University of Illinois System

Patricia Brown Holmes

Current Term


Appointed By Governor


Professional Experience

  • Managing Partner, Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP
  • Former executive committee member and diversity committee chair of a major national law firm
  • Former associate judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County
  • Previous chief assistant corporation counsel for municipal prosecutions for the City of Chicago
  • Former assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Former assistant state’s attorney, Cook County
  • Appointed special prosecutor in the matter of Laquan McDonald by presiding Judge LeRoy Martin
  • Appointed sole trustee of the Burr Oak Cemetery Oversight Task Force by Governor Pat Quinn and Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of Illinois
  • Appointed co-chair of the Judicial Selection Commission for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Appointed inaugural chair of the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission by Governor Pat Quinn
  • Appointed to the American Jury Project Commission for the Seventh Circuit Bar Association by Chief Judge Holderman

Professional/Civic Affiliations, Activities and Community Service

  • Chair, Harriet’s Daughters
  • Chair, board of directors, Just the Beginning – A Pipeline Organization
  • Member, board of trustees, LaRabida Children’s Hospital
  • Chair, Chief Judge Ruben Castillo’s Magistrate Judge Selection and Review Committees
  • Chair, Chief Judge James F. Holderman’s Magistrate Judge Merit Review Panel
  • Past president and founding member, Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago, Inc.
  • Past president and member, board of managers, Chicago Bar Association
  • Member, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism Mentoring Advisory Committee
  • Co-chair, Senator Dick Durbin’s Judicial Screening Committee

Awards and Honors

  • Chicago’s Notable Women Lawyers (Crain’s Chicago Business, 2018)
  • Ida B. Platt Award (Cook County Bar Association, 2018)
  • Most Influential Black Lawyers (Savoy Magazine, 2018)
  • Outstanding Women in Business Award (Rainbow PUSH Coalition & Citizenship Education Fund, 2018)
  • Most Influential Minority Lawyers in Chicago (Crain’s Chicago Business, 2017)
  • Chicago Lawyer Person of the Year (Chicago Lawyer Magazine, 2016)
  • Award for Excellence in Pro Bono Service (United States District Court, 2014)
  • One of the Most Powerful and Influential Women in Illinois (National Diversity Council, 2011-2014)


  • JD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1986)
  • BS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1983)

Party Affiliation




Trustee Holmes