The placement opportunities in the Chicago market are nearly as broad as your imagination. As the nation’s second largest legal market, Chicago is home to local, state and federal courts and governmental agencies, numerous major corporations, and scores of non-profit legal organizations. Students may seek placements in any court, governmental agency, corporate counsel office, or non-profit organization as long as that organization commits to providing substantial legal work and careful attorney supervision consistent with program policies.
Some placements allow students to engage in direct client representation and court appearances with an Illinois student practice license. Other placements involve work that is transactional oriented or research and writing intensive. All placements allow students an opportunity to immerse in an active law practice and to develop perspectives and skills that can only be learned in the field.
Some organizations have already hosted ND Law in Chicago students and have expressed a willingness to have future students. Other organizations have specifically informed NDLS that they would be happy to entertain externship applications. Information on those placements is available through the links to the left. Professor Jones is working actively to expand placement options and will work with individual students to identify and approach new placement sites that may meet a student’s needs. Students should speak with Professor Jones before beginning to approach placements.
Placements During 2012-2013 Academic Year
Center for Conflict Resolution
CCR is a mediation center that handles a variety of civil and community mediations. The NDLS student attended a 40-hour mediation training at CCR and then began conducting civil mediations in Chicago courthouses.
Cook County State’s Attorney
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s office numbers over 900 attorneys engaged in a variety of practice areas. NDLS students were assigned to courtrooms in both the Felony Trials division and the Municipal Division, which handles misdemeanor cases. The students became members of the trial teams assigned permanently to those courtrooms. Third year students obtained 711 licenses and were able to conduct hearings. A second year student participated actively in litigation activities, including interviewing and preparing witnesses, but did not obtain a 711 license.
DuPage County State’s Attorney
The NDLS student obtained a 711 license and was assigned to a juvenile courtroom, where he became part of the trial team and made numerous appearances in both juvenile delinquency cases and abuse/neglect cases.
Environmental Law & Policy Center
Two NDLS students participated in both litigation and policy work at the Midwest region’s largest non-profit environmental law center, whose multi-disciplinary staff includes fifteen attorneys. The student work consisted primarily of research and writing projects, including drafting court pleadings, on water law, air pollution, energy policy and recycling/composting issues. The students were able to observe hearings and other activities of ELPC’s staff.
Illinois Appellate Court
The NDLS student performed law clerk duties for Justice Mary K. Rochford in the Illinois Appellate Court and Judge James Sullivan in the Cook County Circuit Court. The duties involved research and writing, including opinion drafting. The student observed oral argument in the Appellate Court and trial proceedings in the Circuit Court.
Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago
LAFC is the Chicago area’s largest low income legal services provider. The NDLS student obtained a 711 license and performed direct client representation in both the Family Law and Immigration divisions.
National Immigrant Justice Center
NIJC is one of the nation’s leading advocacy centers for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. The NDLS student worked in the Detention Project, where she conducted telephone intake interviews with detained immigrants and their family members and then represented those clients in Immigration Court and adjustment proceedings before the US Citizenship and Immigration Service.
Uptown People’s Law Center
Located in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, the Uptown People’s Law Center is a neighborhood non-profit legal services organization specializing in prisoners’ rights, Social Security disability and public benefits, tenants’ rights and eviction defense. The NDLS student obtained a 711 license and represented clients in most of those realms, including conducting a hearing at a downstate prison.
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Other Placement Opportunities
Students may work with Professor Jones to approach any corporate counsel office, judicial chambers, governmental office, or non-profit organization.
One excellent source for identifying non-profit and governmental entities who accept externs is the list of organizations participating in the Public Interest Law Fellowship Program.
More and more entities are learning about the program. The following organizations have specifically expressed interest in having Notre Dame externs:
Business and Professional People for the Public Interest
BPI is a nationally renowned public interest law and policy center that addresses compelling issues of social justice and quality of life in the Chicago region. BPI attorneys are deeply involved in litigation and policy advocacy regarding affordable housing, public housing transformation, public education and political reform. BPI recently received the 2012 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
The Chicago office of CFTC has a staff of attorneys who investigate and prosecute alleged violations of the Commodity Exchange Act and Commission regulations. Chicago attorneys are involved in federal court actions both locally and nationwide.
Domestic Violence Legal Clinic
Located in a Chicago courthouse, the Domestic Violence Legal Clinic is a walk-in clinic that represents victims of domestic violence seeking protective orders. Clients are generally able to complete the protective order process on the same day of their intake. Student externs conduct intake interviews, draft pleadings, and for those with 711 licenses, conduct hearings.
Illinois Attorney General
The Illinois Attorney General’s office has a large staff of attorneys divided among multiple subject matter units. Externs are assigned to a specific unit. Some student externs may practice with a 711 license. Divisions include Consumer Protection, Labor, Government Defense, Environmental Protection, Health Care Fraud, Criminal, and Special Litigation. More information about externships and the application process is available on their website.
The following organizations regularly accept law school externs:
Chicago Corporation Counsel Office
The Chicago Law invites law students to apply for its Extern Program. This program is designed to provide students with a challenging externship that reflects the demands and rewards of public service. The participant will be assigned to one of the practice divisions within the law department. He or she will be assigned a supervisor who will coordinate assignments. Together, the chosen participant and the supervisor will determine the start date, the hours to be worked and the date on which the program will end for the individual. See their website for more details.
In order to begin the application process, a hard copy of your materials must be mailed or hand delivered to the address below. E-mail applications will not be accepted. Applications must include:
1) Cover letter (In addition to identifying your Division preference, please indicate that your application is for the Externship Program)
3) Law School Transcript
4) One writing sample (Writing Sample Policy). Legal Recruiter City of Chicago Department of Law30 N. La Salle – 1640 Chicago, IL 60602.
Equal Opportunity Employment Commission
The Chicago District of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has internship opportunities in its Alternative Dispute Resolution unit (mediation), its Enforcement unit (investigation) and its Legal unit (litigation). EEOC internships are unpaid; however, interns may receive academic credit for their services with approval from their school. For more information see the website:
Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit: For the Chicago District Office, interested students should e-mail or send a letter of interest and resume to Julie Bretz, ADR Coordinator, at EEOC, 500 W. Madison, Room 2800, Chicago, IL 60661 or email@example.com.
Enforcement Unit: To Apply: Contact one of the individuals listed below. Indicate whether you have any special skills such as speaking a language other than English, creating data bases or experience in statistical analysis. Each office has different expectations as to the amount of time required. For the Chicago District Office, interested students should e-mail or send a letter of interest, resume, transcript, and brief writing sample to Ernestine Harris at EEOC, 500 W. Madison, Room 2800, Chicago, IL 60661 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legal: For the Chicago District Office, mail or email a cover letter, resume, and transcript to Ethan Cohen at EEOC, 500 W. Madison, Room 2800, Chicago, IL 60661, or email@example.com. Applications for summer Internships in Chicago may be made at any time, but as offers are made on a rolling basis, applications should usually be made no later than February 15. The Chicago District Office encourages summer applicants to apply through the Midwest Public Interest Career Conference or contact Ethan Cohen directly at the above addresses.
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The program is planning for its new home on the second floor of the Motorola Building in Chicago. The renovated space will include a conference room and 40-person classroom with videoconferencing capability. This technology will enable Chicago lawyers to teach courses as adjunct professors to students in South Bend as well as Chicago.View All News