Recently selected Madison County Associate Judge
Maureen D. Schuette, 53, has been assigned to the family docket, a division she
has a history of experience in.
dockets where it’s very emotional for people,” she said. “It’s harder for them
because they are going to court and their property and their children are going
to be impacted, their lives are impacted.”
“They want to be heard, and I want to treat them with
respect and kindness,” she added.
Schuette said she is thrilled to begin her new
position as judge.
“I am so excited to be working with such an amazing
group of talented judges,” she said.
Schuette is the second oldest of seven children and
grew up in Edwardsville. Her dad was a mechanical engineer and staff engineer with
Shell Oil Company and her mom stayed home before going to work at the county clerk’s
office. She later worked on the zoning board of appeals.
Schuette currently lives in Edwardsville with her
husband Greg, who is assistant county engineer, and their three children Tom,
Marissa and Nick.
“They’ve been tremendously supportive of me,” Schuette
said of her family.
She said her interest in law began when she was a
young girl and she would listen to her attorney uncle talk about his trials
while sitting at her grandma’s kitchen table, which she found fascinating.
Her interest developed further when she worked at the
county clerk’s office for five years, where she worked a lot with the
attorneys. She said she enjoyed the environment and loved the people.
Schuette graduated from SIUE in 1984 with a degree in
government. She later earned her juris doctor from the University of Puget
Sound School of Law in Tacoma, Wash., which is now part of Seattle University.
While in law school, Schuette worked at a criminal
defense firm and served as vice president of the law school. During her last
two years of law school, she came back to Madison County during the summers to
work in the state’s attorney’s office doing criminal and child support cases.
Following graduation, she did general practice law
before opening her own practice in Edwardsville in 1993. She worked in every
area of law but focused on family law at her private practice.
She was also in charge of the family division for the
Third Judicial Circuit’s pro bono practice.
Schuette has also had experience as an arbitrator
since March of 2007 and works as a mediator.
“I think that’s going to help me on the bench,” she
“Over the years, I worked in almost every single area
of the law,” she added. “Luckily, I’ve gained proficiency in almost every area.”
Schuette’s personal experiences also helped prepare
her for her new role over the family law division. She said she lost her dad
and sister to cancer, which gave her a new appreciation for people in general.
“I truly appreciate every day and I am thankful for
every day,” she said.
As part of her new appointment to the family docket,
she said she will have to adjust to the changes happening in family law,
including changes to the definition of “custody” as well as changes to the
Dissolution of Marriage Act, among others.
Schuette said she is passionate about working with
people in the legal field.
“I really really enjoy working with people, and that’s
why I think the family law area will just be tremendous,” she said.
“Over the years, I have been taught to work hard, to
be kind and to be thankful and be humble and treat others with respect. It will
be fun to treat litigants with the same kindness and fairness and dignity,” she
Schuette is a member of the Madison County Bar
Association and Illinois State Bar Association. She used to be a member of the
American Bar Association and American Trial Lawyers Association.
She received the 2015 Public Interest Law Initiative
Pro Bono award, the American Jurisprudence Award in Advance Family Law and was
selected as a Leading Lawyers member.
Her swearing in ceremony will be held on Oct. 9 at the
Madison County Circuit Court in Edwardsville.