Office of Career Services Staff
OCS Staff List
Abbie Willard, Associate Dean for Career Services and Policy Initiatives
Lois Casaleggi, Sr. Director of Career Services
Lisa Abrams, Director of Career Services
Susan J. Curry, Director, Public Interest Law and Policy
Shehnaz Mansuri, Manager, Pro Bono Service Initiative
Leslie Hauser, Director of Career Services
Paul Woo, Director of Career Services
Susan Staab, Associate Director of Career Services
Zachary Wideman-Togami, Career Services Communications Coordinator
Jess Sperath, Student Services Administrator
Abbie Willard holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. From 2001 until she joined the law school in 2003, she was director of external affairs for the American Bar Foundation, a research foundation dedicated to the study of law, legal institutions, and legal careers. Prior to joining the ABF she was employed by Georgetown University Law Center for more than 21 years. As assistant dean at Georgetown, her responsibilities included student and alumni career services, publications oversight and marketing strategies, web policy and content development, as well as strategic plan and self study preparation. She is a recipient of the Georgetown University McCarthy Award for Excellence in Administration and Service.
Her selected recent publications include: The Lateral Lawyer (NALP Foundation for Research and Education, 2001) with Paula Patton; Perceptions of Partnership (NALP Foundation for Research and Education, 1999) with Paula Patton; Keeping the Keepers: Strategies for Associate Retention (NALP Foundation for Research and Education, 1998) with Paula Patton; Fair Measure: Toward Effective Attorney Evaluations (American Bar Association Commission on Women and the Profession, 1997) with Jeanne Svikhart; and "Gender and the Profession: The Search for Equal Access," Georgetown University Journal of Legal Ethics (summer 1990).
She has served as president of the National Association for Law Placement, Chair of the NALP Research and Education Foundation, and as a member of the executive coordinating committee for After the JD, an unprecedented national longitudinal study of lawyer careers. In 2000 she received the NALP Mark of Distinction Award for lifetime service to the profession. Dean Willard is the proud mother of three daughters (Micah, Sabra, and Elissa) and lives in Evanston with her husband, John Sebert.
Lois Casaleggi graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1994 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences (psychology) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining the OCS staff, she worked at the University of Illinois College of Law where she was the Assistant Dean for Career Services and, previously, the Director for Career Services. Before moving to academia, Ms. Casaleggi was an attorney in Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy's Washington, D.C. office for two years after working for five years as a litigator with Anderson Kill Olick & Oshinsky (later Dickstein Shapiro Morin & Oshinsky). She also served as a volunteer attorney for Legal Counsel for the Elderly and Whitman-Walker Clinic Legal Services. Lois has been a member of NALP The Association for Legal Career Professionals since 2001 and has served on many NALP committees and task forces, including the Nominating Committee, the By-Laws Committee, and the Leadership Development Task Force.
Lois is an avid reader, runs half marathons very slowly, and loves spending time with her husband and their son.
Lisa Abrams majored in English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then graduated from the University of Illinois College of Law. After practicing in a mid-size litigation firm, she began her work as career counselor, and she previously worked as assistant dean of career services at Chicago-Kent College of Law. Lisa is the author of a popular career guide for law students titled The Official Guide to Legal Specialties: An Insider's Guide to Every Major Practice Area, and has spoken to students at law schools throughout the country about finding the right fit in a legal job. Lisa has also conducted career development and communication workshops for the National Association for Law Placement, and for legal practitioners, including staff attorneys at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Chicago Bar Association, and Indiana Women Lawyers. Lisa is a rabid needlepointer, a devotee of Pilates, and a student of the pedal harp. She and her husband, Hugh, a patent litigation attorney, live in Winnetka with their very spoiled Polish Lowland Sheepdogs.
Susan J. Curry received her law degree from the University of Notre Dame School of Law in 1989, and her master’s degree in public policy from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs in 1997. She began her legal career in Chicago as an associate of the law firm of Gardner, Carton & Douglas. After moving to the nonprofit sector in 1990, she worked at several public interest law agencies including the Better Government Association, the Illinois Guardianship & Advocacy Commission, and the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, where she served as the Executive Director. From 1995 through 2002, while living in Minnesota, she served as Executive Director of the Minnesota Justice Foundation, and then, upon returning to Chicago, spent six years as the Executive Director of the Public Interest Law Initiative of Chicago (PILI).
Some of her recent publications include: Meeting the Need: Minnesota’s Collaborative Model to Deliver Law Student Public Service, 28 WILLIAM MITCHELL LAW REVIEW (2001); “Lessons Learned from the Legal Services for Women Initiative,” THE MCKNIGHT FOUNDATION, Minneapolis MN (April 2002); “Family Violence: Community Responses to Domestic Violence & Child Maltreatment,” THE MCKNIGHT FOUNDATION, Minneapolis MN (January, 2003); Rural Pro Bono Delivery: A Guide to Pro Bono Legal Services in Rural Areas, The American Bar Association, ISBN 1-59031-269-4 (2003); and “Cultivating your Public Interest Legal Career,” Illinois Po Bono Illinois Legal Aid Online (July 2008)
Admitted to practice in both Illinois and Minnesota, Susan was recognized in 2009 for Outstanding Achievements in Public Service by Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. She has served as Chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Legal Aid Committee, and currently sits on the Board of Directors of Illinois Legal Aid Online and other public interest organizations and committees in Chicago.
Shehnaz Mansuri graduated from Loyola University Law School in Chicago in 1998 and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has more than 15 years of public service experience. Just prior to joining the Law School, she was the Manager of UCPIP, the UChicago Public Interest Program, which places graduates of the College in one-year paid fellowships at non-profit, for-profit and government agencies doing public interest work. Before moving to academia, Shehnaz was a trial attorney at Gregory E. Kulis and Associates in Chicago focusing on police accountability cases. She is also an adjunct professor for Loyola University’s Intensive Child Law Trial Practice Program. In her free time, Shehnaz enjoys reading, planning her next vacation and spending time with her husband and two boys.
Leslie Scolnick Hauser graduated from Northwestern University School of Law in 2001 and from Northwestern University in 1995 with a major in Radio/TV/Film and concentration in Women's Studies. She has worked at the Law School since 2003, first in development and then as Director of Alumni Relations before joining the Office of Career Services in 2007. She particularly enjoys working with students and alumni on improving their interviewing skills. Ms. Hauser practiced corporate law in Chicago at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, and prior to law school, worked at Leo Burnett Advertising/Starcom Media. In her free time, she quilts, reads new fiction, practices yoga, and spends time with her husband, their baby girl, and their Doberman/German Shepherd mutt named Zoe.
Paul Woo has been active in career services administration and counseling at the Law School for more than thirty years. He works with students, employers, and office staff in every phase of the on-campus recruitment process, administers our Web based database management system, and advises students about the legal job search and career planning. Through the years, Paul has served the National Association for Legal Career Professionals in a variety of capacities, serving twice as a member of the Board of Directors, (nee National Advisory Board), and past member and Chair of both the By-Laws Committee and the Technology Resources Committee. He has been a panelist or speaker at a number of association meetings over the years, speaking on matters ranging from on-campus recruitment to database management topics. Paul holds an undergraduate degree from Purdue University and graduate degrees from The University of Chicago, and The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Paul resides in Hyde Park with his wife Melanie Kersey and their son Jeremy.
Susan Staab received a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs-Public Policy from Indiana University and worked a number of years before returning to school for her MBA in Human Resources from Keller Graduate School of Management. Susan began her career as an Operations Manager for Junior Achievement of Chicago and transitioned into higher education after realizing her passion for student service. Prior to joining the Law School, she served as Director of Administration at Robert Morris College, a non-profit institution focused on applied education, where her responsibilities included managing student service departments including career services. Weather permitting, Susan likes to spend her free time on the golf course with her husband. Although she resides on the north side of Chicago, she remains a loyal White Sox fan.
Zachary Wideman-Togami earned a Bachelor of Arts in cinema studies from Columbia College Chicago in 2009. He spent the next two years doing administrative and operational logistics for Chicago's LGBT film festival before joining the University of Chicago Law School staff in 2011. Prior to joining the Career Services team, Zachary was a staff member of the Law School's Faculty Support department. He lives in the Printer's Row neighborhood, where enjoys cooking, writing, and spending time with his husband and their cat Phoebe.
Jess Sperath, a North Carolina native, earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2003. She then relocated to Indianapolis, where she received her law degree from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Rather than practice law, Jess pursued a non-traditional legal career as Director of Legal Education for BARBRI Bar Review, where she helped law students navigate the bar exam application process and counseled bar review students on study techniques. In the fall of 2013, Jess joined the law school as Student Services Administrator, where she now assists law students, and prospective law students, in an administrative capacity in her work with the Career Services, Admissions, and Graduate Programs departments. Jess lives on Chicago’s north side where she enjoys running and bike riding, and then cancelling out her workouts by trying new neighborhood restaurants.
Campus Mailing Address: LBQ006
The University of Chicago Law School
The Herbert B. Fried Office of Career Services
1111 E. 60 th Street
Chicago, IL 60637