Created to advance professionalism within the legal profession, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism relies on its fourteen commissioners to ensure civility remains a cornerstone of law practice throughout the entire state.
As of January 1, 2017, the Commission on Professionalism welcomed four new commissioners – Judge Alicia Washington, Erika Harold, James DeAno, and Trisha Rich– who were appointed by the state’s Supreme Court Justices in December of last year.
Judge Alicia Washington serves as an associate judge presiding in Traffic Court at the Peoria County Courthouse. As a native to the area, she has made a name for herself in the legal community. Judge Washington was recently named a Woman of Influence in Peoria Magazine‘s InterBusiness Issue. Prior to her judicial appointment, she worked as a civil attorney at Janssen Law Center and at Prairie State Legal Services.
Erika Harold, former Miss America 2003, is well known in the Illinois legal community. Currently, she works as a litigation attorney at Meyer Capel P.C. in Champaign, Illinois where she was born and raised. Prior to this, Harold served as a lawyer in the litigation groups of Sidley Austin LLP and Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C. In addition to her work in the legal community, Erika also has political aspirations. In 2014, she was a candidate for Congress in Illinois’ 13th District and was recognized by the American Conservative Union as one of the “Top 10 Conservatives Under 40”.
James DeAno co-founded the law firm DeAno & Scarry where he currently acts as a managing partner specializing in civil rights and employment law. With more than 30 years of experience representing defendants in civil litigation cases, DeAno brings a lot to the table. He remains active with the Illinois State Bar Association, the DuPage County Bar Association, and the Illinois Defense Counsel. In addition to this, James was also appointed to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Civil Jury instructions, where he served as Chair from 2013 to 2015.
Trisha Rich works as an attorney in the Chicago office of Holland & Knight, practicing litigation, legal ethics, and professional responsibility law. A champion for legal ethics in the profession, Rich is an author of more than 30 published works, serves as an adjunct professor of legal ethics at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, and is a frequent speaker on the subject matter. She also founded and coordinates the Attorney Defense Initiative, a privately sponsored pro bono program that focuses on assisting impaired lawyers facing disciplinary charges.
Illinois Supreme Court Rule 799 lays out the guidelines for selecting Commissioners and the obligations that go with the appointment. The Court handpicks a total of fourteen members to serve on the Commission who each serve three-year terms. These commissioners are selected with regard to their reputations for professionalism and for their past contributions to the bar and local communities.
In the eyes of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s Chair Hon. Debra Walker, each of the four new commissioners will make a great addition to the team:
We are delighted to welcome the new commissioners. Each brings a unique background and perspective that will help guide the work of the Commission.
Each of the new commissioners began their first year of their three-year term earlier this month, replacing former commissioners, Leslie Richards-Yellen, Hon. Kathryn Creswell, Jane DiRenzo Pigott, and Sonni Williams. Though Leslie Richards-Yellen will no longer serve as a Commissioner, she will stay on board as an advisor to the Commission on Professionalism.
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About the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
The Commission on Professionalism was established by the Illinois Supreme Court in September 2005 to foster increased civility, professionalism and inclusion among lawyers and judges in the State of Illinois. By advancing the highest standards of conduct among lawyers, we work to better serve clients and society alike. These duties upheld by the Commission are defined under Supreme Court Rule 799(c). For more information, please visit 2Civility.org, the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s website.