The Illinois Bar Foundation, the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association, has awarded one of its inaugural Post Graduate Legal Fellowships to Alexis Simmons, a 2014 graduate of Northern Illinois University College of Law. She will work at the school's Zeke Giorgi Legal clinic in Rockford, beginning in August.
The foundation launched its Post Graduate Legal Fellowships Program with NIU Law and two other law schools -- Loyola University Chicago School of Law and University of Illinois College of Law -- to fund public interest jobs for new graduates. The Illinois Bar Foundation will contribute $25,000 to each of the three fellowships and the law schools will fund the remainder. The law schools were charged with selecting the fellowship recipients.
"There is a growing need for public interest lawyers," said David M. Anderson, IBF executive director. "That fact, combined with the tough job market for new law school graduates, drove the creation of our fellowship program, which will provide on-the-job training for new lawyers, while simultaneously helping fill the gap in legal aid services."
"Alexis was an outstanding choice for our fellowship," said NIU Law Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea. "The fact that she had already excelled as a law student in our Rockford clinic made her stand out, and her impressive resume of additional experience and work with diverse populations sealed the deal. We are thrilled to be able to help launch her career in public interest law."
"I am honored to receive this fellowship. It will allow me to continue the work I started as a law student in the domestic violence clinic. I hope to someday pursue a career in public interest law and this fellowship will help me develop those skills, and make me more marketable," said Alexis Simmons.
NIU Law originally opened the Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic in Rockford in 2001 and added a juvenile program there in 2011. NIU Law also operates a foreclosure mediation clinic in Kane County and health advocacy clinic at Hesed House, a homeless clinic in Aurora, assisting patients with legal matters.
For more information on the legal aid fellowship program, contact David Anderson at (312) 726-6072. Further information about the foundation is available at illinoisbarfoundation.org. For more information about NIU Law's clinic programs, visit niu.edu/law/clinical_program/clinic_offices.shtml.