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Winnebago County will transition to efileIL for all Civil Filings effective August 30, 2018.

The current FCE E-filing portal used by attorneys will no longer be available on August 29th at 5:00 pm.   All users will be required to efile in civil cases from an approved provider.  Service providers may be found at 

August 21, 2018 Press Release from Winnebago County Circuit Clerk Thomas A. Klein 

efiling Training Registration    


17th Circuit Selects Debra D. Schafer as New Associate Judge Print E-mail

Marcia M. Meis, Director of the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts, and Joseph G. McGraw, Chief Judge of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit Court, are pleased to announce that the 17th Circuit Judges voted to select local attorney Debra D. Schafer as Associate Judge of the 17th Judicial Circuit.  This associate judge vacancy was created as result of the retirement of Associate Judge Fernando L. Engelsma.  Ms. Schafer will take her oath of office on Monday, December 11, 2017.

Commenting on the selection, Chief Judge Joseph G. McGraw stated, “Ms. Schafer is a talented and respected attorney with twenty-six years of legal experience. Her extensive trial experience and professional demeanor makes her well suited for judicial office.  We look forward to her service as a judge within the Seventeenth Circuit Court.”

Ms. Schafer received her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Illinois State University in 1988, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Illinois in 1991.  Ms. Schafer served as an assistant state’s attorney in the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office between 1991 and 1996. In 1996, she joined the law firm of Sreenan & Cain, P.C. where she focused her practice on state and federal criminal defense.  In May 2017, Sreenan & Cain, P.C. was reorganized as Schafer DeRango & Cain, LLP, recognizing Ms. Schafer as a partner of the firm.

The Winnebago County Bar Association, Boone County Bar Association and the Illinois State Bar Association conducted a poll of local attorneys to evaluate candidates for this associate judge position.  Ms. Schafer received the highest rating of any of the 27 applicants, with 86.66% of respondents finding that she met requirements of the office.  The poll evaluates candidates in areas including legal ability, integrity, and impartiality.

In addition to her law practice, Ms. Schafer has served as an adjunct professor at Northern Illinois University College of Law since 2008.  She currently teaches Advanced Trial Advocacy and has helped coach several teams of law students in scholastic trial competitions. Ms. Schafer has also served as a volunteer mentor in connection with the court’s Lawyer to Lawyer Mentoring Program.

Debra Schafer is a member of the Winnebago County Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, the Trial Bar for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Press Release PDF


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