The Honorable James E. Snyder (‘88) received the prestigious 2021 Justice John Paul Stevens Award. This award is given by The Chicago Bar Foundation and The Chicago Bar Association, which honors Justice Stevens, a Chicago native, for his lifetime effort to improve the system of justice and his active participation and dedication to the CBA. The award is presented annually to attorneys who best exemplify the Justice’s commitment to integrity and public service in the practice of law throughout their careers.
Judge Snyder is an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. He was appointed to the bench in 2007 by the Illinois Supreme Court. Prior to his appointment, he served as the General Counsel of the Illinois Human Rights Commission. He served as a founding member and General Counsel of the Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and the AIDS Care housing initiative. He was member of the Illinois Federation for Human Rights (Equality Illinois) and chairperson of the Fair Illinois ballot initiative defensive.
Judge Snyder has written and lectured on fair employment and fair housing law and policy at institutions including the University of Illinois – John Marshall Law School, Kent College of Law, the Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association and is on the faculty of the National Judicial College. He works as mentor to law students and undergraduate students including through the American Bar Association Minority Business Law Scholarship and the NIU Erickson-Doherty Scholarship.
Judge Snyder is the Chairperson of New Judge Orientation programs for the Illinois Supreme Court. He has been a frequent peer educator and lecturer on subjects including Access to Justice, Service to Self-Represented Litigants, Combating Implicit and Systemic Bias in Judicial Decision Making, Advanced Civil Procedure, Electronically Stored Information in Litigation, State Court Complex Commercial Litigation.
He has served as a member of the Illinois Supreme Court’s Committee on Judicial Education, Committee on Judicial Performance Evaluation, Committee on Judicial Mentoring Program and as Chair of the Illinois Supreme Court Advanced Judicial Academy.
Judge Snyder is a former president the Alliance of LGBTQ Judges and a former president of the Illinois Judges Association. He is also the recipient of the NIU College of Law Alumni Council’s 2021 Distinguished Service Award.