2017 – Trisha M. Rich

Since beginning her career in 2005, Trish Rich has worked tirelessly to improve the legal profession, the justice system, and our community. The breadth and sheer volume of her accomplishments at this stage are impressive, and clearly demonstrate a deeply rooted passion for making our profession the best it can be.

Trish already has established herself as an expert in the field of legal ethics and professional responsibility matters. As one of her nominators put it: “Trish is a leader in the professional responsibility field and an evangelist for the highest standards of professionalism.”

Trish has contributed more than 2,200 hours of pro bono work in her first 12 years of practice, working for an array of groups that include Lawyers for the Creative Arts, the National Immigrant Justice Center and the ACLU. Trish also founded and coordinates the Attorney Defense Initiative, the first pro bono initiative of its kind in the country that focuses on assisting impaired lawyers facing disciplinary charges.

Beyond her pro bono work, Trish has taken leadership roles on a myriad of committees through the CBA and other bar groups, authored numerous publications, and taught as an adjunct professor at Northwestern and DePaul Universities. The Illinois Supreme Court recently appointed her to serve on the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism. Trish also was at the forefront of the successful recent efforts to amend the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct to make harassment and discrimination in a number of forms a violation of the Rules.

In addition to her professional activities, Trish is also deeply involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and tutors fourth graders in reading and math.

Trish’s intense drive to improve the justice system as a young lawyer has made a huge impact, helping countless individuals and making our community a better place in the process. She exemplifies the ideals of our profession that the Weigle Award represents.