Illinois Judges Association

Pro Bono Spotlight - February 2024

This month the Illinois Judges Association is honored to highlight the Honorable April G. Troemper.  Judge Troemper grew up in the small, rural community of Edinburg, where she graduated Salutatorian and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed.”  First in her entire family to advance past high school, Judge Troemper is grateful for her modest and humble beginnings. Her structured and disciplined childhood that was grounded in faith helped her realize her true passion of helping others, which set her on her quest to become a lawyer and eventually a judge.

Judge Troemper earned her Associate’s degree from Lincoln Land Community College, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in political science from Eastern Illinois University, and Juris Doctorate degree from Southern Illinois University School of Law. In college and law school, Judge Troemper was president of the pre-law honorary society, served on student government as the supreme court chief justice and senator, was captain and coach of the mock trial and national trial competition teams, pledge class president, sorority parliamentarian, and legal research and writing teaching assistant. Following law school, she worked for the law firms of Graham & Graham, Ltd., Heyl Royster, and Sorling Northrup, focusing on medical/nursing home malpractice, personal injury, consumer fraud, civil rights violations, toxic tort, defamation, guardianships, mediation, and appeals.

In 2009, Judge Troemper was appointed as an Associate Circuit Court Judge.  In 2015, she was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to fill an at-large Circuit Judge vacancy in the 7th Circuit.  In 2016, Judge Troemper earned a full term as an at-large Circuit Judge following a contested election covering six counties (Sangamon, Macoupin, Morgan, Jersey, Greene, and Scott).  In 2022, Judge Troemper was retained for another 6-year term. She currently presides over all civil matters, guardianships of minors and disabled adults, orders of protection, conflict felony cases, foreclosures, miscellaneous remedies, and Drug Court, which she finds to be one of the highlights of her career.  In Drug Court, she gets to know the participants on a one-on-one basis and helps guide them through their addictions to a life of sobriety through a collaborative team approach with other community partners and provides either rewards and incentives, positive therapeutic responses, and/or sanctions that may include jail time.

During Judge Troemper’s legal and judicial careers, one could say she never slows down. While she always makes her family a top priority, she also realizes the importance of sacrificing her time for her profession and her community. She said “it’s the least I can do given the countless hours my mentors and others have given to make our profession what it is today, to which we have all benefitted.”   Within her community of Springfield, Illinois where she, her husband, and two adult children reside, Judge Troemper has served in a number of leadership/volunteer roles, including:  Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) – past vice president; High School Booster Club Board Member and past Secretary; Springfield Metropolitan Exposition and Auditorium Authority (SMEAA) – past elected board member; Junior League of Springfield (past member); volunteer for The Matthew Project (which helps homeless children), West Side Christian Church, South Side Christian Church, Harvard Park School and Feitshans Academy School Makeover Projects, Salvation Army bell ringer; food drives, and many others.  As to the elementary school makeovers, this project focused on improving the internal and external appearances of schools in low-income neighborhoods. “It was so rewarding to see the young children smile. They felt valued. They felt loved. They felt they mattered.”

As to her professional leadership and volunteer roles, we may need at least 5 extra pages because her commitment has been endless, so we will just highlight a few of her key contributions over the years. Currently, Judge Troemper serves on the Illinois Judicial Ethics Committee’s Board of Directors (IJEC), which was actively involved in drafting and overhauling the Illinois Judicial Code of Conduct; is Vice-President of the Illinois Judges Foundation (which is the charitable arm of the Illinois Judges Association); current Chair of ISBA’s Bench & Bar Section Council; Vice-Chair of ISBA’s Judicial Advisory Polls outside of Cook County; Member of the Illinois Courts Commission (alternate); Judicial Education Conference – Course Supervisor for Campaign Ethics and Safety & Security; 4th District’s Representative for IJA’s Education Committee; IJA’s President’s Reception planning committee; New Judge Mentor for 7th Circuit; and Judicial Performance Evaluations Facilitator, in addition to currently serving on a number of other sub-committees.  She previously served on ISBA’s Board of Governors and Assembly, the Illinois Bar Foundation’s Board of Directors, and has been recognized for creating the first Judicial Reception while serving as President of the Central Illinois Women’s Bar Association in 2003 which just celebrated its 20th anniversary.  She also served as past President of the Sangamon County Bar Association, Lincoln-Douglas Inn of Court, and Profession of Leadership Foundation.

In addition to serving in leadership roles, Judge Troemper has taught various courses at the Judicial Education Conference and New Judges School regarding civil law, and judicial branch harassment policy; served on the panel for Clifford Law Offices Annual CLE – Refresher in Ethics of Trial Work in a Courtroom; and has taught a variety of other courses on behalf of other bar associations and organizations on topics ranging from Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act, Violence in the Home, Guardianship of Minors, Ethical Issues of Social Media/Networking, Ex Parte Communications, and Rules of Evidence, to name a few.

Judge Troemper has also been the keynote speaker for Bar Admissions Ceremonies, Springfield Business Journal’s 15 Under 15 Small Business Awards, SIU’s Women in Leadership Conference, Southern Illinois Trauma Center’s (SITC) Trauma Nurse Specialist Course, and a number of other civic organizations where she has discussed her role as a judge and the judicial branch of government. In addition, Judge Troemper has authored several published articles and has been instrumental in helping to promote access to justice for self-represented litigants by drafting a variety of standardized forms with information packets in her circuit. 

The IJA is not the only one to recognize Judge Troemper’s good work and countless sacrifices over the years, and we congratulate her for also previously receiving Eastern Illinois University’s Outstanding Graduate Alumni Award, the Springfield Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Business Leader Award, and the Parent Place’s Champions for Children Award.

Judge Troemper wakes up every day and is grateful for the opportunity to be a public servant. Not once does she take her job for granted or the enormous responsibility that it entails. She said that her goal in life has always been to make a difference and inspire others. She loves helping families and those struggling through hard times. However, she is also an enforcer of the law, does all she can to promote public trust in our judicial system, and expects those who appear before her to be prepared and respectful.

Through Judge Troemper’s example, we all should be encouraged to do more, to be more, to give more.