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Centennial Honors College Pre-Law Symposium

February 10, 2012

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The Western Illinois University Centennial Honors Centennial Honors College Pre-Law SymposiumCollege will host the 11th annual Pre-Law Symposium Monday, Feb. 20 in the University Union Lamoine Room on the Macomb campus.

The symposium will begin with a 5 p.m. reception honoring the 2012 keynote speaker and panelists. The reception will also feature opportunities for students to meet WIU pre-law advisers from the Centennial Honors College, the School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration and the departments of history, political science and philosophy and religious studies; members of WIU's Phi Alpha Delta, National Pre-Law Honorary; and admissions officers and recruiters from Drake University, the University of Iowa, John Marshall, Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, the University of Illinois, Loyola University, DePaul University, St. Louis University and the University of Missouri-Columbia.

WIU alumnus Matthew Bills, an attorney with Grippo & Elden, LLC in Chicago, will present "Advice for the Aspiring Attorney for Success in Law School and Beyond" at 6 p.m. A panel comprised of WIU graduates Jamie Mitchell, second year student at Southern Methodist University School of Law, Amber Michlig, a third year student at Northern Illinois University School of Law, Jamie Lee Hunzinger, a third year student at the Hamline University School of Law and Bradley Rigdon, a December 2011 graduate of the Southern Illinois University School of Law, will share their experiences as law students.

Bills, a 1999 management graduate and a 2002 University of Illinois College of Law graduate, has been with Grippo and Elden, since April 2006. Previously, he was with Winston & Strawn LLP of Chicago as a summer associate. Bills has served as a law clerk to Judge James F. Holderman for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, as a summer associate for Miller, Hall and Triggs (Peoria) and as a clerk for Roberts, Parish and Castleman (Decatur). During his undergraduate years at Western, Bills was the president of the Student Government Association (Fall 1996-Spring 1999), was named an Illinois Student Laureate and Student Laureate Speaker (Fall 1998) and was the College of Business and Technology and Department of Management Outstanding Senior (Spring 1999). He is a member of the WIU Alumni Council and is a member of the American, Illinois and Chicago bar associations.

Mitchell is a 2009 English graduate. Following her first year of law school at Southern Methodist, she obtained a judicial internship with the honorable Judge Hawk of Dallas County, TX, and clerked for McCathern, Mooty, and Grinke, L.L.P., counsel of the Dallas Cowboys. At McCathern, Mitchell worked on several luxury suite default cases for Cowboys Stadium, L.L.P., and worked extensively on a Motion for Summary Judgment for Cinemark U.S.A., Inc., which was later granted in favor of Cinemark by the honorable Judge Montgomery of Dallas County. Along with her legal study, Mitchell is the vice president of the Federalist Society, a legal-related education teacher at K.B. Polk Elementary School for the Talented and Gifted, and is a chief justice instructor for the Jackson Walker Moot Court Board.

Michlig is a 2009 political science gradate. At Northern Illinois' College of Law, she serves as the managing editor of the NIU-COL Law Review and as a staff assistant in the NIU Office of the Ombudsman. Michlig has served as chapter clerk for Phi Alpha Deta Chapter at NIU College of Law, and she has interned in the public defenders office in Kendall and McDonough counties. Under Illinois Rule 711 Student Attorney Certification, Michlig tried bench trials in the Kendall County Juvenile Justice System, and entered plea agreements for clients. At Western, she was a political science department peer mentor (Spring 1999).

Hunzinger is a 2009 philosophy graduate. At Hamline University School of Law, she has received Student Certification for Clinical Practice under Minnesota Supreme Court Rule 2 for Student Practice (similar to Illinois Rule 711 Student Attorney Certification). Hunzinger is a qualified neutral under Rule 114 of the Minnesota General Rules of Practice and she has completed certified training in both mediation and arbitration. She is currently enrolled in the HUSL Criminal Defense Misdemeanor Clinic, which operates through the Public Defenders Office in the 3rd Judicial District of Minnesota. At Western, Hunzinger was the 2009 Centennial Honors College Convocation Speaker and was the recipient of the 2009 College of Arts and Sciences Student Council Honorary Recognition Award (Humanities). She also served as a peer mentor, and was the founder and president of the WIU Pre-Law Chapter of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity.

Rigdon graduated from WIU in 2009 with a law enforcement and justice administration (LEJA) degree and minors in Spanish and computer science. While at Western, he worked as the vice president of administration for Concert Safety Corps, as the supervisor for Go West Security and as a student leader at the University Golf Course. He was a member of the Centennial Honors College, the University Judicial Board, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Phi Sigma and Lambda Alpha Epsilon and acted as a peer mentor in LEJA 101 for the First Year Experience program. Rigdon recently graduated from the Southern Illinois University School of Law and is preparing for the bar exam.

Sponsors for the 2012 Pre-Law Symposium include the WIU Foundation; the College of Arts and Sciences; the departments of English and journalism, history, philosophy and religious studies and political science; and the McDonough County Bar Association.

The event is open free to the WIU community. Students interested in the study of law and those in classes addressing legal and ethical issues are encouraged to attend.

For more information, contact the Centennial Honors College at (309) 298-2228.

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