We sadly announce the passing of Donald B. Hilliker on August 29, 2022. Don is remembered by family, friends, and colleagues “as a tireless advocate for the poor and disenfranchised and as an extraordinary human being.” Don graduated from Northwestern University School of Law in 1969, where he would later become an Adjunct Professor of Litigation Ethics.
Don’s commitment to equal justice for all began early in his career when he was selected as a Reginald Heber Smith Fellow to work for the most underserved in Chicago. His passion for helping those most in need followed him throughout his life. Don became Chair of the McDermott Will & Emery Pro Bono Committee in the 1990s around the same time as joining the Board at Legal Aid Chicago (formerly known as The Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago and LAF).
As past President and Chair of our Board of Directors, Don was an active Board member for nearly 20 years. He promoted legal aid not only in his firm, but even internationally, as McDermott’s firm-wide Pro Bono and Community Service Partner. His commitment to our work, our clients, and our staff was unmatched. As a Board member of the Alphawood Foundation, Don even helped secure Legal Aid Chicago’s first grant from the foundation, which over the years has become one of our most important partners.
On a personal note, Don was a proud season ticket holder for The Bulls for over 35 years. He also was an avid reader. He loved to travel with his family, especially with his wife Ky, from Sydney to Rome, Tibet to Helsinki. One former friend and colleague of forty years described Don’s passing as “a huge loss to all of us in the pro bono world.” Clearly, Don has made a lasting impact. Don’s impact has been felt in the legal community and beyond, and he will be sorely missed.
You can read Don’s obituary here.