Debra Walker was elected judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County in 2008. She sits in the Domestic Relations Division, as the Team Lead for Team E, where she hears disputes pertaining to custody, visitation, property division, maintenance, child support, and domestic violence, and supervises five judges dealing with these same issues.
Judge Walker was the Chairman of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism for the past six years. She has been an integral part of this body since its inception as the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Civility in 2001. Judge Walker was also appointed to the Access to Justice Commission by the Illinois Supreme Court and served on its board from 2012 to 2018. Additionally, Walker has served the current and past Chief Justices as their proxy on the Illinois Judicial Pension Board (JRS).
She is the current president of the Illinois Judges Foundation, having served on its board since 2015. Additionally, Judge Walker is a past president of the Illinois Bar Foundation and served on the board of the National Conference of Bar Foundations from 2013 to 2016. Walker received the Excellence Award from the NCBF in 2017. She is a past president of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois and a 2012 recipient of its Mary Heftel Hooton Award, a past president of the North Michigan Avenue Business & Professional Women’s Network, and an active member of the Illinois State Bar Association, the Illinois Judges Association, and the Economic Club of Chicago.
Prior to joining the bench, Walker was a partner with Clausen Miller, P.C., where she specialized in defending professionals sued for malpractice. She also defended judges before the Judicial Inquiry Board.
Judge Walker is a 1982 University of Illinois College of Business graduate with an accounting degree. She passed the CPA examination on her first attempt and served as a staff accountant with McGladrey (n/k/a/ RSM) prior to attending law school. She is a 1987 University of Illinois College of Law alumna. She has served her alma mater on its Board of Visitors, The Dean’s Advisory Board, and was the charter chairman of its Recent Alumni Advisory Board. In 2014, Judge Walker was the recipient of the U. of I. College of Law Alumni Loyalty Award, and in 2019, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the U. of I. College of Law.
Judge Walker grew up on a small farm near Carthage, Illinois with four brothers and a sister. She now lives in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago with her husband and her two teenage children.
Illinois Supreme Court