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Law Student’s Dedication to Public Service Lands $25k Scholarship and Job with Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office

Ruby Valle

Ruby Valle’s teenage dream of going into public service and becoming an Assistant State Attorney is that much closer to becoming a reality with the help of new $25,000 scholarship and accepted role within the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Ruby was selected as UIC Law’s 2024 Lucy Sprague Public Service Scholarship recipient. The Sprague family established the scholarship fund to honor the memory of law student Lucy Sprague and her commitment to public service-work and is awarded to a law student currently pursuing public interest law.

Ruby’s interest in public service preceded her decision to attend law school. Coupling her experiences with growing up in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on Chicago’s south side with the homicide of her brother when she was 17 years old, Ruby developed an “interest in studying crime.” These two life-changing experiences were motivating factors that solidified her passion to go into public interest law and become a state’s attorney, and she began her journey as a criminology major while studying in undergrad.

Ruby also served as an AmeriCorps member working with pro se litigants at the Daley Center in Chicago prior to starting law school. After having an internship offer deferred with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ruby remained resilient and applied once again and obtained her 7-11 license that allowed her to gain field experience and litigate in court or be on record under the supervision of a licensed assistant state’s attorney.

Obtaining a 7-11 license exposed Ruby to diverse, well-rounded experiences to add to her journey to becoming an Assistant States Attorney. She worked in the felony trial division, preliminary hearings and grand jury unit and then in the misdemeanor’s unit for two years before being offered a permanent position as a Bar Taker post commencement, then an official role as an Assistant State’s Attorney pending bar passage.

Ruby credits such UIC Law classes as Criminal Procedure and Advanced Trial Advocacy and Expert Witness courses for helping to solidify her career decision.

“Those courses gave me the foundation and an extra boost of confidence to put my 7-11 license to good use.” she said. “I felt more prepared going into court thanks to practice I got in those courses.”

Further adding to her court room experience, Ruby competed with the UIC Law Moot Court for a semester where she was able to gain insight into how an attorney would argue in an appellate court setting. She also competed with the Trial Advocacy and Dispute Resolution team, receiving a 2nd place regional win in arbitration and an invite to compete on a national scale, an experience she also credits for preparing her to litigate at the office.

Ruby hopes to continue making an impact with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office once she officially becomes an Assistant State’s Attorney for the city of Chicago.