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Chief Legal Counsel 

William Barnes | Chief of Legal Counsel William Barnes - Chief Legal Counsel

William Barnes has served as chief legal counsel for the Illinois Department of Corrections since 2012. He has prior experience in civil litigation with experience in general corporate and complex tort actions. 

In addition to his position as chief legal counsel for IDOC, Mr. Barnes has supervisory authority over the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Division as well as the Department’s Office of Intergovernmental Relations.

He holds a both a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and a Juris Doctorate from Northwestern University School of Law. 

Legal Services

The mission of Legal Services is to provide department administrators with legal advice and counsel on an array of issues, coordinate legal representation with the Office of the Attorney General, review proposed legislation, assist assistant attorneys general with discovery and case management, train staff on legal issues, respond to correspondence, handle Human Rights matters and a host of other various assignments.

The department attorneys address issues involving staff, inmates, personnel, fiscal, medical and numerous other areas. The attorneys are full-time dedicated professionals, who strive to provide proper guidance to the department in a manner that will assure offenders of their constitutional right.