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Lawyers in the Classroom

About Edward J. Lewis II

Who Was Edward J. Lewis II. Edward?

"Ed Lewis was what most people aspire to be,"
"He was a caring and principled man who also excelled at his profession. He always gave more than he took."

CRFC's Lawyers in the Classroom program is named after former CRFC Board member Edward J. Lewis II. Edward was a brilliant, charismatic, and caring young partner at Jenner & Block LLP who recruited over 100 volunteer attorneys for CRFC's Lawyers in the Classroom program and conducted workshops for teachers at CRFC conferences.

Edward was awarded a bachelor's degree and was Phi Beta Kappa the University of Michigan, where he was also a James B. Angell Scholar and winner of the Barnstrum Award. He was awarded his law degree in 1984 at the University of Chicago Law School and then joined Jenner & Block. While with the firm, Edward participated in numerous community activities. In addition to his efforts with CRFC, he worked with the Midwest Immigrants Rights Center and the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, and he provided pro bono assistance to individuals charged with crimes. In 1994, Edward was honored with the Chicago Bar Association's Maurice Weigle Outstanding Service Award for his work with CRFC and other pro bono activities.

Edward's participation in Lawyers in the Classroom was legendary. For several years he was partnered with teachers and students at Pickard Elementary School in Chicago, which he visited regularly during the school session. He recruited and trained other attorney volunteers to emulate his example and partner with teachers in the Chicago Public Schools through CRFC. He participated in teacher professional development programs to help them make the most of attorney volunteers in their classrooms. And he was a tireless advocate for the children themselves, bringing resources and energy to their lessons and dreams.

Edward was diagnosed with leukemia and died in 1997 at just 37 years of age. "Ed Lewis was what most people aspire to be," said Bernard M. Judge, former vice president and editor of the Law Bulletin and current CRFC Board member. "He was a caring and principled man who also excelled at his profession. He always gave more than he took." He is survived by his wife Jacqueline, his children Samuel, Margot, and Madeline, and his parents James and Helen Lewis.

Edward's dream was to have students from all over the city participate in the CRFC Lawyers in the Classroom program. Today, thanks in no small part to Edward's tremendous efforts, the Lawyers in the Classroom program partners hundreds of attorneys with students and teachers at nearly 100 Chicago area schools. CRFC continues to work to fulfill Edward's dream.

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