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“It was not purely a theoretical school. It was also practice-oriented. That was part of the school’s philosophy, and I think they delivered on that promise.”

1898 Henry Horner graduates, later becoming the first Jewish governor of Illinois (1933–40). Photo: Library of Congress

1898/1899 First chapters of Lambda Epsilon, later Phi Alpha Delta, the world’s largest legal fraternity, begin at Chicago College of Law and Kent College of Law.

Lauren Blair is versatile, but so is Pedersen & Houpt, the firm where she has been a partner since 2006 (practicing since 2000). As a member of their Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group, she does some commercial litigation, some employment counseling, and family law. “It’s really diverse,” she says, “but it keeps me happy.” Conflict resolution seems to be the common denominator. “I don’t want to call myself a conflictaverse litigator,” she says, “because I do relish a good fight and the taste of victory, but I also like to resolve disputes. I like to assess a case to see what the triggers are for the hot issues so I know how to play them. I talk with clients about alternative strategies if I’m able to see a better outcome in the long run. Sometimes there’s just no way to avoid the fight, but I’m practical and I give my opinion straight to the client, which I think is what they’re paying me for.” Lauren credits the law school, and the Chicago-Kent Law Offices in particular, with helping her develop this pragmatic approach.

1900 Chicago College of Law merges with Kent College of Law to form ChicagoKent College of Law. Thomas A. Moran of Chicago College of Law is named the new law school’s first dean.

1903 Appellate Judge Edmund W. Burke is named Chicago-Kent College of Law’s second dean. Judge Burke’s son, Webster H. Burke, later became dean, following the elder Burke’s death in 1918.

“It was not purely a theoretical school,” she recalls. “It was also practice-oriented. That was part of the school’s philosophy, and I think they delivered on that promise.” At the Law Offices, Lauren pursued her interest in employment law, working with Professor Ronald Schwartz ’80. She also took classes in employment law from Professor Richard Gonzalez. Both inspired her, but the hands-on experience at the Law Offices was what she valued most. “It was my first attorney-client interaction,” she says. “Fact-gathering, managing expectations, respecting confidentiality—it was invaluable.” She learned important lessons that still apply today: “Focusing on servicing the client’s needs and interests and being able to communicate with them; really listening to clients, what their issues are; knowing the law, of course, but seeing moves ahead; giving clients options, explaining them clearly; and then, when they decide, executing together. “It all starts with the client. I learned that at the Law Offices.”

1907 Edna Covert Plummer graduates, later becoming the first woman district attorney in the United States.

1918 Webster H. Burke, a 1903 Chicago-Kent graduate, becomes the law school’s third dean and first alumnus to serve as dean.

1912 Chicago-Kent College of Law moves to rented space at 116 North Michigan Avenue, where it remains for the next 12 years.

FA L L 2 0 1 3 C H I C A G O - K E N T M A G A Z I N E

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Profile for Chicago-Kent College of Law

Chicago-Kent Magazine, Fall 2013  

Celebrating Our Past, Embracing Our Future: IIT Chicago-Kent celebrates 125 years of distinctive legal education.

Chicago-Kent Magazine, Fall 2013  

Celebrating Our Past, Embracing Our Future: IIT Chicago-Kent celebrates 125 years of distinctive legal education.