4.5 out of 5 Stars
Engaged students and factuality; professors committed to teaching; great employment prospectsDowners
Intellectually elitist; little emphasis on clinics and pro-bono opportunitiesComments
Come if you want an intense, intellectually rigorous experience in a tight-knit environmentWould You Recommend
Most professors use the socratic method, which when properly executed, is far superior to any other method. Seminars are usually 10-20 students, and lecture classes range anywhere from 10 to around 120 for the main 1L classes.
Faculty is amazing and is what sets this school apart from its peers.
Grading system, in my opinion, is ideal. It identifies the very top students so that are good candidates for the most selective clerkships and similar positions, and it also protects/muddles everyone else so that employers can't distinguish, say, the 40th percentile from the 60th percentile.
Lots of great research opportunities. We were required to write two "substantial" research papers, which can be quite serious works if one so desires.Quality of Life
Lots of options, both private and University-affiliated, in the neighborhood. The neighborhood is both inexpensive and safe.Admissions
Typical process: essay, LSAT, etc. I was a borderline candidate, so I was asked to come in for an interview and write an additional essay on a given topic. I actually really enjoyed both the essay and the interview.Level
The quality of the classes are incredible, and the professors are giants in their fields. More importantly, however, the faculty are all inspiring and genuinely talented teachers. Almost every class uses intense socratic method, which is extremely fun!Quality of Life
Standard LSAC admissions processLevel
Students are competitive with themselves, but collegial with each other. Grades are not discussed to ensure this collegial environment. There is a focus on economics and theory, but we are all aware that we are also somewhat interested in practical learning. Grading is done on a curve. The class size is small, which is a huge advantage for job prospects, getting to know the faculty, and getting the full experience. Notable faculty include Baird, Geoffrey Stone, Nussbaum, Epstein, etc. Work load is no worse than other top ten schools, although we have a reputation for being more rigorous (which is great for employment prospects).Quality of Life
Many housing opportunities available, safe neighborhood plenty of police around.Admissions
Typical LSDAS application, no extra questions. Limited personal statement.Level
Score high on the LSAT and have a high GPA. Big surprise.Level
Most professors use the Socratic method.
In the second and third year there are excellent opportunities to focus on both theory and practical study. Students can get credit for clinical work and take classes from a variety of highly successful practitioners. Also, there are excellent opportunities to take highly theoretical classes and classes which largely review and focus on scholarship. It certainly helps that Chicago has such esteemed faculty members. Further, law students can take classes in any other department at the University of Chicago--many have taken classes at the business school, graduate school of economics, as well as schools like public policy and undergraduate programs.
Grading is on a scale based from 155-186. The median, for curved classes, is 177. I have found that getting away from the 4.0 scale has encourages a focus away from grades and more towards learning. Because few employers understand our grading scale, grades don't matter as much. I don't know what grades most of my colleagues, and even close friends, receive. Everyone I can think of has the job they want--whether it is a clerkship, big firm job, or public interest. As a result, there is no reason to be competitive. I find that most students are primarily competitive with themselves. Interpersonal competitiveness based on grades is not socially acceptable at Chicago. Grades are seen as superficial and really more of a tangential aspect of legal education.Level
Individually, most students are laid back and cooperative with discussion and ideas, but in class, the high admittance standars show with prepared students and exceptional answers. The quality of the student body, however, pales in comparison to the brillance of the faculty, which is filled with up and coming academic elite as well as old-school law and econ notables. Every professor enjoys teaching and approaches it with a sense of humor.Level
lots of theory - but very informative hilarious lecturersLevel
Chicago is one of the few remaining law schools that does hardcore Socratic, in every single class. Most law schools have backed off or softened a little bit. Chicago is also very hardcore about grading; a strict curve, while other law schools (other T14 law schools) have been inflating and softening their grading curve. Our professors are world class, famous, brilliant, but also caring. We have amazing, prominent faculty. The class size is really small, which means a lot of attention for each individual student, and the bigelow legal research and writing program provides a lot of structure and guidance. Chicago does have a very competitive atmosphere though; students don't come here to screw around. In my class of 200, I don't know anyone who doesn't study hard every day.Quality of Life
Quality of life is awesome. Hyde Park is small but it's a classic college town. It's waaaaaaay safer than it was 5 years ago, and it's growing in size. It has a dozen or so restaurants, really nice cafes, and campus type hangouts (like bowling and bars). The best part is that you're 10-15 minutes downtown by public transportation and it's really convenient; downtown Chicago has everything.Admissions
Like most law school, admissions requires essays, high LSAT (people sometimes ridicule you at Chicago if you have below 170), high GPA from undergrad. You use LSDAS. They interview *some* but not all applicants, if they ask for an interview you have to give it.Level