Cobbs received her undergraduate degree from Morgan State University in 1972 and her master’s in social work from the University of Maryland. After working for several years as a social worker in Maryland clinics, Cobbs went on to received her J.D. degree from the IIT—Chicago Kent College of Law in 1988.
Cobbs previously held the post of director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts. She worked in this position from March 1, 2002, until joining the Cook Judicial Circuit Court in 2011. She was both the first
woman and the first African American to serve as director of the Administrative Office.
Judge Cobbs has worked as a clinical social worker, research attorney, judicial law clerk, staff attorney, chief legal counsel, state court administrator, circuit court judge, and now, as a Justice on the Illinois Appellate Court, I am more than prepared for this next step in my professional journey. I have learned a lot of law and how to apply it, fairly, to a set of facts. My years as the Director of the Illinois Courts taught me much about the work of our Supreme Court and all that is involved in administering our judicial branch of government. But, more than that, I know from the whole of my life’s experiences, what it means to be a good judge.
Without question, the fair and timely disposition of legal disputes is critically important work for every judge. No less important is working to ensure fairness and access to justice for every person who stands before a judge in our courts. But being a good judge requires even more than that. “As judges, we are also citizens, role models and public servants. And as such, we have a profound responsibility to serve the communities in which we live, to mentor our youth, and to conduct ourselves with dignity, honor and humility. Being a good judge is about being accountable and accessible to those individuals we vowed to serve.”
As the eighth born of nine children, Cobbs was taught early in life that generosity of spirit and strong values, coupled with hard work and education were the keys, not to great wealth, but to good success.
Cobbs is a lifelong Democrat and a proud resident of south suburban Cook County with her husband Austin.