Return to Main Speakers’ Page

Chris DonnellyJudge Donnelly comes from Chicago, Illinois. He graduated from Loyola University in 1978 with undergraduate degrees in Theology and History. He married his college sweetheart Donna a month after graduation and became a high school teacher. Three years later, he went to law school full time while continuing to teach. During law school, two of his three children were born. He graduated law school and became an attorney in 1985.

After law school, Judge Donnelly became a prosecutor in the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s. During his near decade long career there he prosecuted practically every type of criminal activity while litigating hundreds of felony bench trials and over 90 jury trials to verdict. In 1994, he successfully ran for the position of Circuit Court Judge in Cook County, defeating six others. At the time, he was the youngest judge in Cook County.

Upon taking the bench, Judge Donnelly was initially assigned to the Juvenile Justice Division, hearing cases involving youngsters accused of committing crimes. While there, he was involved in creating new and innovative programs. He also gained notoriety from the press and some bar groups by leading Bible studies in the Juvenile Detention Center with the youngsters who were awaiting trial.

In 2000, Judge Donnelly was transferred to a suburban courthouse where he presided over felony and misdemeanor cases until retirement in 2013. During that time he started and led a Bible study that met continuously at a local church from 2001 until 2013. He also became his church’s mid-week Bible teacher from 2006 to the present. In 2013 he was selected to sit on the Board of Directors of the Southside Pregnancy Center in Oak Lawn, Illinois.

Since leaving the bench in 2013, Judge Donnelly joined the staff of Restoration Ministries, a Christian based drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. He worked there as a counselor from October, 2013 until September 2014.

In December 2014, Judge Donnelly was invited to join Life Training Institute. His experiences have served him well as he is a dynamic and powerful speaker for the pro-life cause.