The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is thrilled to announce that the University of Illinois College of Law has joined the Jumpstart law school preparation program. The University of Illinois is the first law school outside of Chicago to participate in Jumpstart.
Retired U.S. Seventh Circuit Judge Ann Claire Williams launched Jumpstart over 20 years ago as an educational program to support first year, minority law students who are traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession. The curriculum, which is designed in collaboration with the law schools, provides context for success in law school and beyond.
“I’m thrilled to welcome students from my alma mater, the University of Illinois College of Law, to Jumpstart,” said Hon. Debra Walker, a Circuit Court of Cook County judge and Commissioner at the Commission on Professionalism. Walker is also a member of the Dean’s Advisory Board member for the University of Illinois College of Law. “The Commission is dedicated to fostering diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. As such, we’re pleased to partner with the University of Illinois and Chicago-area law schools on this important program that builds a foundation for success for traditionally underrepresented students.”
Jumpstart begins with a three-day orientation in Chicago prior to the law school year. The interactive orientation introduces students to the legal profession and equips them with the tools needed to confront the challenges of law school. This includes practical tips for classroom success, as well as networking experience and exposure to various aspects of the legal profession. Educational sessions are also held throughout the school year to assist students on an ongoing basis.
The 2019 Jumpstart class includes 63 students hailing from the University of Illinois, DePaul University College of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, UIC John Marshall Law School, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and the University of Chicago Law School. Jumpstart students are selected by their law schools.
“Ensuring diversity in the legal profession inures to the benefit of everyone, both within and outside the practice of law,” said Virginia M. Vermillion, Assistant Dean for Academic Administration and Dean of Students at the University of Illinois College of Law. “The collective effort of all of the law schools helps us more effectively realize the goals of moving toward diversity in ways that individual efforts cannot. We look forward to being an essential part of the Jumpstart initiative going forward.”
The Commission on Professionalism has collaborated with participating law schools to facilitate Jumpstart since 2013.
About the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
The Illinois Supreme Court established the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism under Supreme Court Rule 799(c) to foster increased civility, professionalism and inclusiveness among lawyers and judges in Illinois. By advancing the highest standards of conduct among lawyers and judges, the Commission on Professionalism works to better serve clients and society alike. For more information, please visit 2Civility.org and follow us on Twitter @2CivilityOrg.
Laura Bagby, Communications Director