Judge Levander “Van” Smith, Jr.

Judicial Experience

Circuit Court of Cook County, Circuit

Judge Levander “Van” Smith, Jr. with his
family at swearing-in ceremony.
  • Appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court as Judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County, effective February 8, 2019.
  • Currently assigned to the County Department in Domestic Violence Court.  Previously assigned to the First Municipal District at the Richard J. Daley Center, hearing traffic court cases. 


  • Illinois Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS)
    • Regional Counsel, 1993 – 2000
    • Represented DCFS daily in juvenile court, motion practice, expungement appeals
    • Supervisory Regional Counsel, 2011 – 2015
    • Helped conduct juvenile court in 6 counties, extensive motion practice, second-chaired trials
    • Litigation Attorney/Supervisor, September 2015 – 2019
    • Represented DCFS in administrative hearings, co-train child protection and management
  • St. Louis County
    Prosecutor, 2000 – 2003
    • Represented juvenile court officers in child protection & delinquency prosecutions
  • Cook County State’s Attorney’s
    Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney, 2003-2004
    • Trials, depositions, Termination of Parental Rights and extensive discovery and motion practice
  • Cordell & Cordell, P.C.
    Associate Attorney, 2005
    • Litigated simple to complex domestic relations cases in multiple Southern Illinois counties
  • Office of Attorney General of Missouri
    Assistant Attorney General, 2006 – 2011
    • Workers Compensation hearings (defense), Court of Appeals, weekly depositions



  • J.D., University of Kansas School of Law, 1991
  • B.S.B.A., Washington University, St. Louis, MO, 1985

Professional Membership and Licenses and Certification

  • Admitted to Illinois State Bar, 1993; Admitted to Missouri State Bar, 1999; U.S. District Court (MO, Eastern District), 2008
  • Arbitrator Certification, Cook County, 2004
  • Member of Illinois State Bar Association, Administrative Law Committee, 2016-2018
  • Member Lesbian & Gay Bar Association of Chicago, JEC Committee, 2016, Board of Directors, 2018-present
  • Cook County Bar Association, Chair of LGBTQ Section, 2016-2017, Board of Directors, 2018-present
  • Chicago Bar Association member & Lend-A-Hand Tutoring Volunteer, 2017-2019
  • Volunteer evaluator for High School Mock Trial Competition, Markham, IL, 2019
  • Illinois Judicial Council, member and volunteer, 2019

Bar Association Evaluations

  • Found Qualified or Recommended by all evaluating bar associations