Yesterday the Union League Club of Chicago honored Judge Abner Mikva with its Distinguished Public Service Award. Judge Mikva is currently the senior director of the University of Chicago Law School’s Mandel Legal Aid Clinic. Chicago personal injury attorney Robert Kreisman was in attendance as he had served as a member of the Union League Club committee which was responsible for nominating Judge Mikva for this prestigious award.
The Union League Club’s Distinguished Service Award was created in 1955 and is given to individuals who have made a substantial contribution to either civic or public service. The award is not given annually as it takes a truly outstanding individual to warrant this honor. Past Distinguished Public Service Awards have been given to retired Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Ann McMorrow, George N. Leighton, a former U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of Illinois; and the late Judge Abraham Lincoln Marovitz, who served on the federal bench in Chicago.
Judge Mikva received his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School and was admitted to the Illinois Bar in 1959. Following his Illinois bar admission, Judge Mikva began his legal career by clerking for the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sherman Minton.
In the course of his career Judge Mikva has served on all branches of the federal government, working to promote civil rights and reduce segregation and prejudice in education, employment, and housing. He served on the legislative branch from the 1960’s through the 1970’s as a member of the House of Representatives for Chicago’s 10th District. He then served on the executive branch when he became legal counsel to former President Bill Clinton. In addition, he served 15 years on the judicial branch as a federal appellate court judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which included a stint as chief judge.
In addition to his active work in the public sector, Judge Mikva and his wife, Zoe, have created The Mikva Challenge, an initiative to engage Chicago area students in the political process. The non-partisan civic program encourages Chicago youth to become engaged in politics by volunteering for political campaigns, serving as election judges, and promoting local activism projects focused on improving local schools and communities. The program has reached more than 5,000 students over the years.
At the luncheon, some of Judge Mikva’s colleagues and admirers spoke about his accomplished career and important contributions to public and civil service. University of Chicago’s Professor Geoffrey Stone was one of the speakers. Both Professor Stone and Judge Mikva had served as Editor-In-Chief for the University of Chicago’s Law Review. Brian Brady, the Executive Director of The Mikva Challenge, also spoke about his colleague’s career accomplishments.
Personal injury attorney Robert Kreisman of Chicago’s Kreisman Law Offices has been handling Illinois personal injury lawsuits for over 30 years, serving areas in and around Cook County, including Cicero, Blue Island, Evanston, and Wheeling.
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