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300 S. Wacker Drive
Suite 3400
Chicago IL 60606
TEL: 312.786.6124
FAX: 312.986.9192
Practice Areas
Education
  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1984
  • B.A., Loyola University of Chicago, 1981
Honors & Distinctions
  • Named a 2017 Most Influential Minority Lawyer in Chicago by Crain's Chicago Business
Bar & Court Admissions
  • Illinois
  • New York
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Michael J. Hernandez

Partner
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Michael practices in the areas of education, labor and employment law. His experience involves litigation at all levels of state and federal courts and administrative agencies, including property tax appeal work. He has a broad background in constitutional and civil rights law, including affirmative action and desegregation matters. His practice also includes vendor contracts, drafting legislation, lobbying, and assisting emerging or transitioning companies.

Michael’s reported cases include:  McFadden v. Board of Education for Illinois School District U-46, 2006 WL 681054 (N.D. Ill.); Madison Two Associates v. Pappas, 227 Ill.2d 474, 2008 WL 484758 (2008); and Cook County Board of Review v. Property Tax Appeal Board, 339 Ill.App.3d 529 (1st Dist. 2002).

Prior to joining the firm, Michael served as general counsel of the Illinois State Board of Education and deputy general counsel for the Chicago Board of Education. He practiced at the law firm of Freeborn & Peters and served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.

Michael served as a member of the Classrooms First Commission’s Operational Shared Services work group and is on the Executive Committee of the Illinois Counsel of School Attorneys. The Commission was created by the Illinois legislature to research issues affecting school districts. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association and the Hispanic Lawyer’s Association of Illinois. In 2014, Michael was nominated as a Fellow for the American Bar Foundation and will serve as the Illinois Co-Chair for 2019-2020. He served on the Leadership Greater Chicago Fellows Board and serves as a board member of the National Latino Education Institute. He is also the chair of the Alliance’s Arts Illinois Board of Directors’ Education Committee.

Michael was named a 2013 Business Leader of Color by Chicago United. He was also chosen by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez as one of two people to be honored during the 2009 celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and received the El Humanitaro Award.

Michael was named “Who’s Who in Hispanic Chicago” by the Hispanic business publication Negocios Now. In 2017-2018, Mike was named a Leading Lawyer by Law Bulletin Publishing and Crain’s Chicago Business.

He is a frequent speaker at local and national conferences on education, employment and diversity issues. He has also appeared on local television shows including Chicago Tonight.

Michael was appointed as the firm’s first Diversity Officer in 2006 and has been a congressional nominee to the National Hispanic Leadership Summit. He is a founding member of the Chicago Advisory Board of Teach for America, and he has served as designated counsel for the National Hispanic Sales Network.

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