FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Diana C. White

Executive Director
Chicago, IL, USA

Diana is the Executive Director of the LAF (formerly Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago), the largest provider of free legal services to poor people in civil cases in the Chicago area. Diana came to LAF as Deputy Director for Special Projects and Teams in 1997, and was the recipient of LAF’s 2000 Equal Justice Award for her extraordinary legal work in support of LAF’s complex litigation and cases on appeal. She succeeded Sheldon Roodman as Executive Director of LAF in July 2007.

As Executive Director, Diana has spearheaded LAF’s move into one new downtown location and the creation of specialized practice groups, a new client screening unit, and a new Community Engagement Unit, The goal of all these changes is to provide better service, more efficiently, in a time of tight budgets and exploding need.

Diana holds a bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) in classics from Smith College, and a Ph.D. in classics from the University of Chicago. After a change in careers, she graduated with honors from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was a comment editor for the Law Review. She clerked for Hon. Walter J. Cummings, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and then went into private practice, working in several Chicago firms before becoming a partner at Jenner & Block.  There, she did class action litigation, appellate work, and pro bono litigation, including prisoner civil rights cases, guardianships for people with disabilities, special education work, and employment discrimination (for deaf clients). 

Diana is a past member of the Board of Directors and past president 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.

In 2012, Diana received the WBAI’s Esther Rothstein Award.  In 2010, she was honored as a Legal Legend by the Chicago chapter of the American Constitution Society.


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