About Judge Kennedy for Appellate Court

Judge Chris Kennedy serves Lake County as an Associate Judge, currently presiding over cases in the criminal division. Judge Kennedy believes strongly that it is a judge’s duty to ensure equal access to justice and he has demonstrated a lifetime of service to the community and to the law.


Before being elevated to the bench as a judge, Chris Kennedy was a distinguished lawyer for 25 years. Chris tried dozens of jury and bench trials in criminal and civil courts, both state and federal. Chris also argued and won appeals before the federal Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the First and Second Districts of the Illinois Appellate Court.

Chris began his legal career as a prosecutor with the State’s Attorney’s Office of Lake County, where he successfully tried and convicted offenders in a wide range of cases. Chris prosecuted various felonies, including murder, armed robbery, armed violence, drugs and weapons cases, among many others. Chris worked with grand juries, local and federal law enforcement, supported victims of crime and made all manner of charging decisions.

After serving as a prosecutor, Chris went into private practice, handling large, complex cases involving catastrophic personal injuries, assisting many victims of negligence, fraud and civil rights abuses, before state and federal courts throughout the Chicago region.

In law school, Chris was an editor of the Law Review, a member of the Law Review Executive Board, Moot Court team member, and published an award-winning research paper. Chris was a Dean’s Scholarship recipient and won the Scribes Award for the best student publication of the year. Chris’ publication have been cited many times by scholars concerning the United States Constitution’s amendment process. Chris also completed internships for the United States Attorney’s Office in Chicago, a chief judge of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois, and the judges of the 19th Judicial Circuit, in Lake County, Illinois.

A resident of Libertyville, Judge Kennedy is married with three children. He is also a former school board member, elected three times and serving for 12 years in that role. 

Professional Associations:

  • Illinois Judges Association
  • Lake County Bar Association 
  • Illinois State Bar Association 
  • Past vice-chair, American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Committee
  • Illinois Judges Association Literacy Initiative “Page It Forward”Lake County Bar Association’s Lawyers in the Classroom

Admitted to practice (prior to becoming a judge):

  • United States Supreme Court
  • Supreme Court of Illinois
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois – Trial Bar
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

Led efforts establishing statewide programs and laws to assist persons with disabilities and their families

  • Drafted and helped pass numerous laws to support individuals with autism and other disabilities:
    • Greatly expanded healthcare and community services for children and families affected by intellectual and developmental disabilities
    • Implemented police training in autism and other disabilities
    • Safety and monitoring review to prevent abuse and neglect in facilities serving persons with developmental disabilities
    • Drafted and passed three laws to enhance health insurance access for children with autism and other disabilities
    • Autism Reporting Act
    • Autism Task Force Act (and served as Insurance Committee Chair)
    • Special education law to aid schools and parents in placement decisions for children with autism
  • “Autism Hero Award 2007,” Chicago Southside Chapter, Autism Society of America
  • “Outstanding Leadership 2006,” Autism Society of Illinois

Past speaker throughout Illinois on state issues concerning health care and disabilities

Past guest lecturer, Erikson Institute Graduate School of Child Development, Chicago

Former adjunct lecturer, Columbia College, teaching Evidence and Criminal Justice classes