Unwavering Support

Anna Ylitalo

Anna Ylitalo '25

Despite overwhelming adversities, both planned and unexpected, Anna Ylitalo has thrived with the resources Chicago-Kent College of Law has to offer.

Anna Ylitalo
Law '25

Anna Ylitalo ’25 was already immersed in the world of patents and intellectual property before coming to Chicago-Kent College of Law.

After earning her B.S. in biomedical engineering from Michigan Technological University, Ylitalo spent a year as a patent engineer at a law firm in Milwaukee.

“I helped the attorneys in the patent prosecution group with drafting patent applications and correspondences with the United States Patent and Trademark Office,” she says. “Since 2015 I have been working as a patent application analyst. We are contracted by the USPTO to review patent applications.”

Even now, she still works in the field, primarily with medical or quasi-medical patent applications at an IP servicing company in Evanston, Illinois.

Ylitalo enjoys the work, so she wasn’t sure about returning to school, but a friend and Chicago-Kent alum convinced her to pursue her dream of becoming a patent prosecutor.

“When I saw Chicago-Kent’s IP offerings, the IP hub, the IP staff, I finally bit the bullet and applied,” she says. “Chicago-Kent offered me everything I needed to feel comfortable taking the leap into law school. I was able to keep my job, continue working as I had been before, while taking courses part time. And Chicago-Kent offered me a great scholarship package, which definitely didn’t hurt!”

Chicago-Kent was founded as a part-time law school offering evening courses to the working class. It continues to foster its part-time and evening students, remaining highly ranked nationwide. The 2024 U.S. News & World Report ranked Chicago-Kent’s part-time program #20 in the country.

“My evening section has the bonus of really understanding the demands of working full time,” she says. “We have a really wonderful, supportive cohort without the cliché competitiveness that you would think you’d find in law school.”

Her full-time job isn’t the only obstacle that Ylitalo has faced during her time at Chicago-Kent.

During summer 2023, her sister died by suicide. Devastated, she reached out for help and was directed to the Illinois Lawyers’ Assistance Program, which is available to all Chicago-Kent students.

“Within 24 hours of contacting ILAP, I was able to meet with one of ILAP’s psychologists, who continued to meet with me weekly and aided me with finding additional support outside of the ILAP,” she says. “I am beyond grateful for the Illinois Lawyers Assistance Program and the help that they offer to law students.”

Ylitalo also found unwavering support from her peers, and is grateful for the mental health resources available at Chicago-Kent to help students who are struggling.

“I strongly recommend that all current and future students take advantage of the support that is available to them,” she says.

With the support that she’s received, Ylitalo has been able to thrive at Chicago-Kent, even in the face of tragedy.

Among the opportunities that she’s taken advantage of include being a legal extern, where she worked hands-on at Saper Law Offices LLC.

“I am beyond lucky to have been working at a firm that doesn’t just dip its toes into the waters of law—every single week I was tasked with something I haven’t done before,” she says. “I worked on defamation matters, trademark litigation, trademark prosecution, and contract matters. As terrifying as it is to work on a whole slew of matters outside of my comfort zone, the practical experience will be invaluable as I begin my legal career.”

Now that she’s been exposed to so many different kinds of law, Ylitalo isn’t positive that she wants to continue on her path to be a patent prosecutor, but she’s looking forward to exploring the law further as a summer 2024 associate at Neal, Gerber, & Eisenberg.

“I’m lucky that I’ve found a firm that supports me in testing practice areas outside of patent law, and to find the practice area that I’m most passionate about,” she says.

Ylitalo has also been invited to join the Chicago-Kent Law Review, where her note titled “Bad, Bad Medicine—When a State’s Healthcare Infrastructure Violates the Integration Mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act” will be published in Volume 100.

“I, like most law students, dealt with a lot of imposter syndrome when I tried to measure myself up against these students who so clearly have their lives together, who are so accomplished and so driven,” she says. “I appreciate that I am able to look back on that feeling now and feel pride that we’re all still here succeeding.”

More Stories