2018 – Harold J. Krent
As Dean and Professor at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, Harold Krent has spearheaded several new programs and initiatives designed to increase access to justice, with a particular focus on leveraging technology. Dean Krent joined the Kent faculty in 1994, focusing his scholarship on the many legal aspects of how people interact with the government. Dean Krent’s exemplary leadership both as a Professor and as Dean has paved the way for many law students and new attorneys to advance and promote the promise of equal justice for all.
Described by colleagues as an initiator, innovator, and visionary, Dean Krent has been instrumental both in the advancement of public interest programs and the development of an innovative curriculum for the law school. In his 36 years as a lawyer, he has committed much of his expertise and time to numerous pro bono cases ranging from class action privacy lawsuits to appeals from murder convictions. This commitment and experience has driven him to help countless students understand the importance and value of pro bono and public service in the legal profession.
One of Dean Krent’s most significant access to justice achievements was his leadership, along with Chicago-Kent Professor Ron Staudt, in helping to launch the project that would become Illinois Legal Aid Online (ILAO). Today, ILAO helps over one million people every year by providing user-friendly legal information and resources for lower-income and vulnerable Illinois residents at one central online website.
By strengthening the law school’s J.D. Certificate Program in Public Interest Law, providing guidance to the Externship Program, and supporting and assisting the school’s Center for Access to Justice and Technology, Dean Krent has made many other contributions to improving access to justice for the less fortunate. His integrity and dedication to pro bono service has influenced his law students to go forth and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.