University Of Chicago Law School Profile, Chicago, Illinois |


Rank 4


1111 East 60th Street,

Chicago, IL 60637









Overview 3-4

The University of Chicago Law School occupies a unique niche among this country's premier law schools. Located on a residential campus in one of America's great cities, Chicago offers a rigorous and interdisciplinary professional education that blends the study of law with the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. Students, faculty, and staff form a small, tightly knit community devoted to the life of the mind. Learning is participatory. Chicago does not seek to impose a single viewpoint or style of thought on its students. Instead, our faculty exposes students to contrasting views, confident in students' abilities to choose their own paths.

The University of Chicago, one of the youngest of the major American universities, was granted its charter in 1890 and opened its doors for classes in October 1892. The generosity of its founding donors, led by John D. Rockefeller, enabled the first president of the University, William Rainey Harper, to realize his bold ideas and extraordinary standards in the creation of a new university. Harper insisted that the new institution must be a true university, with a strong emphasis on advanced training and research, as well as undergraduate education.

The Law School, part of Harper's original plan but delayed in fulfillment until 1902, was a product of an innovative spirit and a devotion to intellectual inquiry. The objective, in the view of Harper and faculty members associated with him in the project, was to create a new kind of law school, professional in its purpose, but with a broader outlook than was then prevalent in the leading American law schools. The aspiration of the new school was set by Harper's conception of legal education in a university setting: education in law "implies a scientific knowledge of law and of legal and juristic methods. These are the crystallization of ages of human progress. They cannot be understood in their entirety without a clear comprehension of the historic forces of which they are the product, and of the social environment with which they are in living contact. A scientific study of law involves the related sciences of history, economics, philosophy - the whole field of man as social being."

Student-Faculty Ratio 5


Admission Criteria 6

25th-75th Percentile 166-172 3.73-3.95
Median* 170 3.90

Director of admissions Ann Killian Perry
Application deadline March 1

Law School Admissions details based on 2016 data.

Admission Statistics 7

Approximate number of applications 4380
Number accepted 905
Percentage accepted 20.7%

Law School Cost 8

Tuition and fees Full-time: $59,541 per year
Room and board $16,830
Books $1,785
Miscellaneous expenses $8,856

The above admission details are based on 2015 data.

Class Ranking and Grades 9

The grading system of the Law School is as follows:

A+ 180-186
B 174-179
C 168-173
D 160-167
F 155-159


The Law School does not rank students. Students must not provide estimates of their class rank on resumes, in job interviews, or in any other context. A key on the back of the transcript provides information about the rolling percentage of students graduating with honors.

Grade Normalization Curve

Law School grades are recorded as numerical grades for all LAWS-prefixed offerings, unless otherwise explicitly noted in the offering’s description. The median grade in all courses and all seminars in which students are graded primarily on the basis of an examination must be 177. The median grade in all paper seminars, clinics, and simulation classes must be no lower than 177 and no higher than 179. Courses in which all students write papers, as well as courses and seminars in which students have the option to write a paper or sit for an examination, must have a median of 177 or 178. All 1L electives must have a 177 median, regardless of the basis for grading in those classes. The median grade in Bigelow Legal Research and Writing classes must be 178. The Law School may permit minor deviations from these mandatory medians for classes with very low enrollments when the instructor certifies that the students’ performance was unusually strong or weak relative to students’ performance in the same class during prior years.

In the absence of any contrary statement, it is understood that a student’s grade in a course will be based entirely upon the written examination or paper in the class. Professors may choose to add a class participation component to the grade.

A grade of 160 or above is required to receive credit in a course. A student who fails a class will be contacted by the Dean of Students. A student who receives two failing final grades in any one academic year or three failing final grades during his or her period of residence at the Law School will not have maintained satisfactory academic standing. Additionally, J.D. students must attain a minimum cumulative GPA of 168 at the conclusion of each academic year to maintain satisfactory academic standing. Maintenance of satisfactory academic standing is a prerequisite to continuing study in the Law School as well as to graduating from the Law School.

The LL.M. degree is awarded to students who have successfully completed 27 course hours over three quarters while maintaining a grade point average of 170.

Honors 10

Honors are awarded to J.D. students at graduation based on final cumulative grade point averages as follows:

Honor Criteria
Order of the Coif Membership in the national Order of the Coif organization is awarded pursuant to terms set by the national organization. Students are eligible for nomination for Order of the Coif upon graduation if they have earned at least 79 of the 105 credits needed for graduation in graded courses. From that pool of eligible students, the top 10% at graduation are nominated for membership in the Coif.
Highest Honors 182 and above
High Honors 180.5 and above
Honors 179 and above
Kirkland & Ellis Scholars In recognition of an important and generous gift to the Law School’s Centennial Capital Campaign, the Law School designates outstanding students as Kirkland & Ellis Scholars. Beginning with the Class of 2009, students with grades in the top 5% of the class are so designated at the end of their first year or second year of study. Additional students are added to this group during the third year of study so that by graduation, 10% of the class will have been designated Kirkland & Ellis Scholars. Once a student receives the designation, it is not removed.

Awards 11

Name of Award Awarded for/to
Douglas Baird Prize The Douglas Baird Prize in Commercial Law was established in 2013 by Steven Kaplan and Carol Rubin in honor of Douglas Baird, Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. The award is given to the student who has written the most impressive paper on commercial law as determined by a panel of law faculty.
Ann Watson Barber Outstanding Service Award The Joseph Henry Beale Prize, named in honor of the first dean of the Law School, is awarded to the first -year student in each section of the first -year legal research and writing program whose work is judged by the faculty to b e most worthy of special recognition.
D. Francis Bustin Educational Fund The D. Francis Bustin Educational Fund for the Law School was established in 1971 by provision of the will of D. Francis Bustin (LL.B. 1917) to give awards or prizes from time to time for a valuable and important contribution, proposal, or suggestion for the improvement and betterment of the processes, techniques, and procedures of our government or any of its branches or departments at the city, state, or federal level.
Herbert L. Caplan Award Fund The Herbert L. Caplan Award Fund was established in 2006 by Herbert L. Caplan (A.B. 1952, J.D. 1957). In 2014, the award purpose changed to fund an annual prize for the best 1L or 2L original student paper which is suitable for publication and discusses an issue of contemporary interest and concern and advancing creative legal solutions. The prize is known as the Herbert L. Caplan Prize for Creative Legal Thinking.
Chicago Chapter of the Order of the Coif The Chicago Chapter of the Order of the Coif is an honor society founded to encourage and to advance the ethical standards of the legal profession. Its members are elected each spring from the 10% of the graduating class who rank highest in scholarship.
Ronald H. Coase Prize The Ronald H. Coase Prize for excellence in the study of law and economics was established in 1982 through the gifts of Junjiro Tsubota, a member of the Class of 1967. The award is made by the dean of the Law School on the basis of recommendations from the editors of The Journal of Law and Economics, The Journal of Legal Studies, and The University of Chicago Law Review.
Entrepreneur's Advocate Award The Entrepreneur's Advocate Award was established in 1999 for the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship. It is given to the graduating student who has most significantly contributed to the IJ Clinic and exhibited exemplary achievement with inner -city entrepreneurs.
Kirkland & Ellis Centennial Fund The Kirkland & Ellis Centennial Fund was established in 2005 by the firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and its partners and associates to honor those students at the Law School who rank highest in scholarship in their class.
Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab Award The Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab Award of Excellence recognizes Corporate Lab students who, in the opinion of Lab faculty, have demonstrated consistent leadership and excellence in corporate and transactional practices.

Journals 12

The Law School has three student-edited law journals: The University of Chicago Law Review, The Legal Forum, and The Chicago Journal of International Law.

The University of Chicago Law Review

The Law Review publishes articles and book reviews by leading scholars along with comments written by students. In addition to participating in the editing and publication of legal scholarship, staff members have the unique opportunity to develop their own skills as writers and scholars. The Law Review emphasizes student works. On average, half of each issue is devoted to student Comments. In recent years, approximately 20% of the students in each first-year class have been invited to join The Law Review on the basis of either academic performance or excellence in an annual writing competition. Students also may join the staff during their second or third years by completing a publishable comment through the Topic Access program.

The University of Chicago Legal Forum

The Legal Forum is the Law School’s topical law journal. Its student board annually publishes a volume of articles (by academics and practitioners) and Comments (by students) that focus on a single area of the law. Each fall the Legal Forum hosts a symposium at which the authors of the articles present their work.

The Chicago Journal of International Law

The Chicago Journal of International Law, a biannual student-edited journal, is the Law School’s newest journal. It publishes short Comments and articles by students and scholars on matters of international law and foreign affairs.

Approximately 85 students from each class participate in a journal, and students selected for the journals must arrive back on campus in mid-August. There are several ways to become a member, and the journals hold meetings to discuss these opportunities each spring quarter.

Credit for Participation in a Journal

Students writing comments for any of the three student-edited journals are eligible to receive up to three credits. Students who join a journal are paired with faculty members who supervise the writing of the journal comments. The pairing process is supervised by the Deputy Dean, working with the journals’ executive editors.

Moot Court 13

Hinton Moot Court Competition

The Hinton Moot Court Competition, named for Judge Edward W. Hinton (Professor of Law, 1913-36), is open to all second- and third-year students (except those third-year students who made it to the semi-finals during the previous year). The competition provides students the opportunity to develop skills in writing and appellate advocacy. Moot Court participants advance through three rounds. The Moot Court Competition is conducted by the Hinton Moot Court Board, which is typically made up of semi-finalists and finalists from the previous year, under the supervision of the Office of the Dean of Students and the Faculty Moot Court Committee.

Moot Court participants advance through three rounds:

  • The Fall Round
  • The Winter Round
  • The Spring Round

Other Moot Court Competitions

Students often participate in moot court competitions hosted by other law schools. Students may participate in outside moot court competitions, so long as they do not require the student participants to miss any classes or exams or otherwise interfere with their coursework. Students may not receive course credit for outside moot court competitions or similar activities, such as mock arbitrations.

As a general rule, the Law School does not provide funding for outside moot court competitions. There may, however, be special funds available from donors depending on the competition topic. If such funding is available, it is typically capped at $500 per team and may be used to cover registration costs provided participation was open to all students. (If, for example, a team is selected via a try-out process, the try-outs must be publicized.) Funding is not available for competitions that require participants to miss any classes or exams. To learn whether funding is available, please contact the Dean of Students or the Associate Director of Student Affairs.

Clinical Programs 14

Second- and third-year students may obtain practical training through the Law School’s clinical and experiential programs, in which students represent clients and engage in other lawyering roles under the supervision of full-time clinical teachers, faculty, and practicing attorneys. The Law School’s clinical and experiential programs give students an opportunity to learn litigation, legislative advocacy, and transactional skills. Students learn through classroom instruction, simulation, and representation of clients under the close supervision of the clinical teachers and attorneys. These programs are intended to join the academic study of law with experience in interviewing clients, investigating facts, developing strategies, conducting negotiations, dealing with adverse parties, drafting legislation and lobbying legislators, drafting contracts, and participating in court proceedings.

Second- and third-year J.D. students are eligible to participate in clinical and experiential programs. Clinical and experiential programs are not available to first-year students. All available seats in all clinics are included in the quarterly registration process managed by the Office of the Registrar.

The Law School’s clinical programs operate through seven distinct, autonomous units that function as separate ‘law firms’ with their own faculty and support staff. For information on clinical offerings scheduled for the 2016-2017 academic year, students should refer to the Law School’s course offering’s website at and

The following rules apply to all courses in the clinical program:

  • Abrams Environmental Law Clinic
  • Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project
  • Criminal and Juvenile Justice Project
  • Employment Discrimination Project
  • Federal Criminal Justice Clinic
  • Housing Initiative
  • International Human Rights Clinic
  • Mental Health Project
  • Social Service Project
  • Gendered Violence and the Law Clinic
  • Innovation Clinic
  • Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship
  • Jenner & Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic
  • Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab
  • Poverty and Housing Law Clinic
  • Prosecution and Defense Clinic
  • Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights

Students should keep in mind that they need to be enrolled in and earn at least nine credit hours per quarter to be considered full-time, and students must earn at least 105 credits to graduate. If a student is counting on a clinic to meet these minimums, the student must be sure to earn enough hours in the clinic, or the student may face serious consequences. Students intending to earn clinical credits in a given quarter above the default minimum credits for a clinic—whether to meet the nine credit hour full-time requirement or the 105 credits to graduate requirement—should provide the Registrar with written confirmation from their clinical supervisor that sufficient clinical work will be available to that student to meet the necessary hours requirement.

Placement Facts 15

Starting Salaries (2014 Graduates Employed Full-Time)

Private sector (25th-75th percentile) $160,000
Private sector - Median $160,000
Public service – Median $58,500

Employment Details

Graduates known to be employed at graduation 90.3%
Graduates known to be employed 10 months after graduation 90.8%

Areas of Legal Practice

Graduates Employed In Percentage
Law Firms 70.3%
Business and Industry 3.1%
Government 1.6%
Judicial Clerkships 17.7%
Public Interest Organizations 7.3%
Academia 0%



As a rule, the Law School does not grant academic credit for student externships with entities outside of the Law School. The sole exception to this prohibition on academic credit for work done with outside agencies is for work undertaken through a student’s participation in one of the Law School’s clinical programs involving an outside agency (i.e., the Poverty and Housing Law Clinic or the Prosecution and Defense Clinic). Law School students have nevertheless chosen to participate in non-credit externships with outside entities (the FBI, Cook County State’s Attorney, judges, etc.) and found the experience worthwhile.


Summer Judicial Internship Program The Office of Career Services administers a judicial internship program to help connect students with judges who are interested in having volunteer interns work for them during the summer. Recognizing the significant educational and experiential benefits of working in a judge's chambers, we strongly encourage our students to consider these positions when they are searching for summer employment. In recent years approximately 15% of the 1L class had participated in internships with a judge.

We are pleased to announce that The University of Chicago Law School will provide funding for law students who work at least eight full-time weeks (full-time as defined by chambers) in the summer.

Student Organizations 18

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Constitution Society
  • Asian Pacific American Law Students Association
  • Black Law Students Association
  • Chicago Journal of International Law
  • Chicago Law Foundation
  • China Law Society
  • Christian Legal Society
  • Criminal Law Society
  • Dallin H. Oaks Society
  • Defenders
  • Disability Law Society
  • Domestic and Sexual Violence Project
  • Edmund Burke Society
  • Education and Child Advocacy Society
  • Entertainment & Sports Law Society
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Federal Bar Association Law Student Division
  • Federalist Society
  • Food and Drug Law Society
  • Hemingway Society
  • Hinton Moot Court
  • Human Rights Law Society
  • If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice
  • Immigration Law Society
  • Intellectual Property Law Society
  • International Law Society
  • International Refugee Assistance Project
  • JD/MBA Association
  • Jessup International Moot Court
  • Jewish Law Students Association
  • Labor and Employment Law Society
  • Latino/a Law Students Association
  • Law and Economics Society
  • Law and Technology Society
  • Law of the Land
  • Law Review
  • Law School Democrats
  • Law School Musical
  • Law School Republicans
  • Law School Trivia
  • Law Students Association (LSA)
  • Law Students for Life
  • Law Women's Caucus
  • Law, Inc.
  • Legal Forum
  • Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law
  • Muslim Law Students Association
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • Neighbors
  • OutLaw
  • People’s Collective
  • Public Interest Law Society
  • Securities and Investment Law Society
  • South Asian Law Students Association
  • Spring Break of Service
  • St. Thomas More Society
  • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Vincent Gambini Society
  • Wine Mess