Office of the Public Guardian Employment Opportunities:

In addition to offering competitive salaries, employees receive a robust benefits package including medical, dental, vision, prescription drug benefits, life insurance, and pension plan; Paid time off, including vacation, sick, personal time, and 13 paid holidays; Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program; 12-week Paid Parental Leave; and remote work opportunities.  The Office of the Cook County Public Guardian is an equal-opportunity employer.

Qualified candidates should send a resume and cover letter to Kelley A. Thornton at Kelley.thornton@cookcountyil.gov


We are currently hiring licensed and pre-licensed attorneys in our Juvenile Division.


Job Title:          Attorney I

Grade:              18

Location:         Office of the Cook County Public Guardian, Juvenile Division

Salary:             $81,046      

SUMMARY: The Cook County Public Guardian represents youth in care as both their attorney and guardian ad litem.  Child Protection judges appoint the Public Guardian to promote the goals of the Juvenile Court Act and ensure the client’s safety and well-being are met by the Department of Children and Family Services and caregivers.  The Public Guardian’s advocacy extends to various areas of the law and settings.  At all times the attorney is to follow the ethical rules set forth in the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct and relevant case law.

QUALIFICATIONS: Juris Doctor degree from an accredited law school and licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois or admitted to practice law pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 717.  Experience in public service and children’s issues. Courtroom experience preferred.  Must have excellent professional judgment and demeanor, assessment, communication, interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Must be well organized, and detail-oriented, have the ability to prioritize work, meet constant deadlines, maintain confidentiality, handle multiple tasks, and deal with situations of stress and emergency within a fast-paced environment.  Must work well independently and work as part of an interdisciplinary team.  Strong computer skills especially with Microsoft Office, Word, Excel, and video conferencing applications.

This position requires a pre-employment drug screening and criminal background check.  Applicants are advised that as a Drug-Free Workplace, the use of medical or recreational marijuana is prohibited and will disqualify a candidate from employment.


The following core duties and tasks are fundamental to the performance of the job and must be performed pursuant to office policy.  Other duties may be assigned and/or may be necessary in the performance of the job.

  1. Represent and advocate for clients competently and effectively as attorney and/or guardian ad litem.
  2. Advocate for the client’s wishes and/or best interests based on individual circumstances.
  3. Practice law ethically in accordance with the Illinois Code of Professional Responsibility and relevant case law.
  4. Prepare cases for court, hearings, or other meetings in a timely manner (e.g., initiate discovery, file appropriate pleadings, convene staffings).
  5. Demonstrate familiarity and competency with using the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure, the Juvenile Court Act, other appropriate statutes, and relevant case law for civil and administrative practice.
  6. Draft well-written and factual pleadings, correspondence, and other documents.
  7. Conduct legal research.
  8. Maintain regular and timely in-person and remote contact with clients that includes targeting an average of four field interviews per month, and assisting with out-of-area visits.
  9. Develop and maintain a working knowledge of available resources to assist clients.

Law Student Internship

(Juvenile, Adult Guardianship, and Domestic Relations Divisions & Appeals Unit)

The Juvenile and Domestic Relations Divisions, and Appeals Unit of the office welcome law clerks throughout the year to assist in representing clients from birth to age 21. Volunteers, grant recipients, and students working for credit are encouraged to apply. The law clerk program is designed to provide students with practical experience. Law clerks may request to be assigned to the Juvenile Division, Domestic Relations Division, or the Appeals Unit. Duties may include drafting motions and other court documents, legal research, appellate briefs, case preparation, interviewing witnesses and otherwise assisting experienced attorneys in advocating for children and youth. Students with a license issued pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711 may appear in court under the supervision of a licensed attorney and receive training to interview child clients. All law clerks participate in an orientation and formal training. In addition, each law clerk receives performance evaluations. Law clerks must be enrolled in an accredited law school, possess the ability to communicate and work with attorneys and other professional staff, demonstrate excellent oral and written communication skills, and show enthusiasm and assertiveness. All internships and clerkships are unpaid. Check with your individual school for externships or other credit arrangements. Volunteers, grant recipients, and students working for credit may submit a cover letter and resume via email, fax, or mail to the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian, 2245 West Ogden Avenue, 4th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60612, Attn: Law Clerk Coordinator, Law Clerk Program, opg@cookcountyil.gov, 312-433-4300, fax: 312-433-5129. Deadlines for submitting applications are November 15th for Spring clerkships, April 15th for Summer clerkships, and July 15th for Fall clerkships.

The Adult Guardianship Division of the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian offers a unique opportunity to law students. Attorneys in the Adult Guardianship Division represent the Public Guardian in his capacity as guardian of disabled adults. While attorneys primarily handle guardianship matters in the Probate Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, they often find themselves representing the Public Guardian on behalf of disabled adults in other divisions such as Municipal, Chancery, and Domestic Relations, to name a few. As law clerks in the Adult Guardianship Division, students assist attorneys by conducting legal research, drafting memoranda, motions, and other legal pleadings, and preparing for trial or other hearings. Student law clerks are also offered the unique opportunity to accompany attorneys in the field to conduct real property inspections, visit with disabled adults at their residences, and attend meetings with other professionals working with disabled adults. A law student with a license under Supreme Court Rule 711 may appear before the court-supervised by one of the Adult Guardianship attorneys. All student law clerks are provided in-house training at the start of the clerkship and are mentored by the attorneys. All internships and clerkships are unpaid. Check with your individual school for externships or other credit arrangements. Interested law students should submit a cover letter and resume to: the Office of the Cook County Public Guardian, Attn: Legal Internship Coordinator, 69 West Washington Street, Suite 700, Chicago, Illinois 60602. Deadlines for submitting applications are November 15th for Spring clerkships, April 15th for Summer clerkships, and July 15th for Fall clerkships.

Caseworker Advocate Internship

The caseworker advocate student internship allows qualified students to assist the caseworker advocacy unit in interviewing children in order to gather information from the child’s perspective. This is a field position, requiring students to have a vehicle, a valid driver’s license, and insurance.

Psychology Student Internship

The Juvenile Division welcomes master’s and doctorate-level psychology students interested in completing a social justice practicum as part of their training through their academic program. Students interested in learning about advocacy, public service, marginalized populations, legal proceedings, and child welfare are encouraged to apply.  Internships are unpaid. Psychology students will complete a project as part of a team that aims to facilitate advocacy in meeting the needs of our clients. Interns must be enrolled in an accredited school with an educational agreement with our office, demonstrate good time management, analytical skills, and organization, and have an interest in research and passion for learning about the work with this population. Psychology students receive weekly supervision by a licensed clinical psychologist.