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Brinks Gilson & Lione Recognized for Long-Term Support of Innovative School-to-Work Program at Local Chicago High School
January 23, 2014

CHICAGO—Chicago's Cristo Rey Jesuit High School has recognized intellectual property law firm Brinks Gilson & Lione for its sponsorship of the school's innovative Corporate Work Study Program, support that has lasted a full decade.

'We are immensely proud of our ten years of participation in the Corporate Work Study Program at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School,' said Brinks' president James R. Sobieraj. 'Since we initiated our support, we've seen the program become a model for schools nationally, and we're impressed with the quality of its student graduates—one of whom is now a valued member of our full-time administrative staff.'

Former Cristo Rey student Robert Ramirez is recruiting and attorney development coordinator at Brinks. Ramirez worked for Brinks for three years while attending Cristo Rey, beginning in 2002 when he was a sophomore and Brinks first signed on as a sponsor. He continued to work part-time at Brinks as an assistant in the human resources department following graduation and while attending Lewis University. Ramirez joined the firm full-time in 2007 and has since been promoted to his current role.

'If it wasn't for Brinks and the Corporate Work Study Program at Cristo Rey, my life would have turned out differently, and not for the better,' Ramirez said. 'Brinks' support of the program and its willingness to provide opportunities to students like myself is a big part of why I enjoy working here.'

Ramirez hopes to be viewed as a role model to current Cristo Rey students working at Brinks, and he seeks them out to let them know that he is available to give them guidance as someone who has stood in their shoes. Closer to home, Ramirez is proud that his success inspired his sister, Alejandra, to choose Cristo Rey over other schools. She recently enrolled as a freshman in the program.

Founded in 1996, Cristo Rey is a Catholic, co-educational college preparatory school in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago with the mission of advancing the human and intellectual capacities of the immigrant families of Chicago’s near southwest side. The school seeks to maximize students' potential by preparing them to assume leadership roles in the civic, religious, business, and cultural life of Chicago and the nation.

The 560 students enrolled at Cristo Rey prepare for college through a rigorous academic curriculum and dual-language program, and for a career and responsible civic leadership through four-year participation in the school's pioneering Corporate Work Study Program, which has become a model for inner-city education that has inspired a national network of 25 schools serving students in lower income communities throughout the United States. The program is a progressive means of providing students with valuable work experience in a professional setting, while simultaneously empowering them to take an active part in financing a major portion of their education.

Brinks provides funding for student tuition and an entry-level position at the firm that is staffed on a rotating basis by four student workers, who in turn benefit from hands-on work experience and involvement in a professional corporate environment. In preparation for their work assignments during their freshman year, students attend training sessions hosted by Brinks and other sponsors covering topics such as office and telephone etiquette, professional greeting, computer skills, office machine usage, and map reading. Cristo Rey schedules classes around work times and provides transportation to and from the work location.

Dropout rates at Cristo Rey are significantly lower than the national average, and, like Ramirez, every graduating senior is accepted to at least one college. In response to the success of Cristo Rey's pioneering model for inner-city education, the Cassin Educational Initiative Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invested close to $30 million toward replicating the program.

Brinks Gilson & Lione
Brinks Gilson & Lione has 160 attorneys, scientific advisors and patent agents who specialize in intellectual property, making it one of the largest intellectual property law firms in the U.S. Clients around the world use Brinks to help them identify, protect, manage and enforce their intellectual property. Brinks lawyers provide expertise in all aspects of patent, trademark, unfair competition, trade secret and copyright law. The Brinks team includes lawyers with advanced degrees in all fields of technology and science. Based in Chicago, Brinks has offices in Washington, D.C.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Detroit; Research Triangle Park, N.C.;  Indianapolis and Salt Lake City. More information is at www.brinksgilson.com.

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(L-R) Charles Gurian, director of human resources, and Jim Sobieraj, president of intellectual property law firm Brinks Gilson & Lione, accept a plaque from Cristo Rey Jesuit High School’s president, Antonio Ortiz, and its Corporate Work Study Program director, Jose Rodriguez.

Robert Ramirez, recruiting and attorney development coordinator at Brinks, graduated from Cristo Rey in 2005.