About Our Office

Paul Johnson

Assistant Dean for Career Development and Professionalism

Paul E. Johnson, Assistant Dean, Career Development and Professionalism

Paul (he/him/his) joined Chicago-Kent as Assistant Dean of Career Development and Professionalism in early 2024 after serving as Associate Director of Career Services and Academic Advising at University of Illinois Chicago School of Law from 2016 to 2024. At UIC Law, Paul oversaw recruiting programs and was very involved in diversity initiatives; during this time, he also substantially completed coursework towards a Master of Urban Planning and Policy degree. 

Prior to working in law career services, Paul worked as a recruiter with Robert Half Executive Search and as a project fulfillment manager with Robert Half Legal’s consulting solutions practice in Washington, DC. Before his career with Robert Half, he served as Business Development Manager and Assistant Legal Counsel at Lakeshore Interactive LLC in Chicago. Additionally, while earning his LLM, Paul served as a privacy analyst for Aon Corporation, where he advised the company on privacy issues affecting its North American business units. Prior to law school, he earned his BA in Political Science, Spanish, and Textile & Apparel Management at the University of Missouri. Paul is very active in the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), the American Bar Association Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (ABA SOGI), and volunteers on the board of the Chicago Composers Orchestra and with the Mizzou Alumni Association.

Ask me about: Career planning for traditional and non-traditional attorney roles in public and private settings; on-campus interviews and recruiting; bar associations and networking; LGBTQ+ issues and advocacy; privacy and compliance opportunities; international law and diplomacy; transit and urban planning legal issues.

In my free time, I enjoy: Learning about Chicago history, architecture, transit, and foreign affairs, and European travel (particularly Finland). I am an avid oenophile and aspiring sommelier. As a former performer, I also enjoy the wide array of dance, theater, visual arts, and concerts that Chicago has to offer.

Connect with Paul on LinkedIn or via email at pjohnson4@kentlaw.iit.edu.

Jacqueline Russell

Director of Recruitment Programs, Career Development and Professionalism; Co-Director of the Solo and Small Practice Incubator

Jackie (she/her) has been with Chicago-Kent since 2019. She graduated from University of Detroit Mercy College of Law in 2014 and practiced family law and civil rights litigation in Michigan before moving to Chicago. She also volunteered with Wayne County CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates) as an advocate for children in the foster care system. As a law student, she was an SBA representative, the Justice of the school’s Phi Alpha Delta chapter, and a member of the Irish-American Law Students Association. She worked in the school’s Veterans Law Clinic helping low-income veterans with their cases before the Department of Veterans Affairs. Jackie is a Michigan native and has lived in many different places throughout the state. She attended Albion College where she studied english and political science and was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta.

Ask me about

General career planning, family law, solo and small firm practice, on-campus interviews, networking, opportunities with the military JAG corps, Phi Alpha Delta, and getting the most out of law school.

In my free time, I enjoy
Spending time with my son and husband, playing video and tabletop games, watching TV shows and movies, baking, reading, and anything that involves getting to play with a dog.

Connect with Jackie on LinkedIn or via email at jrussell5@kentlaw.iit.edu. 

Michelle Vodenik

Director, Public Interest Center; and Senior Director, Career Development and Professionalism

Michelle (she/her/hers) has been with Chicago-Kent since 2005. She serves as director of the Public Interest Center; and senior director in the Office of Career Development and Professionalism. During her long tenure, she has steadily worked to build resources for students interested in building a career in public interest law and to educate students on the wide range of satisfying career opportunities in the public sector. Michelle has a background being part of and leading in non-profit circles, including human rights concerns for women, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, and the incarcerated. Through this she gained skills in organizing, event planning, and communication that she uses every day to support Chicago-Kent students in their career journeys and pro bono projects. Michelle attended Loyola University Chicago College of Law and received a degree in political science and women’s studies from The Ohio State University.

Ask me about

Public interest and government careers; diversity and inclusion in the legal profession; alternative non-profit and government careers—such as legislative advocacy and non-profit management; pro bono incorporated into the life of every law student and lawyer; and building community among law students and lawyers through student group and bar association involvement,

In my free time, I enjoy
Attending school activities my children are involved with, such as cross country meets, soccer games, basketball games, marching and concert band; traveling—I have been to 46 of the 50 states; and I would like to visit every country in Central and South America; reading and following national and international politics and news, as well as happenings in the Chicago legal, non-profit, and activist communities.

Follow Michelle on LinkedIn or email her at mvodenik@kentlaw.iit.edu. 

Amy Nixon

Associate Director of Career Development and Professionalism

Amy (she/her/hers) is an Associate Director of Career Development and Professionalism at Chicago-Kent College of Law. Prior to joining Chicago-Kent, she was the Senior Director of Judicial Clerkships and Advising at the University of Chicago Law School. Amy is an active member of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), having served in several roles in the Judicial Clerkship Section, and has presented at the Annual Education Conference.

Prior to moving into higher education, Amy was a litigator at McGivney & Kluger, P.C. and served as a judicial clerk to the Honorable Stephan C. Hansbury, Presiding Judge for the Superior Court of New Jersey, Morris County. She earned her BA in political science from Rutgers University and her JD from Delaware Law School.

Ask me about

Federal and state clerkships, and general career strategy in both the public and private sectors. Amy is passionate about advancing the careers of young legal professionals, particularly those interested in judicial service.

In my free time, I enjoy

Paddle ball, traveling, cooking, and chasing after my kids.

Connect with Amy on LinkedIn or email her at anixon@kentlaw.iit.edu 

Katherine Gipe

Associate Director of Career Development and Professionalism

Kate (she/her/hers) is an Associate Director of Career Development and Professionalism at Chicago-Kent College of Law. She has worked for several years as a private practice mediator, litigator, and serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s law school. 

Kate studied English Literature at the University of Iowa, and earned her JD at University of Illinois-Chicago. She is passionate about mental health and wellness, and dedicated to prevention of and solutions to domestic violence.

Ask me about: Small to mid-size firm life, networking, family law, alternative careers, and general career strategy. Kate is passionate about helping law students find the path that fits them best.

In my free time, I enjoy: Food and restaurants; swim and travel; and Arsenal Football Club.


Connect with Kate on LinkedIn or email her at kgipe@kentlaw.iit.edu 

Carla Rubalcava

Administrative Associate of Career Development and Professionalism

Carla (she/her/hers) joined the Chicago-Kent staff in 2022. Having served in various administrative capacities in both academic and corporate settings, Carla possesses the skills and knowledge necessary to ensure the smooth operation of our Career Development and Professionalism initiatives. Carla’s responsibilities include but are not limited to essential student support, assists with event coordination, manages databases, and handles office communication. Carla is committed to helping our students succeed in becoming the next generation of legal professionals.

In my free time, I enjoy
Visiting new libraries, road trips (trying to visit all 50 states), live concerts, painting, and collecting record albums.

Connect with our CDP Office Account on LinkedIn