Dean Corkery in Student Commons

Dean John E. Corkery

Message from the Dean

As you may already know, this was my last semester as the Dean. It has been my pleasure to serve as Dean for 10 years, and I will remain dedicated to the success of the school. I will be on a sabbatical next year and look forward to returning to the classroom after that.

While the decanal transition may grab headlines at John Marshall, I’d like to share with you some of the many other important news and events at the school.

Law School Landscape

In August we enrolled a class of approximately 250 first-year students. We also will enroll a class in January. While this is a smaller class than last year, we have adjusted the size of our school to reflect this change and are going into the future stable, sustainable and prepared to meet the challenges that the legal profession faces.

Innovative Career Services Programming

We have put a greater focus on professionalism and core competencies, Justice Margaret O’Mara Frossard (Ret.), Associate Dean for Professionalism & Career Strategy, and Chanté Spann, Assistant Dean for Career Services, have instituted new programs to help students develop the professional skills they will need to succeed and to get a good job in the legal marketplace.

Impactful Clinical Services

Dean's Report CoverOur Community Legal Clinics provide Chicago residents with much-needed access to essential legal services while also insuring that our students gain the practical experience they need to succeed in their careers. This past year our International Human Rights Clinic launched its Human Rights for Syrians Initiative; our Domestic Violence Clinic was awarded the 2016 Illinois State Bar Association Excellence in Legal Education Award; and the Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic was awarded the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois’ Excellence in Public Service Award.

Support from our alumni, friends, corporations and foundations continues to be crucial to the success of our clinics. I want to express my particular appreciation to our alumnus Antonio M. Romanucci (’85) whose $100,000.00 gift to the Pro Bono Program & Clinic to continue its work of advocating for the rights of the underserved is a munificent example of paying it forward to help our students.

Prioritizing Diversity

We continue to make access, opportunity and diversity a priority for our students. This past year, preLaw magazine recognized our student body as one of the most diversified in the country and the ABA named John Marshall an LGBT-friendly law school. We also were very pleased when Troy Riddle accepted the position of Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer for the school and Professor Arthur Acevedo accepted the position of Director of Diversity & Inclusion for Faculty.

Earlier this year, we hosted our first annual Law Firm Diversity Reception as part of Diversity Week. More than 50 attorneys representing nearly 25 law firms in Chicago that are owned and operated by women and diverse attorneys attended the event. We also were thrilled to receive an anonymous pledge in the amount of $100,000.00 for our Diversity Fund Scholarship. We look forward to continuing to cultivate a diverse student body for years to come.

Alumni Involvement

Our Alumni Board has developed a new strategic plan, which you will be hearing more about in the months to come. In addition the group formerly known as the Young Alumni Council is now Alumni Graduates of the Last Decade (“GOLD”).

This year we hosted several reunions at the law school. The reunions are primarily led by alumni volunteers who have generously donated their time to insure their success. Our alumni association also is hosting gatherings for alumni in cities outside of Chicago. This year alumni receptions have been held in New York City, Peoria, Illinois and Troy, Michigan. We look forward to continuing to connect and engage with our alumni both near and far.

Will You Join Me?

Funding remains critically important to the continued success of our school, students and alumni.

Many of you went to school on scholarships supported by generous donors. Become one yourself. Sometimes time and circumstances preclude us from directly paying back those who helped us, but I would ask you to consider paying it forward, to help one of our students who’s in the position you were many years ago. Or make a gift to our Annual Fund which goes toward the most urgent needs of the school. I have enclosed an envelope with this letter for your convenience. Alternatively, you may make a gift online at

If you have any questions about supporting John Marshall with a gift or as a volunteer, please contact our Executive Director of Alumni Relations & Development, John Bergholz, at or 312.427.2737 ext. 373. He will be happy to speak with you. I write a check to the law school every year at this time. I ask you to do the same, to help us continue transforming lives here at The John Marshall Law School.

Dean John E. Corkery