Stewart, of the Law Office of Ava George Stewart in Chicago, works tirelessly to promote equal justice for all, particularly black and brown people impacted by the criminal justice system. She has a deep commitment to integrated, cross-disciplinary legal advocacy, to best serve community needs in the City of Chicago, Cook and adjacent counties, and across the state.
Stewart’s focus has been primarily criminal justice, having served as both a defense attorney and a prosecutor. Additionally, she teaches Lawyering Skills at the University of Illinois Chicago Law School. Leading by example in two challenging emergency pandemic years, she provided over 120 hours to Women Everywhere: Partners in Service Project. As a member of WE’s Board of Directors, she has been a staunch advocate for the focus of Education Days in courthouses throughout the city exclusively on girls from Chicago Public Schools. She has increased financial contributions for WE through GoFundMe and obtained private foundation dollars. In 2022, she was elected President of the Board of Directors of Women Everywhere.
Previously, Stewart served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago. She remains deeply committed to actively assisting members, especially young attorneys, and law students. She cochaired BWLA’s Solo and Small Firm Committee and was a member of BWLA’s Scholarship Board of Directors.
Stewart has been an active member of the Illinois State Bar Association for her entire legal career. She served as Secretary of the ISBA Board of Governors from 2020 – 2021, as Treasurer from 2021 – 2022, and for a sixth term on the Scope and Correlation Committee. In addition to speaking on and writing numerous legal articles in the areas of criminal justice and women’s issues, she serves as ISBA Board Liaison to a host of ISBA Committees.
In 2021, Stewart completed five years of volunteer service to the Illinois Bar Foundation as a member of the Board of Directors. At the start of the pandemic, she championed for the IBF to swiftly develop a COVID relief fund for struggling lawyers; over $50,000 was provided to individuals in the first few months of Illinois’ shelter-in-place Executive Order in the Spring of 2020.
Stewart has volunteered her time to IICLE® since 2016 and helped develop the organization’s five-year strategic plan.
In addition to her BA degree from Northwestern University, she obtained a MS in Managerial Communication from Northwestern University and a JD from the University of Illinois College of Law.
Outside of the legal community, Stewart has been a Cook County Master Gardener for over a decade. Master Gardeners must complete a rigorous academic curriculum on botany, successfully pass an exam, volunteer over 60 hours in their initial year of service and 30 hours per year thereafter. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of Chicago’s Green City Market since 2020. She is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.