Meet Judge Judy: the next
Illinois Supreme Court Justice

Justice Judy Cates, or “Judge Judy,” as she likes to call herself, was elected to the 5th District Appellate Court in 2012. She has served on the court ever since. Although the courthouse is located in Mt. Vernon, IL, the Appellate Court hears cases from 37 counties in southern Illinois. “I was elected by the people, and therefore, I will appeal to them again to send me to the State Supreme Court in November 2020,” Cates said.

Judy L. Cates

Prior to being elected as an Appellate Court Justice, she was a practicing trial lawyer with a nationwide practice. Justice Cates represented both plaintiffs and defendants in virtually all areas of complex civil litigation. In addition, she acted as an independent mediator for parties seeking to resolve litigation throughout the ADR process. Justice Cates was also an adjunct professor at Washington University School of Law and St. Louis University School of Law.

  • Education: Washington University School of Law - Juris Doctor
  • Education: Cornell University - Bachelor of Arts, Government
  • Based in: Swansea, Illinois
  • Experience: The Cates Law Firm, LLC 2006- December 2012
  • Experience: Cates, Kurowski, Bailey & Shultz, LLC. 2003-2006
  • Experience: Korein Tillery 1997-2003
  • Experience: St. Clair County Arbitration Administrator - Arbitrator 1999- December 2012
  • Experience: U.S. Arbitration & Mediation Midwest, Inc. 1996- December 2012

“For ALL the People”

Throughout my legal career, I have advocated for social justice. I intend to continue that fight on behalf of all the people of southern Illinois when I am their representative on the Supreme Court. Similarly, as a lawyer and as a judge, I have fought to protect the rights of working people, children and seniors. That includes protecting others from being taken advantage of in the civil justice system. I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the lives of the people and worked hard to always get it right. Therefore, I will continue that fight ‘FOR ALL THE PEOPLE’ on the Supreme Court.

 

If the people of the 5th Judicial District in southern Illinois send me to represent them on the Illinois Supreme Court, I will continue my commitment toward fairness and impartiality. Above all, I will remain a judge that everyone can trust – a judge committed ‘FOR ALL THE PEOPLE’.

 

J. L. Cates

2020

Honors, Awards & Distinctions

  • “Partner in Education” Award” – Southwestern Illinois College November 2019
  • “Order of the Coif” – Washington University School of Law - July 2017
  • Illinois Appellate Legal Answers Advisory Committee April 2020
  • Martindale-Hubbell® - AV® Preeminent™ - 5.0 out of 5 rating
  • Super Lawyers 2007 – 12/2012
  • Top Illinois Lawyers 2007 – 12/2012
  • Top 50 Women Lawyers in Illinois 2012
  • Lawdragon 2011
  • Law Bulletin Leading Lawyers Network 2009 – 2010
  • Cambridge Who’s Who 2007 – 2008
  • Presidential Who’s Who Among Business and Professional Achievers 2008
  • Certificate of Appreciation for support of Project U.S. Weaving of the Ribbons April 2009
  • Honorary Captain – Belleville East Lancer Football Sept. 29, 2006
  • Board Of Governors Appreciation Award American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) Sept. 2004
  • Woman Of The Year – American Biographical Institute Board of International Research Spring 2004
  • Board Of Governors Chair Award American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) Sept. 2002
  • “Kentucky Colonel” Commonwealth of Kentucky Aug. 2002
  • Who’s Who Registry of Business Leaders & Strathmore Directories, Ltd. 1995 – 1996 & 2007 – 2008
  • Honorary Member of the St. Clair County Legal Professionals Association June 2008

Charitable Donations & Organizations

  • Jane A. Katz Memorial Scholarship – Southwestern IL College
  • Sidney Katz Memorial Scholarship – Southwestern IL College
  • CASA
  • Belleville Area Humane Society
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Western Catholic Union Boy Scouts of America – Greater St. Louis Area
  • Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House
  • Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Southern Illinois
  • NAACP
  • Holy Family School – Granite City
  • Washington University School of Law Scholarship
  • Goodwill
  • Salvation Army

Adjunct Professor/Volunteer

Complex Litigation
2008 – Spring 2013

Trial Advocacy I
2008 – 2011

2009; 2011;2013 – Present

Professional Organizations

Years Active: December 2012 – Present

Years Active: July 2019 – Present

Years active: 5/1/78 – Present

  • ISBA Bench & Bar Committee 2008 – 2009
  • ISBA Judicial Poll Committee 2008 – 2009
  • ISBA Health Care Section Council 2003 – 2006; 2010

Years Active: September 11, 1984 – Present

Years Active: July 27, 1979 – Present

Years Active: 1977- Present

Years active: September 29, 1982 – December 2012

  • President only woman to hold this office to date 2006 – 2007
  • State Delegate to American Assn. For Justice 2007 – 2008
    (ATLA)
  • President-Elect 2005 – 2006
  • 2nd Vice President 2004 – 2005
  • 3rd Vice President 2003 – 2004
  • Treasurer 2001 – 2002
  • Legislative Chairman 2001 – 2002

Years active: March 3, 1983 – December 2012

  • Class Action Litigation group (past member)
  • Railroad Litigation group (past member)
  • Traumatic Brain Injury group (past member)

Years active: December 20, 1999 – December 2012

Years active: April 25, 2012 – December 2012

Years active: 2008 – December 2012

  • Trial Lawyers

Years active: 2005 – December 2012

Years active: 1998 – December 2012

Years active: 2004 – Present

Active Member: March 25, 1991

Bar Admissions

and courts of practice