By Patricia H. Lee
Filling the Assistant Director position at the IJ Clinic was no easy task. The job requires someone who is not only an attorney, but also a teacher, and someone with a strong commitment to help entrepreneurs overcome the barriers to entry created by our complex legal and regulatory environment. After conducting a nationwide search, we found the individual who fit that description perfectly: John Stinneford.
IJ Clinic Assistant Director John Stinneford applies his background in law and teaching to help both law students and entrepreneurs.
John, the son of a lawyer and a teacher, grew up in Cicago and knows the city well. He attended the University of Virginia, where he tutored underprivileged children, founded a literary discussion group called the C.S. Lewis Society, and obtained a B.A. with Highest Distinction in English Literature. Awarded a Mellon Fellowship in the Humanities, John then entered the English Language and American Literature PhD program at Harvard University, where he earned a Masters degree and gained valuable experience as a teacher. John served as a teaching fellow and tutor for Harvard undergraduates, teaching subjects ranging from medieval poetry to post-modern American fiction. He also spent time tutoring inner-city children in the Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods of Boston.
After three years in the English Department, John entered Harvard Law School. While in law school, he continued to teach in the English department and to tutor inner-city children. Now that is dedication. He also served as a teaching assistant for a Federal Litigation class at the law school. John served as Executive Editor of the Harvard Journal for Law & Public Policy, and was named Best Oralist in the semifinal round of Harvard’s moot court competition. In 1996, John graduated from Harvard Law School with honors.
Since that time, John has primarily practiced law in the litigation arena. He served as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge James Moran in Chicago and then entered the litigation department of Winston & Strawn, a large Chicago law firm. At Winston, John obtained extensive experience in motion practice and took numerous depositions. He also showed a strong commitment to public service, representing several clients in criminal and civil matters on a pro bono basis.
Since joining the IJ Clinic on Entrepreneurship in December, John has jumped into the middle of our defense of several taxicab affiliations in administrative penalty proceedings brought by the City of Chicago. He has quickly engaged students at the Clinic and oversees more than one-third of the client work. As John settles into his new role, we will continue building on the incredible success of the IJ Clinic in educating students, serving our clients and working towards the transformation of inner-city life through the power of the entrepreneurism.
Patricia H. Lee is director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship.