The Illinois Supreme Court announced the appointment of Erika Harold as the new Executive Director of the Commission on Professionalism effective April 11, 2022. Ms. Harold succeeds the retiring Jayne Reardon, who has served as Executive Director since 2009.
“On behalf of my fellow Commissioners, I am thrilled to welcome Erika Harold as our next Executive Director,” said Martin Sinclair, Chair of the Commission on Professionalism. “Erika has served on the Commission’s Executive Committee and led our communications and outreach efforts for years, resulting in a strong presence for our professionalism programming throughout Illinois and nationally. Her demeanor inside and outside of her practice exemplifies professionalism and we are confident that, under her leadership, the Commission will continue to deliver innovative educational programming and resources to lawyers and judges in Illinois.”
Most recently, Ms. Harold was a commercial 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, she 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 in matters involving First Amendment protections.
Ms. Harold is licensed to practice by the Supreme Court of Illinois and the United States District Courts for the Northern and Central Districts of Illinois. She has served as a commissioner on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism since 2017.
“Erika Harold is a leader in legal professionalism and has played a significant role in guiding the Commission’s educational programming and communications strategy,” said Justice Mary Jane Theis, Supreme Court liaison to the Commission on Professionalism. “She will build upon the strong foundation laid by Jayne Reardon and continue to embrace novel educational practices that promote civil, effective and equitable legal and judicial systems.”
Ms. Harold has served on the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Equality since 2015. She 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.
“I am invigorated and grateful for this opportunity to serve the legal community and its stakeholders through the Commission on Professionalism,” Ms. Harold said. “Having served as a commissioner since 2017, I have seen the Commission grow into one of the nation’s leading professionalism organizations. I join this strong team with great anticipation about what we can accomplish together to further professionalism, integrity and inclusion in the legal profession, resulting in more effective legal services for the people of Illinois.”
Ms. Harold 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.
She is a nationally recognized advocate of bullying prevention efforts and has spoken to more than 100,000 students about combating peer-to-peer harassment.
Ms. Harold’s appointment is the result of an extensive, nationwide search conducted by an Executive Search Committee made up of Commissioners. The Executive Search Committee retained the services of a prominent legal recruiting firm to aid in the search for a new Executive Director. Per Illinois Supreme Court Rule 799(d)(1), the Commission on Professionalism’s decision to appoint Ms. Harold as Executive Director was approved by the Supreme Court.
The Commission on Professionalism is charged by Illinois Supreme Court Rule 799 with promoting among both lawyers and judges in Illinois greater integrity, professionalism, and civility; to foster a commitment to the elimination of bias and divisiveness within the legal and judicial systems; and to ensure those systems provide equitable, efficient and effective service to the citizens of Illinois.
The Commission does so through continuing legal education and professionalism programming (often in collaboration with law schools, bar associations and other legal organizations), a statewide lawyer-to-lawyer mentoring program, an active blog, and other educational-focused initiatives, including its annual The Future Is Now: Legal Services conference. To learn more, visit 2civility.org.