September 22, 2004
George N. Leighton Recipient of Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago (CRFC) Bill of Rights in Action Award
Neal & Leroy, LLC, a minority-owned law firm nationally-recognized for its experience and knowledge in the area of eminent domain, municipal law, and real estate law, is pleased to recognize Judge George N. Leighton, Of Counsel and Former U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, as a recipient of the Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago (CRFC) Bill of Rights in Action Award. Each year CRFC presents this award to honor those individuals and organizations, who through their personal and professional endeavors provide exemplary models of citizenships for our nation’s youth. This award was presented to Leighton on September 22, 2004 at the Union League Club of Chicago.
The Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago (CRFC) works with elementary and secondary schools to develop critical thinking skills, civic participation, and commitment to the rule of law among young people. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, CRFC is a national leader in the design and implementation of quality law-related education (LRE) programs for local, national, and international projects. CRFC was founded in 1974 as part of the Constitutional Rights Foundation in Los Angeles and became an independent 501(c)(3) organization in 1990.
Leighton concentrates in the areas of federal litigation and appellate cases. He became counsel to Neal & Leroy, LLC in 1987 after retiring from 23 combined years of service as judge on the state and federal bench. Leighton is a 1946 graduate of Harvard Law School and a 1940 magna cum laude graduate of Howard University. Leighton's early career included serving as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Illinois and as Master in Chancery of the Circuit Court of Cook County. In 1964, he was elected to a six-year term as Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County and five years later he was assigned by the Illinois Supreme Court to sit as Judge of the Appellate Court, First District.
In 1970, Leighton was elected to a ten-year term as a Justice of the Illinois Appellate Court, First District. President Gerald Ford nominated Leighton to serve as a Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 1975, upon confirmation Leighton began serving in 1976. Leighton retired from the bench in 1987.