2017 – Howard M. Rubin

As he nears retirement after an illustrious 46-year career as a lawyer—the last 40 of which have been at the DePaul College of Law—Professor Howard Rubin is duly recognized for his exemplary professionalism, his commitment to the next generation of lawyers, and his dedication to improving the justice system. Howard has led by example throughout his career, which included stints as a lawyer in private practice and legal aid and as an Administrative Law Judge before heading up DePaul’s Legal Clinic and serving in many other roles at the law school.

Howard’s entire career has been marked by his efforts to improve access to justice. As a new lawyer, he co-founded the Prison Legal Services project, offering free legal services to Illinois’s incarcerated population. In 1974, he was appointed the first Chief Administrative Law Judge responsible for all Illinois employment discrimination cases, where he served until taking on his first role at DePaul.

Howard’s inspirational career is highlighted by his work at DePaul’s College of Law Legal Clinic. During his 22 years as the Clinic’s Director, Howard led more than 1,200 students in pro bono and public interest cases, teaching the importance of justice and respect for every client, regardless of their circumstances or financial resources. Under Howard’s leadership, the Clinic grew significantly, managing an average of 618 cases a year that often were referred to the Clinic by the courts or legal aid organizations. The founders of the Chicago Legal Clinic are just two of many students who were inspired to make pro bono and public service their life’s work. Howard’s impactful mentorship helped to inspire and prepare countless others to make pro bono a central part of their legal careers.

In his time at DePaul, Howard also has served in leadership roles on a variety of legal aid and public service boards and committees, including Chicago Volunteer Legal Services among many others. Throughout his career, Howard has instilled in students and colleagues alike a commitment to professionalism, the importance of treating everyone with respect, and a passion for pro bono work.