Executive Director Erika Harold to be Honored by Women’s Bar Association of Illinois with CBA Vanguard Award

Erika HaroldThe Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to announce that Executive Director Erika Harold will be a 2024 recipient of the Vanguard Award from the Chicago Bar Association (CBA). Harold was selected to receive the award by the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI).

Harold will be presented with the award at the 2024 Vanguard Awards Luncheon on May 14, 2024, at the Union League Club in Chicago.

“On behalf of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, I am thrilled to recognize Erika Harold as a recipient of the Chicago Bar Association Vanguard Award. Erika has demonstrated determination and follow-through in investigating harmful practices that have become norms in the legal profession, like incivility and bullying, and are often targeted at women and traditionally underrepresented attorneys,” said Whitney K. Siehl, WBAI President. “We are proud to count her among our WBAI members and honored to recognize her work, which is making the legal profession more inclusive and effective for lawyers and clients alike.”

The award, presented annually by the CBA in conjunction with local bar associations, honors the individuals and institutions who have made the law and legal profession more accessible to and reflective of the community at large.

“I congratulate Erika Harold and her fellow Vanguard Award recipients on this prestigious honor. In receiving this award, Erika has not only been recognized for her accomplishments, but also for inspiring the Illinois legal community to act,” said John Kim, Chair of the Commission on Professionalism and a 2021 recipient of the CBA Vanguard Award. “In this pursuit, she truly embodies the definition of a vanguard, leading the way to a more inclusive legal profession.”

Other 2024 honorees include Wiley S. Adams, Judge Jerome C. Barrido, Judge Jonathan Clark Green, Janaan Hashim, the Jewish United Fund, Soo Yeon Lee, Judge Patricia Logue (posthumously), Monica Llorente, Mary Melchor, Marvet M. Sweis Drnovsek, Tara M. Raghavan, Judge Joanne F. Rosado, Dean Jennifer L. Rosato Perea, and Nancy Sasamoto.

“I am honored to be recognized by the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois for the CBA Vanguard Award and humbled to be listed alongside so many legal and judicial leaders who are working to make the law and legal profession more accessible for all,” Harold said. “I am deeply grateful for the partnership the Commission on Professionalism has with the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois on important initiatives including addressing bullying in the legal profession, expanding lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring, and advancing a diverse and inclusive profession that supports all attorneys.”

Harold is also a 2024 recipient of the Earl B. Dickerson Award from the Chicago Bar Association, which recognizes and honor minority lawyers and judges whose careers in the law emulate the courage and dedication of Dickerson in making the law the key to justice for all in our society.

As Executive Director, Harold leads the Commission on Professionalism’s extensive educational programming, including virtual and in-person CLEs, focused on advancing civility, integrity, and inclusion among Illinois’ lawyers and judges to build confidence in the justice system.

Before joining the Commission, Harold was a commercial and civil litigation attorney at Meyer Capel, P.C. in Champaign, Illinois, representing clients at the trial and appellate levels in disputes regarding fiduciary and contractual obligations.

Earlier in her career, Harold was a litigation attorney at the Chicago offices of Sidley Austin LLP and Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C., representing businesses in commercial disputes and advising religious institutions on First Amendment issues.

Harold graduated from Harvard Law School, where she won a Boykin C. Wright Memorial Award for appellate advocacy in Harvard Law School’s acclaimed Ames Moot Court Competition. She funded her legal education through the scholarships and appearance fees she earned as Miss America 2003. Harold received a political science degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and as a Chancellor’s Scholar.

Previously, Harold served on the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Equality, as a Commissioner on the Commission on Professionalism, and on the board of Prison Fellowship, a national faith-based nonprofit that serves the incarcerated and advocates for criminal justice reform. Additionally, she served on the boards of Champaign County CASA and Trinity International University.

Committed to educating young people about the legal system, Harold has volunteered with Lawyers in the Classroom, serves on the teaching faculty for Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop, and is on the Steering Committee of Illinois LAW Pathways, the Chicago Bar Association’s partnership with the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession.

She has been active in Illinois politics, running for Attorney General, and was a panelist at Fortune Magazine’s “Most Powerful Women, Next Gen” conference.

Harold often speaks on topics including legal professionalism, access to justice, free speech and civil discourse, civility in legal advocacy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. She is a recognized bullying prevention advocate and has spoken nationally about combating harassment in schools, workplaces, and courtrooms.

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.

Harold is currently leading the Commission on Professionalism’s Bullying in the Legal Profession initiative, which is believed to be one of the first wide-scale research projects in the U.S. on this topic.

About the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism 

The Illinois Supreme Court established the Commission on Professionalism under Supreme Court Rule 799 to promote integrity, professionalism, and civility among the lawyers and judges of Illinois, to foster a commitment to the elimination of bias and divisiveness within the legal and judicial systems, and to ensure those systems provide equitable, effective, and efficient resolution of problems for the people of Illinois.

The Commission achieves this mission through professional responsibility CLE, lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring, legal professionalism programming, educational resources, and more. To learn more, visit and follow us on social media.

Press Contact 

Laura Bagby, Communications Director

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