The Honorable Rouhy Shalabi (’81) was presented with the 2020 Advocate for Diversity Award by the Diversity Scholarship Foundation at its Annual Unity Gala on December 8, 2020. The award celebrated individuals who have actively advocated and promoted diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. He was introduced for the award by The Honorable William J. Haddad (ret.), former chair and current member of the NIU Law Board of Visitors.
Judge Shalabi was appointed an Associate Judge of Cook County in 2019. Prior to the bench, he spent thirty-five years as a sole practitioner as the founder of Rouhy J. Shalabi & Associates. During this time, he litigated numerous civil and criminal trials, recovered millions of dollars in personal injury matters, reached just resolutions in divorce matters, and closed on hundreds of residential and commercial properties.
Judge Shalabi has been an active member in the community for decades. In 2002, he was appointed by Mayor Richard M. Daley as the first Arab-American Commissioner to the City of Chicago Park District and was one of the longest standing commissioners in the history of Chicago. He was also the first Arab-American appointed to the Board of Commissioners, Chicago Commission on Human Relations. He served as the first President of the City of Chicago Advisory Council on Arab Affairs, and is a founding member and former President of the Arab-American Bar Association.
In addition, Judge Shalabi served as a member of the Circuit Court of Cook County Racial and Ethnic Committee, the State’s Attorney’s Hate Crimes Commission, the Multi-Cultural Advisory Committee on the Media, the Family Violence Prevention Council, and is President of two Chicago Local School Councils.
Judge Shalabi has been interviewed and appeared on numerous media outlets regarding his legal expertise, including: CBS, NBC, ABC, WGN, Public Television, Arabic Television, CNN, FOX, CNBC, Arabic Radio, ABC Radio, WLS, WGN, WBBM, WMAQ, WIND, WVON, and PBS.