Practicum Courses

Civil Government Practicum
Corporate Counsel Practicum
Criminal Law Practicum
Judicial Practicum
Mediation Practicum
Public Interest 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 participate in a weekly seminar where various readings relating to civil government practice are discussed. Past seminar topics have included: Ethical and Professional Responsibility issues in Civil Government practice, Political Pressures, Monitoring the Government, and the Culture of the Government Lawyer.

Students also spend 12 hours per week in a field placement at a federal, state, or local government agency or office involving civil law, such as the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Federal Trade Commission etc. Students work primarily on civil law matters and, depending on the placement, duties can include research and writing memorandums, 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 maintain a reflective journal about their field placement experience and class discussions. The journal is read and graded in two installments and each installment of the journal accounts for one-sixth of the course grade. Class participation also accounts for one-third of the course grade. Students are required to make a substantive presentation to the class on a topic approved by the Professor that relates to the field placement experience or civil government practice. This presentation accounts for one-third of the course grade.

Eligibility and Application Procedures:
All second and third year students are eligible to participate in the civil government practicum. Enrollment takes place through the Registrar’s bidding process for course selection. Students are responsible for securing the externship placement and must have the placement approved by Professor Maureen Stratton prior to course registration. Professor Stratton maintains a list of civil government agencies with externship opportunities and students needing assistance in securing a placement are encouraged to contact her.

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Corporate Counsel Practicum

Professor Pete Wentz (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 participate in a weekly seminar where various readings relating to the responsibilities of in-house counsel are discussed. Students also 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 also spend one day per week 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. Past placements have included Mittal Steel, USG, the Chicago Board of Options Exchange, Northwestern University, Abbott Laboratories, Shorebank and a number of real estate organizations. Students are also encouraged to develop their own externships, with the permission of the Professor.

Students maintain a reflective journal about their externship and class discussion. The journal is read and graded in two installments, which accounts for one-third of the course grade. Students are required to write a 10-15 page paper on a topic approved by the Professor, that relates to the externship or the class readings and discussion. This paper and weekly class participation are graded and account for two-thirds of the course grade.

Eligibility and Application Procedure:
The summer Practicum is available to JD-MBA students who have completed their first year of law school. The number of students admitted to the class is dependent on the number of available externships, although typically all interested JD-MBA students have been admitted.

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Criminal Law Practicum

Adjunct to be determined (Fall Semester)
Professor Juliet Sorenson (Spring Semester)

Fall and Spring Semesters: The goal of this Practicum is to provide students with an understanding of criminal process and the criminal justice system. Students 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 are placed in public criminal law agencies including the United States Attorney’s office, the Federal Defender’s office, the State’s Attorney’s office, and the Public Defender’s office. Students work under the supervision of attorneys in these offices for 12 – 16 hours a week and, in addition to observing the proceedings in the offices and various courtrooms, conduct research, write briefs and memorandums, and assist attorneys in trial preparation and trial. Third year students with 711 licenses may have the opportunity to appear in court and to conduct courtroom proceedings under the supervision of their field supervisor.

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. The journal is read and graded in two installments and each installment of the journal accounts for one-third of the course grade. 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. This presentation and weekly class participation is graded and accounts for one-third of the course grade.

Eligibility and Application Procedures:
All second and third year students are eligible to participate in the Criminal Law Practicum. Enrollment takes place through the Registrar’s bidding process for course selection. Students are responsible for securing an externship with one of the agencies participating in the program. Below is a description of each agency participating in the Practicum and the procedure for applying for an externship.

Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, 2650 South California Avenue and other offices in Cook County
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office represents the state and prosecutes felony and misdemeanor cases in Cook County. The Office is divided into several divisions, including the Criminal Division (including Domestic Violence Division, Criminal Appeals, Traffic and Sex Crimes), the Felony Trial Division, Special Prosecutions (arson, auto theft and public integrity) and Narcotics.

In the extern program, students are assigned to work with specific attorneys and/or on specific projects. Students may assist attorneys in trial preparation, legal research, client interview sessions, discovery conferences, witness preparation, investigation, motions and trials. Students with 711 licenses may participate in courtroom work under the direct supervision of the supervising attorney,

Visit the State’s Attorney’s website for information regarding the externship program, including application materials.

Cook County Public Defender, 69 West Washington, Chicago, Illinois, 2650 South California Avenue, and other locations in Cook County
The Cook County Public Defender’s Office (CCPD) provides legal representation to individuals accused of offenses in the state court system who are unable to afford private counsel. The CCPD’s clients are accused of offenses ranging from traffic and misdemeanor charges to capital murder. The office is organized into several divisions: Delinquency, Appeals, Felony Trial, Multiple Defendants, Traffic and Training. In addition, there are several specialized units including Post-Conviction, Mental Health, Narcotics Court, Paternity, Abuse and Neglect, and Homicide Task Force.

In the extern program, students are assigned to work with specific attorneys and/or on specific projects. Students may assist attorneys in trial preparation, legal research, client interviewing, investigation, witness preparation and motions and hearings. Students with 711 licenses may participate in courtroom work under the direct supervision of their supervising attorney.

Students interesting in securing an externship are required to submit a cover letter, resume and three letters of recommendation to the Cook County Public Defender, 69 W. Washington , 16th Floor, Chicago, Illinois 60602.

Federal Defender Program, 55 East Monroe, Suite 2800
The Federal Defender Program is a not-for-profit corporation serving the Northern District of Illinois. It has approximately 19 staff attorneys. The Federal Defender Program represents individuals accused of federal crimes who are unable to afford representation. The majority of the clients represented by the Federal Defender Program are charged with drug violations, firearms violations, bank robbery, mail theft or fraud, and white collar crimes such as embezzlement or the misapplication of bank funds.

The extern program seeks to involve students in many phases of criminal defense work, including interviewing clients and witnesses, investigating cases, preparing for and observing preliminary and detention hearings, contested and trial motions, legal research and writing, and observing and participating in various court room proceedings such as bond hearings, guilty pleas, trials, sentencings and appellate arguments.

Students interested in securing an externship are required to submit a cover letter and resume to Sergio Rodriguez, Federal Defender Program, 55 East Monroe, Suite 2800, Chicago, Illinois 60604.

United States Attorney’s Office, 219 South Dearborn Avenue
The United States Attorney’s Office represents the United States in all federal criminal and civil matters. The type of cases within their jurisdiction include (but are not limited to): fraud, public corruption, tax fraud, narcotics, civil rights, bank robbery and child pornography.

The extern program seeks to involve students in many phases of prosecution, including legal research and writing, interviewing witnesses, preparing for and observing preliminary and detention hearings, contested and trial motions, and observing and/or participating in various court room proceedings such as bond hearings, guilty pleas, trials, sentencings and appellate arguments. Students with 711 licenses may represent the United States in the prosecution of petty offenses and other matters under the direct supervision of the supervising attorney.

The United State’s Attorney’s office has a formal application that must be completed. Applications and information regarding the deadline for this application process is provided to students when it is received from the United State’s Attorney’s office but can also be obtained by calling the United States Attorneys office at (312) 353-5300.

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Judicial Practicum

Professor Cindy Wilson (Fall Semester, Spring Semester)
Susie Spies Roth (Summer Semester)

Fall and Spring Semesters: The goal of this Practicum is to provide students with a solid understanding of the federal courts, decision-making and the role of the law clerk. Although the Seminar topics may vary semester from semester, issues discussed in the seminar have included: the role of the law clerk, opinion drafting, federal procedure, selection of judges, the Judicial Canon of Ethics and ethical considerations, the role of ideology in decision-making, judicial misconduct, and sentencing and the Sentencing Guidelines. In addition to weekly assigned readings, the class reads and discusses Judge Richard Posner’s book, The Federal Courts.

In addition, students work 12 to 15 hours a week as law clerk 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. In addition, to provide a comprehensive understanding of the work of federal judges, students participate in the work of chambers and observe courtroom proceedings.

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. The journal is read and graded in two installments and each installment of the journal accounts for one-third of the course grade. Students are required to make a substantive presentation to the class on a topic approved by the Professor that relates to the federal judiciary. This presentation and weekly class participation accounts for one-third of the course grade. Successful compliance with the externship requirements and the expectations of the Judge are essential.

Eligibility and Application Procedures:
All second and third year students are eligible to participate in the Judicial Practicum. In order to assist students for placement in the fall and spring semesters, Professors solicit resumes and official transcripts from interested students. (Materials are solicited in late September for the Spring semester and in late January for the fall semester.) These materials are presented to interested Judges for their consideration. Judges contact those students that they are interested in interviewing and extend offers to the students they select. Students must have an externship to enroll in the Practicum.

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 a state court judge.

For students with externships in the Chicago area, there will be an in-person class once a week from late May until early August. There will be a total of ten three-hour class sections. Class attendance and participation 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.

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 online chats or conference calls 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.

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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 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. In addition, 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 maintain a reflective journal on an ongoing basis about their field placement experience and the readings and class discussion. In addition, the students are provided specific questions or topics that must be addressed in the journal. The journal is read and graded in two installments and each installment of the journal accounts for one-third of the course’s grade. Students are required to make a substantive presentation to the class on a topic approved by the Professor. This presentation and weekly class participation accounts for one-third of the course’s grade. Successful compliance with the externship requirements and the expectations of the Judge are essential.

Eligibility and Application Procedures:
Students must have completed the mediation skills training from the Center for Conflict Resolution and have been certified as a mediator.

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Public Interest Practicum

Professor Cindy Wilson (Fall Semester)
Professor Len Rubinowitz
(Spring Semester)
Audra Wilson (Summer Semester)

Fall Semester (Professor Wilson):
The goal of this Practicum is to provide students with a theoretical and practical understanding of public interest law practice, broadly defined. Students participate in a weekly seminar where readings related to public interest law practice are discussed. Topics may include ethical issues faced by public interest lawyers, theories and models of public interest law practice, addressing the legal needs of the poor with limited resources, and the role of pro bono work in public interest law.

In addition, students spend 12 hours per week in a field placement or externship with a non-profit public interest organization. Students work with Cindy Wilson to arrange field placements and identify supervisors in their area of interest before the course begins. Organizations participating in the Public Interest Practicum have included the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, the ACLU, Lambda Legal, AIDS Legal Counsel, Cabrini-Green Legal Aids Clinic, and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under 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. The journal is read and graded in two installments, and each installment accounts for one-sixth of the course grade. Class participation also counts for one-third of the course grade. A reflective paper addressing some aspect of the field placement experience is also required, and it counts for one-third of the course grade.

Eligibility and Application Procedures:
All second and third year students are eligible to participate in the Public Interest Practicum. Enrollment takes place through the Registrar’s bidding process for course selection. Students in the course should begin searching for an appropriate placement in December and are expected to have secured a specific externship by the start of class. Professor Wilson assists students in finding externships responsive to the student’s interests. Each placement must be approved by Professor Wilson.

Spring Semester (Professor Rubinowitz):
The goal of this Practicum is to provide students with a theoretical and practical understanding of public interest law practice, broadly defined. Students participate in a weekly seminar where readings related to public interest law practice are discussed, such as the definitions of public interest law practice, lawyer-client relationships, and the role of lawyers in social movements.

In addition, students spend 12 hours per week in a field placement or externship with a non-profit public interest organization. Organizations participating in the Public Interest Practicum have included the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago, the ACLU, Lambda Legal, AIDS Legal Counsel, Cabrini-Green Legal Aids Clinic, and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Students maintain a reflective journal on an ongoing basis about their field placement experience and the readings and class discussion. The journal is read and graded in two installments, and each installment accounts for one-sixth of the course grade. Class participation also counts for one-third of the course grade. A reflective paper addressing some aspect of the field placement experience is also required, and it counts for one-third of the course grade.

Eligibility and Application Procedures:
All second and third year students are eligible to participate in the Public Interest Practicum. Students work with Len Rubinowitz to arrange field placements and identify supervisors in an area of their interest before the course begins. Enrollment takes place through the Registrar’s bidding process for course selection.

Summer Semester (Audra Wilson):
The goal of this Practicum is to provide students with an understanding of public interest law practice. Past seminar topics have included: Defining Public Interest Law, Current Public Interest Law Practice and Models, and the Role of the Government Lawyer.

The summer Public Interest Practicum is condensed into nine weeks, beginning the last week of May and ending the last week of July. Students spend 18 hours per week in an externship in a public interest legal organization or government agency and represent clients in civil matters.

Students maintain a reflective journal about their field placement experience and class discussions. The journal is read and graded in two installments and each installment of the journal accounts for one-third of the course’s grade. Students are required to make a substantive presentation to the class on a topic approved by the Professor that relates to the field placement experience or public interest law practice. This presentation and weekly class participation are graded and account for one-third of the course’s grade.

Eligibility and Application Procedures:
All second and third year students are eligible to participate in the public interest practicum. Enrollment takes place through the Registrar’s bidding process for course selection. Students are responsible for securing the externship placement and must have the placement approved by the Professor prior to course registration. The Professor maintains a list of public interest law agencies with externship opportunities and students needing assistance in securing a placement are encouraged to contact her.

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