Charles P. Golbert was appointed the Cook County Public Guardian by the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Timothy C. Evans, on April 29, 2019. Chief Judge Evans had previously appointed Golbert as Acting Public Guardian on September 20, 2017. The Cook County Public Guardian’s Office is the only law office of its kind in the country that combines the legal representation of abused and neglected children, children in custody/divorce cases, and people with disabilities under guardianship. In the Juvenile Division, the office represents abused, neglected and dependent children as their lawyer and guardian ad litem in Cook County’s juvenile court. In the Domestic Relations Division, the office acts as the child representative in hotly contested custody cases. In the Adult Guardianship Division, the office serves as guardian for mostly elderly individuals with cognitive disabilities such as Alzheimer’s. As guardian of the estate, the office manages more than $100 million in diverse assets belonging to people under guardianship, including assets in other states and countries, and has recovered more than $60 million of assets that were stolen from such individuals before the office’s involvement. The staff of 220 employees is comprised of more than 100 lawyers and also includes case managers, financial services specialists, investigators, property managers, two psychologists, and other professionals.
Golbert was a Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI) graduate fellow at the office in 1990, sponsored by the firm now known as Katten, Muchin and Rosenman. As an associate attorney at Katten, Golbert handled several matters for the office pro bono. His passion for the work led him to join the office as a staff attorney in 1991. Over the years Golbert has worked as an attorney and supervisor in every area of the office, including as a trial attorney in the Juvenile Division, a supervising attorney in the Special Litigation Division, the head of the Appeals Division, and as the Deputy Public Guardian and director of the Adult Guardianship Division.
Golbert earned his juris doctor and bachelor of arts degrees from Northwestern University. He has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law and as faculty of the ChildLaw intensive trial advocacy program at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He has presented locally and nationally at other law schools, universities, conferences, and continuing legal education programs. Golbert has authored or coauthored 15 law journal articles, a book chapter, and dozens of book reviews, op eds and essays. One of the journal articles won a national award for writing in elder law. Golbert has served as Articles Editor, Executive Editor, and Editor in Chief of the Journal of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA Journal). He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the President’s Recognition Award and the John J. Regan Writing Award from the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the Outstanding Affiliate Member Award from the National Guardianship Association (NGA), the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI), and the Amicus Curiae Award from the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA). Golbert is the primary author of legislation, now law, to protect children and people with disabilities from abuse and financial exploitation. He has held leadership positions in numerous local and national bar and professional organizations.