Erika Harold

Erika Harold

Executive Director

Erika N. L. Harold is the Executive Director of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism. A dedicated advocate for civility, empathy, and inclusion, Erika leads the Commission’s extensive educational programming focused on advancing professionalism among the state’s lawyers and judges to build trust and confidence in the justice system.

Prior to joining the Commission, Erika was a commercial and civil litigation attorney at Meyer Capel, P.C. in Champaign, Illinois, where she represented clients at both the trial and appellate levels and advised clients on matters of statutory and constitutional interpretation.

Earlier in her career, Erika was a litigation attorney at the Chicago offices of Sidley Austin LLP and Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C., where she represented businesses in commercial disputes and advised religious institutions in matters involving First Amendment protections.

Erika is a graduate of Harvard Law School, where she won a Boykin C. Wright Memorial Award for appellate advocacy in Harvard Law School’s prestigious Ames Moot Court Competition. She funded her legal education through the scholarships and appearance fees she earned as Miss America 2003. Ms. Harold has been active in Illinois politics, most recently running a statewide race for Attorney General.

Erika has taught students about the U.S. legal system as part of the Lawyers in the Classroom program, coached students in city-wide mock trial competitions, and served on the teaching faculty of Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop.

Erika is licensed to practice law in Illinois and the United States District Courts for the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois. She served on the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Equality from 2015 to 2022 and was a Commissioner with the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism from 2017 to 2022. Erika also served on the boards of directors of Prison Fellowship and Champaign County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates)

Erika is a member of the American Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Women’s Bar Association on Illinois, and the Black Women Lawyers’ Association of Greater Chicago. She was selected to the 2017 Emerging Lawyers list, earning recognition in the categories of commercial litigation and civil rights/constitutional law.

Erika is a nationally recognized advocate of bullying prevention efforts and has spoken to more than 100,000 students about combating peer-to-peer harassment. In recognition of her advocacy, she was named one of Fight Crime, Invest in Kids’ “Champions for Children” and received a leadership award from the National Center for Victims of Crime.

Erika is a frequent speaker and panelist on topics including professionalism, civility, leadership, and diversity, equity, and inclusion, and was a featured panelist at Fortune Magazine’s “Most Powerful Women, Next Gen” conference.

She received her A.B. in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and as a Chancellor’s Scholar.

Erika was born and raised in Urbana-Champaign and remains a dedicated Illini fan. She roots on her favorite team from her home in Chicago.

Select Publications


Speaking Engagements

  • “Judicial Toolkit: Techniques and Strategies for Combating Incivility and Sexual Harassment,” Circuit Court of Cook County’s New Judge’s Seminar, April 2024.
  • “Civility in the Courtroom: High Stakes, High Pressure, High Drama,” CBA Legal Aid Committee, December 2023.
  • LexCon 23, November 2023.
  • “Legal Deserts: Using Technology to Serve Rural Communities” (moderator), Illinois State Bar Association 2023 Allerton Conference, March 2023.
  • “We Need to Talk: Navigating Challenging Conversations About Diversity,” Illinois Council of School Attorneys, November 2022.
  • “Family Law: Ground Zero for Incivility and Professionalism Challenges” (moderator), University of Illinois College of Law’s Anderson Center for Advocacy and Professionalism, October 2022.
  • “Renewing Illinois Summit,” Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, September 2022.