Commission on Professionalism Preserves Justice Rita Garman’s (Ret.) Story in Its Signature Profiles in Professionalism Interview Series

The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce the release of a Profiles in Professionalism video featuring Justice Rita B. Garman (Ret.).  

The Commission’s Profiles in Professionalism series highlights distinguished members of the legal profession at the end of their careers. Previous videos include interviews with former Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justices Mary Ann McMorrow and Thomas R. Fitzgerald. The Commission interviewed Justice Garman on June 28, 2022, just days before her retirement. 

 The interview explores Garman’s trailblazing career, from entering law school in the 1960s when there were few women in the profession, to becoming the first female judge in Vermilion County, the first woman to serve on the Fourth District Appellate Court, and the second woman to sit on the Illinois Supreme Court. 

Justice Garman also reflects on the lessons she has learned as a lawyer, judge, and justice, and the historic appointment of Justice Lisa Holder White to fill her seat on the Supreme Court. Justice Holder White is the first Black woman to hold this position.  

“Justice Garman broke so many glass ceilings during her career,” said Erika Harold, Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism. “As a fellow female attorney from central Illinois, I have always admired Justice Garman for her perseverance, wisdom, and calm leadership under the intense pressures of the Court. I’m so pleased that the Commission was able to preserve her story, which will continue to inspire lawyers and judges for generations to come.” 

Justice Garman retired from the Illinois Supreme Court effective July 7, 2022. She had served on the Supreme Court since 2001 and retired as the longest-serving judge in Illinois. She served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 2013 to 2016.  

“I hope to leave a legacy of kindness, of integrity,” Justice Garman said in the interview. “And if I’ve maybe made the road or door a little wider open for people who are qualified to be considered for very important positions, I hope it’s known that I worked hard, did my best, and that I gave it my all.”  

Posted on August 3, 2022 by Celeste Antoinette Niemann
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