Murer Professionalism Series begins Sept. 12

Cherilyn G. Murer
Cherilyn G. Murer

First-year law students enrolled at the NIU College of Law once again will have the opportunity to gain valuable insights into the ethical expectations of lawyers, thanks to Cherilyn and Michael Murer.

Launched last fall, the series exposes first-year students at the NIU College of Law to legal scholars and luminaries from across the country to discuss the importance of professionalism in their careers.

Topics last year included attorney client privilege, how to represent unpopular clients and making ethical decisions.

Cherilyn Murer, a 1978 graduate of the NIU College of Law, is currently serving her second term as chair of the NIU Board of Trustees.

She and her husband decided to fund the series because of their strong belief that law students should begin developing their moral compass early in their law school career

And what better way to instill such lessons than letting students hear firsthand from legal practitioners?

“We have outstanding ethics professors in the college, but we thought this format would bring a sense of practicality to the topic,” Murer said. “It has been such a resounding success that we just felt the need to support the program again.”

This year’s series got a jump start Wednesday, Sept. 5, when Jennifer Rosato, dean of the NIU College of Law, and NIU law professor Laurel Rigertas presented a background lecture that introduced students to the disciplinary rules and confidentiality requirements of the legal profession.

The first guest lecture will take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, in the Heritage Room of the Holmes Student Center.

The speaker is Harold Winston, who represented Chicago man Alton Logan, who spent 26 years in prison for the 1982 killing of a security guard.

The case gained notoriety in 2007 when a former public defender stepped forward with evidence that one of his clients had confessed the murder to him, but he withheld the information because he felt that he could not divulge it due to confidentiality rules. He swore out an affidavit, locked it away and didn’t reveal the information until that client died.

Organizers are working to schedule two more sessions in the series for later this semester and three more in the spring.

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