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Using Interpreters in Remote Hearings

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  • Hon. LaGuina Clay-Herron, Circuit Court of Cook County

    Judge Clay-Herron sits in the County Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County where she presides over diverse areas of law including, but not limited to: election cases; adoptions; mental health commitment trials; tax deed cases; real estate taxation cases; and civil asset forfeiture cases. For ten years, Judge Clay-Herron has taught in Cook County’s New Judges School; and since 2016 has been faculty for various Judicial Education Conference and Seminar and received excellent reviews. In July of 2018, Judge Clay-Herron taught Civil Asset Forfeiture to judges in Trinidad, Port of Spain at the request of the National Center for State Courts.

    Prior to taking the bench in 2007, Judge Clay-Herron taught middle school math and science for 17 years in the Chicago Public Schools. She also served as a sole practitioner, Commissioner on the Illinois Court of Claims for seven years where she presided over a multitude of lawsuits filed against the State of Illinois including wrongful death and unjust imprisonment, and a Cook County Arbitrator for the County’s Mandatory Arbitration Program for several years.

    Hon.LaGuina Clay-Herron

  • Hon. Joseph Bruce, 17th Circuit, Winnebago County

    Joseph J. Bruce has been an Associate Circuit Judge for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit since 2006. He received his B.A. from Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1974 and his J.D. from George Washington University Law School, Washington, D.C., in 1977. He is a Peer Reviewer for the Illinois Judicial Benchbook on Domestic Violence and is a member of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Access to Justice Committee to develop standardized domestic relations court forms.

    Judge Bruce served as an Assistant State’s Attorney in DeKalb County, Illinois from 1977-78 and in Winnebago County, Illinois from 1978-1981. He practiced in the law firm of Vella, Sparkman & Bruce from 1981-1989 and was a sole practitioner from 1989-2006. Judge Bruce is a member of the Winnebago County Bar Association and Illinois State Bar Association and is a past president of the Winnebago County Bar Foundation. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Rock River Valley Council of Girl Scouts, United Way of Rock River Valley, Prairie State Legal Services and Illinois Legal Aid Online. He is a regular participant in the Legal Follies of the Winnebago County Bar Association.

    Hon. Joseph J. Bruce, 17th Circuit

  • Ruth Garcia, Certified Spanish Interpreter

    Ruth Garcia received her Associate Degree from the Official School of Foreign Languages in Málaga, Spain (English, French and Italian). She actively used her language skills throughout her career overseas. She moved to the US in 1998, soon thereafter she discovered the world of interpretation as a professional interpreter.

    After years of experience as a medical interpreter, in-person and remotely, she decided to explore the legal field in 2006, and that lead her to pursue a certification in court interpreting.
    She has been working full time as an independent court interpreter ever since. She also extended her professional services to various fields such as Conference interpreting, business, immigration courts, etc.

    In 2020, she discovered inLingo, a revolutionary remote interpretation company that shares her values as a professional linguist. She became a partner of the company where she covers the role of Director of Quality Assurance & Interpreter Coordinator.

  • Sophia Akbar, Senior Program Manager, Language Access, AOIC

    Sophia N. Akbar is the Senior Program Manager on Language Access at the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts (AOIC). Sophia manages the AOIC interpreter certification program in Illinois and the statewide interpreter registry. Sophia also oversees implementation of the IL Supreme Court Language Access Policy and serves on the Language Access Advisory Board, which enforces the Illinois Code of Interpreter Ethics. Sophia conducts trainings for judges and court personnel to improve and standardize language access practices. Sophia also reviews data collected from the circuit courts to assess the current need for interpreters across Illinois.

    Sophia is an attorney with a background in poverty law and policy implementation. Her prior legal experience involved helping disadvantaged communities access the legal system. Sophia is not trained as an interpreter, but speaks Urdu and has studied Arabic. Having grown up in an immigrant community, she is aware of the challenges language barriers can present to limited English proficient persons. Sophia graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in Public Policy and a minor in Arabic in 2008, and graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 2012.

    Sophia N. Akbar, J.D.
    Senior Program Manager, Language Access
    Access to Justice Division
    Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts
    222 N. LaSalle Street, 13th Floor
    Chicago, IL 60601
    312.793.2013 (office)
    312.772-4064 (work cell)

May 28, 2020
Thu 12:00 PM CDT

Duration 1H 0M

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