educate the public, through videos, social media, and community outreach, about the important concept of judicial independence - the foundation of fair and competent decision making based on facts and law, without regard to outside pressure or political influence. Judge Horan is the vice president of the Alliance of Illinois Judges (“AIJ”), an association of LGBTQ judges in the Illinois state and federal judiciary. She is also the immediate-past president of LAGBAC, Chicago’s LGBTQ+ Bar Association, one of the largest and most respected LGBTQ bar associations in the country. She continues to sit on the organization’s board of directors, and is a co-chair of its Mentoring Committee. As a lawyer and a judge, Judge Horan has organized and presented numerous continuing legal education programs on topics ranging from litigation strategy to the state of the law affecting women and minorities. In April and June, she, along with some colleagues, presented a program entitled “LGBTQ People in Your Courtroom” to judges around the state at the Illinois judiciary’s bi-annual judicial education conference. The program was designed to give judges a greater understanding of legal issues affecting LGBTQ families and cultural competency in working with LGBTQ legal professionals and litigants. Judge Horan believes strongly in the benefits of mentoring, for both the mentor and the mentee. She feels blessed to have had many wonderful mentors throughout her life, and has acted as a mentor to many. She encourages young people to find mentors, both through organized mentoring programs and casually, and frequently reminds her mentees to pay it forward when they are in a position to mentor a young person. Judge Horan lives in the northern suburbs with her wife and their two children.



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