Longest-serving Clerk of the Illinois Supreme Court
Juleann Hornyak served as Clerk of the Illinois Supreme Court from 1982 until her retirement at the end of 2010, making her the longest-serving clerk in the court’s history. During her tenure, she helped shepherd hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of pages of documents from filing to final order, including high profile cases such as the contested 1982 gubernatorial election between Adlai Stevenson III and James R. Thompson. Over the course of her career, she worked with 27 Justices of the Supreme Court and served 12 different Chief Justices. Upon her retirement, former Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbride stated that Hornyak was “a talented administrator and a lawyer whose skills have been invaluable to the Court and to the public we serve.” Hornyak has been a member of the National Conference of Appellate Court Clerks since 1981 and has served on the executive and various other committees.
What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
Depended on when I was asked. The idea of law as a career started to percolate in fits and starts in college.
Who was your favorite professor at Chicago-Kent?
Among an exceptional faculty, Professor Ralph Brill.
What was your favorite class?
Torts with Professor Brill.
What would people find most surprising about you?
I have a sense of humor.
What advice would you give to a young attorney just starting out today?
Do not hesitate to consider a less conventional legal career. The knowledge you gained and the skills you developed in law school can be honed and used to great satisfaction in challenging work such as judicial administration. Certainly, that was my happy experience.
How would you persuade a potential student to attend Chicago-Kent?
First, I would share my own experiences as a Chicago-Kent student, albeit long ago, and as a professional whose career was based on that law school education. Then, I would encourage the potential student to consider the school’s impressive reputation, the credentials of its deans and professors, the successes of its graduates and its innovative programs.
What does it mean to you to be one of Chicago-Kent’s 125 Alumni of Distinction?
I am very pleased, proud, and yet humbled to be included in such an august group of individuals.