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About Erika

Born and raised in Illinois, Erika Harold knows that home is worth fighting for. That’s why she’s stepping up to take on Mike Madigan’s political machine.

Illinois is facing grave challenges with financial mismanagement and a political class looking out for themselves.

But Erika is used to overcoming challenges – it’s what she’s done her whole life.

As a student attending Illinois schools, Erika knew that education was the ticket to success and a better life. So she drove herself to be the best, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and as a Chancellor’s Scholar from the University of Illinois.

When she was blessed with the opportunity to attend Harvard Law School, she was thrown a curveball. She couldn’t afford the tuition.

But Erika didn’t give up. Lacking the funds to pay for school, she got creative. She decided to compete in the Miss America Organization to attempt to earn the scholarship money necessary to pay for law school.

She won.

And she used her platform to not only pay for school, but also to give back.

As Miss America 2003, Erika became a national leader in the fight to end youth violence and bullying, sharing with more than 100,000 students her own experience of overcoming bullying. Erika was named one of Fight Crime, Invest in Kids’ “Champions for Children” and received a leadership award from the National Center for Victims of Crime.

Upon graduating from Harvard Law School, Erika worked as an attorney in the litigation groups of Sidley Austin LLP and Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C.

Erika represented businesses in commercial disputes and advised religious institutions in matters involving First Amendment protections. She also was active in the law firms’ respective legal education efforts, teaching students about the U.S. legal system as part of the Lawyers in the Classroom program and coaching a team of high school students in the City-Wide Mock Trial Competition. She was also part of the teaching faculty for Harvard Law School’s 2017 Trial Advocacy Workshop.

In 2015, the Illinois Supreme Court appointed Erika to serve on the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Equality.

Erika is also a member of Trinity International University’s Board of Regents, and serves as a Commissioner on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.

Erika currently serves on the national board of directors of Prison Fellowship, the world’s largest outreach to prisoners and their families. In that capacity, she advocates for criminal justice reform.

She was also recently selected to the 2017 Emerging Lawyers list and was recognized in the categories of commercial litigation, civil rights/constitutional law.

Erika Harold works as an attorney at Meyer Capel, one of Champaign County’s largest law firms. She lives in Urbana and is the doting Auntie of one adorable niece and two high-energy nephews.

It’s for their future that Erika is taking on this new challenge and running to be Illinois’ next Attorney General.