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Matt Kramer

Matt Kramer

Assistant general counsel | Jimmy John’s | Class of 2001

Act 1 of Matt Kramer’s Illini experience: Freshman year, particularly the first few weeks.

“You can experience so many things over the course of four years there, and those first few weeks just feel filled with that unlimited potential.

“And I really liked living in the dorms. 

“With most people living away from home for the first time, there is an energy to them that is really unique during that first year. Things like getting a group together to go down to dinner or over to IMPE, or popping into a room with the door propped open to play video games or help someone waste a half-hour — they are humble memories compared to things like spring breaks and Breakfast Club on football Saturdays, which is exactly what you think it is, but freshman year in Forbes Hall was some of the most fun I had on campus.”

Act 2: Meeting the future Mrs. Right. 

“My best college memory happened during my junior year, when my pal Denise told me she thought I should go out with her good friend Kristin, which is something Denise loves to talk about when she comes to visit us, and she really enjoys telling that story to our kids.”

Act 3: The decision that led to where he is now — assistant general counsel at Jimmy John’s.

“I studied finance, and generally liked the program, but fortunately had the self-awareness to realize I was probably better suited to another career. 

“A clinical class with David Whitford helped see to that. I had a chance to take a job in consulting right out of school, but decided to go to law school at U of I instead, and the company I would have gone to work for was effectively out of business before I finished my first semester, so I felt very fortunate to be on campus that fall. 

“Law school at Illinois proved to be the right choice for a lot of other reasons, as well. Our class had an outsized number of really smart and down-to-earth people — we spent a lot more time playing basketball than we did gunning for each other in the classroom — and we had a deep bench of really outstanding professors. 

John Nowak was a standout — a nationally renowned Constitutional Law scholar with zero of the pretension that his credentials would suggest he should have. He carried himself like he could be tending bar at your neighborhood pub in Chicago, if your neighborhood bartender also wrote a Con Law treatise that has been cited in over 1,000 judicial opinions.     

“There are really too many great memories to list. It’s a special place, and I feel fortunate to have spent the time here that I did.”