In its Winter edition of prelaw magazine, the National Jurist recently recognized 49 of the best law schools for public service careers. Broken down into three categories – public interest, government, and prosecutors/public defenders – the study is based on curricular offerings, employment placement, and debt, starting salary, and LRAP programs.
Illinois Law was ranked as a top school for careers in government, along with 19 other schools. Only 20 schools were recognized in each category, with some schools appearing more than once.
Greg Miarecki, Executive Assistant Dean for Career Planning and Professional Development, was delighted to hear that the College has received this honor. “This is yet another data point demonstrating that the College of Law prepares its students to become great lawyers. It also recognizes the College’s commitment to helping graduates build careers focused on public service.”
Rebecca Myhr Szajna is a Director in the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development, focusing specifically on students interested in public interest and government careers. She said, “I am continually inspired by our students committed to government service and working in the public interest. We have worked very hard over the last few years to increase opportunities for our public service students, including building a robust fellowship program and developing strong relationships with government employers. Most importantly, we have engaged our dedicated government alumni network to connect with students and create a strong public service community at Illinois. We are very honored by this recognition and eager to continue our efforts to advance public service careers at the College.”
As Rebecca mentioned, the College has engaged in several initiatives over the last few years to improve public service counseling and opportunities for our students, including:
- Dedicated government and public interest advisor in the office
- Annual “Careers in Public Service” Alumni and Student Networking Reception in Chicago
- Sponsoring school of the Midwest Public Interest Law Career Conference
- Development of fellowship program that springboards students into government and public interest careers
- Public service list-serve specifically for students interested in public interest and government
- Weekly email communication specific to public service students
- Public service specific programming
- Member school of Equal Justice Works
- Government employer and alumni outreach trips to Washington DC, Chicago, and Springfield
In addition, the partnership with the College of Engineering on the Illinois Cyber Security Scholarship Program provides our students with a background in computer science or engineering and an interest in intellectual property law the opportunity to pursue government work upon completion of the program.
As a result of these efforts, our placement of students in government jobs in the last five years has increased from 10% to 14%, and we are actively working to continue growing that number.
Read more for the full list of schools honored in the National Jurist ranking.