John Marshall Continues Tradition of Providing Legal Education for All Walks of Life

Encouraging minority and under-represented students to pursue a career in law is integral to the mission of The John Marshall Law School. Since its founding in 1899, the law school has admitted qualified students from all walks of life, long before it became commonplace in legal education.

Today, the Office of Diversity Affairs and Outreach Program welcomes dozens of students to John Marshall each year and helps them acclimate to a law school environment.

Daissy Dominguez, a 2L, entered John Marshall in 2010 after being involved in the law school’s Legal Education Access Program for Undergraduate Students (LEAP) and the Undergraduate Diversity Mock Trial Competition when she was a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“As a first generation Mexican-American, having someone to guide me through the (law school admission) process and offer me financial assistance was critical for me,” Dominguez said. “LEAP assisted me with the applications process, provided a free Kaplan course for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) preparation, and mock law classes.”

Through John Marshall’s nationally-recognized Minority Undergraduate Mock Trial Competition, Dominguez won $30,000 in tuition waivers by placing first at both the regional and national competitions.

“It was an opportunity to meet students from around the country as well as current law students,” she recalled.

Once Dominguez got to John Marshall, she got busy. She is a Illinois Latino Law Students Association representative for the Latino Law Student Association (LLSA); she is the supervisor of LLSA’s Academic Enhancement Program, an initiative she developed and organized to increase the retention of first-year Latino law students who are members of LLSA; she is a clinical intern at The John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Clinic; and she was recently placed as the lead graduate assistant of Retention Programs for the Office of Diversity Affairs.

“John Marshall opened its doors and provided me with great support as I embarked on fulfilling my dream of attending law school,” Dominguez said. “It is truly a school that values and appreciates diversity and provides a wonderful sense of community.”

John Marshall is proud of its long-standing tradition of welcoming minorities. Recent graduates include:

  • Chief Judge Timothy C. Evans of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the first African-American elected chief judge;
  • Illinois Supreme Court Justice Charles Freeman, the first African-American elected to Illinois’ highest court;
  • Judge Edmund Ponce de Leon of the Circuit Court of Cook County, the first Hispanic in court history appointed to presiding judge of the County Division;
  • Vaishali Rao, an American of East Asian descent, serving as a supervising attorney in the Mortgage Unit of the Illinois Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Bureau.

For additional information on the outreach programs of The John Marshall Law School contact Associate Dean Rory Smith at the Office of Diversity Affairs and Outreach Program at or 312.427.2737 ext. 412.

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