Mary Jane Theis (February 27, 1949) is an Illinois Supreme Court Justice for the First Judicial District in Cook County, Illinois.
She was born Mary Jane Wendt in Chicago, Illinois, to Eleanore and Kenneth Wendt, a member of the Illinois General Assembly and a longtime judge in Cook County.
She received her bachelor's degree from Loyola University Chicago and her law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law.
Theis was Assistant Public Defender in Cook County from 1974 to 1983.
Theis became a judge in 1983, serving as Associate Judge (1983–1988), Circuit Court Judge (1988–1994), and Appellate Court Judge (1993–2010). The Chicago Tribune endorsed her for election, citing her "universally accepted expertise on judicial ethics, family law, sentencing, fairness." She previously served as Chair for the Illinois Judicial Conference's Committees on Education and Judicial Conduct, as well as on the Illinois Supreme Court's Rules Committee. Her term expires in 2020.
Theis has taught at law schools in Chicago (Loyola University School of Law, Northwestern University School of Law, and the John Marshall Law School) and at Illinois and Chicago bar association conferences and seminars.
Honors and awards
Awards which Theis has received include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois Judges Association, the Mary Heftel Hooten Award from the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, and the Access to Justice Award from the Illinois State Bar Association.
Theis is married to John T. Theis, and they have two children and four grandchildren.