ALUMNI PROFILE Sara Block (JD ’07)
Sara Block (JD ’07) taps into her family advocacy expertise to inform curriculum development
Content guidance: Please be advised that the following text contains content related to attempted sexual assault.
A harrowing incident set Sara Block (JD ’07) on the path toward becoming a lawyer. During her freshman year at Northwestern University, she and a friend were walking along the lakefront when they encountered a young woman who had just survived a brutal attack and attempted sexual assault. It would be the first time Block helped a victim of gender-based violence, but it wouldn’t be the last.
“I believe there was a reason I was there,” Block says. “It really prompted my dedication to this field.”
Block’s experience ranges from representing parents in court to leading legislative efforts on behalf of families experiencing domestic violence to authoring a book about the intersection of domestic violence and child welfare. She’s also been a faculty member at Loyola University Chicago School of Law—her alma mater—for 12 years.
Now, as the law school’s academic director for child and family law programs, Block focuses on faculty support and curriculum development for the Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) in Children’s Law and Policy, a part-time, online program designed for nonlawyers who work with children and families. She also oversees the LLM in Child and Family Law.
“Our student diversity brings a tapestry of nuance and interesting perspectives to class.”
“Our MJ students are teachers, therapists, pediatricians, police officers, child welfare investigators, Court Appointed Special Advocates—people who are in fields that are tangential or adjacent to the law,” Block says. “We’re striving to create change advocates and servant leaders.”
Having taught in the online program since its inception, Block brings a unique perspective to the director role. She has seen firsthand how the degree attracts a wide range of students, not only in terms of career objectives but also across race, gender, ethnicity, geography, and age.
“Our student diversity brings a tapestry of nuance and interesting perspectives to class,” she says.
An emphasis on leadership is one of the MJ program’s primary strengths. Looking ahead, she hopes to incorporate two additional curricular threads: advocacy and equity. “Many of our courses have those pieces already, so we wouldn’t be starting from scratch,” she says. Other goals include developing new electives and forging internal and external partnerships.
As Block ensures the synergy between academics and real-world application, her past clients provide daily inspiration. They remind her to constantly ask a key question: “How do we harness the law to create the impact for children and families that they deserve and need?”
“This program has the ability to help facilitate that,” Block says. –Kelsey Schagemann (February 2023)