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Week of October 14, 2002


A Law Office's client was featured prominently in a full-page story in the September 23rd edition of the Chicago Tribune about employers who force employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements which give up the right to bring a civil rights suit against the employer. Professor Gonzalez and his students are fighting for his right to take his racial discrimination claim to court, despite having signed the mandatory waiver along with several other papers on his first day of work. The Tribune used the Chicago-Kent client as the basis for its expose of deceitful employer practices.


First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA) is a free, 24-hour legal service for adults and children, which fills the gap in the public defender system by providing representation to people at their earliest entry in the criminal justice system but not yet charged.

Recently, FDLA has faced serious problems from the police and prosecutors in gaining access to its clients. As a result, FDLA filed a federal law suit in December 2001 against the Cook County State's Attorney's office and the Chicago Police Department. On September 9, 2002, FDLA won an important victory in the Federal District Court when U. S. District Court Judge Milton Shadur enjoined the Chicago Police Department from prohibiting FDLA attorneys from meeting with and speaking to their clients being held at Chicago police stations. The injunction also requires the police "to immediately inform the person being held that an attorney is present seeking to counsel him and shall ascertain from the person being held whether he or she wishes to consult with the attorney."

FDLA is a clinical program at Chicago Kent. It is open to 711 eligible students who actively participate with FDLA attorneys in representing clients. For more information about FDLA you can email FDLA at


Chicago-Kent College of Law has established a clinical program in family law. The family law clinic will operate on a sliding scale fee basis, depending on the financial circumstances of the parties. The clinic will represent clients in matters limited to cases to be brought before the Cook County Circuit Court. Client referrals will be actively sought from the practicing bar, labor unions, employee groups, and educational institutions.

In addition, the clinical program will provide a teaching platform for Chicago-Kent students who are interested in practicing in the area of family law. All student work will be under the direct supervision of an attorney.

Attorney Ira C. Feldman has been named to oversee the new program. Prior to his appointment, Feldman was a partner at the law firm of Wildman, Harrold, Allen and Dixon. From 1981 to 1991, he was a partner at Naumark, Bonner and Feldman. Between 1975 and 1981, he headed Feldman and Associates. Feldman completed his undergraduate at American University and earned his law degree at the university’s Washington College of Law.

“Professor Feldman is a highly regarded and experienced practitioner of family law. He will expand the services of the Chicago-Kent Law Offices to include representation in matters of legal separation, divorce, child support, child custody, visitation, guardianships and other related matters,” said Professor Gary S. Laser director of clinical education.

Chicago-Kent Law Offices was established in 1976. The program is a fee-generating teaching law firm that provides clinical practice experiences under the close supervision of teaching attorneys. The program delivers outstanding legal services to its clients and provides high-quality clinical education to more than 150 students each semester. Practice areas include employment discrimination and civil rights, general practice, criminal defense, health law, alternative dispute resolution, tax law, and an advice desk program at the Daley Center.

Chicago-Kent College of Law is the law school of Illinois Institute of Technology, a private, Ph.D.-granting institution with programs in engineering, science, psychology, architecture, business, design and law. Last year, Chicago-Kent educated more than 1,200 students from 45 states and more than 100 colleges and universities.


First Defense Legal Aid (FDLA), the only program of its kind in the country, fills the gap in Illinois' public defender system by providing 24-hour free legal representation to adults and children in police custody or under police investigation. FDLA provides a unique "frontline" criminal defense experience for students, enabling them to see: how evidence is collected and created; the tactics of the Chicago Police Department when trying to extract a confession or question witnesses; the role that the Cook County State's Attorney's Felony Review Team plays during the beginning stages of a criminal investigation; and the utter vulnerability of children and adults when under intensive and sometimes abusive interrogation. In addition to this stationhouse representation, FDLA also works toward the permanent improvement of our criminal justice system by educating the public, organizing community residents to combat police misconduct, by engaging in legislative and community advocacy, investigating patterns of misconduct by the Chicago Police, taking select criminal defense cases to trial, and initiating 42 U.S.C. §1983 litigation to improve the policies and procedures of the Chicago Police as they relate to the treatment of persons in police custody.

Students participating in the FDLA class must be eligible for a Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711 license. Students representing FDLA clients at Chicago Police Stations will gain unique insight into the criminal justice system at its earliest stage and be able to:

1. View and Document Line-Ups, DNA testing, and Halt Lie Detector Tests.
2. Assert a Client's 5th Amendment Right to Remain Silent and 6th Amendment Right to Counsel.
3. Gather Information from the Police on the Progress of the Investigation.
4. Document Police Brutality and other Misconduct.
5. Counsel Clients and Provide Information to their Families.
6. Interview Witnesses.
7. Demand a Client's Immediate Release at the Police Station and in Court.

Students will be trained to provide legal representation to adults and children under criminal investigation. In addition to a weekly, one-hour class (Mondays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.), students will be available to represent persons in custody six hours each week and actually go to the police station to represent them. Students will be provided with pagers and FDLA will reimburse transportation expenses. Three supervising attorneys will be available at all times to assist students and provide support. For more information, contact Presita R. May, at 773/602-5144, or .



For information on the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, please visit the website: 



The Law Offices of Chicago-Kent offers nine long-standing programs in live-client clinical legal education which accommodate over 150 students in the fall and spring semesters and over 50 students in the summer semester. 

For a complete description of all clinical programs, please visit the Law Offices' Home Page at



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