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The University of Chicago Law School
""Lawschool 2008-09 2008-10-09 0017.jpg
Established 1902
School type "Private
"Dean Thomas J. Miles
Location "Chicago, "Illinois, United States
Enrollment 604[1]
Faculty 140[2]
"USNWR ranking 4[2]
"Bar pass rate 98.58%[2]
Website www.law.uchicago.edu
ABA profile The University of Chicago Law School
""University of Chicago wordmark.svg

The University of Chicago Law School is a professional graduate school of the "University of Chicago. It was founded in 1902 by a coalition of donors led by "John D. Rockefeller.[3]

The Law School is ranked first of all law schools in the United States by "Above the Law[4] and fourth by "U.S. News & World Report.[5] It is ranked fourth in the world by the "Academic Ranking of World Universities[6] and the "Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[7]

The Law School has the third-highest gross and third-highest per capita placement of alumni in "Supreme Court of the United States clerkships.[8] Between 1992 and 2017, it placed 88 alumni in "Supreme Court of the United States clerkships. In 2018, the Law School was ranked first in the United States by the "National Law Journal for placing the highest percentage of recent graduates in federal clerkships and law firms of 100 or more lawyers.[9] It also had the highest first-time Bar pass rate (98.58%) of all law schools in the United States.[10]



View of the University of Chicago from the Midway Plaisance

In 1902, the President of the University of Chicago, "William Rainey Harper, requested assistance from the faculty of "Harvard Law School in establishing a law school at Chicago. "Joseph Henry Beale, then a professor at Harvard, was given a two-year leave of absence to serve as the first Dean of the Law School. Later that year, the Law School opened for classes in the University Press Building (currently the Bookstore Building). It consisted of five faculty members and 78 students. By the end of his tenure, Beale left the fledgling school "one of the best in the country".[11]

In 1904, the Law School moved to Stuart Hall on the main University campus. In the same year, "Sophonisba Breckinridge became the first woman to graduate from the Law School. "My record there was not distinguished," she later wrote in her autobiography, "but the faculty and students were kind, and the fact that the law school, like the rest of the University...accepted men and women students on equal terms publicly".[12] The Law School also established its first alumni association.

There was considerable change in the Law School in the years leading up to "World War I and shortly thereafter. The Law School established a chapter of the "Order of the Coif in 1911. It established the Moot Court program in 1914. During World War I, enrolment at the Law School declined: in Spring 1917, 241 students were enrolled; this number dropped to 46 by Fall 1918. In 1919, the first-year class was divided into two sections for instruction. In 1920, "Earl B. Dickerson became the first African-American to graduate from the Law School.[13] In 1926, enrolment reached 500 students for the first time and, in 1927, the Law School began to offer its first seminars.

In the 1930s and 1940s, the Law School's curriculum transformed to reflect the emerging influence of the "law and economics movement. In 1933, "Aaron Director and "Henry Simons offered the first courses in economics at the Law School.[14] Economics was also introduced in the antitrust course where, as Cass R. Sunstein recounts, the famous American statesman and scholar "Edward Levi allowed every fifth class to be taught by Director.[15] The first volume of the "University of Chicago Law Review was also published in 1933.[16] The Law School established a legal writing program in 1938 and the Law and Economics Program in 1939. The LL.M. program was established in 1942, while Harry E. Bigelow Teaching Fellowships were established in 1947. As was the case during World War I, enrolment at the Law School, like at many of the other top law schools in the country, declined and its academic calendar was adjusted to meet military needs.

The old library of the Law School in Stuart Hall before 1959

In 1950, "Edward Levi was appointed Dean. Under his leadership, the Law School experienced a period of profound growth and expansion. In 1951, "Karl Llewellyn and "Soia Mentschikoff joined the Law School, the latter being the first woman on the faculty. In 1959, the Law School moved to its current building on 60th Street, designed by "Eero Saarinen, with Supreme Court Chief Justice "Earl Warren and Lord Chancellor of Great Britain "Lord Kilmuir laying the cornerstone and Vice-President "Richard Nixon presiding at the opening ceremony. Levi later served as the Provost (1962–1968) and the President (1968–1975) of the University of Chicago, before becoming the "United States Attorney General under President "Gerald Ford. During his time at the Law School, Levi brought scholars to the faculty and supported the "Committee on Social Thought graduate program.[17]

In the 1970s and 1980s, the Law School's curriculum experienced further change. This included the establishment of joint degree programs with the Committee on Public Policy Studies and the Department of Economics. The Legal History Program was established in 1981. In 1982, the "Federalist Society was established by a group of students at the Law School, together with students from "Harvard Law School and "Yale Law School.


The Law School currently employs more than 200 full-time and part-time faculty members and enrolls approximately 600 students in its "Juris Doctor (J.D.) program.[18] It also offers advanced legal degrees such as the "Master of Laws (LL.M.), the "Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.) and the "Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.S.D.).


Saieh Hall for Economics, housing the Department of Economics and the "Becker Friedman Institute.

The Law School's clinical programs operate through seven distinct, autonomous units, each with its own faculty and support staff. The clinics include:

In addition, there are two other clinics in which students work on behalf of clients in a supervised field placement at an outside agency and take a companion seminar at the Law School:

D'Angelo Law Library[edit]

Laird Bell quadrangle fountain in front of the D'Angelo Law Library.

The D'Angelo Law Library is part of the greater University of Chicago library system. Renovated in 2006, it features a second-story reading room. The Law Library is open 90 hours per week and employs 11 full-time librarians and 11 additional managers and staff members. It has study space for approximately 500 people, a wireless network and 26 networked computers. It contains over 700,000 volumes of books, with approximately 6,000 added each year, including materials in over 25 languages, and primary law from foreign countries and international organizations.[19]

Admissions and cost[edit]

Admission to the J.D. program is highly selective: in 2017, the Law School enrolled 179 students from an applicant pool of 4,459.[20] For the entering class of 2017, the 25th and 75th "LSAT percentiles were 166 and 172, respectively, with a median of 170.[21] The 25th and 75th "GPA percentiles were 3.73 and 3.95, respectively, with a median of 3.90.[22]

Admission into the LL.M. program is also selective: in 2017, the Law School reported that it had received approximately 1,000 applications for 75 positions.[23]

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees and living expenses) at the Law School for the 2017–18 academic year was $93,414.[24]


The University of Chicago Law School employs a grading system that places students on a scale of 155-186. The scale was 55-86 prior to 2003, but since then the school has utilized a prefix of "1" to eliminate confusion with the traditional 100 point "grading scale. These numerical grades convert to the more familiar alphabetical scale roughly as follows: 155-159 = F, 160-167 = D, 168-173 = C, 174-179 = B, 180-186 = A. For classes of more than 10 students, professors are required to set the median grade at 177, with the number of grades above a 180 approximately equaling the number of grades below a 173.["citation needed]

In a June 21, 2010 article in "The New York Times, business writer "Catherine Rampell criticized other schools' problems with grade inflation, but commended Chicago's system, saying "[Chicago] has managed to maintain the integrity of its grades."[25]

A student graduates "with honors" if a final average of 179 is attained, "with high honors" if a final average of 180.5 is attained, and "with highest honors" if a final average of 182 is attained. The last of these achievements is rare; typically only one student every few years will attain the requisite 182 average. Additionally, the Law School awards two honors at graduation that are based on class rank. Of the students who earned at the Law School at least 79 of the 105 credits required to graduate, the top 10% are elected to the ""Order of the Coif."[26] Students finishing their first or second years in the top 5% of their class, or graduating in the top 10%, are honored as "Kirkland and Ellis Scholars"[26] (a designation created in 2006 by a $7 million donation from the law firm of "Kirkland & Ellis).[27]


According to the Law School's official 2017 "ABA-required disclosures, more than 98% of the Class of 2017 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment within ten months of graduation.[28] The Law School has the third-highest gross and third-highest per capita placement of alumni in "Supreme Court of the United States clerkships.[29] Between 1992 and 2017, it placed 88 alumni in "Supreme Court of the United States clerkships. In the Class of 2017, 21.4% of its graduates secured federal clerkships, while 63% of its graduates secured positions at law firms with more than 500 lawyers.[30]

The median salary for its graduates in the Classes of 2016 and 2017 was $180,000, and 75% of graduates earned starting salaries of $180,000 or greater upon graduation.[31] In 2018, the Law School was ranked first in the United States by the "National Law Journal for placing the highest percentage of recent graduates in federal clerkships and law firms of 100 or more lawyers.[9] It also had the highest first-time Bar pass rate (98.58%) of all law schools in the United States.[32]

Publications and organizations[edit]


The Law School produces six professional journals, and three are student-run: The "University of Chicago Law Review, The "Chicago Journal of International Law, and The "University of Chicago Legal Forum. Students interested in membership on any of these journals participate in a writing competition at the end of first year. The Law Review selects 19 students for membership based on first year GPA ("grade on"), and 10 students for the quality of their writing competition submission ("write on"). The other two journals select members on the basis of writing competition submissions alone (without regard to GPA). All three student-run journals allow second and third year students to "write on" by submitting a piece of legal scholarship worthy of publication.["citation needed]

The "Supreme Court Review, published by the law school and overseen by faculty since the 1960s, is the most cited legal journal internationally with respect to commentary on the nation's highest court.["citation needed] The faculty also oversees publication of the "Journal of Law and Economics and the "Journal of Legal Studies.["citation needed]

Academic paper series[edit]

The Law School produces several series of academic papers, including the Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers, the John M. Olin Program in Law & Economics Working Papers, and the Maurice and Muriel Fulton Lectures. It also produces a series of occasional papers.["citation needed]


The Law School publishes several blogs, including the Law School Faculty Blog, Accolades and Achievements, the D'Angelo Law Library Blog, and the Electronic Projects Blog.["citation needed]


There are approximately 60 student-run organizations at the Law School which fall under the umbrella of the Law Students Association. It is home to one of the three founding chapters of the "Federalist Society. As a professor, Supreme Court justice "Antonin Scalia helped organize the Chicago chapter of the society.[33] Chicago is also home to a large chapter of the progressive "American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.


The Laird Bell Quadrangle

The Law School was originally housed in Stuart Hall, a Gothic-style limestone building on the campus's main quadrangles. Needing more library and student space, the Law School moved across the "Midway Plaisance to its current, "Eero Saarinen-designed building (next to what was then the headquarters of the "American Bar Association) in October 1959. The building contains classrooms, the D'Angelo Law Library, faculty offices, and an auditorium and courtroom, arranged in a quadrangle around a fountain (mimicking the college Gothic architecture of the campus's main quadrangles). The year saw a number of celebrations of the Law School's new home, including a filming of the "Today Show (then hosted by "Barbara Walters) and appearances by Chief Justice "Earl Warren, Governor (and later Vice President) "Nelson Rockefeller and Secretary-General of the United Nations "Dag Hammarskjöld.[34]

In 1987, and over the objections of the Saarinen family, the building was expanded to add office and library space (and the library renamed in honor of alumnus Dino D'Angelo). In 1998, a dedicated space for the Law School's clinics, the Arthur Kane Center for Clinical Legal Education, as well as numerous additional classrooms, were constructed.[34] The library, classrooms, offices, and fountain received an acclaimed and award-winning renovation, completed in 2008, notable for the preservation of most of Saarinen's structure at a time when many modernist buildings face demolition.[35][36]


Notable faculty[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]



  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c "lsacnet.org" (PDF). Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  3. ^ University of Chicago (2012). History of the University of Chicago Law School.
  4. ^ "2018 Law School Rankings". Above the Law. Retrieved June 5, 2018. 
  5. ^ "The Best Law Schools in America, Ranked in 2018". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved May 6, 2018. 
  6. ^ "ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2017 - Law". Academic Ranking of World Universities. Retrieved May 6, 2018. 
  7. ^ "World University Rankings 2018 by subject: law". Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Retrieved May 6, 2018. 
  8. ^ "Brian Leiter Supreme Court Clerkship Placement, 2000 Through 2008 Terms". www.leiterrankings.com. Retrieved November 7, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Law Grads Hiring Report: Job Stats for the Class of 2017". Retrieved May 6, 2018. 
  10. ^ https://www.law.uchicago.edu/news/aba-2017-data-shows-uchicago-law-highest-first-time-bar-pass-rate
  11. ^ Williston, Samuel, "Ben Dover: A Biographical Sketch",56 Harvard Law Review No. 5, p. 687-8
  12. ^ Legal Actions: A chronology of the University of Chicago Law School
  13. ^ Dingwall, Christopher; Rachel Watson "Guide to the Earl B. Dickerson Papers", Chicago Public Library, Mapping the Stacks, accessed September 3, 2011.
  14. ^ "Aaron Director, Founder of the field of Law and Economics". University of Chicago News Office. September 13, 2004. Retrieved April 29, 2010. 
  15. ^ Sunstein, Cass R. (2018). Legal Reasoning and Political Conflict. Oxford University Press. p. 68. "ISBN "9780190864460. 
  16. ^ [2], About the Law Review.
  17. ^ (Press Release) Edward H. Levi, former U.S. Attorney General, President Emeritus of the University and the Glen A. Lloyd Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Law School and the College, dies at 88. News.uchicago.edu. Retrieved on August 15, 2013.
  18. ^ http://www.abarequireddisclosures.org/Disclosure509.aspx
  19. ^ https://www.lib.uchicago.edu/law/about/facts/
  20. ^ http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/Std509InfoReport-50-50-12-06-2017%2013-38-43.pdf
  21. ^ http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/Std509InfoReport-50-50-12-06-2017%2013-38-43.pdf
  22. ^ http://www.abarequireddisclosures.org/EmploymentOutcomes.aspx
  23. ^ http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/Announcements%202017-18%20-%20v2.pdf
  24. ^ http://www.abarequireddisclosures.org/EmploymentOutcomes.aspx
  25. ^ Rampell, Catherine (June 21, 2010). "In Law Schools, Grades Go Up, Just Like That". The New York Times. "ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  26. ^ a b http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/file/Final%202011-2012%20Student%20Handbook%20with%209.15.2011%20Revision_0.pdf["dead link]
  27. ^ (Press Release) Kirkland & Ellis gives $7 million to University of Chicago Law School. News.uchicago.edu. Retrieved on August 15, 2013.
  28. ^ http://www.abarequireddisclosures.org/EmploymentOutcomes.aspx
  29. ^ "Brian Leiter Supreme Court Clerkship Placement, 2000 Through 2008 Terms". www.leiterrankings.com. Retrieved November 7, 2015. 
  30. ^ http://www.abarequireddisclosures.org/EmploymentOutcomes.aspx
  31. ^ http://www.abarequireddisclosures.org/EmploymentOutcomes.aspx
  32. ^ http://www.abarequireddisclosures.org/EmploymentOutcomes.aspx
  33. ^ Federalist Society | University of Chicago Law School. Law.uchicago.edu. Retrieved on August 15, 2013.
  34. ^ a b Building a Future on a Strong Foundation | University of Chicago Law School. Law.uchicago.edu. Retrieved on August 15, 2013.
  35. ^ Saarinen's Law School Wasn't Razed - WSJ.com. Online.wsj.com (October 8, 2008). Retrieved on 2013-08-15.
  36. ^ Cityscapes: New luster for a Saarinen gem: Once-threatened U. of C. Law School building is expertly recycled by OWP/P. Featuresblogs.chicagotribune.com (July 1, 2008). Retrieved on 2013-08-15.
  37. ^ 'Illinois Blue Book 1963-1964,' Biographical Sketch of Lycurgus Conner, pg. 248

External links[edit]

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