University Legal Services

Sara M. Cliffe 

Associate General Counsel, Litigation

Sara Cliffe

Professional Background

Before joining the Office of General Counsel, Sara was the Director of Internal Investigations and Risk Management here at NIU. Prior to working for NIU, Sara spent a total of twelve (12) years in private practice, defending local governments against allegations of civil rights violations, including Section 1983 actions and employment discrimination cases.

After law school, Sara also served as a law clerk to the Honorable John W. Rapp and the Honorable Frederick J. Kapala while they served on the Illinois Appellate Court for the Second District.

Areas of Practice

  • Litigation
  • Constitutional Law
  • Civil Rights Law
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Labor Law


  • J.D., Magna Cum Laude, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL
  • B.S., Northern Illinois University, DeKalb IL

Bar Memberships and Associations

  • United Sates Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Northern, Central and Southern Districts of Illinois
  • Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar
  • Illinois State Bar Association
  • DeKalb Bar Association