The Illinois Bar Foundation (IBF), the charitable arm of the Illinois State Bar Association, has awarded one of its 2015 Post Graduate Legal Fellowships to Marishonta Wilkerson, a 2015 graduate of the NIU College of Law.
During the one-year fellowship, she will work at the school’s Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic in Rockford.
“Marishonta had already stood out in her work as a law student at our Rockford clinic,” said NIU Law Dean Mark Cordes. “This fellowship enabled us to bring her back to the clinic to continue her outstanding work in serving an underrepresented population – and allowed us to help her launch her career in public interest law.”
The IBF launched its Post Graduate Legal Fellowship Program in 2014 to fund public interest jobs for recent law graduates.
Wilkerson joins two students from Loyola University School of Law and University of Illinois College of Law. IBF will contribute $25,000 to each of the three Fellowships and the law schools will fund the remainder.
The law schools were charged with selecting the recipients.
“The need for public interest lawyers far outweighs the number of lawyers willing and able to serve the underrepresented people living throughout Illinois,” IBF president Shawn Kasserman said. “The fellowship program was created to provide on-the-job training for new lawyers while simultaneously helping to fill the gap in legal aid services.”
“I am thrilled to be able to continue the work I started as a law student in the school’s civil justice clinic,” Wilkerson said. “Each day is so different at the clinic. One day I could be working on a child custody case, the next a divorce, or another day on writing a will. I am so grateful for this opportunity to continue to serve the Rockford community, while gaining valuable experience in public interest law.”
NIU Law opened the Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic in Rockford in 2001 and added a juvenile program there in 2011.