Better Angels Award

The Family Law and Policy Program partners with the U of I Family Law Society to honor caring professionals who bring compassion to cases that can be fraught with strife.  The Better Angels Award is named after a quote from President Abraham Lincoln: “We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched … by the better angels of our nature.” (Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, March 1861).


Judge Jane Waller

Judge Jane Waller
On April 2, 2018 Judge Jane Waller was honored as the second recipient of the Better Angels Award for her commitment and service to families.

Arnold Blockman

Judge Arnold Blockman
On October 18, 2016 the Family Law and Policy Program and Family Law Society presented Judge Arnold Blockman with the inaugural Better Angels Award for his steadfast compassion for the family.


Our inaugural honoree in 2017, Judge Arnold Blockman (Retired),  presided over the family law division in Champaign County, Illinois from 2000 until his retirement from the bench in 2017. In November of 1996 he was elected as a circuit judge in the 6th Judicial Circuit. He was appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court to be a member of the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Civil Jury Instructions and served on that committee from 1979 to December of 1996. Judge Blockman is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Since March of 2004 he has been appointed by the Illinois Supreme Court as a faculty member for the Illinois Judicial Conference Seminar Series and the Illinois Judicial Education Conference. As an adjunct member of our Faculty since 2007, teaching Family Law Practice, Judge Blockman introduced more than 300 students to some of the intricacies of family law practice.

In 2018, Judge Jane Waller received the Better Angels Award for bringing compassion to a judicial career spanning nearly 28 years in the Circuit Court of Lake County, Illinois.  The first female judge in Lake County, Judge Waller served a term as Chief Judge of the Circuit.  For 10 years she also served as the Chief Presiding Judge of the Family Court where she was instrumental in initiating programs designed to assist divorcing couples resolve disputes without litigation. During her tenure on the bench, she created the first parent education program for divorcing parents of minor children, she supervised the court ordered civil arbitration program, and she was the chairperson of a steering committee that established KIDS’ KORNER, a waiting room for children at the courthouse to spare them the pain and hostility of attending court proceedings affecting their families.