Judge Barbara

Associate Judge
Cook County Circuit Court

You Be the Judge: Responding to Incivility in the Courtroom

Lawyers’ incivility during legal proceedings can cause delays, increase litigation costs and legal fees, and undermine the public’s confidence in the rule of law. Navigating such behavior without exacerbating it, while remaining a vigorous advocate for the client’s interests, can be challenging for the lawyer who is on the receiving end of this incivility.

Two circuit court judges—from different parts of the state—will provide their perspective on incivility, along with practical recommendations for how lawyers should handle incivility when it arises in a variety of contexts, including hearings, depositions, and emails. They will also provide tips for addressing incivility when it occurs during Zoom hearings or involves self-represented litigants. Finally, the judges will share how the justice system as a whole benefits from lawyers’ civility and professionalism.

Speaker Bio

Barbara N. Flores was selected as an Associate Judge and appointed to the Circuit Court of Cook County in October of 2021. Judge Flores is currently assigned to the First Municipal District (Chicago) in a diversion courtroom where self-represented landlords and tenants have access to free legal aid, mediation, and rental assistance resources before trial. Over 20,000 cases begin in this courtroom each year. Judge Flores was previously assigned to the Traffic Division hearing non-felony and minor traffic offense cases. Before joining the bench, Judge Flores served as a Commissioner on the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission from 2019 to 2021. She previously served at the Commission as an Arbitrator, the first Latina to hold the position. Prior to her service on the Commission, Judge Flores focused on labor and employment work at the federal, state, and local levels.

Judge Flores is actively involved in the professional community, especially dedicated to diversity and inclusion efforts in the legal profession, the advancement of law students, and continuing legal education. In this capacity, she has served as a long-standing Secretary/Trustee of the Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois. Her commitment to the profession extends to the broader community as a Co-Chair of the Diversity Scholarship Foundation’s Scholarship and Continuing Legal Education committees since 2014, as a longtime member of various bar associations, and as a law student mentor through various organizations focused on the advancement of women and minorities in the law. Judge Flores also serves on various committees including the Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice, Eviction Forms Subcommittee (2023–present), and Chicago Bar Foundation/Circuit Court, Pro Se Advisory Committee and Language Access Subcommittee (2023–present), and Illinois Judges Association, Selection/Retention Working Group (2022–2023).

Judge Flores received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and is an alumna of Chicago-Kent College of Law, where she obtained her Juris Doctor degree and Certificate in Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution.