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Hon. Ryan Lipinski
Have you always wanted to be an attorney? I didn’t know that I wanted to be an attorney, but I did know that I wanted to help other people. I liked being someone who could help others resolve conflicts, so I was drawn to law school. I learned that you need life experience before you become a mediator, so that you can bring something to the table.
Tell us about life as an administrative law judge. It’s a very fulfilling career. Sometime during law school, I realized I wanted to be at the conference table, not in a courtroom. In my current position, I have the opportunity to be a neutral third party and to resolve conflict. I feel like I get the best of both worlds. The subject matter I work with is very relevant in current society. I am very passionate about the subject matter, and I am able to become an expert on a topic that I like.
How did NIU Law prepare you for your career? I was thrilled when I came to NIU Law that there were many people interested in practicing in Chicago. I was drawn to the many opportunities for Chicago networking. We travelled to many career fairs or to other events that fit our specific interests. Our Career Opportunities Director was able to provide us with personal attention. The opportunities and experiences here helped me with my career.
What thing(s) do you love about NIU Law? I loved the clinic opportunities at NIU Law. We were able to go to the courthouse and to resolve issues. It was such great real-world experience. It was the number one thing I took away from my time here.
NIU is small enough that if there is something you are interested in, you can really go for it, and you can gain the faculty and the deans’ support.
I also loved having the opportunity to start different student clubs. My classmate and I started the Alternative Dispute Resolution club. We participated in quite a few mediation competitions. It was really exciting!
Class Year: 2004
Current title and job: Chief Administrative Law Judge and Bureau Chief
Bureau of Administrative Hearings
Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services