Loyola University Chicago

School of Law

Part-time Faculty A-M

Hon. Thomas More Donnelly

Title/s: Associate Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County

Specialty Area: Advocacy (Trial Advocacy)

Phone: 312.603.4662

E-mail: thomas.donnelly@cookcountyil.gov


Tom serves as an Associate Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County. He is assigned to the First Municipal District. Sworn in as a judge in 2000, he currently hears civil jury trials, after having presided over criminal jury trials from 2008 to 2009. He has presided over several hundred jury trials.  Prior to hearing jury trials, he served in several civil and criminal assignments. In September 2012, he authored an opinion in a highly publicized First Amendment case involving the Occupy Chicago protests:  City of Chicago v. Alexander.  He has spearheaded the development of three court programs to assist self-represented litigants:  CBA Summary Suspension Volunteer Program, the CARPLS Consumer Collection Self-Help Desk, and the CBA Municipal Court Pro Bono Panel program.

He chairs the Illinois Supreme Court’s Judicial Education Committee, which conducts all judicial education for both trial and appellate judges in Illinois. He chaired the Advanced Judicial Academy at the University of Illinois Law School for June 2013. He chaired the editorial board for Illinois Judicial Benchbook for Civil Law and Procedure for four years. He served on the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Criminal Jury Instructions for eight years.

Before becoming a judge, he clerked for the Honorable Mary Ann G. McMorrow (Loyola Law ’53) and served as an assistant public defender for thirteen years. He serves on the Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee. He has chaired both the CBA Chicago Bar Association (CBA) Professional Responsibility Committee and the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) Standing Committee on Professional Conduct. He coauthored an online annotation on Illinois Legal Ethics for Cornell Law School. He is also a past member of the ISBA Civil Practice Section Counsel. He served as the Reporter for the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Professional Responsibility (1996-2000).

Tom has taught at Loyola Law School since 1987, and has directed the Philip H. Corboy Trial Advocacy Fellowship since 1995.  He currently teaches Illinois Litigation at Loyola. He has taught Illinois Tax Litigation and Procedure, Professional Responsibility, Professional Responsibility Seminar, and Criminal Procedure at Loyola. He is a past recipient of the St. Robert Bellarmine Award for a distinguished young alumnus and is an honorary member of Loyola‘s Circle of Advocates.

He has taught trial advocacy at the University of Chicago Law School in the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic. He has lectured at Washington and Lee Law School, Marquette Law School, and DePaul Law School.  Additionally Tom teaches for State Appellate Defender, the Cook County State’s Attorney, Cook County Public Defender, IICLE, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, the Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and the Decalogue Society.

He authored Survey of Illinois Law: Enforcement of Judgment, 31 S.IU.L.J. 819 (2006) (coauthored with Judge Sanjay Tailor) and, responding to an article by Loyola Professor John Breen, The Leaven of the World: Serving the Poor is Neither the Air in the Balloon nor the Cherry on the Sundae, 43 Gonz.L.Rev. 607 (2007-2008). Recently, he has authored “New Supreme Court Rule:  Help for self-represented litigants” ISBA Bench & Bar Newsletter, Vol. 45, pp. 1-3 (September 2014); “New Illinois Rule of Evidence: Business record certification,” Trial Briefs, Vol. 57, no. 8, (March 2012) “Respecting Religious Freedom Without Sacrificing Justice: The Right to Wear Religious Garb in Court Proceedings,” ISBA Bench & Bar Newsletter, Vol. 42, pp. 9-10 (October 2011).  As part of Loyola’s Law & Religion program, Tom interviewed Rabbi Jacob Neusner on the topic of Interreligious Dialogue and the Law.

Tom serves on the Advisory Board of Loyola’s Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage.  He has spoken at many Hank Center presentations at both the Lakeshore and Water Tower campuses.  At the 2011 Loyola Hank Center conference, “Revelation and Convergence: Flannery O'Connor Among the Philosophers and Theologians,” Tom presented a paper on O’Connor’s story “The Displaced Person.”  In 2014, at the University of Illinois Chicago John Paul II Newman Center, he presented a talk entitled: “Flannery O'Connor's Transfiguring Vision.”

Tom is active in the Lumen Christi Institute at the University of Chicago; he moderated a 2014 panel discussion on Jewish & Catholic Approaches to Property & Social Justice featuring Eduardo Peñalver (Cornell Law School) and Joseph William Singer (Harvard Law School).

Recipient of the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago 2014 Catholic Lawyer of the Year Award, he has served on the Guild’s board since 1988.  He is the past chair of the John Howard Association and the current vice-chair of the National Center for the Laity. He is the father of four boys and married to Anne Wicker. They live in Queen of Angels Parish in the Lincoln Square Neighborhood of Chicago.

Contact address:
1571 Richard J. Daley Center
Chicago, IL 60602 


B.A., St. John's College, 1981
J.D., Loyola Chicago, 1986

Program Areas

Illinois Litigation