Chessick Scholarship Recipients Recognized for Academic Excellence

Dean Cassandra L. Hill hosted a virtual meeting with Dr. Kenneth and Ellen Chessick, the 2021 Chessick Scholarship recipients, and other law administrators.

Northern Illinois University College of Law students Katie Goldsmith (3L), Robert Harden (2L), Izabella Kanoza (2L), and Steward “Chip” Lyman (2L) were selected as the 2021 recipients of the Kenneth C. Chessick Civil Justice Endowed Scholarship Program.  NIU Law alumnus Dr. Kenneth C. Chessick (’84) established the endowed scholarship program in 2007 to honor his clients who were victims of medical negligence, to educate students of the beneficial changes we make as lawyers in the lives of others, and to emphasize his love of The Law.

A successful trial attorney, general surgeon, and entrepreneur, Dr. Chessick’s dedication to the legal and medical profession is mirrored by his devotion to his clients and achieving justice for each of them.  Through his scholarship program, Dr. Chessick seeks to remind bright, enthusiastic students that The Law is about helping people.  Students selected for these awards were chosen based on their academic excellence, compassion, demonstrated interest in certain fields of law, and appreciation of the changes that can be made by effective and passionate lawyers.

Katie Goldsmith (3L) is the recipient of the DeWilde Award for the Study of Evidence.  This scholarship is awarded to a third-year law student who has excelled in the Evidence course and is able to articulate the importance of evidence law to achieving justice in tort cases and preventing future injury.  Katie is currently the Leads Article Editor for Northern Illinois Law Review.  She also serves as President of the American Constitution Society, Vice President of the Public Interest Law Society, Associate Justice of the Moot Court Society, and Membership and Programming Chair of the Federal Agency Interest Society.  After graduation, Katie aspires to work in public interest and educational law.

Robert Harden (2L) is the recipient of the Jacob Baker Award for the Study of Constitutional Law.  This scholarship is awarded to a second-year law student who has excelled in the constitutional law courses and is able to articulate the importance of constitutional law to our society.  Rob currently serves as a 2L Representative for the Student Bar Association and a member of the Criminal Law Society and Phi Alpha Delta. After graduation, he plans to commission as an Army JAG officer and hopes to practice criminal or personal injury law.  This past summer, he interned with the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office and is returning during the Spring semester as a 711 Extern.

Izabella Kanoza (2L) is the recipient of the Hope Moller Award for the Study of Torts Law.  This scholarship is awarded to a second-year law student who excelled in their Tort courses, an area of law that seeks to provide remedies to parties injured as a result of a civil wrong and is able to articulate the importance of that area of law.  Izabella is a Staff Editor for the NIU Law Review Vol 42.  She has a passion for tort law and desires to work towards being a delegate for individuals and society and to correct the wrongs of those who cause damage to others.  She is interested in practicing business and personal injury law.

Steward “Chip” Lyman (2L) is the recipient of the Lakisha Sarden Award for the Study of Civil Procedure Law.  This scholarship is awarded to a second-year law student who has excelled in the first-year civil procedure course and is able to articulate the impact of civil procedure on litigation in aiding the victims of medical negligence.  Chip is a member of the Trial Advocacy Society and was on the winning team of the 1L Closing Argument Competition.  Before law school, Chip worked at Country Financial as a Claims Representative.  Upon graduation, he wants to be a litigator and is leaning towards insurance defense law.

In 1984, Dr. Chessick founded the Law Office of Kenneth C. Chessick, M.D., which has represented catastrophically injured victims of egregious medical and hospital negligence. The Chessick firm has achieved record verdicts at trial and settlements in excess of $200 million throughout northern Illinois.  In 2013, the Law Office of Kenneth C. Chessick, M.D., joined Clifford Law Offices and is “Of Counsel” to that firm. Dr. Chessick is a board-certified general surgeon since 1973, treating cancer, vascular, and other surgical conditions. Dr. Chessick received his medical training at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and his general surgical training at the Boston City Hospital. In 1999, Dr. Chessick was one of the creators of, a highly successful, national internet corporation which featured more than 14,500 restaurants in all fifty states.  Dr. Chessick served as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of until March 2020, a position he held for 21 years. Dr. Chessick has written extensively and has been published in multiple national medical and legal journals.

Dr. Chessick and his wife, Ellen, Chessick are devoted to NIU. They created the Kenneth C. Chessick Legal Skills Training Center at the NIU College of Law, which includes a “smart” courtroom and two classrooms. Their legacy at NIU also includes the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center, a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility for student athletes, which opened in 2013, and video viewing room in the NIU Yordon Center. Dr. Chessick was honored with the prestigious NIU Alumnus of the Year Award in 2001.  In 2012, he was named the NIU Law Distinguished Alumnus of the Year and received the NIU Foundation Award for High Impact Philanthropy.  In 2013, Ellen Chessick was honored with the NIU Law Honorary Alumna Award.  In 2020, Dr. Chessick was selected to the 2020 Super Lawyers List.  Dr. Chessick is a member of the NIU Law Board of Visitors, and from 1999 to 2019, he served on the NIU Foundation Board of Directors and NIU Alumni Association Board of Directors.

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