The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism is pleased to report that 143 first-year Illinois law students participated in Jumpstart 2020, a preparatory program designed to provide historically underrepresented students with tools to succeed in law school. Student participation in 2020 more than doubled that of previous years. In 2019, 63 students participated in Jumpstart.
The usual three-day, in-person program in Chicago was held virtually from August 11-14. Students from the University of Illinois College of Law, 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 participated in Jumpstart.
The 2020 Jumpstart curriculum included virtual courses that explored the key components of academic success, including class preparation, note-taking, outlining, and legal writing, as well as a Federal Court Day where students interacted with federal judges and law clerks. Jumpstart coordinators also facilitated networking opportunities for participants with current law students, attorneys, and law school administrators, and answered questions on topics like externships, student organizations, time and budget management, scholarships, and well-being.
“We were thrilled that we were able to move Jumpstart online and still provide an interactive and valuable program for first-year law students,” said retired U.S. Seventh Circuit Judge Ann Claire Williams, who started Jumpstart. “These students are entering law school at a time of extreme uncertainty. The legal profession must step up to support these students and enable avenues for success. I’d like to thank the students, faculty, and sponsoring organizations for making Jumpstart a resounding success.”
Judge Williams (Ret.) launched Jumpstart over 20 years ago as an educational program to support first-year law students who were traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession. The Commission on Professionalism has been involved in Jumpstart since 2013 and currently serves as a program coordinator.
Additional sponsors include DePaul University College of Law; Chicago-Kent College of Law; Marla R. Harris, Assistant General Counsel of Exelon; Jones Day; Just The Beginning – A Pipeline Organization; Loyola University Chicago School of Law; Minority Legal Education Resources; Northwestern Pritzker School of Law; UIC John Marshall Law School; the University of Chicago Law School; and the University of Illinois College of Law.
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