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910 17th St., N.W., Suite 315
Washington, D.C. 20006

March 12, 2007

(202) 775-9555


          The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is proud to announce that the Circuit Court of Cook County has confirmed Maria Kuriakos Ciesil and Neera Walsh to serve as Associate Judges of the Circuit Court of Cook County in the state of Illinois. With the confirmation of Ms. Kuriakos Ciesil and Ms. Walsh to the bench, there are now nine Asian Pacific American state court judges in Illinois, with seven being in Cook County. Currently, there are no Asian Pacific American federal magistrate judges in Illinois, and no judges in the district courts that comprise the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

          Maria Kuriakos Ciesil currently serves as Assistant Bureau Chief of the Criminal Trials Bureau for the Office of the Attorney General of Illinois, where she prosecuted felony and misdemeanor cases throughout the state. At the Office of the Attorney General, she successfully tried jury trials in Christian, Cook and Lee Counties. Ms. Kuriakos Ciesil was previously employed as an Assistant State's Attorney in the Office of the State’s Attorney, Cook County, where she tried 38 felony jury trials and supervised Assistant State’s Attorneys in their investigation and approval of felony charges. She was also an instructor for Loyola Law School’s Intensive Trial Advocacy Program. Ms. Kuriakos Ciesil is currently President of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area, one of NAPABA’s largest affiliates. She was critical in planning and implementing NAPABA’s 17th annual National Convention, bringing Chicago’s community to the national stage at the largest gathering of Asian Pacific American attorneys in the United States. In addition, Ms. Kuriakos Ciesil has helped to organize numerous other activities focused on professional development for young lawyers and law students.

          Neera Walsh has devoted her entire career to serving the Illinois government through the State’s Attorney’s Office. Presently, as Supervisor for the First Municipal Community Prosecutions Division, she supervises approximately 30 attorneys prosecuting felonies and misdemeanors. During her career at the State’s Attorney’s Office, Ms. Walsh has had experience prosecuting the full panoply of different crimes. Notably, Ms. Walsh also has focused on community prosecution, neighborhood disputes and hate crimes training. She teaches trial advocacy as an adjunct professor at Chicago - Kent College of Law and has served regularly as a judge for trial advocacy competitions at Kent and DePaul law schools. Ms. Walsh was a former President of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area, where she has been an active member and officer for many years. She also serves on numerous advisory councils and committees dedicated to addressing the concerns of minorities and disadvantaged residents in Cook County. Ms. Walsh has also received several awards for her public service. She also helped to spearhead preparations for NAPABA’s 17th annual National Convention in Chicago.

          “It is a special day when two out of thirty-one new associate judges selected are Asian Pacific American. Cook County, Illinois has continued to be a leader in increasing the number of Asian Pacific Americans on the bench,” said Les Jin, the Executive Director of NAPABA. “Other state court systems should look to Cook County as an example in promoting diversity on the bench. Both Ms. Kuriakos Ciesil and Ms. Walsh are involved, dedicated members of the APA community, and we are proud of their work on behalf of our local affiliate and our national organization, as well as their obvious strong legal credentials."

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors and law students.  NAPABA represents the interests of over 40,000 attorneys and 50 local Asian Pacific American bar associations.  Its members represent solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal service and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.  NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities.  Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes professional development of minorities in the legal profession.


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