DePaul alumna awarded MALDEF’s 2015 Excellence in Legal Service Award

​​​Cecilia Abundis (‘04) was awarded the Excellence in Legal Service Award at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s (MALDEF) 2015 Chicago Awards Gala in June. Every year at the gala, MALDEF shares about the organization’s work in addressing the issues of the Latino community and acknowledges those individuals for their work in the “exemplary advancement of the legal rights of Latinos,” who also exhibit knowledge, patience, and perseverance in improving the legal standing of the Latino community.

As an Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Fraud Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Ms. Abundis has investigated mortgage lending institutions, for-profit schools, immigration services providers or “notarios”, car dealerships, and mortgage brokers for violations of the state’s consumer protection laws. She regularly appears on Spanish-language media, speaking on various consumer protection issues, and she has helped train Mexican prosecutors in trial advocacy skills, in collaboration with the Conference of Western Attorneys General’s Alliance Partnership.

Ms. Abundis graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and earned her J.D. from the College of Law in 2004. While at DePaul, she participated in the Chiapas Human Rights Practicum and wrote a report on the internal displacement in the lower-northern zone in Chiapas, which was submitted to the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations. Ms. Abundis was also an advisory council member of DePaul’s Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL). She continues to mentor and work with law students and prospective law students through her involvement with the National Latino Law Students Association, Illinois Latino Law Students Association, and the Hispanic Lawyers’ Association of Illinois JD Mentor’s Program.

Rey Lopez-Calderon, Executive Director of Common Cause Illinois, said this about Ms. Abundis: “There’s very few people you meet in life that are able to just wed the passion for social justice with a strong professional demeanor and at the same time just volunteer and be part of society, be committed to family… that’s just something that, whether you’re Latino or not Latino, it’s an outstanding model for the rest of society . . . to meet someone like Ceci is just a breath of fresh air . . . .”

To hear more about Cecilia Abundis, check out MALDEF’s tribute to her at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUnp7AFTg90​.