CHICAGO, Nov. 9, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The John Marshall Law School will be inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame tonight. It is the first Chicago law school to receive this honor.
The law school, named a "Friend of the Community," is being recognized as a center for LGBT advocacy and scholarship in Illinois and for its work promoting equal rights under the law and diversity.
"The John Marshall Law School is being recognized for its welcoming and supportive atmosphere for LGBT students and faculty, for being a center of scholarship and advocacy for LGBT rights, for persons living with HIV and for the services that the law school's clinics provide to the LGBT community," said John Marshall Professor Mark Wojcik, who is openly gay. Wojcik was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2010.
The law school has been a longstanding leader in the LGBT community, providing pro bono legal support through its nine community-based legal clinics in areas including representing victims of same-sex domestic violence, representing victims of housing discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and family status and representing veterans in orientation-based military discharges. Recently, the school launched a pro bono gender marker and name change project to help transgender individuals change their names and gender markers on birth certificates and other government documents.
John Marshall also is known for its diverse and inclusive student body. It was one of the first law schools to have an organized student group for LGBT students and also offers a scholarship fund for LGBT students. Students can take courses in sexual orientation and gender identity law. Its faculty members have written on LGBT and HIV issues for decades.
Many LGBT students are leaders in the school, including the past three presidents of the Student Bar Association. The current student bar president, Nicholas Ventola, was awarded the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago's LGBT Pride Celebration Scholarship where he was recognized for his service to the LGBT community and for his work as an extern at the Cook County State's Attorney Office.
The law school also has been a vanguard in LGBT-friendly business practices, including offering faculty and staff same-sex partnership benefits before civil unions or same-sex marriage became legal in Illinois.
The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame was founded in 1991 to preserve the legacies of individuals, organizations and allies of the LGBT community in Chicago. It is the only organization of its kind in the United States to honor efforts to achieve equality and nondiscrimination for the LGBT community.
John Marshall will be inducted into the hall of fame at the induction ceremony this evening at the Chicago History Museum.
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