Judge Anderson's journey to the bench was far from conventional. He had a challenging upbringing, marked by struggles with school and even a period of homelessness. However, after a confluence of events in his life (including the murder of his Godfather), he turned his life around and began to excel academically, earning two postgraduate degrees and two law degrees from prestigious institutions such as Duke Law School and Notre Dame's College of Business. With this impressive educational background, he is likely one of the most well-educated judges in Illinois.
After obtaining his first law degree, Judge Anderson gained valuable experience by working as a clerk for two appellate court justices. He then had the honor of clerking for Justice Tom Kilbride on the Illinois Supreme Court. Following these clerkships, he entered private practice in 2002, joining a small commercial litigation firm where he helped deliver strong results. Notably, he helped recover millions of dollars connected to the collapse of Arthur Andersen and fought against public corruption to help a municipality regain approximately $1 million in lost funds.
During this time, Judge Anderson pursued an MBA at Notre Dame and became involved in politics, assisting with a judicial campaign and eventually serving as a Democratic precinct committeeman. In 2004, he successfully ran for a position on the Will County Board, where he advocated for property rights, safety, and transparency while opposing pay raises for elected officials — including himself.
In 2007, Judge Anderson began contract work for the Illinois State Appellate Prosecutor's office, focusing on prosecuting sex crimes against women by reviewing trial records, conducting legal research, and preparing arguments. That same year, he joined a prestigious law firm, where he achieved notable victories for his clients, including multi-million-dollar judgments in state and federal courts for various disputes.
In 2010, John ran for circuit judge. In one of the closest elections of that election cycle, he overcame strong political headwinds to prevail by 336 votes out of roughly 35,000 cast. While he has had some experience in family and criminal law, the bulk of his cases involve complex and high-value civil disputes. He is entrusted to hear some of the most difficult and complicated cases in the court system.
Beyond his judicial duties, Judge Anderson is an accomplished legal writer, with his scholarly articles published or cited in esteemed law journals and institutions across the country. He has also served as an adjunct law professor and been invited to speak at prominent conferences, including the Illinois Appellate Justices' education conference.
Furthermore, Judge Anderson actively engages in civic and professional endeavors. Notably, he played a role in implementing a financial policy as a director for The Lawyers' Trust Fund, resulting in the distribution of approximately $40 million in grants to organizations providing legal services to those in need. He also chaired the prestigious Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee.
Throughout his career, Judge Anderson has earned recognition for his accomplishments. He was acknowledged as a "Rising Star" by Chicago Lawyer magazine and named one of the "40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch" by the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin. The Illinois Crime Commission honored him as "Judicial Officer of the Year" in 2018.
Outside of his professional life, Judge Anderson has been happily married to his wife, Lora, for 26 years, and they have three children and two beloved dogs. While he enjoys being called judge, he loves being called Dad even more.
• Circuit Judge Since 2010
• Presides mainly over chancery and commercial cases
• Former Chairman, Ill. S. Court Rules Committee
• Former Illinois Supreme Court law clerk
• Named 2018 “Judicial Officer of the Year” by the Illinois State Crime Commission
• Profiled in “The Face of Chicago Business”
• Former Director, The Lawyers’ Trust Fund
• Recognized as one of the “40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch” (2010)
• Previously recognized as a “Rising Star” among Illinois Lawyers by SuperLawyers
• LLM, Judicial Studies, Duke Law School
• JD, University of Illinois-Chicago
• MBA, University of Notre Dame
• MS, University of Illinois-Springfield
• BS, Illinois State University