Judicial Candidate


Maureen Ward Kirby has been a judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County since 2007. Prior to joining the bench, she was a Partner in the Litigation Group at Bell, Boyd & Lloyd (now KL Gates) handling complex commercial litigation cases. When in private practice, she was admitted to the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Circuit Courts of Appeal and was a member of the trial bar of the Northern District of Illinois.

For the past ten years Judge Ward Kirby has been assigned to the County Division, where she hears, among other things, election, tax, civil mental health and adoption matters.  She has finalized well over a thousand  adoption cases in Cook County and has presided over hundreds of civil trials seeking involuntary admission to a mental health facility or involuntary treatment.


Judge Ward Kirby has presented to her colleagues at the biennial  Judicial Education Conference on  interacting with litigants with mental health challenges (2018), involuntary commitment proceedings (2020) and the opioid epidemic (2020). She, along with medical experts from the University of Chicago, is piloting a seven session series on  opioid addiction and medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.

Judge Ward Kirby is a frequent lecturer on civil mental health law having presented  at the Chicago Bar Association on numerous occasions, the Center for Disability and Elder Law, the Cook County Center for Elder Law, CIT training for first responders, Prairie State College, State mental health facilities and at NAMI-Illinois and NAMI-Chicago.

She currently serves on the Illinois Supreme Court  Special  Advisory Committee for Justice and Mental Health Planning and the Community Trust Committee of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice.  Judge Ward Kirby is a certified Supreme Court of Illinois new judge judicial mentor.


Judge Ward Kirby graduated magna cum laude from Boston College and from Loyola University of Chicago Law School.