Special Assistant U.S. Attorney speaks to pre-law, students

Jennifer Winfield. photo courtesy of CID St. Louis, MO.

SIUE’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Pre-Law program and Student Legal Services are co-sponsoring Jennifer Winfield, special assistant U.S. attorney from the eastern district of Mo. to speak to students at SIUE Wednesday, February 22. The event will take place at 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Mississippi-Illinois Room in the Morris University Center. The speaker event is open to all students, but it focused towards pre-law students.

CAS’s Pre-law program brings speakers onto campus to expose students to a variety of potential career and education opportunities, according to Ann Dirks-Linhorst, associate professor of sociology and criminal justice studies.

“In the Pre-Law program, we are always looking for people with practical experience to come and talk to pre-law students. Hopefully we attract an audience beyond interested prelaw students–people interested in these folks positions in general,” said Dirks-Linhorst. “I’ve been organizing about four pre-law speakers a semester.”

The speaker event is open to all students, but it focused towards pre-law students. Dirks-Linhorst stated that Narbeth Emmanuel, vice chancellor for student affairs, suggested that Winfield may be a good speaker to bring to campus. Dirks-Linhorst said that she contacted Winfield last semester and Winfield expressed delight at the opportunity to speak to current students.

“She’s graciously agreed to talk about what led her to go to law school, what her law school experience was like, what she does as a special assistant U.S. attorney, and how her education has prepared her for the duties and responsibilities that she has now,” said Dirks-Linhorst.

Winfield confirmed through an email interview that she will share information about the journey that led her to the current career.

“I would like to share various personal and professional experiences that led me to my legal career and current position. Hopefully students will be able to relate to my experiences and learn things that will assist them in the process of deciding what facet of the legal community–if any–may be most appropriate for them. I would like for students to learn some of the things that were passed on to me from my mentors throughout my college and professional career,” said Winfield.

The event will begin with a few statements by Winfield, and then become a question and answer session. Dirks-Linhorst stated that Winfield has agreed to answer questions throughout the one-hour event.

Winfield said she will address her experiences before and during law school, and how those experiences prepared her for the current position she holds. Winfield stated that she will only speak for herself and on her experiences. She will not be speaking on behalf of the Department of Justice or the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri. She will not discuss issues or facts specific to cases she is currently handling.

Winfield expressed that she hopes students will benefit from her experiences.

“I believe that through presentations, if students are able to receive honest and candid feedback regarding how the speaker attained their personal/professional goals and how the presenter has been able to sustain the drive to succeed in their chosen field, students will always benefit,” said Winfield. “Any insight provided by a presenter into their day-to-day professional experience is information that will always be beneficial to students.”

Dirks-Linhorst stated that the series has attracted attention from other institutions in the area. She stated that she sent notices to constitutional law, criminal law, and criminal procedure professors announcing the Winfield’s event. She also stated that an East St. Louis Charter school will be bringing a group of students to the event. Dirks-Linhorst stated that part of the goal of the series is to show students the possibilities of different career paths and to give them a broad range of speakers. She stated that people have been sending her notes on other potential speakers because of the success thus far.

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