Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Ann McMorrow, the first woman to serve on the high court, announced today that she is retiring.

According to press reports, McMorrow, of Chicago, will step down on July 5.

She was first elected to the bench in 1992.

McMorrow served three years as chief justice until she was succeeded last year by Justice Robert Thomas.

McMorrow received her law degree at Loyola University and was admitted to the practice of law in Illinois in 1953. She was employed by the law firm of Riordan & Linklater, engaging in the general practice of law. She was appointed Assistant State's Attorney of Cook County, assigned to the Criminal Division, and was the first woman to prosecute felony cases in Cook County. She was elected a Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County in 1976.

By order of the Supreme Court of Illinois, McMorrow was assigned to the Appellate Court in 1985 and elected to that court in 1986. She was the first woman elected to serve as chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Appellate Court. She was elected to the Supreme Court of Illinois in 1992, the first woman to serve in its 173-year history.

With her election as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois in May, 2002, she became the first woman to head any of the three branches of state government.

McMorrow is the 1991 recipient of the "Medal of Excellence" award from Loyola University School of Law Alumni Association. She is a recipient of the Chicago Bar Association's Justice John Paul Stevens Award.

She is the 1996 recipient of "The Fellows of the Illinois Bar Foundation" award for Distinguished Service to Law and Society. She also has received four honorary degrees and numerous other awards.

McMorrow is a member of the Illinois State and Chicago Bar Associations and past president of the Women's Bar Association of Illinois.

She is a master bencher of the American Inns of Court and a member of the American Judicature Society, the National Association of Women Judges and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Illinois Judges' Association.

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