Kathleen Dillon Narko

Clinical Professor of Law


Professor Narko teaches Communication and Legal Reasoning. Her focus is teaching legal analysis through the vehicle of writing. She is a frequent presenter at national and regional Legal Writing Institute conferences, and has written and spoken on a variety of topics related to communication and legal analysis.

Her research interests include collaboration and learning theory and integration of analytical communication in law practice. Professor Narko received her J.D. from Cornell Law School and her B.A. in history, cum laude, from Yale University. Following her undergraduate degree, she attended Salzburg College in Salzburg, Austria. Prior to joining the faculty, Kathleen Dillon Narko practiced with a large law firm concentrating in the areas of commercial litigation and environmental, safety and health law. She was a member of the firm's Hiring Committee for seven years. Professor Narko worked extensively with corporate clients in all aspects of litigation, including trials and appeals. She was also active in pro bono litigation, including lending discrimination and political asylum matters. She currently consults with law firms, providing training in legal writing. Professor Narko served as a Hearing Officer for the State of Illinois. She conducted hearings and issued several published decisions in the area of special education law. Professor Narko maintains an active involvement with the practicing bar. She is a prominent member of the Chicago Bar Association, where she currently serves on the Editorial Board of the CBA Record. She authors a regular column on legal writing, Nota Bene, which is widely used by both attorneys and law professors. For several years she has presented a program on Advanced Legal Writing to sold-out audiences of practicing attorneys. She is a past member of the CBA Board of Managers, a current member of the Membership Committee, and a recipient of the David Hilliard Award for Outstanding Committee Service. She serves on the Board of Advisors of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, where she is a member of the Legal Advisory Committee. In addition, she is a member of the Leadership Council of the National Immigrant Justice Center.

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Areas of Expertise

  • Legal Research
  • Legal Writing

Selected Publications

  • To Split or Not to Split: Judges Posner, Rovner, and Wood Weigh in on Language Change, 24 CBA Record 60 (2010).
  • A Second Helping of Illinois Research , 24 CBA Record 53 (January 2010).
  • A Different Practice in Every Port , 23 CBA Record 55 (January 2009).
  • No More “Party of the First Part”: Plain Language Contract Drafting, 22 CBA Record 54 (June/July 2008).
  • Oral Argument Tips from Judge Rovner: They Are Listening, 22 CBA Record 54 (April 2008).
  • If We Move, Are We Still Married?, 22 CBA Record 51 (Feb./Mar. 2008).

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  • BA cum laude, Yale University
  • JD, Cornell University

Prior Appointments

  • Clinical Associate Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law

Recent Consulting Activities

  • Consultant, Winston & Strawn
  • Consultant, DLA Piper
  • Hearing officer, Illinois State Board of Education

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