CHICAGO - Mary Patricia Burns, founder of Burke Burns & Pinelli, Ltd., was confirmed as a judge to the Illinois Court of Claims on Thursday by the state General Assembly.
Ms. Burns, who was appointed to the position by Governor Pat Quinn, was confirmed by a 56-0 vote of the full Senate. She will serve a six-year term as one of seven part-time justices appointed to the Court, which rules on compensation claims filed against the state (except those involving worker's compensation) and claims for compensation to victims of violence.
"I am extremely honored and humbled by the Governor's appointment and the support from the Legislature," said Burns, who will continue her full-time practice at Burke Burns & Pinelli, Ltd. "The Court of Claims has long been a haven for those who seek justice. I look forward to serving the citizens of Illinois."
Established in 1906, the Court of Claims is a quasi-judicial body that provides a forum in which to decide monetary claims and lawsuits against the State of Illinois. In addition, the Court also administers claims for compensation to beneficiaries of state or local government employees or members of the Illinois National Guard killed in the line of duty, as well as innocent victims of violent crimes who have inadequate insurance or funds to cover medical bills and other expenses. Last year the Court awarded some $40 million in claims while settling over 10,000 cases.
Burns is the president and founding partner of Burke Burns & Pinelli, Ltd., a Chicago Women's Business Enterprise law firm that specializes in transactional and litigation matters. Prior to that, she was a partner in the firm of Burke & Smith Chartered. Burns also served as law clerk for the Honorable James C. Murray, Chief Judge of the Chancery Court in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.
Burns is a graduate of Loyola University (JD, '81) and the University of Notre Dame (BA, '78).