Francis X. Riley Lecture on Professionalism

Dr. Kenneth C. ChessickNIU Law will host its 21st Annual Francis X. Riley Lecture on Professionalism, "Professionalism and Ethics in Medicine, Business, and the Law: Are They Different?,” at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 4 in the Riley Courtroom of Swen Parson Hall.

This year’s lecture will be given by Dr. Kenneth C. Chessick, MD, JD. Dr. Chessick wears three distinct hats: 1) Trial Lawyer, Entrepreneur, 2) CEO and owner of, and 3) Board Certified General Surgeon. Well-respected in each of these roles, they seem to require different expressions of professionalism.

Dr. Chessick earned his JD degree cum laude from the NIU College of Law in 1984, and his Doctor of Medicine and B.S. degrees from the University of Illinois. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Consistent with his specialized medical training and broad experience, his main focus is medical and hospital negligence that has caused catastrophic injuries to innocent patients. In particular, he has made his mark in the area of fighting for patients’ rights in medical malpractice cases and has obtained numerous record multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements.

Dr. Chessick has taught and moderated a number of law seminars and has published numerous articles in both medical and legal literature. For nearly 30 years, Dr. Chessick was the principal partner of the Law Office of Kenneth C. Chessick, M.D. In 2013, he merged his firm with Clifford Law Offices and is “Of Counsel” to that firm. He also is the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of In 1999, he helped to create this highly-successful, national restaurant internet corporation which features more than 14,500 restaurants in all fifty states.

Dr. Chessick maintains a close affiliation with Northern Illinois University. He 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. Generous donations from Dr. Chessick and his wife, Ellen, helped create the Kenneth C. Chessick Legal Skills Training Center at the College of Law and establish a series of endowed academic scholarships for law students named in honor of his clients as part of the Kenneth C. Chessick Civil Justice Endowed Scholarship Program. His legacy also includes the Kenneth and Ellen Chessick Practice Center, a state-of-the-art indoor practice facility for student athletes, which opened in 2013. Dr. Chessick is a member of the NIU Foundation Board of Directors, NIU Alumni Association Board of Directors, and the NIU Law Board of Visitors.

The lecture will be followed by a reception and the 19th Annual Public Interest Law Society Auction.

The Francis X. Riley Lecture on Professionalism was established in 1994 to honor the late Professor Emeritus Riley, who devoted his life to the law and legal education. The lecture series brings distinguished speakers to the Northern Illinois University College of Law to discuss current issues relating to the legal profession. Previous speakers include:

Professor Carole Silver 2013
Lawrence J. Fox 2012
Cherilyn Murer 2011
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan 2010
Honorable John W. Darrah 2009
Professor Emeritus Gordon B. Shneider  2008
Justice Modibo Ocran 2007
Patrick J. Fitzgerald, Esquire 2006
Jim Ryan, Esquire 2005
Professor Bruce R. Jacob 2004
Honorable Thomas L. Kilbride 2003
Professor Robert F. Drinan, S.J. 2002
Nancy L. Kaszak, Esquire 2001
Professor Richard C. Boldt 2000
Cheryl Niro, Esquire 1999
Jerold S. Solovy, Esquire 1998
Professor David B. Wilkins 1997
Honorable Abner J. Mikva 1996
George E. Bushnell, Jr., Esquire 1995
Honorable Marvin E. Aspen 1994