DePaul Law News

  • Student Spotlight

    DePaul Law student recieves Prettyman Fellowship

    First DePaul Law student to receive honor, Fadya Salem is "beyond excited" to become a Prettyman Fellow.

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  • Faculty Spotlight

    Director of Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic Professor Sioban Albiol shares her passion for Immigration Law.

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  • Alumni Spotlight

    Annual law alumni awards highlight three who lead by example.

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DePaul's inaugural Third Year in Practice class ready for real-world experience

Members of the first class of students in DePaul’s innovative Third Year in Practice (3YP) program will begin their intensive legal field placements at government agencies, nonprofit organizations and corporations in fall 2016.

Following is an excerpt from a recent article about the 3YP program that appeared in Distinctions.

“3YP is the reason I came to DePaul,” says Clint Pierce. Rebekah Gonzalez agrees: “I learned about 3YP when I was researching law schools, and it’s why I decided to come here. I did not see anything like it at other schools in the area.”
The Third Year in Practice (3YP) program allows law students to complete general course requirements in two years and then spend their third year immersed in the simulated and actual practice of law. 3YP students learn and practice professional litigation and corporate skills, while working under close supervision, at a law firm, government agency, corporation, nonprofit organization, or any one of DePaul’s legal clinics.
“3YP is a way to attract students, for sure, but it’s also just the right thing to do,” says David Rodriguez, the program’s director and a clinical instructor for the Poverty Law Clinic. "The first year out of law school is baptism by fire, as new lawyers struggle to do the work. It’s one thing to learn theory in the classroom, quite another to apply it on-the-job, with real-world pressures, deadlines, and expectations. Students who’ve done 3YP can hit the ground running after graduation—they’ll be confident and competitive.”
Read the full story.​​​​​

DePaul joins 1871, nation’s largest entrepreneurial technology incubator; College of Law part of collaboration

DePaul University is opening a dedicated space at 1871, Chicago’s prestigious entrepreneurial technology hub. (Photo by Carol Hughes)
With a commitment to innovation, quality education and providing real-world experiences to students, DePaul University is opening a dedicated space at 1871, Chicago’s prestigious entrepreneurial technology hub. The collaboration gives DePaul students, faculty members and alumni access to 1871’s programming, special events, workshops, lectures, and provides networking opportunities with industry thought leaders.

The College of Law is one of four academic units, along with the Coleman Entrepreneurship Center in the Driehaus College of Business, the College of Computing and Digital Media, and Academic Affairs, to be part of the collaboration with 1871.

It is important for the College of Law to be a key partner in this collaboration. We recognize that law, business and technology are inextricably intertwined in today's world, and lawyers and law students need to problem solve in contexts—like the ones offered at 1871—where those disciplines all come together,” said Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea of the College of Law. 

As part of University Row, DePaul joins the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Loyola University, University of Illinois, DeVry University, and Illinois Institute of Technology at 1871. Each of the universities will participate in Campus 1871, a springtime, weekend-long event that brings together the best and brightest from each of the partner universities to create their own startups with like-minded university students.

“This partnership has been a long time coming and we are thrilled that DePaul is formally joining the 1871 community,” said 1871 CEO Howard A. Tullman. “Our partnerships with universities are one of 1871’s biggest advantages and offerings, and DePaul is a crucial addition to this fold. We look forward to welcoming people from around the DePaul family to 1871.”

Excerpted from DePaul Newsroom press release.

DePaul takes second at Maryland health law compliance competition

JHLI moot court team members Anthony Lopez, Lana Smith and Lauren Masching.
DePaul University College of Law's Mary and Michael Jaharis Health Law Institute (JHLI) moot court team placed second in the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law Health Law Regulatory & Compliance Competition. Team members included third-year student Lana Smith and second-year students Lauren Masching and Anthony Lopez, who are all health law fellows at JHLI.

"We are extremely proud of our moot court team who placed second at the University of Maryland competition," said moot court team supervisor and health law institute executive director Katherine Schostok. "They gained invaluable experience and knowledge in the compliance and regulatory field."

At the competition, the team analyzed a hypothetical problem for potential compliance and regulatory issues. The students worked together to answer a variety of issues facing a hospital system that included the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Stark Law, the False Claims Act, employment matters and corporate structuring of a hospital system. After a brief research period, teams presented two 20-minute presentations, one as counsel for the Food and Drug Administration and the other as outside counsel for the hospital system. This was the second time the Jaharis Health Law Institute has competed at the regulatory and compliance competition. 

"We were nervous leading up to the distribution of the problem, but once we evaluated the issues we gained our confidence back," said Lana Smith. "The health law classes we've taken at DePaul, especially Professor Schostok's Healthcare Fraud and Abuse course, gave us the research skills and knowledge to tackle the problem, as well as the ability to comfortably discuss our recommendations.

"After the presentations, we received positive feedback, but it was a wonderful surprise to hear we placed second out of the teams who competed. It was an incredible feeling to be able to represent the Jaharis Health Law Institute and DePaul." 

34 law students study in Cuba with DePaul Law

Professors Alberto Coll​ and Cary Martin Shelby​ accompanied 34 law students on a nine-day study abroad trip to Cuba in March. The program offered students an opportunity to learn about the Cuban legal and economic framework regulating foreign investment, trade and international business transactions. During the program, students also met with a supreme court justice and department chairs and deans at the University of Havana, and visited the Cuban Bar Association, a major Havana law firm and the Capitol building. 

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin recently published a story on the program. "We always hear so much about Cuba in the media and everywhere, so this seemed like a good opportunity to see it for ourselves and form our own opinions of it from the ground," DePaul third-year law student Jessica Watkins told the publication.

Read the article.

Cultivating Confidence: LARC teaches students skills for success

​​​​​What are the benefits of developing writing skills? Professor Susan Thrower has the short answer: Getting a job and keeping a job. 

“Employers are looking for writing ability and coherent analysis in writing, in addition to good overall grades,” she explained. Most of our DePaul College of Law alumni would agree, along with a number of surveys of lawyers who hire law graduates.

Thrower is the director of DePaul’s Legal Analysis, Research & Communication (LARC) program. An eastcoast native, Thrower taught at American University Washington College of Law and George Washington University Law School before dedicating more than a decade to overseeing DePaul’s legal writing program. At the College of Law, she works alongside Associate Director Martha Pagliari (JD ’84) to help students enrich their communication skills and cultivate confidence.

The LARC experience

The College of Law’s comprehensive four-semester LARC curriculum establishes a set of tools for students to hone legal thought and expression throughout law school. The LARC program recognizes that writing in law school needs to be progressive and practiced regularly, with lots of feedback along the way.

LARC I focuses on the foundational skills of synthesis, analysis, written communication and plain-language drafting during the students’ first semester. LARC II, taken in the second semester of the first year, expands upon this initial instruction and includes research skills and strategy, persuasive writing at the trial court level and reporting orally to a supervising attorney. Both require five major writing projects, as well as a number of smaller assignments. 

The program also aligns with the College of Law’s certificate programs by offering first-year writing sections in several concentrations. The same skills are learned, but in the context of an area in which the student is particularly interested–including intellectual property, family law, and public interest law. 

LARC III prompts students to hone their persuasive writing and oral advocacy skills. Students learn to write for the audience of a judge as opposed to supervising attorney or client, and briefs are developed and revised according to several rounds of feedback. Students present in a series of oral arguments before their professor, the first being a trial level motion.

The last week of LARC III features an argument on an appellate brief, for which instructors assemble a panel to replicate an appellate court argument. “It’s far more formal and it’s a big deal to students—it always has been,” said Thrower.

Third-year student Jennifer James agrees. “The final oral argument created an opportunity for me to develop the critical skill of oral advocacy,” she said. “It gave me a chance to take my culminated work throughout the semester and present my argument in a real simulation, including a panel of expert appellate attorneys.”

Grace Barsanti, also a third-year student, echoes her sentiments. “Had I not done an oral argument in LARC III, I might not have realized that I really love litigation,” she said. “It was really refreshing to be able to see where all the hard work we put into our writing assignments could actually lead, and it put into perspective what we were researching and writing about.”

Not only are students required to take LARC I, II and III, they also must take an upper-level writing requirement, which allows students to dig deeper into different kinds of writing, including legal drafting or judicial or scholarly writing.

Practicing lawyers in a leading role

For LARC III and Legal Drafting, DePaul Law takes advantage of the talents of Chicago lawyers in a wide variety of practice areas. Students can take a course in patent law drafting or matrimonial law, for example, and receive guidance from experienced and practicing attorneys.

We are always looking to have a robust pool of available adjunct professors,” Thrower said. “We like for that pool to be varied with respect to background, because we have a lot of disparate needs, both for LARC III and drafting. Martha also practiced in the city and we draw on the fantastic set of contacts she has.”

Pagliari, who was previously a partner at Cassiday Schade & Gloor in Chicago, has a background in civil litigation, concentrating in medical malpractice, products liability and employment law. From 2008 until 2014, Pagliari was appointed by the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, an arm of the Illinois Supreme Court, as professor-reporter for its Illinois Judicial Conference Study Committee on Complex Litigation, which made recommendations to the Illinois Supreme Court with regard to successful practices for managing complex civil and criminal litigation.

The cache of adjuncts—sometimes up to 60—includes practicing lawyers from firms of all sizes, including sole practitioners and government lawyers. Recent hires include Shankar Ramamurthy, the assistant regional counsel for Health and Human Services and Lisa Hugé (MA ’08), a director of the Cook County Forest Preserve. Thrower says this range of practice areas helps accommodate changes and trends in the marketplace.

“We have many voices adding to the conversation on what young lawyers need when they go off to practice.” The adjunct line-up showcases the strength of the DePaul College of Law community. Alumni, including personal injury lawyer Vince Browne (JD ’97), Illinois Appellate Court Clerk Natalie Carlomango (JD ’98), and civil defense litigator Joe Comer (JD ’10) routinely teach these courses.

The LARC experience emphasizes personal feedback. LARC instructors make a point to offer office hours at times when students are not in class. Instructors carry through with mandatory conferences during all three semesters and drafting, meeting with students one-on one to discuss everything from works in progress to technical questions like citations.

“From what I can tell from my national colleagues, DePaul Law offers oodles more teacher access to students, both informally through office hours and through structured time in the conferences,” said Thrower. “This is something we were really intentional about when I came in and restructured the curriculum to make sure that we were embedding these kinds of conferences into every single semester and every LARC course.”

Jennifer Rosato Perea, Dean of the College of Law and long-time proponent of writing across the curriculum, agrees: “the LARC program is distinctive in its comprehensiveness to ensure that students ‘exercise’ their writing muscle throughout law school, in its incremental building of skills to instill confidence, and its variety of offerings by both experienced instructors and skilled attorneys.”

Prepared (and confident) to enter the real world of practice

Thrower says students tend to realize the benefit of the program when they go out into the world. Many students find that firms are incorporating time pressured writing projects as part of the interview, and they are ready for them because of their LARC experiences. Thrower believes they’re also more prepared for the performance piece of the bar exam (the MPT).

“It makes sense to me to let students practice while they’re still in school,” she said.

For example, several years ago, Thrower introduced a short capstone exercise for LARC I that gently removes the training wheels for students to realize their own progress and autonomy in writing and legal analysis. Through this exercise, she witnessed a positive response from students as well as a swell of confidence.

 Much of the gratification for her and other LARC teachers comes over time. “The gratification comes as students practice their skills in the classroom, gain confidence in themselves, and then are able to excel in hands-on experiences like externships and clinics. Students learn a bucket from us and their employers recognize it.” 

Students explore courtroom firsthand with Shadow-a-Judge series

​​​​​As part of the College of Law’s Institute for Advocacy & Dispute Resolution​ and Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic​, students shadowed judges at several events during fall 2015. 

This year's annual Shadow-a-Judge series included a tour of the Juvenile Temporary Detention Center at the Juvenile Justice Courthouse, a visit to the Chicago Immigration Court for a Q&A with an immigration judge and the chance to witness a sentencing hearing. Students had the opportunity to network, interact with judges and observe the crucial operations of the courtroom. 

On September 23, students attended the sentencing hearing of Bryant Brewer at the George N. Leighton Criminal Court Building on Chicago’s Southwest Side. Brewer was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder in the 2010 shooting death of Chicago Police Officer Thor Soderberg. 

The [Shadow-a-Judge] experience puts law students face-to-face with the realities of life in the judicial system,” said Renita Ward, a second-year student who attended the Criminal Division event. “I had the opportunity to walk through the same entrance lawyers and court officials use at the courthouse, meet staff attorneys and clerks in chambers, witness court proceedings involving all parties (defense counsel, prosecutor, jurors, suspected offenders/inmates and the fact finder) and to ask questions of a sitting judge during lunch. The visit allows the machinations of rules of evidence and matters of law to be examined and questioned in real time.” 

I liked the overall experience of not feeling lost in a huge courtroom,” added first-year student Mary Johnson. “We had several guides and we were truly treated with respect and able to engage law clerks and judges in conversation. I honestly and sincerely thank you for the opportunity. It was great and super informative.” 

On October 28, students toured the Juvenile Justice Courthouse, including the school and living quarters for youth ages 10 to 16. The center houses juveniles who are awaiting adjudication of their cases by the Juvenile Division of the Cook County Courts and provides care for youth who have been transferred from juvenile court jurisdiction to criminal court. These youth would otherwise be incarcerated in the county jail. 

“The detention center is not normally open to the public,” explained Field Placement Program​ (FPP) Director Natalie Wolfe, “so getting to tour it is a unique experience, even though we do not get to interact with the juveniles themselves.” 

First-year student Candace Watkins found that the visit provided some clarity. “I am unsure about what area I want to focus on and this gave me a better perspective,” she said. “I especially enjoyed the small panel that allowed us to talk with members of each side of the legal system. I also enjoyed the tour of the juvenile facility.” 

As a new addition to the series, the immigration court Q&A gave students a chance to meet directly with immigration Judge James R. Fujimoto. The event took place on November 17 at the Chicago Immigration Court, also known as the Executive Office of Immigration Review. Asylum & Immigration Law Clinical Instructor and Director Sioban Albiol organized the Q&A, vetting students’ questions in advance before the group met informally with Judge Fujimoto and his clerks. In addition to Albiol’s yearlong clinical students, FPP Director Wolfe brought in four nonclinical law students. 

Shadow-a-Judge events take place every spring and fall semester. Please contact Natalie Wolfe at or (312) 362-8312 if you are interested in participating in the spring 2016 program.

National Law Journal readers rank DePaul law programs No. 1 in Chicago

DePaul University College of Law received first place in three program categories—clinical programs, joint JD/MBA and Master of Laws (LLM)—in the National Law Journal’s Best of Chicago 2015 Reader Rankings.

“These survey results reflect the breadth of DePaul’s distinctiveness—from experiential learning in the Chicago community, to strong joint programs with a nationally renowned university, to LLM programs in fields where DePaul is well-known,” said Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea. “We continue to define DePaul Law with these excellent programs, and are proud to be recognized by NLJ’s readers.”

This is the second consecutive year that readers rated DePaul’s clinical and LLM programs as No. 1 in Chicago. The JD/MBA program moved up to first place from third in last year’s survey. More than 1,400 readers voted in nearly 80 categories in the 2015 survey.

DePaul’s nine clinical programs provide students with community-based service opportunities and hands-on learning experiences outside the classroom. The clinical program areas include asylum and immigration law, civil rights, criminal appeals, family law, housing law and community development, mediation, misdemeanors, poverty law, and technology and intellectual property.

Offered jointly with DePaul’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, the JD/MBA program prepares students to be effective leaders and problem-solvers in the areas of law and business. The College of Law also partners with several other colleges at DePaul to offer joint degree programs in international studies, computer science and public service management.

DePaul’s LLM programs focus on the areas of health law, intellectual property law, international law and taxation. The programs are designed to provide foreign-trained lawyers and graduates of non-U.S. law schools with an understanding of the U.S. legal system, as well as to provide U.S. lawyers and law graduates with expanded knowledge and training.

Alumna teaches public interest legal skills series on working with migrant children

Rocio Alcantar (JD ’10), supervising attorney for the National Immigrant Justice Center’s Access to Counsel Project, a new initiative of the Immigrant Legal Defense Project, taught the first Center for Public Interest Law (CPIL) skills series of the 2014-2015 academic year.

The series was titled "Working with Immigrant Children." As the former supervising attorney with the Immigrant Children’s Protection Project and as the lead staff attorney for the Counter-Trafficking Project, Alcantar used her experiences to create a five part legal skills series to teach laws students about how to successfully work with migrant youth.

The series was designed to give students an overview of working with migrant children, assessing the forms of relief that are available and how to serve as an advocate for this community. Alcantar first focused on the overall causes of migration. The series also highlighted the various forms of relief available to migrant children, such as asylum, Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), T Visas, U Visas, etc. Students interested in the topic engaged in classroom discussion about the struggles that lawyers face when advocating for migrant children and learned practical and transferable skills.

The series took place on five consecutive Mondays from September 29 to October 27. Students who attended all five sessions received a certificate of completion. CPIL offers three public interest legal skills series each academic year.

3YP: Strengthening DePaul's commitment to experiential learning

The College of Law is enriching its JD curriculum with the Third Year in Practice Program. Known as 3YP, the program gives students an opportunity to complete general law school course requirements in two years and spend their third year immersed in the practice of law.

Launching in fall 2014, 3YP will combine 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.

The 3YP option enhances DePaul’s experiential learning curriculum by allowing for more out-of classroom credits and a more intensive field placement experience, with an ultimate goal of better preparing students for the realities of the profession.

A call for change

The program responds to the changing demands of the legal field and reflects recent practices by law schools and attorneys aiming to reinvigorate instruction and the profession.

In 2013, the American Bar Association (ABA) Task Force on the Future of Legal Education conducted a review of legal education. Its report—for consideration by institutions, the legal world and the public—called for sweeping changes. Among them, the panel requested increased innovation in law schools and a greater shift from doctrinal instruction toward development of the day-to-day skills and competencies required by lawyers.

“Legal education embraces new forms of pedagogy, but not always along the same timeline as other areas of study,” said Associate Professor Allison Tirres, co-creator of the 3YP program. “Law schools and law professors have for a long time done things that are innovative, including using the Socratic method of question and answer in the classroom— rather than mere lecture—and providing clinical opportunities. I think many law schools are just now moving forward with further pedagogical innovation.”

At a retreat in October 2013, DePaul College of Law faculty members discussed the structure of the law school’s curriculum. The dialogue, Tirres said, was “informed by a growing recognition that experiential learning is an important and valuable part of legal education.”

The 3YP concept originated with Associate Professor Zoë Robinson, who conceived of it as part of a three-track program at DePaul, allowing students to pursue a traditional JD, a joint JD/LLM or a third year in practice. Faculty members acknowledged its benefit for a certain subset of students, as well as for the university in deepening ties with legal practitioners and nonprofits in Chicago.

Tirres took on the responsibility to build the program and enlisted the help of senior faculty member Professor Leonard Cavise, director of the Center for Public Interest Law and Chiapas Human Rights Practicum, to craft the basics and guide it through the faculty approval process. They also convened an informal working group to further hone the proposal.

Clinical Instructor David Rodriguez soon emerged as program director. His experience in nonprofit and for-profit sectors, and enthusiasm for legal education and innovation stood out to Tirres and the 3YP program committee, comprised of faculty, staff and alumni.

Rodriguez took the committee’s momentum even further, researching pedagogical theory and consulting contacts at other law schools and legal clinics. He also reached out to local practitioners to discuss the most promising externships for 3YP students.

The end product allows students to apply following their first year and, if accepted, combine the classroom work for the second and third years. The third year will be open for externships, clinics and professional skills courses.

To create even more time for experiential learning, DePaul is increasing the allotted out-of-classroom credits from 12 to 21, still within ABA regulations. The combination of clinics and externships will give students an unprecedented opportunity to work directly with actual clients and one-on-one faculty mentors.

Clinics and professional skills courses will expose students to litigation and transactional work, focusing on legal drafting, negotiation and client counseling. In addition, the program will include a capstone seminar designed to help students retain the skills learned in 3YP. Rodriguez says that the range of approaches will create a powerful dynamic for program graduates.

Addressing new needs

Advocates of 3YP also see the full-immersion approach as a step toward addressing the national imbalance between market underemployment and unfulfilled legal needs.

“The legal profession needs to serve more people in more places, not just those in big cities and not just those with high incomes,” explained Tirres. “This is increasingly true in recent years, since the big firm model of legal service delivery has pulled most lawyers out of rural areas and out of the price range of most clients. We should be preparing our students to be able to open their own practice and to take that practice wherever there is a need.”

In addition to the market shifts, Rodriguez points out that law students are changing. Institutions are responsible for addressing the developments in communication, professional dynamics and even cognitive processing on account of technological innovations, he says.

Some colleges are adjusting to the change by looking to existing or emerging models. Harvard Business School’s spherical “hive” classrooms help students close the gap between school and career by replicating the crowdsourcing approach of corporate learning circles and allowing students to educate themselves using laptop computers.

Law schools are taking a more conservative approach, looking to models used in professions like teaching and medicine, which require extensive on-the-ground training.

“Medical schools utilize the residency as a way to train students,” said Tirres. “The government funds different programs to ensure that doctors go to areas where there is a high need. We don't have this training structure in law. But we can expand our curriculum to provide intensive fieldwork for students. 3YP is one way to build on our current offerings and provide that kind of training for fledgling lawyers, while also serving the needs of clients in the greater Chicago area.”

The effort to produce great lawyers—and a greater number of practicing lawyers—is gaining momentum beyond the institutional realm. As an article in the March issue of National Jurist pointed out, California’s state bar task force has proposed a competency training requirement en route to law licensure.

Continuing an experiential approach The 3YP opportunity is merely the latest chapter in DePaul’s commitment to skills-based training—an extension of the educational philosophy the school has maintained for decades. The Field Placement Program, established in 1974, still thrives today, offering nearly 200 externship placements with private firms, corporations, and public interest and government agencies.

Experiential education is not new at DePaul,” explained Professor Barbara Bressler, newly named associate dean of experiential education, who has served in leadership roles with the Field Placement Program, the Center for Intellectual Property Law & Information Technology, and founded the Technology/Intellectual Property Clinic. In her role as associate dean, Bressler will carefully manage the College of Law’s experiential learning efforts.

“DePaul has consistently expanded experiential opportunities for students over the years. It is because we already have excellent skills, practicum, clinical and field placement offerings, that we can offer the 3YP experience to our students.

“I know that with the support of the university and our wonderful alumni and with the participation and assistance of our dedicated and enthusiastic faculty, the law school will be able to offer innovative experiential programs that will be well received by our students and the practicing bar.”

By all accounts, 3YP is designed to accommodate diverse career paths by providing students with comprehensive, legal training in an organized fashion.

“We’ve had a number of students who, because of the confidence they gained participating in our experiential learning programs, were able to establish their own practices, or immediately contribute to a small or midsize firm,” Bressler added. “The number of our graduates who work in solo, small or midsize practices is likely to increase given the need for lower-cost legal services and the changes in the way that larger firms are operating.”

Recent alumna Renee Gross (JD ’13) says she benefited from the College of Law's experiential approach. At DePaul, she participated in the misdemeanor and poverty law clinics, both of which exposed her to the process of preparing a case, interacting with clients and appearing in court. She also interned with the housing practice group at the Legal Assistance Foundation (LAF).

“At LAF, I researched cases, interviewed clients, and drafted motions and legal memos on different housing law topics,” Gross said. “All of these experiences helped build my confidence and developed my understanding of the legal system. They provided greater insight into the health struggles of some of our society’s most vulnerable populations.”

As coordinator of legal initiatives at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, Gross now provides analyses and support for national, state and local public health policy options concerning food marketing. She notes that many of her peers are interested in pursuing careers where they can apply their degrees in a nontraditional manner and says 3YP makes sense for law students in today’s legal environment.

“Every specialization within the legal field requires ample experience,” she said. “The classroom component is essential, but it’s important to balance this traditional aspect of law school with time spent learning from seasoned attorneys and working on solving real legal problems.”

DePaul’s greater mission

Strengthening student career preparation and supporting creativity in teaching are fundamental to the experiential education program at DePaul. The program places faculty in closer contact with students, which Rodriguez hopes will encourage creativity in instruction.

He believes the program could soften transitions not only for students entering the legal market, but for the College of Law and its professors as the larger academic community incorporates new approaches to teaching law.

“[Professors] are able to give virtually instantaneous feedback to the student, but they are also forced to continually assess the efficacy of their own teaching models,” he said.

As an instructor in DePaul’s Poverty Law Clinic, Rodriguez said he makes a conscious effort to impart the fundamentals of good counseling. “In our clinics, we teach students not only how to represent real clients in real cases,” he said, “but also important intangibles, like the unique struggles of clients, and the common humanity with those who come from many different walks of life. In this way, a good teacher is also a good Vincentian teacher."

Rodriguez points out that the 3YP program aligns with DePaul University’s Vision 2018 strategic plan. The first objective calls for curricular innovation and program development to adequately prepare students. While this may seem like a traditional goal, the plan acknowledges a broader institutional commitment to student outcomes.

“Ultimately,” Rodriguez suggested, “we always need to be mindful of our approach so that we can help our students become more mindful of their own.”

Q&A: Introducing a three-track JD model at DePaul

Earlier this year, the College of Law announced the creation of a Third Year in Practice Program (3YP) and a three-year JD/LLM degree. The new programs build on DePaul’s strengths in practical skills training as well as several specialty areas, while offering incoming students new opportunities to tailor their education to meet the needs of a changing legal market.

Dialogue interviewed Professors Zoë Robinson and Allison Tirres, two faculty members who were involved in crafting DePaul’s three-track JD model, to learn more about the initiative.

Q. What inspired the three-track program concept?

Robinson: I am fortunate to be part of a small group of faculty who have been working to develop programmatic initiatives that both give our students more choice in how they pursue their legal education while at DePaul, and also help develop skills that will set them apart from other graduates in the job market.

The three track-track concept was a way of meeting the various demands from students and employers for practical legal education, increased faculty contact and mentoring, more opportunities to engage in in-depth legal writing and analysis, and focused training in a specialized area of the law. By offering a traditional JD option, a third year in practice option, and a three-year JD/LLM option, we can meet these demands and offer students a choice about how to conduct their legal education.

Q. How will the new JD options appeal to students?

Robinson: I think that the three-year JD/LLM will appeal to those students who wish to practice in one of DePaul’s areas of specialty: health law, tax law, international law and IP law. The program offers students the chance to graduate with two degrees in the time it usually takes to complete the stand-alone JD. Yet, more than that, it offers students the chance to work intensively in one specialized area alongside uniquely qualified faculty members who will act as mentors to those students.

The 3YP option will appeal to those students that wish to experience the practice of law prior to graduation, and who want to experience a handful of practice areas before deciding where they will ultimately end up after graduation.

Q. What has been the response to the announcement of the new programs?

Tirres: The response to these initiatives from our various constituents—prospective and current students, alumni, and faculty—has been overwhelmingly positive. During our admitted student events, for example, students asked lots of questions about the 3YP program and seemed very excited about it. Current and prospective students are happy about the opportunity to specialize further by pursuing an LLM without having to devote an entire year to the endeavor. I think students are interested in programs that allow them to structure their law school experience in light of their professional goals.

Q. How is the program unique to DePaul?

Tirres: No school that I know of has this particular combination of offerings. Some schools offer intensive field placements, but not with the structure and organization of our 3YP program. Some offer the combined JD/LLM, but not necessarily in the reduced time frame that we are providing. DePaul is also fortunate to be located in a wonderful, thriving city with plentiful educational opportunities for our students. Over the years, we have built strong networks throughout the city.

Our Asylum & Immigration Law Clinic, for example, has partnerships with more than 25 community-based organizations. Such links provide excellent opportunities for our students and I think they are part of what makes us unique.

For more information about the JD, 3YP and JD/LLM, visit

DePaul moot court team earns top honors in Chinese intellectual property competition

A DePaul College of Law moot court team comprised of four first-year students placed third in the 2014 Beijing Foreign Studies University-Wanhuida Cup Intellectual Property Moot Court Competition in Beijing, China, on May 24 and 25. 

Teammates Precious Allen, Joseph Klein, Destinee Moyer and Shin Young Jo competed against 13 teams from Australia, China, Taiwan and the United States. DePaul's brief was ranked 4th overall and team member Precious Allen won the competition's Best Oralist Award. Shin Young Jo also was recognized as an outstanding oralist. 

Professor Len Cavise coached the team in Beijing, and professors Michael Grynberg, Joshua Sarnoff, Anthony Volini and Michael Graham prepared the team prior to the competition. 

This year, student teams performed and received feedback from a prestigious line-up of judges, including: a Minnesota Supreme Court justice, an assistant general counsel of Microsoft, the chief judge of Beijing's intellectual property appellate court, the legal management director of China’s Trademark Office, three senior partners from China’s largest intellectual property law firms, and four faculty experts from the United States, China and Australia.

The BFSU-Wanhuida Cup, now in its seventh year, is organized by Beijing Foreign Studies University, a longstanding partner of DePaul’s Asian Legal Studies Institute, directed by Professor Jerold Friedland.  

Uncle and niece unexpectedly become classmates, finish law school together

Kimberly Rios and Armando Rios (Photo: DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)
Armando Rios and his niece Kimberly Rios had no idea they shared a passion for law. But on the afternoon of law school orientation, Kimberly turned around to find her uncle standing behind her.

“I asked him, ‘What are you doing here?’” Kimberly recalled, laughing. “Then I saw his name tag and said, ‘No way!’” Armando was equally surprised to learn that his niece was his classmate. “I saw her across the room, and I knew exactly who that was,” he said.

On May 18, their family will celebrate when both graduate from DePaul University’s College of Law. Throughout their time at DePaul, Kimberly and Armando found ways to support each other, even though they pursued different paths.

Early inspiration drove Kimberly to law school

Kimberly found her calling while studying for the eighth grade U.S. Constitution test. “I loved social studies and learning how the government works. I knew then that I wanted to go to law school,” Kimberly said.

Growing up in Aurora, Illinois, Kimberly was first generation Mexican-American, and her parents placed a strong emphasis on higher education. “I’ve always been into school; my mom never had to pressure me to do my homework. I always felt an obligation to do it on my own,” Kimberly said. In high school, she interned with the Kendall County State’s Attorney’s office and found her niche in criminal law.

She went on to study political science and English at Aurora University and also worked for a criminal defense attorney. “I thought that I wanted to be a prosecutor, but then I saw what it’s like to be on the other side,” Kimberly said. “By defending someone else’s rights, I’m defending my own. And I’m making sure the Constitution is defended,” she said.

As a law student, Kimberly worked for O’Connor Law Group LLC on personal injury cases and found that being fluent in Spanish has helped her connect with clients. “Being able to speak to the clients in their native language allows me to build a relationship with them and establish stronger client-attorney trust,” she said.

Kimberly said her classmates at DePaul brought a wide variety of experiences and backgrounds to class, which enhanced her learning experience.

“It’s always good to have a diverse population to give various perspectives on different issues in a discussion-based class. DePaul’s diverse student body — from socio-economic status, to age and race — was reflected in my classes,” said Kimberly.

Armando combined love for aviation with interest in law

Flying is Armando’s first passion. He holds a private pilot’s license and earned a bachelor’s degree from Lewis University in aviation maintenance management. “There’s nothing like flying in the clouds, the instruments telling you you’re right there on course,” Armando said. However, a difficult time in Armando’s family life took him in an unexpected direction.

“My dad came to America searching for better job opportunities and then later started his own mattress manufacturing business,” he said. “In the beginning, I was planning on going to Florida to finish my commercial pilot’s license,” Armando said. “But then my father got sick, so I had to stay in Aurora to help take care of him.”

When his father became ill, Armando faced legal challenges in managing his father’s end of life care. “Then I knew I wanted a law degree to help other people in the same situation.”

Returning to school several years after completing his undergraduate degree, Armando was drawn to DePaul. “I grew up watching Blue Demon games — the men’s and the women’s — and I have always been really familiar with DePaul.”

Armando took two aviation law courses at DePaul that connected with his real life experience from the field. Armando had interned with the Federal Aviation Administration and assisted in investigating airplane crashes. Being back in the classroom was much different than working on an airplane. “It was hard to get back into the swing of things,” Armando said.

However, Kimberly and Armando were able to be there for each other throughout their studies. “Occasionally we would have lunch together and always made sure we reached out to one another,” said Armando.

“We only took two classes together,” said Kimberly. “We wouldn’t sit together or anything; I like to sit in the very front and my uncle liked to sit in the back. In the classes we took together we would help each other with homework, send each other references and give support to one another in class,” she said.

Armando smiled and laughed as he remembered when two of their professors found out that he and Kimberly were related. “None of our professors really knew that we were related, but a couple did figure it out. After that, one professor used us in hypothetical, which is similar to an in-class scenario. And the other just started to call me ‘uncle’ whenever he saw me.”

Both Kimberly and Armando have high hopes for after graduation. Kimberly will be starting a full-time position with O’Connor Law Group and dreams of one day working for a public defender’s office. Armando is pursuing a position that will incorporate his studies in aviation and his law degree.

One in a series of stories about graduates from the Class of 2014 published by DePaul's Newsroom.

Third Year in Practice (3YP) program featured in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin featured DePaul's new Third Year in Practice program (3YP) in an article titled "No more pencils, no more books" on Feb. 7.

Director of 3YP David Rodriguez and Professor Allison Tirres provided interviews for the article. Rodriguez explained that 3YP will “‘demystify the practice of law’ by putting students through a practice-based third year.” He continued:

“That’s our approach with this program,” Rodriguez said. “If you immerse yourself for an entire year doing skills-oriented (work), you’re going to already have the mindset (upon graduation) of an attorney who has already been practicing for a few years.”

Launching in fall 2014, the 3YP program will offer qualified 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.

Download a copy of the article.

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.

Jaharis Scholar Jeffrey Boucher appreciates DePaul's global perspective, local impact

Jaharis Scholar Jeffrey Boucher recalls a moment when the importance of carefully applying the law really hit home.

Fresh from law school study-abroad experiences in Europe and China, he took a position in the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in the felony courts at 26th and California. Witnessing, firsthand, the ability to affect another’s fate put things in perspective.

"You realize how important it is to conduct the legal process with integrity and consistency and while faithfully applying rules of evidence,” Boucher said.

“Someone’s freedom is at stake.”

A graduate of Vernon Hills High School in suburban Chicago and Wittenberg University in Ohio, Boucher says he came to DePaul because its law school has a “great academic reputation, and because it balances a global perspective with a strong presence in the Chicago legal community.”

Entering law school, he was interested in the way law and business were evolving to become more global in nature, and he notes that the law school provided opportunities for him to study abroad in China, Spain and Belgium.

“I’ve been able to have wide-ranging experiences that I might not have been able to pursue without the scholarship.”

“These experiences helped me to see that the law is constantly evolving and subject to new circumstances and situations,” he said. “They also helped me gain confidence in dealing with communication and cultural barriers—the law is really, above anything, about clear and credible communication between human beings.”

For Boucher, receiving the Jaharis Scholarship has made it possible to focus on his studies and clinical and internship opportunities without having to worry excessively about financing his legal studies. “DePaul offers a rigorous legal education, and so many avenues for gaining practical application and exposure to the law,” he said. “I’ve been able to have wide-ranging experiences that I might not have been able to pursue without the scholarship.”

Boucher says he has found a sense of community that he thinks will last throughout his career and beyond. He has been involved with the Student Bar Association (SBA), served as a Dean’s Advisory Council representative, and is currently SBA secretary.

“The people here make DePaul a great law school. The students and faculty are down to earth. They are competitive but not cutthroat. We push each other to be better.” Boucher recalls another formative moment at DePaul. “On my first day of orientation, the leader asked us to look at the people on our right and left. I thought he was going to say ‘next year, they might not be here,’” he laughed. “But what he said was, ‘These people will very likely become lifelong friends.’ Three years later, I have no doubt about that.”