The Commission on Professionalism is committed to fostering increased diversity and inclusion among the lawyers and judges in the State of Illinois. Therefore, it is pleased to partner with Jumpstart, an education program designed to support under-represented minority students as they begin their law school studies.
Jumpstart is a preparation program designed to help students develop the academic and inter-personal skills to navigate law school and become successful legal professionals. The three-day program brings together incoming students from groups traditionally under-represented in the legal profession, from the six Chicago-area law schools before the official orientations at their respective law schools. Through a series of interactive sessions, students confront the challenges that all first-year law students face and learn about the crucial components to a successful and satisfying law school experience. They also learn about important resources and support available to them on an on-going basis.
Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.) launched the Jumpstart Program in the early 2000s to help underrepresented minority law students learn what to expect in their first year of law school and learn best practices to become successful lawyers.
For over a decade, the various Chicago-area law schools have identified Jumpstart students and collaborated to create and present a curriculum providing context for success in law school and beyond. The curriculum includes practical tips for driving success in the classroom as well as experience in networking and exposure to various aspects of the legal profession.
The Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism has supported the program since 2013. In 2018, the Commission agreed to expand its support with increased program and publicity support as well as taking on a permanent coordination function for representatives from the various law schools involved in the program, known as the Chicago Consortium of Law School Professionals.
Chicago Consortium of Law School Diversity Professionals
The mission of the Chicago Consortium of Law School Diversity Professionals is to advance diversity and foster inclusion in the legal profession through programming to enhance recruitment, retention and advancement of racial, ethnic and historically underrepresented students in the legal profession. The six Chicago law school Consortium contacts follow.
DePaul College of Law
Amanda Noascono 312-362-8807
Assistant Dean and Director of Law Admissions
IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
Marsha Ross-Jackson, Esq. 312-906-5346
Senior Lecturer, Assistant Dean for Student Professional Development & Diversity, Executive Director- Institute for Law and the Workplace
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Melissa Hale 312-915-7605
Director of Bar Success & Academic Support
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Jocelyn Francoeur 312-503-0785
Director of Academic and Professional Excellence
The John Marshall Law School
Troy Riddle 312-427-2737 ext. 174
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Chief Diversity Officer
The University of Chicago Law School
The following organizations work to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal profession through expanding opportunities and providing support.
Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program (DAPP) is a non-profit corporation that addresses the continued and systematic decline of women of color lawyers in large law firms and across other coveted positions in the legal profession. DAPP aims to diversify the legal profession by expanding opportunities for women of color law students to secure summer positions at law firms and corporations following their first year of law school.
Just The Beginning – A Pipeline Organization (JTB-APO) is a non-profit organization composed of judges, lawyers, and other citizens dedicated to developing educational programs to inspire and foster careers in the law among students of color and from other under-represented groups. JTB-APO offers pipeline programs directly aimed at inspiring young students and increasing diversity in the legal profession and judiciary. Example programs include Middle School and High School Summer Legal Institutes, law school externships, law student scholarships, and biennial conferences.
Minority Legal Education Resources (MLER), Inc. is a non-profit organization that assists under-represented minority groups prepare for the Bar Exam in Illinois. MLER works with law students and graduates in developing writing and analytical skills and provides them with the necessary tools to effectively study for the Bar Exam, manage stress, and understand how to balance their other real world obligations while studying for the Bar.
Each of the participating law schools has a career services office staffed with personnel who are dedicated to helping students and alumni find work in any city and in any legal practice area. Career services assist law students in finding externships, practicums, clerkships, and summer associate positions shaping each student’s career aspirations.
- DePaul College of Law Career Services
- IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Career Services
- Loyola University Chicago School of Law Career Services
- Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Career Services
- The John Marshall Law School Career Services
- The University of Chicago Law School Career Services
If you have questions about Jumpstart, please contact Michelle Silverthorn, Diversity and Education Director for the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism.