Martha A. Mills ’63

2003 Distinguished Citizen Award

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Throughout the 40 years since her graduation, Martha Mills has left a trail of broken barriers behind her. Fresh from the University of Minnesota Law School, she became the first woman attorney at the Wall Street firm White & Case. She later left that firm to argue civil rights cases in Mississippi and southern Illinois. She maintains membership in the Mississippi, New York and Illinois bar associations.

In 1989 Mills became the second Illinois woman, and among the first women nationally, to be inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers. Because she exemplifies the best of the legal profession, she was named one of 12 inaugural Laureates of the Academy of Illinois Lawyers. The Chicago Bar Association Alliance for Women recently honored Mills for her work in domestic violence and child abuse programs. She has served as a Circuit Court judge and is currently chief legal counsel for the Cook County treasurer.

Mills is also founder of the not-for-profit Transforming Communities, which promotes the practice of restorative justice, a process that brings parties together to resolve issues. A certified trainer in restorative justice, she has taught classes that have drawn participants from as far away as Uganda.

Mills and her husband, Patrick Papas, are members of St. Andrew’s Greek Orthodox Church, where she is particularly active in vocal music and in services to youth.