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Why University of Illinois?

​​​​Hi Everyone,

How is your summer going thus far? Weddings, graduations, students home for the summer, travel picking up? All the above has geared up for Triangle Park ATL!

…And, Diana just finished her 1L year at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana (UIUC). She’s working at Alston & Bird (Atlanta) as a summer associate (a blessing indeed). Most of my readers know that Diana is in law school at the University of Illinois. Her whole family is thrilled where she landed. But…Several of y’all have asked Jeff, me, and D:

  • Why the University of Illinois Law School?

  • Do you even have a connection to Illinois?

  • Why would she want to practice around Chicago?


Here's the Scoop:

Diana’s aim is to be a patent attorney. UIUC has good patent programs, a good ranking, they offered a nice scholarship and the location allowed D to get away from Georgia for a taste of down-to-earth midwestern culture.

Yes. As a matter of fact we do have Illinois roots and even if we didn’t, after being covid-couped up and surviving "The Institute” (not to mention Georgia Tech is a mere two miles from her childhood home), we were thrilled Diana could escape to new territory.

-- My grandfather graduated from the University of Chicago Medical School and my grandmother received a nursing degree from Wesley Memorial Hospital in Chicago, now called Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Below is a photo of a 1942 Aurora, Illinois newspaper article featuring my great-great grandmother who shared President Lincoln’s birthday (February 12 -- Illinois is "the Land of Lincoln"). She spoke with him when she was a young girl. Tryphena Ward-Keasler is buried in Aurora, Illinois and to this day her descendants reside in the region.

Also, Jeff spent a good portion of his childhood outside Chicago, in Downers Grove.

No, as a matter of fact, Diana does not want to practice law in or around Chicago when she graduates, nor does she have to. She began interning at Alston & Bird while attending Georgia Tech and per above she’s currently working there. If D doesn’t flunk out of UIUC law school (she just received a CALI Award* and is top 10% of her class), the hope is that Alston & Bird will hire her FT upon receiving a J.D. and passing the bar.

*In case you’re curious what a CALI Award is (and don’t feel like googling it):

The CALI Excellence for the Future Award®, often shortened to “The CALI Award” or referred to as “I CALI'd a Class”, is given to the student who receives the highest award in a law school course. Awards are given at the discretion of the faculty and in rare cases two awards can be given for the same course. ( (Diana was first in her Constitutional Law class (70+ students). All that cozy snow in central Illinois provided ample study incentive.)

May I interject…Savanna was also a stellar student -- full Zell Miller scholarship throughout college and interning for Governor Nathan Deal where she took a private helicopter ride with Governor Deal, departing from the front lawn of the Governor’s Mansion destined for Forsyth, Georgia where he delivered a speech Savanna wrote at a state trooper graduation ceremony, among other accolades…

The plan was to insert a joke about people who brag about their kids at this junction of the blog. I don’t want to come across as too “braggy.” Proud maybe, but not braggy. Anyway, I found mostly jokes about men bragging about sons and a few about moms bragging about sons. Nothing on moms being proud or bragging about daughters.

Come on moms, shout out about daughters! Nobody seems to mind if you do…and even if they do…

Thank you for reading!

Love, Shelley

A photo from North Carolina mountains. We're still house hunting. Next stop Smokey Mountains, east Tennessee.

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