Ed Vrtis ’07 has accomplished quite a bit in the seven years since he completed his undergraduate education at Lake Forest College. The next milestone lies weeks away, when he graduates from Northwestern University School of Law.
“Law school has been going very well. I have enjoyed my time here and the friends I have made. The professors, the other students, and the general school culture are all fantastic. And I have learned so much in just a few short years,” Vrtis said. “I am excited to take the next step.”
The next step for Vrtis is a two-year federal clerkship with the Honorable Carol E. Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in St. Louis.
“I am looking forward to continuing to hone my research and writing skills, to developing my practice by experiencing the full breadth and depth of the civil and criminal matters that are the mainstays of the busy federal court system, and, most of all, to forging the lifelong mentoring relationship that is the hallmark of a clerkship,” he said.
Vrtis, who double majored in politics and communication at the College, began his law school education in 2011. He returned to the Chicago area after spending four years in Baltimore teaching high school social studies with Teach For America. At the same time Vrtis also earned dual Master of Arts degrees in teaching and government from Johns Hopkins University.
While a law student, he externed for the Honorable Matthew F. Kennelly of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago. He also served as a summer associate in the litigation department at Jenner & Block LLP in Chicago.
Among his other activities:
- He is an executive editor of the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology.
- He was a quarterfinalist in a national moot court competition.
- He was president of OUTLaw, the Law School’s association for LGBTQ students and their allies.
- Last spring, he was a teaching assistant in constitutional law, and currently he is a research assistant conducting research for an empirical analysis of states’ responses to guilty but mentally ill verdicts in death-eligible homicide cases.
- He works in the Civil Litigation Center of Northwestern’s Bluhm Legal Clinic, where he assists in the representation of clients in housing matters, and where he is assisting in the creation of a medical legal partnership between the Clinic, Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and a community health center on the west side of Chicago.
He shares these experiences with current Lake Forest College students when he returns to campus to participate in career-preparation events. Recently, he and fellow Northwestern University School of Law student and Lake Forest alumna Ally Bain ’12 led a session on considering law school for legal studies students.
“We have both remarked repeatedly how well we think Lake Forest prepared us to survive and thrive in law school,” said Vrtis, who also leads workshops for his younger fraternity brothers in Lake Forest’s Delta Chi chapter.
Vrtis believes he would not be the man he is today without the mentorship of Lake Forest College professors such as Siobhan Moroney, Dave Park and Debra Levis, administrators such as President Stephen D. Schutt and Dean of Students Rob Flot, and his Delta Chi brothers. They are the reasons why he pays it forward.
“Those deep, lasting relationships are at the heart of the Lake Forest experience,” he said. “And in the face of all of that, considering all the College and the people there gave me, the question is not why would I mentor younger Foresters, but how could I not?”