2012 – Cynthia A. Wilson

Cynthia WilsonCynthia Wilson has improved access to justice, promoted legal ethics and encouraged public service throughout her career. First as a private attorney, then as a legal aid attorney, and now in her many roles at Northwestern University School of Law, Cindy has inspired countless students to incorporate public interest work into their careers.

Cindy began her career at the law firm that Leonard Schrager helped found: Sachnoff, Schrager, Jones, Weaver and Rubenstein (now Reed Smith, LLC). There, Cindy litigated not only for her private clients, but began her long dedication to civil rights by handling a variety of pro bono cases. During this time, she also took a year to clerk for the Honorable Seymour Simon of the Illinois Supreme Court and began her career at Northwestern as an Adjunct Professor of Legal Ethics. In 1990, Cindy decided to pursue her passion for civil rights full-time. She became Director of the Employment Opportunity Project at the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, where she represented individuals in employment discrimination cases. Cindy also enhanced opportunities for low-income workers through collaboration with community organizations and by advocating for policy changes on issues affecting poor and minority workers.

In 2000, Cindy joined Northwestern on a full-time basis, and since that time has used her experience and expertise to mentor and educate students and help them to launch their own professional careers. She is currently a Clinical Associate Professor, the Director of the Bluhm Legal Clinic Center on Externships, and a Public Interest Advisor. Cindy not only has made an impact on her students individually, she is also recognized nationally as an influential leader on public interest internships, externships and careers. Throughout her varied and impressive career, and now as a teacher, mentor and advisor, Cindy has engendered a commitment to justice both in her students and in the larger legal community.