Practicum Courses

Civil Government Practicum
Corporate Counsel Practicum
Criminal Law Practicum
Judicial Practicum
Mediation Practicum
Public Interest Practicum
Public Service Practicum

Civil Government Practicum

Professor Maureen Stratton (Fall Semester, Spring Semester)
The goal of this Practicum is to provide students with an understanding of civil government practice. Students spend 12 hours per week in a field placement at a federal, state, or local government agency or office involving civil law, including the City of Chicago Department of Law, the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Depending on the placement, duties can include research and writing memoranda, briefs or opinions; assisting in the formulation of legal policy; drafting of legislation or regulations; preparing cases and providing courtroom support; and assisting with community legal education efforts.  Students must secure their own placement in consultation with the faculty member.  Students also participate in a weekly seminar where they discuss assigned readings and their externship experience.  Seminar topics may include: ethical in civil government practice, political pressures on government lawyers, and the work of government lawyers in public policy.  Students maintain a reflective journal about their field placement experience and class discussions.. Students also make a substantive final presentation to the class on a topic approved by the Professor that relates to the field placement experience or civil government practice. Students are graded on the journal, class participation, the final presentation, and successful completion of the externship.  To enroll in a Practicum course, students must receive approval from the professor teaching the course.

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Corporate Counsel Practicum

Professor Pete Wentz (Fall Semester, Summer Semester)
The goal of this Practicum is to provide students with an understanding of the role of the general counsel in a corporation. Students spend 10-12 hours per week (and a total of 180 hours in the summer) working in the legal department of a Chicago-area corporation. In addition to doing legal research, writing memoranda and counseling clients, students also have the opportunity to participate in departmental and corporate meetings and develop an understanding of the role of the general counsel. Students may request placement at one of the recurring placements or may identify their own placement, which needs to be approved by the professor. Students also participate in a weekly seminar where they discuss readings relating to the responsibilities of in-house counsel and engage in role plays that highlight the challenges and opportunities that in-house counsel face. Typical discussion topics include: selection and management of outside counsel; crisis management; ethical responsibilities of in-house counsel; and managing the dividing line between legal and business decisions. Students maintain a reflective journal about their externship and class discussion. The course also requires a 10-15 page paper on a topic approved by the Professor that relates to the externship or the class readings and discussion.  Students are graded on the journal, class participation, the paper, and successful completion of the externship.  To enroll in a Practicum course, students must receive the permission of the professor.  In the summer, priority for this Practicum is given to JD/MBA students who have completed their first year of law school.

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Criminal Law Practicum

Professor Juliet Sorenson (Fall Semester)
Professor Jeffrey Urdangen (Spring Semester)
The goal of this Practicum is to provide students with an understanding of criminal process and the criminal justice system. Students complete externships at the United States Attorney’s office, the Federal Defender’s office, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, or the Cook County Public Defender’s office. Students work under the supervision of attorneys in these offices for 12 – 16 hours a week and conduct research, write briefs and memoranda, observe courtroom proceedings, and assist attorneys in trial preparation and trial. Students with 711 licenses may have the opportunity to appear in court under the supervision of their field supervisor.  Students must secure their own placement in consultation with the faculty member.  Students also participate in a weekly seminar discussing various readings relating to the criminal justice system. Past seminar topics have included: the Role of the Prosecutor and the Defender, Criminal Procedure Issues, Grand Jury Investigation, Indictment, Disclosure Obligations, Jury Selection, Jury Nullification, Federal Sentencing Guidelines and Sentencing Policy, Plea Bargains and Agreements, and Ethical Obligations.  Students must maintain a reflective journal about their field placement experience and class discussions and respond each week to assigned questions designed to raise issues important to the Practicum. Students are required to make a substantive presentation to the class on a topic approved by the Professor that relates to the criminal justice system. Students are graded on the journal, the final presentation, class participation, and successful completion of the externship. To enroll in a Practicum course, students must receive the permission of the professor.

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Judicial Practicum

Professor Cindy Wilson (Fall Semester, Spring Semester)
Professor Janet Siegel Brown (Summer Semester)
Fall and Spring Semesters: The goal of this Practicum is to provide students with a solid understanding of the federal courts and judicial decision-making. Students work 12 to 15 hours a week as externs for Federal District Court Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Court of Appeals Judges. Working under the close supervision of the judges and their law clerks, students conduct research and draft memoranda and opinions. Students also observe a variety of federal court proceedings. The professor assists students with obtaining an externship by sending resumes and transcripts of interested students to the judges, who then select the externs.  Students also participate in a weekly seminar discussing various readings relating to the federal judiciary. Seminar topics may include: the role of the law clerk, opinion drafting, judicial selection, the Judicial Canon of Ethics and ethical considerations, the role of ideology in decision-making, judicial misconduct, and sentencing and the Sentencing Guidelines. Students maintain reflective journals about their field placement experiences and class discussions and respond each week to assigned questions designed to raise issues important to the Practicum. Students also make a substantive group presentation to the class on a topic approved by the Professor that relates to the federal judiciary. Students are graded on the journal, class participation, the final presentation, and successful completion of the externship. To enroll in a Practicum course, students must receive the permission of the professor.

Summer Judicial Practicum:
Students who have secured summer judicial externships in the Chicago area or anywhere in the United States may participate in the Summer Judicial Practicum. The externships may be with a federal or with certain state court judges.  Externships with a judge in the state court system must be approved by the professor for the course and must involve significant opportunities for research and drafting.  In Illinois, most of these opportunities arise in the Chancery division and appellate courts. There will be two sections of the Practicum:  one for students with externships in the Chicago area, and another for students with externships outside the Chicago area.  For students with externships in the Chicago area, the in-person class will meet once a week from late May until early August. For students with externships outside the Chicago area, there will be a number of in-person classes both before the summer break and in August before the fall semester begins. In addition, there will be a series of weekly online classes over the course of the summer. Class attendance and participation for both the in-person and remote classes are a part of the grade for the class. The course content and requirements are similar to those for the fall and spring semester class. Students must work a minimum of 180 hours for a judge over a period of at least six weeks.  To enroll in a Practicum course, students must receive the permission of the professor.

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Mediation Practicum

Professor Lynn Cohn (Spring Semester)
The goal of this Practicum is to provide students who have received certification as a mediator with the opportunity to further develop their understanding of mediation principles and to enhance their mediation skills. Students must have completed the mediation skills training from the Center for Conflict Resolution and have been certified as a mediator in order to enroll in the course. .Each student is required to mediate a minimum of thirteen cases at the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) and to work with CCR staff to screen cases for mediation. Students also participate in a weekly seminar that explores topics including: The History of the ADR Movement; Family Mediation; Employment Mediation; Commercial Mediation; Collaborative Law; and models for Routing Matters to Dispute Resolution. Students maintain a reflective journal on an ongoing basis about their field placement experience and the readings and class discussion... Students are required to make a substantive presentation to the class on a topic approved by the Professor. Students are graded on the journal, class participation, the final presentation, and successful completion of the externship. To enroll in a Practicum course, students must receive the permission of the professor.

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Public Interest Practicum

Professor Cindy Wilson (Fall Semester)
Professor Len Rubinowitz
(Spring Semester)
The goal of this Practicum is to provide students with a theoretical and practical understanding of public interest law practice.  Students spend 12 hours per week in an externship with a non-profit public interest organization. Students work under the supervision of attorneys in these offices and conduct research, write briefs and memoranda, interview clients and witnesses, participate in community education efforts, and assist attorneys in trial preparation and trial. Students with 711 licenses may have the opportunity to appear in court under the supervision of their field supervisor.  Students must secure their own placement in consultation with the faculty member.  Students also participate in a weekly seminar where they discuss assigned readings and their externship experience.  Topics may include ethical issues faced by public interest lawyers, theories and models of public interest law practice, the role of lawyers in social movements, lawyer-client relationships, and the role of pro bono work in public interest law.  Students maintain a reflective journal on an ongoing basis about their field placement experience, the readings, class discussion, and responses to assigned questions relating to the week’s topic.  Students also submit a final reflective paper addressing some aspect of the field placement experience.  Students are graded on the journal, class participation, the final paper, and successful completion of the externship. To enroll in a Practicum course, students must receive the permission of the professor.

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Public Service Practicum

The goal of this Practicum is to increase students’ understanding of lawyers’ work in public service settings.  Students who have secured summer externships in the Chicago area or anywhere in the United States with non-profit or government agencies (civil or criminal) are eligible to enroll in the Public Service Practicum. Students must work a minimum of 180 hours at the externship and must start the externship by June 1.  Depending on the placement, externship duties may include legal research, drafting legal documents, drafting legislation or policy documents, interviewing clients, and assisting with trials and other courtroom proceedings.  Students must secure their own placement in consultation with the professor. There will be two sections of the Practicum:  one for students with externships in the Chicago area, and another for students with externships outside the Chicago area.  For students with externships in the Chicago area, the in-person class will meet once a week from late May until early August. For students with externships outside the Chicago area, there will be a number of in-person classes both before the summer break and in August before the fall semester begins. In addition, there will be a series of weekly online classes over the course of the summer. The weekly class for both sections will include discussion of assigned readings and externship experiences. Students maintain a reflective journal on an ongoing basis about their field placement experience, the readings, class discussion, and responses to assigned questions relating to the week’s topic.  Students also submit a final reflective paper addressing some aspect of the field placement experience.  Students are graded on the journal, class participation, the final paper, and successful completion of the externship. To enroll in a Practicum course, students must receive the permission of the professor.

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