In October 2010, Justice Kilbride was elected Chief Justice of the state’s high court. During his term as Chief Justice, Kilbride carved out a legacy that was notable in several respects, including boosting public access to the court system, increasing transparency of court proceedings, and accelerating the court’s use of digital technology to improve public access and court administration efficiency.
In appreciation for Kilbride’s advocacy for cameras in the courtroom, the Illinois News Broadcasters Association in 2012 awarded him its “Illinoisan of the Year Award.” “Tom Kilbride will leave behind a more accessible Illinois court system when his three-year term as Chief Justice of the supreme court draws to a close next week.” (“Kilbride pushed court reform while serving as Chief Justice,” Eric Timmons, Oct. 20, 2013, Moline Dispatch / Rock Island Argus.)
In another description of Justice Kilbride’s tenure as Chief Justice, credit was given to Kilbride for modernizing the state’s high court. “In his three-year tenure heading the state’s high court, Kilbride may be best known for his work to modernize it. He pushed Illinois trial courtrooms to tolerate cameras, digitize records, and open up the legal process to low-income citizens…”. (“Kilbride closes out time as chief,” Andrew Maloney, Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.)