Conditional Program Graduate Establishes Scholarship to Help Next Generation

Congratulating first-year student Travis Talboys (right), the first recipient of the newly created Spiros Family Perseverance Scholarship, are (from left) Nello Gamberdino of the Career Services Office; Katherine Aschieris of the Development Office; and alumnus James Spiros who established the scholarship.

James D. Spiros (JD ’94) came to The John Marshall Law School as a member of the Conditional Class.  He wears his success through the program as a badge of honor. To him, it proved that he could make it through law school, and he’s happy that John Marshall continues to offer students that path in to law school.

To show his appreciation for the confidence John Marshall had in him, Spiros has established the Spiros Family Perseverance Scholarship being awarded annually to students in the Summer College to Assess Legal Education (SCALES) Program. The first recipient is Travis Talboys, a 1L who was admitted through the SCALES Program in summer 2012.

Today’s SCALES Program, like the Conditional Program, is designed to give the law school a means to help measure the ability and potential of applicants beyond the LSAT score and college coursework. Since 1978, hundreds of students have successfully completed these special admission programs and gone on to be outstanding lawyers.

Spiros still remembers the two courses he took that summer of 1991 and how tough it was. But Spiros also talks about the lasting friendships he made in that Conditional class and says with pride “everyone’s done extremely well.”

Now with a successful law practice, Spiros Law PC based in Danville, Ill., with offices in Champaign and Kankakee, Spiros is supporting the next generation of specially admitted students.

Talboys, of Birmingham, Mich., is a 2012 graduate of Michigan State University. An English major, he said he turned to law in part because a friend’s parent, who is a lawyer, had an influence on him.

Spiros offered his insights to Talboys when they met in early November. His firm is primarily focused on plaintiff litigation, but Spiros said he only moved to that side after he clerked for a defense firm while a student. Clerking, he told Talboys, is one of the best ways to look at a variety of legal work and as a new attorney you can make a sound decision on a field of practice.

Spiros’ generosity to John Marshall students goes back more than a decade to when he gave a clerking opportunity to alumna Karen Wall (JD ’97). She joined with Spiros and together they practiced as Spiros and Wall until Wall’s 2011 appointment as a judge in the 5th Judicial Circuit Court.

Spiros said he hopes to offer clerking positions to John Marshall students in the future.