Jeffrey Cummings (JD ’87), U.S. District Judge, to Deliver 2024 Convocation Address


Student Experience Alumni Students
Judge Jeffery Cummings headshot

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is excited to announce that Judge Jeffrey Cummings will deliver the convocation address to the Class of 2024. Convocation will be held on Friday, May 10, at the Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.

“We are delighted that Judge Cummings will deliver the convocation address to the Class of 2024 and share his experiences and wisdom with our graduates,” Dean Hari Osofsky said. “His important service as both a judge and lawyer advancing greater justice make him an ideal leader to provide insights on this special day.”

Judge Cummings was sworn in as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois in October 2023. He previously served as a Magistrate Judge from February 2019. Earlier in his career Judge Cummings was a litigation associate and partner at the law firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland. Although he represented a wide variety of clients, he specialized in the representation of plaintiffs in cases involving employment discrimination, whistleblower protection, civil rights, and voting rights. He was a member of the trial team in a voting rights lawsuit (Barnett v. City of Chicago) that proved after a 51-day trial and multiple appeals that the City of Chicago violated the voting rights of African Americans when it redistricted the City’s ward boundaries in 1991. He has been a frequent speaker on voting rights and other civil rights issues before attorneys, bar associations, community groups, and students at universities and law schools. He also served as a Hearing Officer for the City of Chicago’s Commission on Human Relations and the City’s Police Board.

While attending Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, Cummings served as the President of the Black Law Students Association. He graduated cum laude and was a member of the Order of the Coif. And, following graduation, he was selected to receive the Dawn Clark Netsch Public Service Award and the Student Public Interest Fellowship Public Service Award from the Law School. He also has served as a member of the Northwestern Pritzker Law Board.

Cummings began his legal career as a law clerk for the Honorable Ann Claire Williams, who was then sitting as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. We are delighted he will be here to share his insights with our next class of graduates. 

Cummings earned his BA in public policy studies from the James Madison College at Michigan State University. He earned his JD from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. 

Additional information on graduation week events can be found on the Convocation page.