Administrative Law Judges
Chief Administrative Law Judge
Hon. Brian Weinthal joined the Illinois Human Rights Commission as the Chief Administrative Law Judge in February of 2022. Prior to serving as Chief Administrative Law Judge, Mr. Weinthal spent nearly twenty years in private practice, appearing as a litigator in both commercial and employment cases in courts around the country. Although he has extensive experience trying cases as a "first-chair" lawyer, Chief Judge Weinthal is also a trained advocate who previously represented clients at a broad range of alternative dispute resolution ("ADR") proceedings, including both mediations and arbitrations. He is a member of the bars of Illinois, California, and the District of Columbia (where he previously served as a mediator for the D.C. Superior Court). Before working in private practice, Judge Weinthal spent six years on active military duty with the United States Navy's Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG). Eventually rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander, Judge Weinthal defended clients at contested court-martials involving allegations of inchoate, pecuniary, and violent crimes. As his final duty with the U.S. Navy, Judge Weinthal served as prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions—the litigating unit responsible for indicting suspected terrorists confined by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Chief Judge Weinthal received his law degree from Northwestern University, with a concentration in "Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution." He also holds an advanced law degree (an LL.M.) in "Litigation and Dispute Resolution" from the George Washington University School of Law. Judge Weinthal is admitted to the Trial Bar of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and was previously awarded several high honors by the United States military, including the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. Chief Judge Weinthal is a strong proponent of personal relationships and mentoring, and a staunch advocate of greater diversity and equality in all settings.
Administrative Law Judge
Hon. Azeema Akram joined the Illinois Human Rights Commission as an Administrative Law Judge in June 2021. Prior to that, she was an Administrative Law Judge and arbitrator at the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), adjudicating matters involving railroad safety, motor carrier licensing and various regulatory violations. Judge Akram has substantial litigation experience across State agencies, owing to her prior service in varied roles at the ICC and the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation (IDFPR). At IDFPR, Judge Akram also served as an Assistant General Counsel, where she provided legal counsel to professional boards (e.g., the Illinois Medical Licensing and Disciplinary Boards), and drafted and negotiated significant legislation and administrative rules with various professional industries and members of the General Assembly.
As a hard-of-hearing attorney, Judge Akram has engaged in work inside and outside of State government to advocate for increased accessibility for people with disabilities. She speaks regularly to attorneys and judges on court accessibility, and previously presented at the Commission's Lunch and Learn CLE on Accommodating People with Disabilities in State Administrative Proceedings. She is also a Community Representative on the RTA's Paratransit Certification Formal Appeals Program Eligibility Review Board. In December 2019, Judge Akram became one of 34 members of the national Deaf & Hard of Hearing Bar Association to be sworn into the United States Supreme Court Bar. Judge Akram has been published in the American Bar Association Journal and was awarded the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Arts & Science 2021 Distinguished Alumni Award. She is a member of the Alumni Diversity Counsel at her alma mater, DePaul University College of Law, and is engaged in several other civic and legal organizations.
William J. Borah
Administrative Law Judge
Hon. William J. Borah has been a judge with the Commission since 2009, and has adjudicated hundreds of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation cases during that time. Prior to his appointment, Judge Borah spent 27 years in private practice, mostly concentrating on employment matters for both employees and employers. He began his legal career with East Arkansas Legal Services in Helena, Arkansas, representing indigent clients in civil rights cases. Following that position, Judge Borah worked as an associate at a private law firm in Anchorage, Alaska, where he represented a diverse cliental and won a state habeas corpus constitutional case.
Judge Borah has held many bar leadership positions here in Illinois. From 2005-2006, Judge Borah served as Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Labor & Employment Law Section Council, returning to that position from 2014-2015. He is seminar speaker, an ISBA Bar Journal author, a trial judge for moot court competitions, and a recipient of numerous acknowledgements, including a recognition by the Howard Brown Health Center for his pro bono legal services during the AIDS epidemic, the ISBA for his efforts to pass the 2006 sexual orientation amendment of the Human Rights Act, and by the Gay Lesbian Student Teacher Network (GLSTN) for filing one of the first national cases against school bullying (Mario Doe case). In addition, the South Suburban Bar Association (SSBA) awarded him its President’s Award for leadership in reinstating an active Pro Bono Program in the 6th District, Markham Courthouse. The SSBA then elected him to its progressive leadership ladder, where he spearheaded the county-wide cause for “extended suburban jurisdiction,” which preserved the hearing of domestic and family law cases in suburban courts.
In 2023, the ISBA announced that Judge Borah was the recipient of the Elmer Gertz Human and Civil Rights Award, which recognizes “long standing, continuing, and exceptional commitment by an individual or organization to the protection or advancement of Human Rights.”
Several of Judge Borah’s recent decisions have received local and national attention, including Sommerville vs Hobby Lobby Stores, IHRC, ALS No. 13-0060C, May 15, 2015 & February 2, 2016, upheld by the Illinois Appellate Court in Hobby Lobby v. Sommerville, IL App. Ct., 2d Dist., No. 2-19-0362, 8/13/21. Sommerville was a case of first impression in Illinois, addressing a transgender employee’s right to enter a restroom of her sexual identity. Judge Borah also decided the leading school case on transgender students in Michael S. & Andrea S., on behalf of P.S., a minor, and Komorek School District #94, IHRC, ALS No. 16-0003, February 4, 2019. As noted above, Judge Borah filed one of the first national cases addressing school bullying, after which the students Judge Borah represented were invited to speak on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Mario Doe v. Riverside Brookfield High School, et al. (Settled).)
As a young man Judge Borah moved to Memphis Tennessee from Calumet City, Illinois, to attend college a year after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. In college, he became heavily involved with the civil rights movement in the South. In addition, he was elected to several college student government offices, including his election as Chair of the Tennessee Delegation of the National Student Association following the Kent State killings. Judge Borah would go on to organize a national march on Washington D.C. against the Vietnam War.
At play, he fishes, in Alaska Judge Borah caught a 112 lb. halibut; as a hiker, he climbed Mt. Borah, until the 11,300 foot mark, that’s when the trek turned into a vertical climb, and he recalled he was from Illinois.
Kathleen A. McGee
Administrative Law Judge
Hon. Kathleen McGee joined the Illinois Human Rights Commission as an Administrative Law Judge in August 2022. Before her recent appointment, she worked in multiple capacities with the Lake County Public Defender's Office and the Lake County State's Attorney's Office. She has practiced law for over 22 years and has handled criminal, juvenile, and abuse and neglect cases, as well as other civil matters. Kathleen also serves as a teen court judge with North Chicago's NICASA Teen Court Program. Kathleen McGee received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Missouri State University, with a minor in Gender Studies, and her Juris Doctorate from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Kathleen has been published in the Lake County Bar Association periodical, The Docket. In addition, she has presented legal education on a myriad of matters, most relating to the struggles of indigent and marginalized persons. Kathleen tries to limit the advice she gives to others but freely shares a bit of wisdom from American humorist Molly Ivins, "[t]he thing is this: You got to have fun while you're fightin' for freedom, 'cause you don't always win."
Jennifer S. Nolen
Administrative Law Judge
Hon. Jennifer S. Nolen initially joined the Illinois Human Rights Commission as an Assistant General Counsel in April 2021. In June 2023, Judge Nolen was appointed to be an Administrative Law Judge with the Commission. Prior to serving as an Administrative Law Juge, Judge Nolen practiced law and for over 10 years handled criminal, real estate, chancery, probate, and family law cases. Additionally, Judge Nolen has previously served as a mediator, Guardian ad Litem, and Child’s Representative. Judge Nolen has been the President of the DuPage Association of Women Lawyers and a Chair of the New Lawyers Committee for the DuPage County Bar Association. Additionally, Judge Nolen has been a member of the Black Women Lawyer’s Association, Cook County Bar Association, Will County Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, and the Kane County Bar Association. She is also a speaker, adjunct professor, and ordained minister. Judge Nolen has written several articles, and she is a contributing author to the Domestic Violence section of the book entitled, “Navigating the Winding Road: Family Law and Estate Planning in Illinois”.
Judge Nolen holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Tennessee, and a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Paralegal Studies from the University of Memphis. She received her Juris Doctor from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School in May 2012.
Michael R. Robinson
Administrative Law Judge
Hon. Michael R. Robinson joined the Human Rights Commission as an Administrative Law Judge in its Springfield office in 1993. Robinson received his B.A. degree in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his J.D. from the University of Nebraska. Prior to joining the Commission, Robinson practiced with the law firm of Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen in Urbana. Prior to that he served as a senior research attorney for the Illinois Supreme Court Research Department. Judge Robinson has authored several articles for the Illinois State Bar Association's Illinois Bar Journal, of which three were cited as winners of the Lincoln Legal Writing Award. He has also written chapters on federal subject matter jurisdiction and Social Security benefits for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education.