The Leadership Project: A Fireside Chat with Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White
October 25, 2022
The University of Illinois College of Law Leadership Project, in partnership with the Black Law Students Association and the Women’s Law Society, proudly presents a Leadership Project Fireside Chat with Illinois Supreme Court Justice Lisa Holder White, a graduate of the College of Law’s Class of 1993. Justice Holder White will share perspectives on leadership in the 21st century with a live audience of students at the College of Law. Alumni and friends around the world are invited to join the discussion by Zoom.
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Meeting ID: 840 0769 0818
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About Justice Holder White
Lisa Holder White, a Decatur, Illinois native, is the daughter of Marvin and Corinne Holder. She attended Decatur Public Schools through third grade. In fourth grade she began attending school in Macon, Illinois. She graduated from Macon Community High School in 1986. Justice White obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1990 from Lewis University in Romeoville, Illinois, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. In 1993, Justice White earned her Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law in Urbana-Champaign. Assistant State’s Attorney for Macon County was the first legal position held by Justice White. During her tenure in the State’s Attorney’s office, she handled various matters ranging from traffic to criminal felonies. Subsequent to serving as an Assistant State’s Attorney, Justice White worked as an Assistant Public Defender litigating on behalf of those charged with criminal offenses and representing abused and neglected children.
Immediately prior to being appointed to the bench, Justice White enjoyed a thriving private practice at the firm formerly known as Brinkoetter & White. Her private practice focused on the areas of family and criminal law. In 2001, Justice White was sworn in as an Associate Judge, becoming the first Black Judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit. During her term as an Associate Judge, she was instrumental in securing and implementing the Redeploy Illinois grant aimed at reducing the incarceration rate for non-violent juvenile offenders. In 2008, she became a Circuit Judge, being appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill a retirement vacancy. In 2010, she was elected to the position. In Macon County, Justice White served as Supervising Judge of the Criminal Law Division. On January 14, 2013, Justice White was sworn in as the first Black Justice on the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District. In 2014, she was elected to the Illinois Appellate Court, Fourth District.
Justice White previously served on and chaired the Illinois Supreme Court Judicial Conference Committee on Education. The Committee on Education, now known as the Committee on Judicial Education, is charged with planning and providing continuing judicial education for Illinois judges. She previously chaired the New Judge Seminar Workgroup where she led the group responsible for planning the annual seminar attended by all new Illinois state court judges. She has also served as faculty for the New Judge Seminar. Justice White frequently teaches at the bi-annual Education Conference, which provides all Illinois state court judges with mandatory continuing judicial education. She previously served as Chair of the Illinois Judicial College Board of Trustees and a peer reviewer for the Committee on Judicial Education criminal law benchbook. As a member of the Supreme Court of Illinois Judicial Conference, Justice White helped to develop the Illinois Judicial Branch Strategic Agenda unveiled in October 2019. She has presented for many groups including Leadership Illinois, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the Decatur Leadership Institute, and the Decatur Bar Association.
Justice White is a member of the Decatur Bar Association, the Sangamon County Bar Association, the Central Illinois Women’s Bar Association, and the Illinois Judges Association. She previously served on the board of the Decatur Public Schools Foundation, the Mid-Illinois Chapter of the American Red Cross, Millikin University, the Illinois Judges Association, and the Community Foundation of Macon County. Justice White also served on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice Appellate Court Committee, and the Juvenile Justice Leadership Council. She currently serves on the University of Illinois College of Law Leadership Project.
In addition to her work on various court related matters, Justice White is dedicated to giving back to the community. She served on the Project Success Right Track Truancy Roundtable, a group formed to address local truancy issues. She participated in Varsity Goes to City Hall, a program that paired local high school students with a professional working in the student’s area of interest. She is also a frequent speaker for various community groups. Justice White enjoys utilizing the courtroom to host mock trials to allow school children to learn about the justice system. She allows young people who have an interest in a career as an attorney or judge to spend a day with her to gain an understanding of what being an attorney or judge involves. Justice White has also allowed college and law school students to complete externships in her office. In addition, she has planned and hosted activities to provide Girl Scouts the opportunity to meet and learn from women who serve as judges, police officers, attorneys, court reporters, and probation officers. Justice White also participated in the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission’s Insanity Retrial of Mary Todd Lincoln, as well as the panel discussion of the Alton Schools Cases.
Justice White was named "Woman of the Year" at the 2013 Women of Excellence Awards, hosted by the Decatur YMCA and United Way of Decatur and Mid-Illinois. She is the recipient of the Lewis University Alumni Achievement Award, the Joe Slaw Civil Rights Award from the Decatur branch of the NAACP, the Illinois Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award, the University of Illinois College of Law Black Law Students Association's James Seaberry Award for Excellence, the Illinois Judges Association Harold Sullivan Award, an Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Community Leader Recognition, and the Girl Scouts of Central Illinois Diamond Award. Justice White has an honorary Doctorate degree from Millikin University.
Justice White is a member of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church where she serves as a Deaconess and enjoys singing in the choir. She and James, her husband of thirty-four years, are the proud parents of two children, Brett and Myah.