Press Release

Dr. Kenneth C. Chessick (’84) Delivers
Riley Lecture on Professionalism

Dr. Kenneth C. Chessick ('84) presents the 21st Annual Francis X. Riley Lecture on Professionalism.

April 7, 2014

DeKalb, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University College of Law hosted its 21st Annual Francis X. Riley Lecture on Professionalism on Friday, April 4 in the Francis X. Riley Courtroom. Dr. Kenneth C. Chessick (’84) presented, “Professionalism and Ethics in Medicine, Business, and the Law: Are They Different?,” which explored the notion of ethical conduct through the lens of Dr. Chessick’s three distinct roles: as trial lawyer & entrepreneur; CEO and owner of Restaurant.com, and board certified general surgeon.

Dr. Chessick used his own experiences in the three areas to show how professional conduct is similar and different among medicine, the law, and business. Operating from two general types of questionable behavior to highlight the way those actions are regulated in each realm, he referred to the Medical Practice Act and Illinois Code of Professional Responsibility as foundational documents for the basis of his argument.

When asked how the legal academy can inculcate values of professionalism and responsibility in law and medical students, Dr. Chessick responded, “You can’t make someone honest in law school or medical school if they aren’t already,” Dr. Chessick said. “But you can show them the way.”

Dr. Chessick advocated leading by example, stating that lawyers, doctors, and legal instructors should be modeling ethical behavior to newcomers to the profession.

Following his lecture, Dr. Chessick (center) is pictured with (from left): John Monical ('94), Chair of the NIU Law Board of Visitors; John Riley ('79), son of the late Francis X. Riley; Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea, and NIU Trustee Marc Strauss.

Following his lecture, Dr. Chessick (center) is pictured with (from left): John Monical ('94), Chair of the NIU Law Board of Visitors; John Riley ('79), son of the late Francis X. Riley; Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea,
and NIU Trustee Marc Strauss.

Dr. Chessick is an avid supporter of 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 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 ethical issues relating to the legal profession.

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For more information, contact:
Melody Mitchell
Alumni Events & Public Relations
(815) 753-9655 or

mmitchell@niu.edu