The Illinois State Bar Association has awarded UIC Law’s Fair Housing Legal Clinic its 2021 Illinois State Bar Association’s Excellence in Legal Education Award, which honors a law school program that emphasizes real world skills for students.
UIC Law’s Fair Housing Legal Clinic was nominated for the award by Charles Perkins (‘15), a compliance examiner at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Neel Rana (’17), an associate at Skarzynski Marick & Black LLP; and former Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti (’98). All three are graduates of the Law School and Clinic.
“The Clinic gave me the tools to later become a litigator, adjunct professor of law, city councilperson and the nation’s first Latina Lieutenant Governor,” said Hon. Evelyn R. Sanguinetti (’98). These tools continue to help me as the Executive Director of HOPE, the state’s largest and oldest fair housing center. For these reasons, the Clinic was the most appropriate candidate to receive this award.”
Since 1992, the Fair Housing Legal Clinic has represented victims of housing discrimination in Chicago. Clinic students participate in all phases of the process from intake to trial and participate in policy and legislative initiatives to advance housing equity. The Clinic’s nationally recognized testing program is an invaluable resource in developing investigative and analytical skills needed for a successful law practice. Clinic alums have gone on to work for HUD, the Department of Justice, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and private law firms. Many credit their time at the Clinic as contributing to their successful transition to practice.
“This award is really a testament to the vision of Professors Michael Seng and Bill Caruso, who created the Clinic, and the fine work of our students,” said Allison Bethel, Clinical Professor of Law and Director of the Fair Housing Legal Clinic. “Their efforts have helped break down the barriers of housing segregation and build bridges to opportunity. We appreciate the ISBA recognizing our work in the fight to end housing discrimination.”
The ISBA Committee on Legal Education, Admission and Competence established “The Excellence on Legal Education Award” in 2015. In order to qualify for the award, nominees must be a program, class, clinic or other initiative focused on teaching practical skills at an ABA-accredited law school affiliated with the ISBA. The program must also provide students with an opportunity to practice identifiable, practical legal skills, including but not limited to, skills related to advocacy, transactional representation, law office management or ethics.