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Established in 1902, by a group of distinguished donors led by John D. Rockefeller, The University of Chicago Law School has consistently ranked as one of the best in the U.S. The school is renowned for its contributions in economic analysis of law and the application of other social sciences. As the dean of the school says in his welcome message "The training you will receive as a Chicago Law student is second to none, and private and public employers alike will be glad to have you join their ranks."
Chicago has many scholarship programs and about 56% of students receive one scholarship or another. However, only about 5% of students receive higher than 50% of their tuition fees in grants and scholarships.
The school ranks second for "Top 15 Schools From Which the Most 'Prestigious' Law Firms Hire New Lawyers." In government placements, too, the school is one of the best and ranks third for "Supreme Court Clerkship Placement." The University of Chicago Law School is also known for third highest per capita placement of alumni for U.S. Supreme Court Clerkships. In 2012, it was ranked fifth by the U.S. News & World Report in overall category.
The University Of Chicago Law School is highly selective and admits only about 185 students each year. The last-known median GPA of students is 3.87 and LSAT of 171. According to the last data publicly accessible at ABA, the University Of Chicago Law School sent 849 offers against 5,579 applications.
In the case of selection of candidates and admission procedures, the University Of Chicago Law School places greater emphasis on LSAT scores than most others. Where personal statements are concerned, "The Committee looks for information that gives insight into the non-academic contribution you would make to the class. In general, a statement with a narrow focus on some personal attribute or experience is far more helpful to us than either a broad statement about the law or a restatement of your resume."
While the institution does not encourage submitting information that has not been requested, including optional essays, an essay on "Why Chicago?" is always welcome added to the personal statement. The school is trying to reduce as much paperwork as possible in the admission process and asks little beyond a resume.
Applications start being accepted from September 1st and offers begin being sent out by December, thought the official deadline for applications is February 1st . There is also a system of 'binding early decision' in place similar to that available in other big law schools.
The above LSAT and GPA data pertain to the fall 2011 entering class.
The University Of Chicago School Of Law employs the controversial number-based scheme which has been abandoned by many top law schools. Other schools like Harvard and Stanford have abandoned the conventional grading system in favor of Honors, Pass, Low Pass and Fail. In some cases, schools have also arranged their grading systems in a manner to yield a greater number of A-range grades. However, Chicago Law School has maintained its numbers-based grading system for decades.
Chicago Law School employs a 155-186-point scale where ranges of numbers can be deemed to correspond to the letter grades in other schools. For example, the A-range would be between 180 and 186 and the B-range between 174 and 179. In classes with more than 50 students, instructors require to give an equal number of A-range and C-range grades to maintain a median grad of B/B+. The median in seminars is higher. In classes more than 10 students, the required median grade is 177. However, to avoid confusion of recruiters, the Registrar of the University records letter grades in place of numerical grades on the official transcripts of students.
An average score of 179 means a student graduates "with honors" and a final average of 180.5 means "with high honors." "Highest honors" is reserved for graduating with a final average of 182. The Chicago School of Law, also awards two honors based on class rank. The top 10% of students who manage the minimum of 79 credits receive the "Order of the Coif." Students who were within the top 5% in their first or second years, or within the top 10% in graduation years receive the "Kirkland and Ellis Scholars" designation.
University of Chicago School of Law does not have externships where students study abroad for credit. However, the International Internship Program allows students who have completed at least a year of JD study to go for summer employment with employers outside the United States. The program brings together students interested in international practice and prospective employers who provide supervision and experience in legal practice.
The Office of Career Services at the Chicago University School of Law administers the Summer Judicial Internship Program under which students are connected to judges interested in accepting volunteer interns during summer. Recent records show that approximately 15% of the 1L class participates in internships with judges.
The University of Chicago Law School has many legal clinical projects which are deeply respected within the academia. The Chicago Law School is the first law school in U.S. to have established a clinical program for students, the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic, which continues to serve the people of Chicago. The clinical programs of the law school are housed at the Arthur O. Kane Center for Clinical Legal Education and they help second and third-year students gain hands-on experience in legal work under the supervision of faculty and practicing attorneys.
The major clinical programs at the University of Chicago Law School include:
The Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic
The Exoneration Project
The Corporate Lab
The Gendered Violence and the Law Clinic
The Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship
The Edward W. Hinton Moot Court Competition is conducted by the Chicago Law School and it is open to 2L and 3L students. There are three rounds of competition, one each quarter.
Preliminary rounds take place in fall and are open to all 2L's and 3L's. However, 3L's who were semi-finalists in the previous year are not allowed in the preliminary rounds. Preliminary rounds do not involve the writing of briefs but consist of oral arguments. Participants use briefs prepared by practicing advocates to argue on both sides of current Supreme Court cases. Competitors appearing for the first time need to have practice argument sessions with a member of the Moot Court Board.
Only about 10-12 competitors are selected from the preliminary rounds for the Semi-Finals. Semi-Final rounds involve the writing of briefs and arguing a new case before a panel of faculty judges. The top four competitors from the semi-final rounds enter the final rounds where they have to write briefs and argue a new case in front of a panel of judges (usually sitting judges from federal courts).
Legal expert Richard A. Epstein has written a hard-hitting article titled "What Was Roberts Thinking?" over the Supreme Court's decision in the Affordable Healthcare Act case. In the article, he calls Chief Justice Roberts "a lawyer who is too clever by half". Epstein is the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Law and Senior Lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.
The University of Chicago Law School is one of the 15 law schools in the country whose graduates from the class of 2010 have an employment rate of 95 percent and higher according to the ABA.