Centennial Honors College

18th Annual Pre-Law Symposium | October 8, 2019 from 5-7 PM
Brattain Lounge, University Union

President Thomas and Future Law Students
Table fair at Pre-Law Symposium
Pre-Law Symposium Panel
Sponsored and organized by the Centennial Honors College, the Annual Pre-Law Symposium provides an excellent opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to learn about law school while being introduced to important legal issues by current law students who are WIU alumni and practicing law professionals. The event is open and free to the WIU community. Students interested in the study of law and those in classes addressing legal and ethical issues are encouraged to attend.
  Schedule
5-6 PM | Law School Table Fair
5:45 | Opening Remarks 
6:00 | Keynote Speaker, Kirk Dillard, 
6:20 | Distinguished Alumni Panel

  Law School Table Fair

Recruiters from the following law schools have been invited:

  • Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • DePaul University College of Law
  • Drake University Law School
  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Marquette University Law School
  • Mitchell Hamlin School of Law
  • Northern Illinois University College of Law
  • Saint Louis University School of Law
  • Southern Illinois University School of Law
  • UIC John Marshall Law School
  • University of Illinois College of Law
  • University of Iowa College of Law
  • University of Missouri School of Law
  • University of St. Thomas School of Law-Minneapolis
  • University of Wisconsin Law School
  • Washington School of Law
Pre-law advisers from WIU's Honors College, School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration (LEJA) and the departments of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies and Political Science will also be available at the event.


  Keynote Speaker
Senator Kirk Dillard
Kirk Dillard has had a magnificent career in law, politics and government following his graduation from Western Illinois University. He was a member of the Pre-Law student club at WIU, the Student Member of Western’s Board of Trustees for two years and began his career as a Legislative Staff Intern in Springfield before graduating from the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago.

Upon his law school graduation he was counsel and Director of Legislative Affairs for Illinois Governor James Thompson whom he first met as a student in the Sandburg Lounge in WIU’s Union Building. Following the Thompson Administration he joined the international law firm of Locke Lord LLP in Chicago, one of America’s largest, most prestigious and oldest law firms. Dillard served as a Judge on the Illinois Court of Claims. He is one of a unique group of lawyers who has served in all three branches of Illinois government and the private sector.

Kirk served with distinction as Governor Jim Edgar’s Chief of Staff and later served as an Illinois State Senator for 18 years from Chicago’s western suburbs, serving as the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, member of the powerful Rules Committee and helped draft the rules for the Impeachment trial of former Governor Rod Blagojevich.

In addition to being a partner at his law firm, Senator Dillard is currently the Chairman of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) in northeastern Illinois, the nation’s second largest mass transit system which provides over 2 million daily rides—-one-sixth of Illinois population!

Kirk served multiple terms as the President of WIU’s award winning Alumni Council, has received an Honorary Doctorate from his alma mater in Macomb and was last year’s Founders Day Keynote Speaker. Senator Dillard has been named an “Illinois Super Lawyer” and was named to Crain’s Chicago Business, "Who’s Who in Chicago Business."


  Law School Alumni Panel Discussion

The symposium will also include a panel discussion moderated by Elizabeth "Liz" Duvall (WIU General Counsel and JD, Valparaiso University Law School) and consist of WIU alumni:

  • Brady Smith–1L, Northern Illinois University Law School
    WIU, Bachelor of Business, 2018
  • Paige Senatra–2L, University of Iowa College of Law
    WIU, BLAS, 2016
  • David Rappenecker–2L, University of Iowa College of Law
    WIU, Bachelor of Music, 2008; WIU, Master of Music, 2010
  • Victoria Smith–JD, Harvard University Law School
    WIU, Professor of Political Science
  • Heriberto Urby–JD, Texas Souther University School of Law
    WIU, Professor of Emergency Management/Law Enforcement and Justice Administration

If you would like to know more, please stop by the Honors College or call at 309-298-2228.

Event Sponsors: Matt Bills, WIU alumnus and attorney at law; McDonough County Bar Association; WIU Foundation Office; WIU College of Arts and Sciences; WIU College of Business and Technology; WIU College of Education and Human Services; WIU School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration; WIU departments of History and Political Science and Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity