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The Law School

The Law School offers a three-year program of professional instruction leading to the degree of Doctor of Law (J.D.). It is designed to prepare students for the practice of law in any American jurisdiction. A bachelor’s degree from an approved college is usually a prerequisite to admission, although highly qualified students with only three years of undergraduate studies may be admitted. All applicants must take the Law School Admission Test. Each entering class is limited to approximately 190 students. A student in good standing at an approved American law school who has completed at least one year of law study or a graduate of an approved foreign law school whose studies have been primarily in the common law may apply for admission with advanced standing.

The school offers advanced studies leading to the degrees of Master of Laws (LL.M.), Master of Legal Studies (M.L.S.), Doctor of Jurisprudence (J.S.D.), Master of Comparative Law (M.Comp.L.), and Doctor of Comparative Law (D.Comp.L.).

What sets Chicago apart from other law schools is its unabashed enthusiasm for the life of the mind and its conviction that ideas matter and are worth discussing. We value legal education and training, not only as preparation for legal careers, but for their own sakes as well. Legal study at Chicago is a passionate venture that begins in the classroom, where the faculty engage their students in a rigorous Socratic dialogue. Chicago’s unique first year required course, Elements of the Law, introduces students to the law as an interdisciplinary field and gives them the tools to continue the interdisciplinary inquiry throughout their legal education.

Chicago remains committed to legal education as an education for generalists, although students with particular interests will find it possible to study topics in depth through advanced and more specialized courses.

Emphasizing the acquisition of broad and basic knowledge of law, an understanding of the functioning of the legal system, and the development of analytic abilities of the highest order, a Chicago legal education prepares students for any professional role they might choose: legal practice or legal education, entrepreneurial ventures, international private or public law practice, corporate practice, government service, alternative dispute resolution including arbitration and mediation, or work with nonprofit organizations. Graduates do many things in their careers, and they all take with them the analytic skills emphasized during their years at the Law School.

In addition to a wide array of courses and seminars, second and third year students may participate in a number of clinical programs, including the Prosecution and Defense Clinic, the Gendered Violence and the Law Clinic, the Housing Initiative Clinic, the Criminal and Juvenile Justice Project Clinic, the Civil Rights Clinic: Police Accountability, the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship, the Exoneration Project Clinic, the International Human Rights Clinic, the Jenner and Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic, and the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic.  In these programs, students engage in supervised practice, including the representation of clients in court.

A significant portion of the faculty specialize in disciplines other than law, such as economics, history, sociology, and political science. The curriculum devotes substantial attention to relevant aspects of economics, legal history, comparative law, psychiatry, statistics, and other social science methodology. In addition to the student edited University of Chicago Law Review, Legal Forum, and the Chicago Journal of International Law, the school has three scholarly journals: the Supreme Court Review, the Journal of Law and Economics, and the Journal of Legal Studies. The Law School is also home to the Center for Comparative Constitutionalism, the Coase-Sandor Institute for Law and Economics, the Center for Studies in Criminal Justice, and the Legal History Program.

Detailed information on admission, programs, faculty, and facilities is contained in the Announcements of the Law School, available online.