U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois

Speaker Bio

Rebecca R. Pallmeyer is the Chief United States District Judge in the Northern District of Illinois. She graduated from Valparaiso University and earned her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. Following a one-year clerkship with Justice Rosalie Wahl of the Minnesota Supreme Court, Rebecca practiced commercial litigation with a Chicago law firm. 

From 1985 until 1991, Rebecca was an administrative law judge with the Illinois Human Rights Commission, a quasi-judicial agency responsible for enforcement of the state's anti-discrimination laws. On Oct. 1, 1991, Rebecca was appointed a United States magistrate judge for the northern district of Illinois. She served as presiding magistrate judge from 1996 until 1998. In 1997, President Clinton nominated her for a seat in the U.S. District Court in Chicago, where she has served since October 1998.  

Rebecca served from 2013 to 2019 as a member of the Committee on Court Administration and Case Management, and since March 2019 she has served on the United States Judicial Conference. She is an honorary fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, and a member of the ALI-CLE Employment and Labor Law Advisory Panel. Since 2006, Rebecca has served on the faculty for the annual ALI-CLE program, Current Developments in Employment Law, held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Rebecca is past president of the Lawyers Club of Chicago; past president and active member of the Richard Linn American Inn of Courts, an Inn focused on intellectual property law; and an active member of the Chicago Bar Association, the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, the Women's Bar Association of Illinois, and the American Bar Association. She is the immediate past secretary to the Labor and Employment Law Section of the American Bar Association.

Rebecca became chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the northern district of Illinois on July 1, 2019. She is the first woman to hold this position.