Lincolnwood lawyer appointed to state board
Paul Langer of Lincolnwood poses with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. Langer was recently appointed to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. | Contributed photo
Updated: December 23, 2012 6:02AM
LINCOLNWOOD — Chicago-based litigation attorney and Lincolnwood resident Paul Langer leads a high-profile career representing clients like Jesse Jackson and his media-magnet son.
But he’s gaining a new job of sorts: He was recently appointed to the Illinois Board of Higher Education by Gov. Pat Quinn.
Langer, a partner in the litigation department at the Chicago location of the Proskauer Law Firm, will succeed former board member John Minogue after he is confirmed by the state Senate this year.
As a member of the state’s higher education policy and planning board, Langer said he’s looking forward to tackling important policy-making issues affecting higher education in Illinois, including plans to support legislation to end what he described as a division between race and economic background and higher education.
“There are lots of important issues,” Langer said. “Recent studies show that Illinois is a state of two different universes of students—those who are doing well and those who are vastly underserved economically and educationally, and one challenge is close that gap.”
A Rogers Park native and graduate of the Loyola University School of Law, Langer has served as counsel for big-name corporations like PepsiCo, Walgreens and Hitachi, and has also represented stars like Lady Gaga.
The most notable case of his career, however, was when he represented a cancer patient against an insurance company that had declined coverage for a $500,000 procedure his client needed to save his life.
The patient was suffering from a rare blood cancer that required a stem cell transplant procedure that the insurance company refused coverage on, and Langer brought the case to federal courts, where a judge later ordered the insurer to pay for the expense.
Langer has worked pro-bono for Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition, providing outside general counsel to the civil rights activist during the past eight years.
“There are always interesting issues affecting (Jackson), from contract issues to employment issues,” Langer said. “I enjoy being an attorney because it allows me to analyze a problem from a legal perspective and work to resolve it.”
Langer moved to Lincolnwood in 1996 to raise his family, and served on the Lincolnwood School District 74 Board of Trustees from 2005 to 2009.
“I chose Lincolnwood because of the cultural diversity. Sixth languages are spoken here, and you don’t find that in many places,” Langer said.
Langer was named on the Illinois Super Lawyers list for five years in 2006 and in 2008-2012, and was also named among the top business lawyers in the state by Leading Lawyers magazine in 2010. He was also recognized on the “Best Lawyers in America” list from 2009-2011.