Lydia A. Karjaka earned her Juris Doctor degree from Michigan State University College of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Criminal Justice from Indiana University where she was awarded the Phi Beta Kappa Key. She is admitted to practice law before the Supreme Court of Illinois and the U.S. Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Ms. Karjaka is a member of the Chicago Bar Association.
In her pursuit for social reform and justice, Ms. Karjaka zealously represented and safeguarded clients in life changing adoptions and minor and adult guardianship hearings in Cook County and other counties in Illinois.
Ms. Karjaka represented stepparents, grandparents as well as unrelated parties in numerous adoptions in Cook County resulting in final orders granted by the court. She has lectured on many occasions throughout Illinois on the use of adoption laws to protect not only adoptive parents and birth parents, but more importantly, to protect adopted children. Ms. Karjaka has spoken before Illinois governmental agencies and professional associations, including educational seminars with the LGBTQ community.
While at the Washtenaw County Public Defender’s Office, Ms. Karjaka served as a guardian ad litem to represent abused and neglected children in juvenile court in her efforts to safeguard the children and protect them from future harm. In addition, Ms. Karjaka successfully shielded minors and adults from abuse in her role as reviewer of guardianships in probate court. She also conducted interviews and in-home investigations to assist courts in determining custody of children.
Throughout academia and the practice of law, Ms. Karjaka has devoted and dedicated her career to promoting and protecting the well-being of children and families.
Memorable Case Victories:
• Ms. Karjaka obtained an adoption order for her client, a proud uncle, thus protecting the welfare and earnings of his niece, a 10-year-old prodigy. The child continues to captivate audiences of all ages with her published fictional book and motivational speeches about leadership and youth.
• As part of her Guardian ad litem duties, Ms. Karjaka was able to navigate a custodial father through seemingly insurmountable bureaucratic red tape to obtain summer day camp funding to benefit his five children.
• As a result of Ms. Karjaka’s thorough child custody investigation, a trial court granted a father joint custody of his son despite accusations that an air gun and knives were in the child’s bedroom. Ms. Karjaka’s investigation protected the child while not uprooting him from an environment the court found to be in his best interests.