Public Interest Law Initiative

2014 Distinguished Public Service Award: Diana C. White, LAF

Posted on: December 4, 2014

White 2013Diana is the Executive Director of LAF, the largest and most comprehensive provider of free legal aid to low-income Cook County residents in civil matters. She has been with LAF since 1997, when she started as Deputy Director for Special Projects and Teams, and became the Executive Director in 2007.

Diana’s commitment to providing high-quality legal services to low-income residents of Cook County comes during a time of tightening budgets and exploding need. As Executive Director, Diana successfully spearheaded LAF’s move into one new downtown office location and created specialized practice groups, a new Client Screening Unit, and a new Community Engagement Unit. Diana has looked outside the legal aid “box” for help with strategic planning and business process analysis.

Diana received her J.D. with honors from The University of Chicago, and clerked for Hon. Walter J. Cummings, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit before going into private practice. She was a partner at Jenner & Block and represented many pro bono clients, including prisoners, children with disabilities and their families, and deaf and hearing-impaired people in the workplace. Her extraordinary legal work in support of LAF’s complex litigation and cases on appeal earned her LAF’s Equal Justice Award in 2000. In 2010 Diana was honored as a Legal Legend by the Chicago chapter of the American Constitution Society, and in 2012 she received the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois’ Esther Rothstein Award. Diana is a past member and president of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice, a member of the Board of Advisors for the Chicago chapter of the American Constitution Society, and a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois, the Chicago Bar Association, and the Chicago Council of Lawyers.

Learn about the recipients of PILI’s other 2014 Awards »

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