Colleen Boraca is a clinical assistant professor in the College of Law’s clinic faculty. She joined the NIU College of Law in 2014 and directs NIU’s Health Advocacy Clinic in Aurora, IL. The clinic is an interdisciplinary partnership between NIU College of Law, Hesed House and Aunt Martha’s Health Center.
Prior to joining the NIU College of Law, Professor Boraca was a supervising attorney at the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago. In addition to a regular caseload of discrimination and government benefits issues, she headed the Council’s Family Support Project which works with attorneys and social workers to help families affected by HIV/AIDS access quality health care, achieve financial stability, and make thoughtful future plans for their children. Professor Boraca served as a Cook County assistant state’s attorney for seven years in both the Child Support Enforcement Division and the Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Unit. She is a former chair of the Chicago Bar Association Mental Health and Disability Law Committee. Professor Boraca co-chairs the Kane County Bar Association Elder Care, Disability and Mental Health Committee as well as MLP Illinois, a task force consisting of representatives from medical-legal partnerships throughout Illinois.
Professor Boraca’s dedication to clinical education started as a student attorney and teaching fellow at the Loyola University Chicago Elder Law Clinic. She served as an adjunct clinical professor in Loyola’s Health Justice Project during the 2012-2013 year, teaching courses on Health Justice and Interdisciplinary Health Advocacy.
Professor Boraca was honored as Marquette University’s Klinger College of Arts and Sciences 2017 Young Aluma of the Year. In 2014, The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin named her as one of “40 Under 40” Illinois attorneys to watch. In 2011, Professor Boraca was a recipient of the Chicago Bar Foundation Sun-Times Public Interest Law Fellowship, an award that recognizes commitment to public interest work, academic achievement and integrity
Professor Boraca received her J.D., cum laude, with a certificate in health law from the Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She graduated with an H.B.A., cum laude, from Marquette University in Political Science and Communication Studies.
Areas of Expertise
- Poverty law
- HIV/AIDS law
- Mental health law
- Panel Presentation, “With a Little Help from my Friends: Managing Stress in a Hostile Political Environment with Assistance from Non-Lawyers,” examined the need for law school clinicians to teach and practice self-care. The presenters highlighted the expertise that interdisciplinary partners, such as psychologists and social workers, can offer those looking to incorporate self-care into their clinical courses and lives, Association of American Law Schools Conference on Clinical Legal Education, Chicago, IL (May 2018).
- Moderator, “Mental Illness and its Path through the Criminal Justice System: Challenges and Solutions,” Kane County Bar Association Elder Care, Disability and Mental Health Committee Seminar, Geneva, IL (May 2017).
- Moderator, “Personal Wellness in the Legal Profession,” Kane County Bar Association Elder Care, Disability, and Mental Health Committee Seminar, Geneva, IL (May 2016).
- Co-Presenter, “The Beginning and the End,” Midwest Clinical Conference, Cleveland, OH (Oct. 2015).
- Presenter, “A Mental Health Provider’s Duty to Warn: National and Illinois Case Law Subsequent to Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California,” Northwestern Medical School, Chicago, IL (Sept. 2015).
- Co-Presenter, “Advancing Public Health through Interprofessional Education: An Overview of Law School-Based MLPs,” National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership Webinar (Aug. 2015).
- Presenter, “When Working Becomes Impossible: Obtaining Social Security Based on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” Kane County Bar Association Seminar on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Geneva, IL (May 2015).
- Co-Presenter, “Just What the Doctor Ordered: Multi-Disciplinary Clinics at the Forefront of Change,” 2015 Association of American Law Schools Conference on Clinical Legal Education, Rancho Mirage, CA (May 2015).
- Poster Co-Presenter, “Advancing Population Health: An Overview of Law School-Based Medical-Legal Partnerships,” Medical-Legal Partnership Summit, McLean, VA (Apr. 2015).
- Panel Presentation, “Helping Clients Address Their Legal Issues,” Housing Action Illinois Annual Conference, Bloomington, IL (Oct. 2014).
- Co-Presenter, “Community Lawyering: Looking Beyond Your Backyard to Make a Difference,” Midwest Clinical Conference, East Lansing, MI (Sept. 2014).
- Presenter, “Medical-Legal Partnerships: Working Together to Improve the Lives of the Disabled,” Kane County Bar Association Eldercare, Disability and Mental Health Committee, St. Charles, IL (Mar. 2014).
Other Legal Writing
- Ending Medicaid Expansion will be Moral Disaster, Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 14, 2017.
- Lawyers are Humans: Educating Law Students to Handle the Emotional Side of Lawyering, Kane County Bar Ass’n Bar Briefs 23 (Oct. 2016).
- The Human Toll of No State Budget, Chicago Sun-Times, Mar. 9, 2016.
- The Human Face of Proposed Budget Cuts, Chicago Sun-Times, July 23, 2015.
- NIU Health Advocacy Clinic: Reaching Across Professions to Help the Mentally Ill, Kane County Bar Ass’n Bar Briefs 35 (Aug. 2014).