Setting the Bar High


Charlotte Geissler ’17 interns at the Center for Elder and Disability Law.

In the newly introduced culmination to Jones’s four year law program seniors are exposed to what life in the field of law really looks by interning at various Chicago law offices. The law program walked these students through three years of knowledge on the court system and how law works on the federal and state level, but now they are putting this information to use while seeing what life after law school could feel like.

Emlyn Ricketts, director of the CTE program, worked with Laura Blackburn to ensure that the students would be paired up with a law firm which would help push them forward in their law education, and preferably work at a firm practicing the law they intend to have a career in. “We have students at big law firms, small law firms, working with solo practitioners, at government agencies, non per profits, law schools, all over the map.” said Ricketts.

Howard Brookins ‘17 interns at the State’s Attorney’s office in the Domestic Violence Division. Brookins is learning a lot of “behind the scenes work” which shattered the illusion that lawyers just go to court and fight the case. He has been exposed to all the paperwork and research that goes into building a case which can eventually be ready for court.

“I plan to go into criminal law, it’s just always interested me,” Brookins said. “I aspire to be a judge and this internship has brought me a lot closer to that goal. It’s a great resume builder for college and has made me a lot more confident in terms of knowing that this is in fact what I really want to do.”

Onam Lansana ‘17 interns at Northside Transformative Law Center that specializes in the criminal defence of minority juveniles, which Lansana plans to go into after college.

“Since going to this firm I’ve grown in becoming a more accepting and understanding person,” Lansana said. “Through reading cases you learn that criminals are not necessarily people who are different from you, but people who have different circumstances.”

Azana Washington ‘17 does not plan to go into law, but has found that her internship at Graham Media Group is still teaching her valuable life lessons.

“Speaking with my boss has made my communication skills much stronger, which I know I’m going to need later on,” Washington said. “I want to go into business, and having a legal view regardless of what you want to go into is always a good thing. In my sophomore year when we went over corporate law I especially felt that I was gaining valuable information that would help me in my future endeavors.”

“A lot of people don’t get to have a foundation in what they want to learn, and a lot of people go into college undecided about their major, so they are forced to figure out what they want to do in their first two years of college.” Lansana said, “Having the opportunity to be in the law program really cemented my foundation. I know I want to go to law school and be a lawyer, so I don’t have to go into college searching for what my passion is.”

As these seniors get their first look at real world experience, they’re making connections and building skills that are going to shape who they become. Either bringing them to the realization that law may not be their passion, or confirming that the path they have chosen is indeed the right one for them, these internships are forcing teens to enter adulthood.

“It’s been really great to see everybody dressed and carrying themselves very professionally,” Ricketts said. “They’re out in the workforce now, and I’ve seen it boost people’s confidence and maturity. The feedback we’ve received from the hosts has been really strong aswell, they’re saying the students are contributing and helpful in a lot of different ways.”

“My internship is a stepping stone to who I will become in the future.” said Natalia Branas ‘17.