Barack Obama Post-College: 1988-2004

A. Post-Columbia: 1984-1987

After graduating from Columbia, Obama worked for about four years before moving to Massachusetts to attend Harvard Law School. In New York, he worked at Business International Corporation in 1984, and in February of 1985, Obama worked as an organizer for NYPIRG’s office at the City College of New York (New York Public Interest Research Group). In 1986, he was the first executive director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicago. He took a trip to Africa in 1987.

B. Harvard Law School (Massachusetts): 1988-1991

Barack Obama entered Harvard Law School in the fall of 1988 and graduated in June of 1991. He graduated with a JD degree, magna cum laude, and the commencement ceremony was held on June 6, 1991. His transcripts, protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) passed in 1974, have not been made publically available.

While at Harvard, he served on the board of the Black Law Students Association. He was elected President of the Harvard Law Review in February of 1990. Obama spent one summer during law school in 1989 as an associate at the Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin (where he met his future wife, Michelle), and then worked as a summer associate in 1990 at Hopkins & Sutter, later changed to Foley & Lardner LLP.

C. Occupations: 1991-2004

After graduating from Harvard in 1991, Obama returned to Chicago. His titles included Co-founder of the Lugenia Burns Hope Center, and Founding Board Member of both the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, and Public Allies. Other board affiliations included the Joyce Foundation, the Woods Fund of Chicago, and the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law.

1991: On Dec. 17, 1991, Obama was admitted as a Lawyer by the Illinois Supreme Court.

1992: Obama directed Illinois Project VOTE, the same year he became a lecturer at The University of Chicago Law School, where he was also a Senior Lecturer from 1996 until 2004.

1993: In 1993, he joined the law firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland, which he was affiliated with until 2004, and he was on CNT’s [Center for Neighborhood Technology] board from 1993-1994. Obama was named as one of the “40 under 40” in 1993 by Crain’s Chicago Business, when he was director of Illinois Project Vote.

1997-2004: Obama served in the Illinois State Senate, 13th District, from Jan. 8, 1997, to Nov. 4, 2004. In the 93rd General Assembly, Obama was the Chairperson of the Health & Human Services committee, a member of the Senate Committee of the Whole, and a member of the Subcommittee on Welfare. In July of 2004, Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Obama Votes
Illinois General Assembly
Obama Votes
Senate Bills Obama Sponsored344248113237
House Bills Obama Co-Sponsored48528388271
Senate Bills Obama Co-Sponsored327760151320

2002: His law license became inactive in 2002.

D. Personal Life: 1992-2001

On Oct. 3, 1992, Obama married Michelle Robinson, and they had two daughters: Malia, born July 4, 1998, and Sasha, born June 10, 2001.

E. Books Published: 1995

On July 18, 1995, Obama’s book titled Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance was published.

Source documentation to the above:

1. Article about abortion authored by Barack Obama in the Harvard Law Review titled “Tort Law. Prenatal Injuries. Supreme Court of Illinois Refuses to Recognize Cause of Action Brought by Fetus against Its Mother for Unintentional Infliction of Prenatal Injuries” Vol. 103. No. 3, Jan. 1990

2. New York Times article on Obama’s Election as the First Black President of the Harvard Law Review, Feb. 6, 1990

3. New York Times, “COMMENCEMENT; Harvard President Urges Social Commitment,” June 7, 1991 (Accessed 3-27-15)

4. Washington Post, “Transcript: Illinois Senate Candidate Barack Obama,” July 27, 2004 (Accessed on 3-27-15)

5. President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2007 (Accessed on 3-11-15)

6. The Harvard Crimson, “Obama Left Mark on HLS,” Jan. 19, 2007 (Accessed 3-23-15)

7. New York Times article on Obama’s leadership style while president of the Harvard Law Review, Jan. 28, 2007

8. Wall Street Journal article on Obama’s time at Sidley & Austin, May 11, 2007

9. PBS Frontline interview with Casandra Butts, a fellow student on the Harvard Law Review who knew Obama, July 10, 2008 (Accessed on 3-26-15)

10. Politico article explaining why Obama’s article in the Harvard Law Review was unsigned, Aug. 22, 2008

11. Time magazine, “Michelle Obama’s Savvy Sacrifice,” Aug. 25, 2008 (Accessed on 3-23-15)

12. Harvard Law School webpage on Barack Obama and his time there, Nov. 2008, (Accessed May 22, 2012)

13. Baltimore Sun, “His steps to history,” Nov. 9, 2008 (Accessed on 3-27-15)

14. New York Times, “The Obamas’ Marriage,” Oct. 26, 2009 (Accessed on 3-12-15)

15., “Obama Made A Strong First Impression At Harvard,” May 22, 2012 (Accessed 4-14-15)

16. Los Angeles Time, May 30, 2012 (Accessed on 3-20-15)

17. Essence, “Happy 11th Birthday, Sasha Obama!,” June 10, 2012 (Accessed on 3-12-15)

18. HuffPost, “Obama Anniversary: Barack & Michelle Celebrate 20 Years Of Marriage,” Oct. 3, 2012 (Accessed on 3-24-15)

19. UAW website (Accessed on 1-29-15)

20. Public Allies website (Accessed on 2-20-15)

21. The Annenberg Foundation (Accessed on 2-20-15)

22. The University of Chicago Law School website (Accessed on 3-11-15)

23. Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C. website (Accessed on 3-11-15)

24. Lugenia Burns Hope Center website (Accessed on 3-11-15)

25. Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Illinois, (Accessed on 3-11-15)

26. “The Pearson Current Events Digest 2009,” By Thorpe Edgar (Accessed on 3-11-15)

27. Center for Neighborhood Technology, (Accessed on 3-11-15)

28. Profile (Accessed on 3-12-15)

29. Harvard Gazette (Accessed on 3-20-15)

30. National First Ladies’ Library and Historic Site (Accessed on 3-24-15)

31. (Accessed on 3-24-15)

32. Business Insider, “The 30 Most Famous Harvard Students Of All Time” (Accessed on 3-26-15)

33. Chicago Tribune, “The candidate’s stomping grounds” map (Accessed on 3-27-15)

34. Crain’s Chicago Business, “40 Under 40: Historical Listings” (Accessed on 3-27-15)

35. Illinois General Assembly website (Accessed on 3-27-15)

36. “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance”

37., “Barack Obama’s ‘Dreams from My Father’ is published” (Accessed 4-14-15)