Jennifer Hightower joined Hilliard Martinez Gonzales LLP in 2021, serving as an Attorney within Mass Torts Division.
Prior to joining HMG, Jennifer served on the judicial bench for 4 years where she was assigned to the criminal felony division, presiding over numerous felony and misdemeanor jury and bench trials. In addition, she presided over hearings and trials within the sexually violent persons and civil asset forfeiture dockets, respectively.
Prior to becoming a judge, Jennifer began her legal career as a prosecutor and an attorney at a large national law firm representing injured plaintiffs in toxic tort, catastrophic personal injury, complex class action, and environmental contamination matters.
While pursuing her law degree, Jennifer clerked for the Honorable Amy R. Krause, Michigan Court of Appeals. Jennifer has always been committed to service and volunteerism. In 2014, she co-founded and served as event chair for Second Chance Saturday, an annual county-wide program, where more than 100 judges, lawyers, courthouse personnel and community leaders created a courthouse in a local community. The annual event provided more than 500 individuals with free legal advice and preparation of documents to expunge or seal past criminal offenses, quash warrants and waive fines.
Education: Bachelor of Science from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a Juris Doctorate from Western Michigan University-Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
Licensure: State of Illinois, United States District Courts in the Southern District of IL and the Eastern District of Missouri. State of Texas (reciprocal admission pending)
Selected Continuing Legal Education: Calkins & Lane 40-Hour Illinois Certified Mediation and Arbitration Training (2019); Illinois Supreme Court Judicial Education (2015, 2016, 2018); Illinois Judicial College (selected courses- 2017, 2018)
Jennifer is licensed by the State Bar of Illinois, and is admitted to practice before the United States Southern District of Illinois and the United States Eastern District of Missouri.