Founder, Equal Justice Initiative
Judd Miner is a founding partner at the Chicago-based law firm Miner, Barnhill & Galland, where Barack Obama began his legal career as an associate in 1993. In 1971, after recently completing law school, Miner decided to create a firm that would be racially integrated, a rarity in small firms at the time, and specialize in civil rights and community development law. While Miner, Barnhill & Galland has expanded from its original focus to encompass several other practice areas over the years, Miner maintained specialization in civil litigation, primarily in class actions under the federal and state civil rights laws and the United States Constitution. Miner took a four-year hiatus from the firm in the mid-1980s to serve as Corporation Counsel of the City of Chicago under Mayor Harold Washington and his successor, Eugene Sawyer. Obama was attracted to Miner’s focus on civil rights law and his work with Chicago’s first Black mayor, Harold Washington, and turned down corporate law firm offers to work at Miner, Barhill & Galland. Obama maintained affiliation with the firm from 1993 until his 2004 campaign for US Senate. While Miner is now retired, throughout his career he was a founder and first president of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, served on the Board of Directors for Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, and was a recipient of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee’s Edwin Rothschild Lifetime Achievement Award.