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What is special about NIU Law? NIU Law is all about balance. NIU Law’s class sizes permitted me to know nearly every other student, faculty member, and administrator. The curriculum placed a great deal of emphasis on practical skills training which has proven invaluable. NIU Law’s location was perfect for me as well. Being the first person in my family to pursue a law degree, I wanted to have some distance from the distractions my friends and family posed in Chicago, but I also wanted quick access to the city in which I would ultimately practice. Finally, although I ultimately entered the private sector, it was very nice knowing that the cost of NIU Law left public sector and non-profit job options open.
What do you enjoy about being a part of the NIU Law community? I enjoy the fact that my current position has me at two or three different court locations per day, both in Cook County and throughout Northern Illinois, and I rarely go without seeing a fellow NIU Law graduate. Whether it is a colleague in the courtroom hallway, a state’s attorney on the opposing side of a case in which I’m involved, or even the judge in whose court I’m arguing, it is always nice to see a friendly face.
Do you have any advice for future attorneys? Make the most of your three years. NIU Law offers a great deal of options, and it is up to you to maximize your education. The classes and activities that intimidate you are the ones you need to push yourself to explore. Law school is the time to construct a foundation of skills and knowledge upon which you will build your career. Rather than ask upperclassmen which classes are easiest, ask alumni which subjects are most useful to their practices.
Did you always want to be a lawyer, and how did NIU help you achieve your goals?I wanted to do what lawyers do before I knew what lawyers are. My parents and other relatives determined that I was outspoken and that I was always willing to help, and they frequently called on me for help. Many of my family members speak little or no English and were overwhelmed by any interaction with the government, police, hospitals, etc., so they called on me to “represent them.” When I learned more about the role attorneys play, I knew what I wanted to do. NIU Law helped me develop the skills necessary to most effectively represent and help people.
What do you find the most rewarding about your work? I find it most rewarding to see a client breathe a sigh of relief. Whether I am dealing with a defendant in a criminal case or a client in a divorce, I often notice that they are feeling a great deal of tension coming from fear and uncertainty. By honestly and patiently educating them about what they can expect throughout their cases, they can relax. I try to remind myself that what may seem like a routine matter to me is still very daunting to my clients. When I can improve someone’s experience and ideally achieve the desired outcome, I get a great deal of satisfaction.
Class Year: 2011
Current title and job:
Law Offices of Vincent A. Luisi, Jr., Chicago