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Monmouth pre-law students network with Chicago alumni

04/29/2015
Pictured from left are Amy Manning ’89, assistant professor Nathan Kalmoe, Aurora Calloway, Dan Cotter ’88, Katie McStay, Jeff Bakker ’90, Libby Meyer, Corbin Beastrom, Yaritza Navarrete, Carlin Reinig, Emily Ordaz, Doug Carlson ’66, Diana Rubi, Abrafi Osei-Kofi and Brad Nahrstadt ’89.
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Earlier this month, 10 Monmouth College pre-law undergraduates traveled to Chicago to meet federal and state judges and five distinguished Monmouth alumni in the field of law.
 
Student participants included seniors Katie McStay, Libby Meyer, Yaritza Navarrete, Emily Ordaz, Ryan Arndt, and Corbin Beastrom, sophomores Aurora Callaway and Abrafi Osei-Kofi, and freshmen Diana Rubi and Carlin Reinig.
 
Throughout the day, the group learned about differences between trial and appellate courts at the federal and state levels, tips for law school and entry into the law profession, personality traits and skill sets that make good lawyers, varieties of careers in law, and issues related to women and other underrepresented groups in legal careers.
 
Monmouth alumni who joined the group for a lunch discussion on the profession included: Brad Nahrstadt ’89, managing partner at Lipe Lyons Murphy Nahrstadt & Pontikis; Daniel Cotter ’88, president of the Chicago Bar Association and vice president, general counsel and secretary of Fidelity Life Association; Doug Carlson ’66, a partner at Douglas Carlson LLC; Amy Manning ’89, managing partner of McGuireWoods and a member of its executive committee; and Jeff Bakker ’90, a partner at Neal Gerber Eisenberg. Nahrstadt, Cotter, and Carlson are also members of the Monmouth College Board of Trustees.
 
After a 4 a.m. departure from Monmouth, the group arrived in Chicago for a morning visit with federal district Judge James F. Holderman and his legal aides. The judge recalled his nomination phone call from President Ronald Reagan, and he broke the news of his retirement plans, which were to be announced later in the day. 
 
A few blocks away, students visited Judge Debra B. Walker’s courtroom at the Circuit Court of Cook County. The group witnessed court proceedings in an unusual divorce case, and Walker described her career path during an intermission in the case.
 
After the alumni lunch, the group visited state Appellate Justice Terrence J. Lavin of the First District of Illinois, who detailed a number of difficult cases he faces in the coming weeks.
 
The one-day trip was organized in Chicago by Nahrstadt and coordinated in Monmouth with assistant professor of political science Nathan Kalmoe.
 
“This is a great learning experience for our students interested in law and related professions,” said Kalmoe. “We plan to repeat this trip regularly so our pre-law students continue benefiting from the expertise and generosity of Monmouth College alumni and their networks in law.”
 
Students interested in law can participate in Monmouth’s annual Moot Court competition in the fall, along with other law activities organized by the political science department.