Judge Edward Joseph Underhill is a longtime champion for equality who was appointed to the bench in 2023 by unanimous vote of the Illinois Supreme Court. He has a wide range of life and legal experience – and positive ratings from all bar associations which have evaluated him.
Judge Underhill grew up on the Southwest side of Chicago, the youngest of five. His father was a Marine in World War II, and then worked as a phone company lineman and a proud union member. Judge Underhill graduated from Bogan High School and put himself through college and law school at Northern Illinois University by holding down many part-time jobs. These included working as a reporter for the university newspaper, the county newspaper, and the Rockford newspaper.
Judge Underhill returned to Chicago upon graduating from law school, joining the Law Firm of Masuda Funai, a well-regarded firm that primarily represented the Japanese American community. Ed began his practice as a civil litigator working in the state and federal courts of northern Illinois. His practice included probate, civil litigation, limited criminal defense, and business disputes. Judge Underhill became an expert in the area of contract and commercial law, and wrote articles on important legal issues for the Illinois Bar Journal.
Judge Underhill tried bench and jury trials throughout the United States over his 30+ years of practicing law. Ed was admitted to the prestigious federal trial bar and to practice before the US Supreme Court.
Judge Underhill was and continues to be an active leader in the LGBTQ+ community. Before Illinois law recognized LGBTQ+ rights and gay marriage, Judge Underhill regularly advised gay individuals and couples on protecting their legal rights, especially in the estate-planning area. Ed has been a long-standing member of the Illinois State Treasurer’s Advisory Council representing the LGBTQ+ community. He has also served on important service committees of the Chicago Bar Association and LAGBAC, the bar association representing Chicagoland’s gay community.
Judge Underhill was appointed Cook County Judge in 2023 on the Motion of Justice Joy Virginia Cunningham. Since his appointment, Judge Underhill has been running busy courtrooms every day at the Daley Center, and has presided at hundreds of hearings and bench trials.
Judge Underhill and his husband, Liam, were married in 2014, when gay marriage was made legal in Illinois.
“I am grateful,” Judge Underhill said, “to live in a state where fundamental and Constitutional rights are recognized by our legislature and courts, and I am honored to serve all the the people of Cook County as a judge. I ask the voters to look at my record as a community leader, attorney, and judge, and vote for me to remain as your judge on March 19th”