Diversity Leadership Award
The Diversity Leadership Award recognizes long-standing, continuing, and exceptional commitment by an individual or an organization to the critical importance of diversity within the Illinois legal community, its judiciary and within the Illinois State Bar Association.
Congratulations to the 2017 winner, Chief Judge Michael Evans, and the 2018 winner, Troy Riddle.
Chief Judge Michael Evans
By William Borah
The litigation section of the Illinois Human Rights Commission has the statutory responsibility to enforce the Illinois Human Rights Act throughout Illinois. Chief Judge Michael Evans started with the Commission in January 1991 as one of its judges. He was promoted to deputy chief administrative law judge in 2004. In 2005, he became chief judge.
As a judge he has presided over 300 cases on virtually every aspect of the Illinois Human Rights Act. Some of his decisions became the basis of Illinois legal precedent. For example, Chief Judge Michael Evans wrote the first decision holding cancer to be a disability under the Act (Johnson and Lake Point Tower, Ltd.) and the first decision holding HIV-positive status to be a disability (Davis and Raintree Healthcare Center), a case that got to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Judge Evans has administrated hundreds of more cases. He has spoken about the Commission and the Act in a variety of venues, including the Chicago Bar Association, the ISBA, the Kane County Bar Association, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, Loyola University, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, The John Marshall Law School, and McHenry County College.
Judge Evans is long overdue to be publicly acknowledged as a statewide adjudicator of the Illinois Human Rights Act, a learned writer of precedent-setting case decisions, and trial judge of complex discrimination cases.
William Borah, an active member of the Illinois State Bar Association, is a past chair of the Labor and Employment Law Section Council. He has been a judge with the Illinois Human Rights Commission since 2009. Prior to his appointment, he spent 27 years in private practice, concentrating in employment law.
By Mark E. Wojcik
Troy Riddle has been the assistant dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion and the chief diversity officer of The John Marshall Law School for almost five years. He brings an abundance of experience and passion to creating a diverse student body at the law school, which will translate to a more diverse bench and bar in Illinois. He frequently conducts programs for diverse high school and college students to encourage them to apply to law school (not only John Marshall, but any of the accredited law schools in Illinois).
Riddle organizes diversity week activities, incorporates diversity issues into the law school experience for students and faculty, and teaches directly and by example the importance and benefits of diversity. The law school and legal community are richer for his contributions. His efforts helped to make the law school one of the most diverse in the country.
Diversity is not something new for Riddle – he has practiced and promoted it his entire career. Riddle previously served as the assistant dean and multicultural affairs officer at Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware, and as the assistant director for diversity initiatives with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), where he was responsible for DiscoverLaw.org content, programming and campus coordinator activities.
Riddle was also instrumental in launching LSAC's Diversity Matters Award, an award that encourages and recognizes the diversity efforts of LSAC's ABA-approved member law schools.
Riddle holds a business degree from Cleary University, a masters of business administration from Philadelphia University, and a law degree from Widener University School of Law.
He is a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), the National Association of Law Student Affairs Professionals (NALSAP), and the Society for Diversity. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools Student Services Section. He is also a candidate to become a Certified Diversity Executive (CDE).
Additional information about Riddle can be found at these links:
Mark E. Wojcik is a professor at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.