Nicole Young ’19 receives the 2019 Gary Laser Professionalism Award
Nicole Young, a May 2019 graduate of Chicago-Kent College of Law at Illinois Institute of Technology, has been selected to receive the 2019 Gary Laser Professionalism Award.
Created in 2017, the endowed prize recognizes students working in the Law Offices of Chicago-Kent who have best exemplified promise as practitioners as well as the highest standard of ethics. The award is named in honor of Associate Professor of Law Emeritus Gary Laser, who founded Chicago-Kent’s in-house clinical education program, the nation’s first fee-generating teaching law firm, in 1976. Winners are chosen by the law school’s clinical faculty.
Clinic Director Richard Gonzalez notes that Young was an ideal choice for this award. “Nicole’s combination of intellect, skills, energy, and devotion to worthy causes is unparalleled among the clinic students with whom I have worked over the years. She will be not only a first-rate lawyer but a credit to and force for positive change within the legal profession,” he says.
Young worked in the C-K Law Group’s Employment Clinic with Gonzalez during fall 2017 and fall 2018, where she prepared legal documents and drafted memoranda.
“Working in the clinic helped me learn how to practice in my area of interest," says Young. "Professor Gonzalez and [staff attorney] Jaz Park give students real responsibility dealing with clients and drafting court documents while always offering constructive guidance. My time there was invaluable to my legal education, and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to partake.”
Young was ranked seventh in her class out of 232 J.D. students and also earned a J.D. certificate in Labor and Employment Law. During law school, she was a notes and comments editor for the Chicago-Kent Law Review, an honors scholar, and a research assistant for Professor Bernadette Atuahene. She earned CALI Awards for the highest grades in Legal Writing I, Legal Writing II, and Employment Relationships, and worked as a teaching assistant for Professor Elizabeth De Armond, director of Chicago-Kent’s Legal Research & Writing Program. During summer 2018, she was a Public Interest Law Initiative fellow, working in the Legal Assistant Foundation’s Immigrant and Workers’ Rights group. She was also an intern for Illinois Legal Aid Online’s content team and Equip for Equality’s civil rights team.
Young will join the research division of the Illinois First District Appellate Court as a staff attorney this fall.
Young graduated summa cum laude from DePaul University with a degree in peace, justice and conflict studies. As an undergraduate, she was the campus outreach chair for the Worldwide Orphanage Relief Coalition. From 2012 to 2016, she worked as a file clerk at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP and completed internships at the Uptown People’s Law Center and the Chicago Innocence Center.