In Memoriam: Honorable Harris H. Agnew
Former RSI Executive Committee Chair, Former Chief Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit of Illinois
Honorable Harris H. Agnew was one of the founders of RSI and was the longest-serving Chair of the RSI Executive Committee. During his years with RSI and throughout his judicial career, he worked tirelessly to advance the administration of justice through court ADR. Judge Agnew served as the Chief Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit of Illinois for 11 years, and was a Circuit Judge for a total of 21 years. During his time as Chief Judge, he provided leadership to create a pilot major civil case mediation program for civil cases over $30,000. This was the first major civil mediation program offered in the Illinois court system. Prior to the mediation program, Judge Agnew served as the Supervising Judge of the Mandatory Court-Annexed Arbitration Pilot Program, the first court arbitration program in the state. He retired from the bench in December 1996. In his leadership role with RSI, Judge Agnew helped to develop nearly a dozen civil ADR programs in courts throughout the state. He also served as Chair of the ADR committees of the Illinois Judicial Conference and the Illinois Judges Association. In these positions, he worked with the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts and the Illinois Supreme Court to develop policies and rules to ensure the quality of ADR in the courts.
RSI dedicated its Service to the Community Award to Judge Agnew in 2011, renaming it the Harris H. Agnew Service to Community Award. Judge Agnew was the first recipient of the newly-renamed award in the spring of 2011 in recognition of his commitment to the enhancement of court ADR systems in Illinois. Judge Agnew retired from RSI's Executive Committee in the fall of 2011, after having served as Chair for 12 years. He passed away in December 2011.