Juan R. Thomas is the founder and principal of The Thomas Law Group. Mr. Thomas' practice includes the following specialties: real estate/estate planning, labor and employment, and family law. In addition, Mr. Thomas provides counseling and training to firm clients in areas involving personnel, collective bargaining, and business development matters. Prior to founding The Thomas Law Group, Mr. Thomas was an associate with Holland & Knight, LLP in the employment and labor group in their Chicago office.
Prior to founding The Thomas Law Group in 2003, Mr. Thomas' professional career was deeply rooted in political and governmental affairs. Mr. Thomas served as the legislative liaison for Citizen Action Illinois, where he advocated on behalf of consumer rights before the Illinois General Assembly. Mr. Thomas also served as Labor Counsel to Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White, providing legal advice on labor and employment, and collective bargaining issues for the Office's approximately 4,000 employees. Mr. Thomas has broad knowledge and experience in labor and employment law affecting the private sector, state and local governments, as well as school districts within the State of Illinois.
Mr. Thomas' passion is community and public service. While in law school, he successfully ran for the West Aurora School Board, commuting 120 miles each way every weekend during the campaign. At the age of twenty-five (25), Mr. Thomas became the youngest person ever elected to the West Aurora School Board and became the first African-American ever re-elected to the Board in 1999. While on the school board, Mr. Thomas served as Chairman of the Board's Personnel Committee. Mr. Thomas continues to serves his hometown of Aurora as a member of the A+ Foundation Board of Directors for West Aurora School District #129 which supports and promotes educational, cultural, and charitable programs for the students and alumni.
Mr. Thomas has also demonstrated his commitment to education and the community by serving as an adjunct professor at North Park University, Aurora University, and Robert Morris College teaching courses in conflict resolution, negotiation strategies, and business law in addition to volunteering as a public speaker with Chicago Public Schools through their Communities in Schools Program.
In 2004, Mr. Thomas was elected a Delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. The following year in 2005, he was elected Aurora Township Clerk becoming the first African-American to win a township-wide office in Aurora, IL, the second largest city in the state. In 2009, he was re-elected Aurora Township Clerk with 57% of the vote receiving more votes than any other candidate seeking an Aurora Township office that year. Mr. Thomas was the first Democrat ever to serve as Aurora Township Clerk.
Mr. Thomas is currently serving his third term as the National Secretary of the National Bar Association (NBA) where he has been a member of the NBA's Executive Committee since 2005. He also serves the NBA as Chair of its Law & Religion Section. Previously, he served as Chairman of the NBA Political Action Committee, Vice-Chair of the NBA Legislative Division, and co-chaired the NBA Day on the Hill Program where lawyers meet with Members of Congress to advocate for the organization's national legislative agenda. During the 2003-04 bar year, Mr. Thomas served as Chairman of the Young Lawyers Division of the NBA. That year, the division received the NBA's Outstanding Division of the Year Award.
Mr. Thomas is a member of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee and the Family Law Committee in the American Bar Association's (ABA) Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division. He is also a member of the State and Local Government Section of the ABA. In 2005, Mr. Thomas was the recipient of the ABA Solo and Small Firm Section's Solo Practitioner of Merit Award. He also serves on the Illinois Bar Association's Standing Committee on Racial & Ethnic Minorities and the Law and is a member of the Kane County Bar and the Cook County Bar Associations.
Mr. Thomas currently serves on the Board of Directors of Mutual Ground Inc., an organization committed to providing services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and their families. He has previously served on the boards of the Community Renewal Society, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, and the University of Illinois College of Education Board of Visitors. Mr. Thomas served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Quad County African-American Chamber of Commerce serving west suburban Chicago from 2006-08 and served as the Chairman of the Board of the City of Aurora African-American Heritage Advisory Board in 2007-08.
In addition to mentoring high school and junior high students every Saturday morning with the 100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc. West Suburban Mentoring Program, Mr. Thomas also serves as the General Counsel for the 100 Black Men of Chicago, Inc. He is the Chairman of the Aurora Township Democratic Central Committee, Chairman of the Community Action Committee for the Fox Valley Christian Ministerial Alliance, and is the 1st Vice President of the NAACP, DuPage County Branch. In 2013, the State President of the NAACP, Illinois Conference appointed Mr. Thomas to serve on the NAACP, Illinois Conference's Executive Committee as Chair of the ACT-SO Standing Committee.
Mr. Thomas has been featured in Who's Who in Black Chicago, Ebony Magazine, and the Chicago Sun Times as a leader to watch in the 21st century. In 2011, he was given the honor of being named, Citizen of the Year by his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, Mu Xi Chapter for his service and dedication to the community. He has received the NAACP, DuPage County Branch's President's Award both in 2013 and 2014, as well as, a 2014 recipient of the NAACP, DuPage County Branch's Claude Audley Award of Leadership Excellence, for his leadership and service to the community. Mr. Thomas has received Presidential Service Awards from the National Bar Association in 2005, 2007, 2009, and in 2013 for his contributions to the field of law. In 2011, he was invited to become a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation because of his outstanding achievements in the legal profession. Mr. Thomas is a 2004 Fellow of the Harvard Divinity School Summer Leadership Institute, and a 2002 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow.
Mr. Thomas is a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. He received his Juris Doctor and Master in Educational Policy degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. In addition to his professional and civic involvement, Mr. Thomas is an ordained Baptist minister and is completing a Master of Arts degree in Religious Studies at the University of Chicago School of Divinity in Hyde Park. Mr. Thomas and his wife, Angela, are proud members of St. John AME Church in Aurora where he serves as the Minister for the Men's Ministry.