Jim Lewis is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Chicago Law School, with a further degree from Duke University School of Law. In 1965 and 1966, Mr. Lewis was a civil rights worker in Southwest Mississippi, while also completing law school. From 1966 through 1973, he worked for the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee, North Mississippi Rural Legal Services, and the Mississippi Prison Project, trying cases based mostly on the First, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments.
From 1974 through 1977, Mr. Lewis was a law school teacher, first as a Fellow at Duke Law School and then as an Assistant Professor at North Carolina Central University Law School. From 1977 to 1983, he worked for the Civil Division in the United States Department of Justice, trying cases across the country. In 1983, Mr. Lewis joined the United States Attorney’s Office in Springfield, Illinois, where he headed the Civil Division and tried a series of significant cases. In 2010, he became the United States Attorney for the Central District of Illinois.
“It has all been a privilege. To work in the midst of the civil rights movement, and to help bring about much-needed social change, was certainly a privilege. To teach and reflect—that was also a privilege. To serve the Department of Justice, trying to do what is right, for the right reason, for the right purpose—that is a tremendous privilege. And to work with so many good people—that is the icing on the cake!”