Meet Michael Wilder, IEJF Board Member & Shareholder, Littler Mendelson P.C.
As a leading attorney in Chicago, I’m sure you have many opportunities for civic and philanthropic work. What made you join the board of the IL Equal Justice Foundation?
Earlier this year, IEJF Board Member Kendric Cobb, a good friend/mentor, contacted me regarding joining the IEJF Board. I immediately started researching IEJF and was excited about joining an organization that directly works to help guarantee access to the legal system. As a first-generation lawyer from the inner city of Detroit that has watched family members and friends not pursue their rights or suffer based on a lack of resources (i.e., money), the idea of being a part of an organization that can assist individuals in need, hit home for me. After meeting IEJF Executive Director Leslie Corbett and Kendric in-person regarding IEJF, I was sold and knew I had to join the Board!
You just have one minute to make the case for increased state funding of civil legal aid. What do you say?
The need for state funding for civil legal aid has never been greater. The laws in Chicago and throughout Illinois have been changing constantly in different areas of the law (employment, housing, cannabis laws, immigration, criminal laws, etc.). It is difficult for lawyers, let along non-lawyers, to keep up with and understand the changes. Additionally, as many know, there is a larger gap between the haves and the have nots, which is making access to legal advice more and more difficult. We have to do something about that.
Outside of your day job as an attorney at Littler Mendelson, you enjoy a lot of different creative pursuits, including creating a board game and a movie review service. Tell us about them.
In 2018, I created a trivia board game called “Rep Your City!” Think Monopoly, Trivia Pursuit, Chess, and Checkers in one game all about your city. You use your knowledge of city (sports, music, movies, entertainment, restaurants, politics, history, etc.) to get from the outskirts of the board to the center of the city to win the game. It’s a 2-5 player game and for all ages. “Rep Your City, Chicago” and “Rep Your City, Detroit!” are currently available at www.repyourcitygames.com. The game was recently described as “A must-have game for the holidays!”
And in 2014, I created www.wilderpost.com – a movie review website, where I reviewed over 1,000 movies, provided movie trailers, and sold movie tickets all over the world. In 2017, I ended the website to focus on my first book (“A Playbook for a Dollar & a Dream,” available on Amazon), which is a self-empowerment book for teenagers and young adults providing a fun and funny roadmap for education, finding a career, finances, and relationships/dating. My second book, a quasi-fictional piece on a totally different subject, is due out in April 2020.
Speaking of movies, what are your top 3?
This is tough, but I would say: (1) Braveheart; (2) The Dark Knight Trilogy; and (3) A Few Good Men. These are movies that I have watched at least 20 times each.