Jesse H. Ruiz, a partner in Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP’s Corporate & Securities Practice Group, has received three prestigious honors since mid-September.

On September 16, 2011, Ruiz became the first recipient of Walmart’s inaugural Legal Spark Award (“Spark” is the name of the Walmart logo) for his outstanding client service, exemplary community service and dedication to diversity in the legal profession.  The award was presented during the Walmart Legal Department SuperConference in Rogers, Arkansas, which was attended by more than 700 outside attorneys, Walmart legal team members, executives and guests.  

The Spark Award was presented by Sam Reeves, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Walmart U.S., who detailed Ruiz’s commitment to the Walmart client relationship and his outstanding client service, his distinguished public service in the area of education, and his commitment to increasing diversity in the legal profession, a commitment which Walmart shares. 

Ruiz serves as Drinker Biddle’s Walmart relationship partner, and oversees all facets of the legal services Drinker Biddle provides Walmart across the United States. In recognition of  Ruiz’s almost seven years of service as Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, on October 14, 2011 he was awarded the National Association of State Boards of Education’s (NASBE) Distinguished Service Award.  This national award is conferred annually to a state board of education member in recognition of exceptional leadership and dedication to public education, and was presented during the NASBE annual meeting last week in Atlanta.

Earlier this month, the SOS Children’s Villages of Illinois, the Illinois affiliate of the largest nondenominational children’s care provider in the world, presented Ruiz with its Leader of Hope Award during the organization’s “Evening of Promise 2011” event on October 6, 2011, which was held at Chicago’s Soldier Field.

“Jesse’s commitment to client service, diversity and education has always been exemplary and we are pleased that his work is being recognized with these three significant awards,” said Edwin A. Getz, a managing partner of Drinker Biddle and the regional partner in charge of the Chicago office.  “Jesse is an outstanding attorney and an important member of the legal, education and business communities in Chicago, and beyond.  We are extremely proud that he received this well-deserved recognition.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Ruiz vice president of the Chicago Board of Education in May 2011, and in February 2011 U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appointed Ruiz a commissioner on the U.S. Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission.  From September 2004 to May 2011, he served as chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education.  He also serves on the National Association of Latino Elected/Appointed Officials Education Task Force, and was formerly a member of the NASBE Government Affairs Committee.  Ruiz is co-chair of Drinker Biddle’s national Diversity Committee, and also sits on the American Bar Association Presidential Advisory Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities.  Ruiz is past chairman of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms, and past president of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois.  In 2010 Ruiz was named to Hispanic Business magazine’s list of 100 Most Influential Hispanics.  Ruiz concentrates his law practice in mergers and acquisitions and the representation of public and middle market companies.