The Ronald E. Kennedy Papers fill seven boxes and are arranged in eight subseries: education files, correspondence, teaching files, research and consulting files, professional organizations files, speeches, publications, and Northwestern University Law School administrative committee files.
At the beginning of the series are three folders of biographical material including vitae, clippings, and financial records pertaining to professional travel.
The education files contain lecture and reading notes largely from Kennedy's first term (Fall, 1970) studies at the Northwestern University Law School.
The correspondence includes Kennedy's recommendations of candidates for academic and governmental positions as well as letters pertaining to speaking engagements and travel, teaching programs, publications, and minority affairs.
The teaching files, which occupy three and one half boxes, contain a few notes and related materials but consist mainly of senior student and master's degree research papers by Kennedy's students. Also found here are seven folders of correspondence, documents, teaching materials, and reports relating to Minority Legal Education Resources, Inc., which Kennedy helped found and in which he played a majority role. One of the chief purposes of MLER was to improve the success rate of minority students taking the Illinois State bar examination. Several other states copied MLER as a model for minority legal education programs.
The research and consulting files contain materials relating to minority legal education, Kennedy's service as arbitrator in several industrial disputes, and a variety of private legal cases in which Kennedy was involved.
The professional organizations files deal primarily with legal organizations. Of special interest are the nine folders of materials relating to the Chicago Council of Lawyers, an organization largely comprised of young, liberal lawyers of which Kennedy was president during 1978-1979. The Council took an active role in supporting minority students interested in legal careers, in improving the quality of judicial conduct in Chicago, and in merit selection of judges.
The speeches contain texts and related correspondence for five speeches Kennedy delivered at various meetings and events.
The publications files include a few legal and newspaper articles authored by Kennedy.
The administrative committee files are comprised of notes, correspondence, and reports relating to Kennedy's service to the Northwestern Law School. Of particular interest are the materials pertaining to the Bar Examination Committee and those documenting Kennedy's recruiting trips to several colleges and universities.