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DePaul University College of Law offers students 3rd Year in Practice option

Program creates links from legal education to legal profession

DePaul University College of Law has created a Third Year in Practice program, known as 3YP, which offers students the opportunity to complete their general law school course requirements in two years and spend the third year of law school in practice. The 3YP program is a part of the College of Law’s response to the changing needs of the legal profession and the shifting landscape of legal education. The program will be available to qualified students entering law school this fall.

“The Third Year in Practice option enhances the College of Law’s robust experiential learning curriculum,” said Gregory Mark, dean. “The primary goal of the program is to provide students with opportunities to prepare better for the realities of the legal profession and to assist them in developing the fundamental lawyering skills that today’s employers demand.”

The 3YP program combines clinical, simulation and professional skills courses with an intensive externship program. Participating students will spend a significant part of their third year working in select government agencies, nonprofit organizations, law firms or judicial chambers under the close supervision of a practicing attorney or judge. Participating students also can take advantage of special seminars focused on essential litigation, transactional and professional development skills. In addition to receiving mentorship from an assigned DePaul faculty member, each student will have the opportunity to make connections with prospective employers prior to graduation. The College of Law will continue to offer experiential learning opportunities, including a full selection of externships, to all law students.

David A. Rodriguez, Third Year in Practice Director
David Anthony Rodriguez, who leads DePaul’s Poverty Law Clinic, will direct the 3YP program. Rodriguez has experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors, having practiced with Sidley Austin LLP and the Legal Assistance Foundation.

An advisory board comprised of faculty, student and alumni representatives also will guide the program.

“The Third Year in Practice program places DePaul at the forefront of innovation in legal education, allowing students to effectively experience the practice of law a full year before many of their future colleagues, while under the guidance of DePaul’s experienced and dedicated faculty,” said Rodriguez.

Located in the heart of Chicago’s Downtown Loop, blocks from the business and financial district, the DePaul University College of Law is situated to provide exceptional opportunities for experiential learning. The College of Law offers nearly 200 externship placements with private firms, corporations, and public interest and government agencies. In addition, the DePaul Legal Clinic — recently named one of the best in Chicago by the National Law Journal — provides students with more than 10 litigation, transactional and policy clinical options. The 3YP program will deepen connections between the law school and the city of Chicago while enhancing academic excellence and student learning experiences.


About DePaul University College of Law

DePaul University College of Law has a long-standing tradition of challenging and enlightening students by placing the highest priority on innovative programs of instruction that include both traditional classroom theory and professional skills training. Led by a diverse and widely respected and consulted faculty, the College of Law is recognized for its highly successful centers, institutes and clinics that emphasize collaborative learning among students and faculty in advancing the law and serving justice. Since 2010, DePaul has ranked first every year among Illinois law schools for producing the most graduates recognized by Illinois Super Lawyers. The College of Law also has been recognized regularly for its diversity by national publications such as Hispanic Outlook Magazine. As part of a vibrant urban environment, the College of Law brings together students, faculty, staff and alumni committed to serving the public and the legal profession in ways that enhance the social, economic, cultural and ethical values of the broader community.