How to Get into Chicago Law School

Chicago Law School

Program Overview

With an intimate class size of roughly 600 students, the University of Chicago Law School emphasizes its tight-knit community and focus on interdisciplinary learning. Students are encouraged to embrace “the life of the mind” and study law for the sake of learning.

To that end, the Socratic Method is embraced and students are expected to be active participants in their own legal education. There’s room for socializing as well, including breakfast and lunch with faculty and administrators, weekly Wine Mess and Coffee Mess, and Wellness Wednesday Programming for maintaining work-life balance to counterbalance the stresses of a rigorous academic course of study.

Standing proud before a zero-depth reflecting pool on the South Side of Chicago, the modernist building that houses the law school was designed by architect Eero Saarinen, whose work includes St. Louis’ Gateway Arch. The diverse Hyde Park neighborhood is within easy access of parks, museums, and shopping districts.

Former President Barack Obama famously taught constitutional law at UChicago. Current faculty includes luminaries like Martha Nussbaum, Richard Posner, and David Strauss.

Curriculum

Unique to UChicago’s 1L curriculum is the “Elements of Law” course, which exposes students to the interdisciplinary nature of law.

To foster this interdisciplinary spirit after 1L year, students are encouraged to take 12 hours of coursework “Across the Midway” in graduate level courses outside of law.

While the school values a general legal education, opportunities to specialize abound. Chicago is considered the birthplace of Law and Economics, which is one of its most well-known interdisciplinary fields. Faculty focus, however, on the intersection of law in diverse disciplines such as philosophy, cultural studies, public policy, feminist and race theory, history, political science, business, and more.

For applicants interested in financial statements, capital structures, and complex transactions, the unique Doctoroff Business Leadership Program combines elements of the MBA program into a JD certificate to teach aspiring lawyers to “speak the language” of the corporate world.

Chicago’s quarter system is designed to ease 1Ls into the finals system by reducing the number of courses required in a semester system, while simultaneously increasing the overall number of courses students take during their time in law school.

Chicago does not rank students and discourages estimating rank. The 155-186 grading scale requires that students maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 168 to maintain satisfactory academic standing.

Clinical and Experiential Learning

Clinical programs at Chicago are autonomous, boasting their own faculty and support staff. Through the Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, students will aid indigent clients encountering legal issues ranging from police accountability, employment, housing initiatives, international human rights, mental health advocacy, and social service. For more business minded law students, the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship and the Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab Clinic give students an opportunity to engage with companies on navigating regulatory requirements and compete in a series of “real world” transactional corporate exercises.

Research Centers such as the Center for Law, Philosophy, and Human Values sponsor speakers and conferences on cutting-edge legal topics. Workshops expose students to a rich, intellectual community of scholars exploring topics such as the Regulation of Family, Sex, and Gender, as well as Law & Economics, and much more.

In sum, with over 170 different courses and seminars, there is something for everyone at Chicago. Aspiring attorneys with a genuine interest in interdisciplinary scholarship will find themselves at home.

Statistics

Class Profile

Class Size: 600

Average Age: 24 (over 60% of the incoming class will have at least one or two years of work experience)

Women: 46%

Students of color: 30%

Median LSAT: 170 (low 156, high 179)

Median GPA: 3.90 (low 3.13, high 4.17)

Career Placement

  • Law Firms: 67%
  • Judicial Clerkships: 19%
  • Business & Industry: 1.4%
  • Government: 12.1%
  • Education: 0.5%

Geographies

  • Northeast/Mid-Atlantic: 24.6%
  • Central: 39.1%
  • South Atlantic/Central: 18.1%
  • Mountain/Pacific: 17.7%
  • U.S. Territories/Foreign: 0.5%

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