Lisa Madigan

Winter 2019 Resident Fellow

Attorney General of Illinois

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Lisa Madigan served as Illinois Attorney General from 2003 to 2019 and was the first woman elected to the role. Madigan is the longest serving Attorney General in Illinois’ history and the longest serving female Attorney General in the country.

Recognized for her leadership and integrity, Lisa Madigan brought a high level of activism to the Office of Attorney General. From her first days in office, she demonstrated principled leadership, putting policy before politics and focusing her work as the state’s top legal advocate on protecting the people and communities of Illinois.

Under Madigan’s direction, the Attorney General’s office collected over $14 billion for the state.

Madigan had more than 150 bills signed into law, including groundbreaking laws to protect consumers from predatory lending, ensure citizen access to government meetings and records, strengthen the rights of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors, provide access to health care, safeguard the environment, protect nursing home residents from abuse and children from exploitation online, and strengthen the rights of workers and veterans.

Madigan’s Consumer Protection Division established a national reputation for aggressively safeguarding consumers from financial fraud and discrimination in mortgage, student, and payday lending. Attorney General Madigan was a lead negotiator in the $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement with the nation’s largest banks. Overall, her legal actions in response to the financial crisis delivered nearly $4 billion in relief for Illinois homeowners, communities and pension funds.  

The Attorney General’s efforts to protect women, children and seniors also garnered national attention. She advocated for stronger laws to protect women and children from sexual violence, and made Illinois the first state to mandate testing sexual assault evidence kits and require standards to respond to sexual assault on college campuses and in emergency rooms. The Attorney General championed tougher sanctions against sexual predators, led a statewide task force to investigate online child exploitation, and overhauled the criminal justice response to sexual assault crimes.

Madigan created the first-ever Public Access Counselor and strengthened the state’s sunshine laws, and she created a Public Integrity Unit to investigate fraud, waste and abuse in government.

Attorney General Madigan successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. She regularly testified before Congress on mortgage and student lending, for-profit schools, data security and breaches, sexual assault, LGBTQ rights, and consumer issues including, telephone bill cramming, unsafe children’s products, and energy. The U.S. State Department appointed her to serve on the U.S. delegation before the United Nations Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review to discuss state-level human rights issues.

Before serving as Attorney General, Madigan was an Illinois Senator and worked as a litigator for a Chicago law firm. Prior to becoming an attorney, she worked as a college administrator, teacher and community advocate. Madigan also volunteered as a high school teacher in South Africa during apartheid.

Madigan earned her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and her J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She and her husband, Pat Byrnes, have two daughters.