The John Marshall Law School in Chicago to Conduct 195th Commencement Exercises May 19

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The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, founded in 1899, will conduct its 195th commencement on Sunday, May 19, 2013, awarding 290 JD degrees.

The John Marshall Law School will conduct its 195th commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 19, 2013, awarding 290 JD degrees, 26 LLM degrees and eight MS degrees.

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis will be the honorary degree recipient and will address the graduates.

The valedictory address will be given by Ryanne Bush Dent, who ranks first in the graduating class.

Special honors will be awarded to Professor Walter J. Kendall III, receiving the Leadership and Dedicated Service Award; Professor Joanne Hodge, receiving the Dedicated Service Award; and Professor Jason Kilborn, receiving the Recognition of Scholarly Achievement Award.

Justice Theis has served at every level of the judiciary. She was appointed to the Illinois Supreme Court in 2010, and elected in November 2012 to a 10-year term on the court.

After receiving her JD degree in 1974 from the University of San Francisco School of Law, she returned to Chicago to serve as an assistant public defender at the Cook County Public Defender's Office until 1983, when she was appointed an associate judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Theis served in that position until 1988 when she was elected a circuit judge. Theis served in the Chancery Division from 1988 through 1992, and in 1993 she was transferred to the Criminal Division where she served until her appointment later that year to the Illinois Appellate Court, First District. She was elected to the Appellate Court in 1994, and was retained in 2004. She was an Appellate Court justice until her appointment to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Theis has been involved in judicial education throughout her career. She served as a member of the Education Committee of the Illinois Judicial Conference for 15 years, and was chair from 2003 through 2005. She now serves as Supreme Court liaison to the committee. She also has led numerous seminars and programs as part of the continuing judicial education program for Illinois judges. She also has been a member of the Committee on Judicial Conduct for the Judicial Conference of Illinois for five years and has served as chair of that committee. Theis served as a member of the Illinois Supreme Court Rules Committee from 2005 to 2010.

Justice Theis also has taught at numerous judicial education programs, conferences, and seminars for the Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association. She has been a guest lecturer on appellate practice at Loyola University School of Law, Northwestern University School of Law and The John Marshall Law School.

An active bar member, Theis served as president of the Appellate Lawyers Association. She is a past president and current board member of the Illinois Judges Association. She served as president and was a founding member of the Illinois Judges Foundation. She has been a member of the Board of Governors of the Illinois State Bar Association and the Board of Managers of the Chicago Bar Association. She maintains her membership in the Women's Bar Association of Illinois.

Theis has received various awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois Judges Association; Catholic Lawyer of the Year from the Catholic Lawyers Guild; Celtic Lawyer of the Year from the Celtic Lawyers Society of Chicago; the Mary Heftel Hooten Award from the Women's Bar Association of Illinois; and the Access to Justice Award from the Illinois State Bar Association. She was named the 2011 “Judge of the Year” by the Illinois Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and received the Legal Legend Award from the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.

Bush Dent has served on the Moot Court Honors Council. She and her teammate, Patrick Bushell, brought back first-place national honors from the Mugel National Tax Moot Court Competition this spring. She also was named best oralist at the competition.

Bush Dent has been a member of The John Marshall Law Review, and her article “No Duty to Warn of Drug Interactions: A Dangerous Prescription” was published in the winter 2013 issue. She was a judicial extern for United States District Court Judge Ronald Guzman, and for Illinois Appellate Court Justice Mary K. Rochford.    

In summer 2011, Bush Dent interned at Citizen Works. As a member of the Reformation of Contracts Team she helped create a Consumer Bill of Rights to incorporate into contracts of adhesion and drafted model contract provisions for consumers dealing with contracts of adhesion. During law school she also worked part-time at Nebo Systems, Passport Health Communications as a system administrator and training consultant.

Bush Dent received a bachelor of arts in psychology, magna cum laude, in May 2008 from The University of Tampa.

About The John Marshall Law School

The John Marshall Law School, founded in 1899, is an independent law school located in the heart of Chicago’s legal, financial and commercial districts. Through classes, clinics and special programs, students develop the strategic, analytical and transactional lawyering skills that are so valuable to employers. Its excellent curriculum, coupled with outstanding skills and experiential learning, help make John Marshall graduates practice-ready from day one. For practicing attorneys, John Marshall offers nine LLM degrees, more than any other law school in the Midwest. John Marshall is also a leader in providing distance education options in intellectual property, estate planning and employee benefits at the advanced graduate degree level. John Marshall offers six clinical experiences, including the nationally recognized Veterans Legal Support Center & Clinic and the Fair Housing Legal Clinic. U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Graduate Schools 2014 edition ranks John Marshall’s Lawyering Skills Program second and its Intellectual Property Law program 12th in the nation.

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Marilyn Thomas
The John Marshall Law School
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