Pioneering Judge William Yu (’96) Delivers 211th Commencement Address

On Friday, May 6, the Honorable William Yu (JD 1996), Associate Judge in the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, delivered the address at the Law School’s 211th Commencement Exercises. The ceremony, hosted at UIC’s Credit Union 1 Arena, was the first to celebrate the graduation of students who began their legal education under the UIC name.

“You have the skill set and fortitude to deal with adversity,” offered Hon. William Yu (’96). “You are part of a new generation of talented, compassionate and tech-savvy people that will rise through the ranks of our legal profession and change the direction of the world.”

In a speech focusing on perseverance, Judge Yu’s message drew from personal experiences throughout his career to reinforce the value of the skill set and fortitude the May 2022 class had developed throughout law school. Applauding their pursuit of justice despite adversity, Yu encouraged UIC Law’s newest alumni to draw upon that strength along their career paths and to uphold their responsibility to the law, to their clients, and to each other in challenging moments.

Judge Yu’s speech, as well as the full ceremony, is available online at

Appointed to the bench in 2018, the Honorable William Yu, a 1996 graduate of the law school, is the first Korean-American judge to serve Illinois at the state level. A former Partner with Ulmer & Berne LLP, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP and Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP, Judge Yu began his career in the Municipal Prosecution Division of the City of Chicago’s Corporation Counsel. He has been licensed as an attorney in Illinois since 1999.

Judge Yu serves on the Advisory Board of the Korean American Bar Association of Chicago, is a past President of the Asian American Bar Association of Chicago and was a member of the inaugural Executive Committee of the Alliance of Minority Bar Associations. Additionally, he has dedicated his time to many other organizations including NAPABA, IAKL, Heiwa Terrace, the Chicago Committee, and the Executive Committee of the Illinois Judges Association.

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