Mark Cordes

Mark Cordes

Training future lawyers with exceptional focus

With the nickname, “The Machine,” Northern Illinois University College of Law Professor and Interim Dean Mark Cordes knows the powerful focus needed to educate lawyers who are well-prepared for a competitive legal marketplace.

Cordes has a passion for teaching and high expectations for students, but he’s also approachable, in keeping with the open-door policy all the school’s faculty share.

“Students say that I’m a high energy teacher who is really focused on making sure they learn the material,” says Cordes. Yes, he’s demanding, but he is patient in helping students progress, down to the letter. “It’s important to me that students are exposed to the entirety of the course.”

His students appreciate it.

“Professor Cordes was one of my favorite law professors at NIU. He truly cares about his students, and he puts forth a ton of effort during each class,” says Yvette Cancelliere, NIU College of Law 2016 graduate.

Because the NIU Law School is small, students benefit from a strong sense of community. Faculty get to know students, and Cordes is impressed by them.

“I really like our students. They tend to come from a more diverse background – and not just racially, but in terms of experiences. We have a number of non-traditional students who had previous careers,” says Cordes. “Our students take this very seriously. They had to work hard to get where they are at. They are dedicated to their work. They are serious and they are mature. They are eager to learn.”

The school’s mission fits well with today’s students who tend to be more service-focused. The NIU Law School is ranked in the Top 10 in the nation in public service, including over 90 alumni who are current or retired judges.

“Fewer students are coming here just to make money, more are coming to do good,” says Cordes. “That has been a very positive development.”
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