The formal reception showcasing the Notre Dame Law in Chicago program’s new headquarters is not scheduled until November 14, but the doors are already open at 224 South Michigan Avenue in the Loop.
In fact, the Law School program, which allows Notre Dame Law students to spend a full semester living and learning in downtown Chicago, moved into its renovated space on the second floor of the historic 17-story building in time for the start of the fall semester. Its new quarters includes a conference room and a 40-person classroom with videoconferencing capability that enables Chicago lawyers to teach courses as adjunct professors to Notre Dame Law students in South Bend or London as well as those in the Chicago program.
ND Law in Chicago students earn a full semester’s credits by working four days each week in a nonprofit agency, government law office, judicial chambers, or corporate counsel office, participating in a weekly classroom reflective course, and taking some additional courses.
“Students planning to practice in any major metropolitan area will gain invaluable experience in Chicago,” said Notre Dame Law School Dean Nell Jessup Newton. “Chicago, New York, D.C., and L.A. are often in the top five destinations for ND Law grads, but Chicago is almost always the top market for our graduates and the home to some of our most distinguished Notre Dame Lawyers.”
Janet Laybold, the Law School’s new assistant dean for graduate and strategic initiatives, will be managing the program, developing new externship placements, and teaching a course in the Chicago facility. Previously, Dean Laybold served as the associate dean in charge of admissions, students, and career services at Washington University Law School in St. Louis. A member of the Illinois Bar, Laybold will also serve as the Law School’s liaison to the Chicago bar, the ND Club of Chicago, and Notre Dame’s Chicago recruiting and hiring partners.
“In Janet Laybold, Notre Dame has found the perfect person to guide this and other innovative programs,” Dean Newton said.
For Laybold, returning to Chicago will be a return to her professional roots, which she began as director of admissions at DePaul Law School. During her time at Washington University Law School, she was the founding director of the New York City Regulatory and Business Externship, and served as a member of the dean’s senior leadership team and advisor on strategic planning and communications. She served on the Board of Trustees of the Law School Admissions Council from 2010-2013.
Associate Dean for Experiential Programs Bob Jones designed the program and will be teaching its classroom component in Chicago. Prior to joining Notre Dame Law School, Jones developed deep connections to the Chicago legal community while working at Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, a Chicago-based public interest law and policy center.