Judge Rossana Patricia Fernandez was born and raised in Chicago. She is a graduate of Lane Technical High School (1988) where she was a proud participant of the Marching Band and JROTC where she served as the Drill Platoon Commander. She attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and History with Honors.
Judge Fernandez received her law degree at IIT Chicago Kent College of Law in 1996. While in Law School, Ms. Fernandez was elected as the President of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), Student Chapter, responsible for 52 schools in Region IX; elected President of the Hispanic Law Student Association and served an integral part in establishing the first immigration law course at the school. She was also the first student committee chair for the Latina Lawyers Committee of HLAI.
Judge Fernandez began her career as a civil litigation trial attorney at Galvin, Lowery & Meade where she practiced for 2 ½ years and handled a high-volume case load. Judge Fernandez then joined the law firm of Sanchez & Daniels in January 2000 and became their first Latina Partner in January 2007. In her almost 18 years of practice, Judge Fernandez served as primary trial counsel for many Fortune 500 Companies in both State and Federal courts and was actively involved in the preparation, trial and appeal of an assortment of civil litigation cases. Her extensive litigation experience includes over 100 bench trials, 25 jury trials to verdict, several arbitration hearings and participation in alternative dispute resolution.
Judge Fernandez also served as an Arbitrator for the Cook County Mandatory Arbitration program for 15 years prior to her appointment to the bench. In 2013, Judge Fernandez became an entrepreneur and established her own law practice that she maintained and managed until she was appointed as a full circuit court judge.