Lori Lightfoot, JD’89, elected mayor of Chicago

Lori Lightfoot, JD’89, won Chicago’s mayoral runoff election Tuesday night, becoming the city’s first African American female mayor and its first openly gay mayor.

Lightfoot will be the city’s first mayor with a degree from the University of Chicago.

"On behalf of the University of Chicago community, I congratulate Mayor-elect Lightfoot on her election, and I wish her every success in leading our city," said President Robert J. Zimmer. "We are proud of her as an alumna of our Law School, and we are looking forward to working together with Mayor Lightfoot and her administration to help address some of the most important issues facing our city for the benefit of all its residents."

Lightfoot has worked as a federal prosecutor, a senior equity partner in Mayer Brown’s Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group, president of the Chicago Police Board, chair of Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force, chief of staff and general counsel of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, among other positions. She also has served on the Law School’s Visiting Committee, an advisory group now called the Law School Council.

"Lori has been a tremendous mentor and advocate for our students," said Law School Dean Thomas J. Miles, the Clifton R. Musser Professor of Law and Economics. "Lori already has a distinguished record of public leadership in the city, and it is exciting to see her become the first graduate of the Law School to serve as the mayor of Chicago. We are proud of all our graduates who give to public service, and it is particularly inspiring to have, in Lori, a graduate leading our city."

Lightfoot attended the Law School on a full scholarship, and served as the president of the Law Students Association. While a law student, she played a key role in advocating for a law firm to be banned from on-campus interviewing for a year after one of the firm’s interviewers made racist and sexist comments to an African American woman student.

Lightfoot’s mayoral victory came in a runoff contest against fellow University of Chicago graduate Toni Preckwinkle, AB’69, MAT’77. Lightfoot and Preckwinkle were the top two vote-getters in a field of 14 candidates in the February general election.

Click here to learn more about Lightfoot’s time at the University of Chicago Law School.

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