Purpose and Objectives
In attempting to create the best possible judicial environment in the State of Illinois, the Illinois Latino Judges Association will engage in activities to improve the law, the legal system and the administration of law, insofar as said acts do not violate any and all applicable Codes of Conduct, including, but not limited to:
- Speaking, writing, lecturing, teaching, and participating in other activities concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.
- Appearing at public hearings before executive or legislative bodies or officials on matters concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice.
- Serving as members, officers, or directors of bar associations, governmental agencies, or other organizations devoted to the improvement of the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice.
In attempting to create the best possible judicial environment in the State of Illinois, the Illinois Latino Judges Association will encourage the participation of all members of the judiciary to improve the law, the legal system and the administration of law. We intend to pursue any and all acts reasonably necessary in the furtherance of these goals, including, but not limited to:
- Promoting goodwill between and among our members.
- Promoting goodwill between our membership and other members of the bench and bar.
- Advancing the professional enrichment of our members and other members of the bar and judiciary.
- Promoting and encouraging respect and unbiased treatment for all, including Latino/Hispanic, individuals as they relate to the courts, the judiciary, the legal profession and the administration of justice.
- Defending and advancing the integrity and independence of the judiciary.
- Encouraging, promoting and providing continuing legal education to members of the bench, bar and the public.
- Fostering and promoting a positive public perception and a better understanding of the culture, history and traditions of the Latino/Hispanic community, as they relate to the courts, the judiciary, the legal profession and the administration of justice.
- Promoting equal and unbiased treatment of Latino/Hispanic members of the judiciary on issues relating to assignments, appointments, judicial elections, retention and appointments.
- Promoting a diverse judiciary that administers justice in a fair and impartial court system.
On July 26, 2018, the first-ever leaders of the Illinois Latino Judges Association took their oath. The number of Latino lawyers practicing in Illinois and the number of Latino judges on the bench have swelled within the past 30 years according to Cook County Circuit Judge Ramon Ocasio III. During the 1980s, there were “four or five Latino judges on the bench. Now that number has increased tenfold,” Ocasio said.
“Now that we have reached the tipping point to have enough Latino attorneys to support an independent association, we wanted to make sure they had enough opportunities to strive for,” Ocasio said.
Ocasio will be sworn in as the association’s first president during the ceremony which took place at the offices of Jackson Lewis P.C. at 150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 250.
Although Judge Ocasio was the association’s first president, the organization’s bylaws required them to have an immediate past president. Because of that, Cook County Associate Judge Mark J. Lopez is considered the association’s first immediate past president.
The association seeks to bolster both Latinos within the legal community and the Latino community in general as well as the number of Latinos serving on the Illinois bench.
The association intends to boost the number of Latinos serving as judges by mentoring young lawyers and law students who do not how to become a judge. It also aims to provide solutions to financial challenges that Latino college graduates are facing.
The ILJA which has approximately 50 members currently, is open to both state court and federal court judges as well as retired judges.