Admission is highly competitive. The 2012 U.S. News & World Report ranked Chicago–Kent College of Law 61st in the nation. As well, it earned the 3rd highest ranking in the Chicago area.
Numerous professors at Chicago-Kent founded and developed the BarBri curriculum, which is the biggest and most popular bar exam review preparation course in the nation. Of note is the fact that the first time passage rate for the bar exam in Illinois is 96%.
In 1886, numerous law clerks
received instruction in the chambers of Appellate Judge Joseph M. Bailey's in order to prepare for the newly instituted Illinois bar examination. These sessions grew into formal classes, and in 1888, the Chicago College of Law was established, with Judge Bailey as its first dean.
In 1895, Marshall D. Ewell, the author of highly acclaimed Commentaries on American Law, founded Kent College of Law, which was named for Chancellor James B. Kent. Ewell served as the school's first and only dean, and in 1900, the Chicago College of Law merged with Kent College of Law, to form Chicago-Kent College of Law. At that time, Thomas A. Moran was named as the new law school's first dean.
The school is home to several major institutes and centers dedicated to research and scholarship in the areas of health law and bioethics. These include the Center for Diabetes Research and Policy, the Institute for Biotechnology and the Human Future, and the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology.
Of major significance, Chicago-Kent houses the Library of International Relations, which is an official depository for documents of the United Nations and the European Union. It boasts one of the largest public research collections of these types of materials in the Midwest.
Focusing on programs that promote a broader understanding of the evolving global environment, as well as a means of strengthening democratic institutions around the globe is the purpose of the Global Law and Policy Initiative. In tandem with this initiative is the school's exchange program with nearly a dozen countries, including Germany, Denmark, France, Spain and New Zealand.
Created in 2009, the Center for Open Government is a pro bono initiative, formed for the purpose of ensuring ''transparency, accountability and responsibility in local and state government. The Center will identify instances where legal recourse is needed to provide access to government information and proceedings,'' according to an August 2009 press release at kentlaw.edu.
Currently, Harold J. Krent serves as dean of the law school. An expert in administrative law, he is the law school's tenth dean.