Three John Marshall Law School students were honored with the Outstanding Law Clerk Award from the Cook County State’s Attorney at the 27th annual C.F. Stradford Awards on February 28, 2017. The honored students are Antoinette Appleton, LaKeya Duncan and Bria Grant.
Appleton, a 2018 JD candidate, has been clerking for the State’s Attorney since 2016 in its Sex Crimes Unit. She hopes to continue working in the criminal law field after graduating from John Marshall and wants to represent abused and neglected women and children. “It is interesting and rewarding to intern at [the criminal courts]. I have gained a lot of knowledge that I would not have been able to get outside of this internship.”
Duncan, a 2017 JD candidate, has been clerking for the State’s Attorney’s office since summer 2015. She began clerking in the Felony Trial Division in the Maywood office and now is a clerk in the Financial Crimes/Public Corruption Unit at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago. “As a clerk licensed under Supreme Court Rule 711, I have appeared in court on a number of issues including benefit fraud, public corruption, embezzlement and financial enterprise cases,” Duncan said. “I have learned that the key to becoming an effective prosecutor is making a commitment to both the law and to fairness.” Duncan hopes to work as an Assistant State’s Attorney after graduation.
Grant, a 2018 JD candidate, has been clerking since last summer at the State’s Attorney’s office in the Felony Trial Division assisting prosecutors in the courtroom and also working on discovery requests. The work, she says, has taught her about the importance of punctuality and taking initiative. “I have learned that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to succeed in the legal field.” Grant, like her classmates, hopes to begin her career as a prosecutor.
“We at John Marshall are incredibly proud of Antoinette, LaKeya and Bria. They are wonderful ambassadors for our school, and we congratulate them on their dedication and desire to serve the public,” said Dean Darby Dickerson. “The John Marshall Law School is known as Chicago’s practice-ready school, and these students demonstrate that our students are not only prepared and capable, but are are willing to go that extra mile.”
The State’s Attorney’s office hosts the Stradford Awards every February in honor of Black History month to honor distinguished lawyers, judges and community leaders and organizations within the African-American community who best exemplify the spirit of C.F. Stradford. Cornelius Francis Stradford was a pioneering civil rights attorney and a co-founder of both the National Bar Association and the Cook County Bar Association. He was the lead counsel representing African Americans following the race riots of Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921. He has served as an inspiration for countless attorneys, and was well known for his unwavering dedication to securing full equal protection under the law for African Americans.