Starting May 27, UIC John Marshall Law School in Chicago will debut its Admitted Students Summer Excel Program. This six-part virtual program will allow newly admitted students to join their future classmates and faculty, upper-level students and alumni to learn more about law school and the legal profession.
“We hope these six sessions give admitted students an opportunity to learn more about the UIC John Marshall community,” says UIC John Marshall Dean Darby Dickerson, “and to enter law school with an even better sense of how lawyers can impact society and how they can immediately give back. We also hope the program can help ease some of the natural concerns students have when entering a new environment—especially during this period of uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The first session is designed to debunk common law-school myths, such as students who talk the most get the best grades; all lawyers must enjoy arguing; and those without prior experience in the legal field will start at a disadvantage.
The second session will teach participants how to conduct client interviews. Dickerson, who designed the series, explained that she included this topic with the hope that some students might consider volunteering next year to assist legal aid organizations with client intake. Those organizations often need student assistance, and learning interview basics would put the students in a great position to help.
Faculty members will lead discussions about two exceptional books, both written by MacArthur Foundation genius grant recipients: Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption and Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. According to Dickerson, “These books were selected to emphasize the law school’s strong commitment to public service and it’s leading role in fair housing law.” UIC John Marshall boasts both a fair housing center and a fair housing legal clinic.
To increase camaraderie, the law school has planned a team-based legal trivia evening. And the final program will feature several alumni in a panel titled, “What I Wish I Had Known as a 1L.”