The University of Chicago Law School
The information on this page was provided by the law school.
Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs
UChicago Law’s small and diverse student body is deeply committed to studying the law, developing life-long friendships and professional relationships, and changing the world. UChicago graduates lead and innovate in law, government, public interest, academia, and business. For this reason, UChicago aims not to certify lawyers, but to train well-rounded, critical, and socially conscious thinkers and doers. Three cornerstones provide the foundation for UChicago’s educational mission: the marketplace of ideas, participatory learning, and interdisciplinary inquiry.
The JD Program
Our students are passionate about ideas with a grounding in clinical education and pro bono work. They have shown this passion through their academic success, and they exhibit signs of great professional promise. Typically, 5,000+ applicants seek approximately 185-195 seats in each incoming class. Our small, diverse class comes from almost 100 undergraduate institutions with degrees in nearly every discipline, and 1 in 10 have graduate degrees. Many of our students have also had interesting and successful careers before law school.
What distinguishes UChicago faculty is their devotion to both teaching and scholarship. This might seem a contradiction at first, but at UChicago, teaching and scholarship complement each other. UChicago professors blaze trails in legal thought, and their revolutionary ideas infuse classroom discussion with immediacy and excitement. Our professors write the books, draft the statutes, and decide the cases that students read at law schools across America. In any given academic year, our faculty teach more than 200 courses and seminars at the Law School.
UChicago Law is on the Quarter System. The Quarter System allows students to take more courses than under a traditional semester system. In the first year, you will take the core law school courses: contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and a yearlong course on research and writing. In addition, the Quarter System allows for additional courses :a unique interdisciplinary course called Elements of the Law; a transactional lawyering course, a legislative and statutory course, a constitutional law course, and an elective.. This curriculum provides a general foundation of legal knowledge, cultivates your legal reasoning, develops your writing ability, and introduces you to interdisciplinary approaches to the law.
In the second and third years, you can choose courses from the full range of UChicago’s more than 200 classes. Generally, classes are small; more than 80 percent have fewer than 25 students in them. Additionally, in an average year, about one-third of the second- and third-year students take classes in other divisions of the university. We do not ask our students to choose a concentration, but rather let them put together a personalized education based on their individual interests.
Housed in the Arthur Kane Center, our clinics involve more than 225 students each year in representing clients with real-world problems. The Mandel Legal Aid Clinic handles matters involving appellate advocacy, criminal and juvenile justice, employment discrimination, environmental law, civil rights, housing, immigration, and federal criminal law. The Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship assists aspiring entry-level entrepreneurs from low-and moderate-income neighborhoods. The Kirkland & Ellis Corporate Lab provides students real-world legal and business experience working on cutting-edge projects with multinational companies. Other clinical projects include the Exoneration Project, which provides representation to clients who are asserting their actual innocence in state and federal court; the Prosecution and Defense Clinic, where students combine in-class intensive criminal law study with a clinical placement in a prosecutor’s or public defender’s office; the Global Human Rights Clinic, where students advocate for clients before government and nongovernmental organizations around the world on human rights issues; and the Innovation Clinic, which offers entrepreneurs in the University of Chicago’s Chicago Innovation Exchange Business Incubator Program assistance with legal issues common to start-ups. Our Jenner & Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic allows students to gain experience in Supreme Court and other appellate cases.
Joint and Dual Degrees
Students may also apply to an accelerated three-year joint JD/MBA program or to one of four formal dual-degree programs either at the same time they apply to the Law School or during their first year. Formal dual-degree programs are with the Booth School of Business (MBA, PhD), the Harris School of Public Policy (MPP), and the Divinity School (MDiv). Students may also work with law school and university staff to arrange concurrent degrees in other areas.
Special Programs and Certificate Programs
The Law School encourages interdisciplinary work. Students are allowed and encouraged to take 12 hours of coursework anywhere in the university and count it toward their JD degrees.
All entering students participate in the Kapnick Leadership Development Initiative, which immerses students in leadership training from their first days at the Law School and prepares students to take important leadership roles in whatever professional fields they choose.
The Doctoroff Business Leadership Program provides 15 students in each class the opportunity to get a substantial business education within the Law School without adding extra time to their degrees. This certificate program includes coursework, mentoring, internships, and other special opportunities. The courses from the Doctoroff Program are open to all students wishing to get a strong grounding in business. Students interested in applying must apply through the main JD application on LSAC.
UChicago Law offers the Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy (GPHAP) in coordination with the Booth School of Business, Harris School of Public Policy, and Crown School of Social Work. Law students can earn a Certificate in Health Administration and Policy while simultaneously obtaining a JD. The GPHAP is a certificate program designed to train and prepare future leaders in health care, and it draws together students and faculty from various fields for the purpose of providing students with deep interdisciplinary training in policy, management, finance, and social service delivery. Health lawyers play an important role in many aspects of the health care field, including: health law practices in firms, serving as in-house lawyers in health care organizations, addressing issues related to health care reform in all settings, pharmaceutical policy and administration, medical device policy and administration, medical innovation, public health, health care regulation and accreditation, and much more. GPHAP also has a global health track for students interested in international law and health. Any law student interested in the program is encouraged to apply before the beginning of their second year of law school.
Journals and Moot Court
About 40 percent of upper-class students serve on one of the four student-edited journals, which include the University of Chicago Law Review, the University of Chicago Legal Forum, the Chicago Journal of International Law, and the University of Chicago Business Law Review. The Hinton Moot Court Board conducts a program in appellate advocacy for upper-class students, and first-year students participate in a moot court as part of the Bigelow Legal Research and Writing Program.
More than 60 student organizations provide opportunities for the exploration of legal specialties, affiliation with like-minded students, or building community with affinity groups.
Public Interest Opportunities
UChicago is committed to training lawyers and scholars who are dedicated to the public good as well as to professional excellence. The institutional support that the Law School offers for students and graduates seeking public interest work is multifaceted.
Diversity & Inclusion
The Law School thrives on its passion for ideas, the belief that ideas matter and are worth discussing, and that our environment succeeds only when our community includes and welcomes people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Fostering an environment that unambiguously values diversity in all its dimensions-including racial, gender, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation/identity, cultural, lifestyle and viewpoint - is an essential element to our success.
Hyde Park provides UChicago students with the best of all possible worlds—a campus with a college-town atmosphere just a few miles from the downtown area of a vibrant city. Hyde Park is a dynamic community with parks, museums, sought-after restaurants, and multiple bookstores. It will also be the home of the Obama Presidential Library. The Law School is located at the southern end of campus, facing an expansive “front lawn” known as the Midway Plaisance. Surrounding the Law School is a tree-lined, diverse residential neighborhood, a sandy Lake Michigan beach, and two sprawling parks. The campus itself is a Gothic masterpiece where limestone buildings built around tree-shaded quadrangles sport gargoyles, ivy, and turrets. The Law School’s modern building promotes interaction among faculty and students, while the library and classroom wing enhance the learning experience.
Chicago has plenty of neighborhood housing options available, and UChicago Law offers resources on how to find the best housing for you. Housing in Chicago is very affordable compared to most major cities. Buses run frequently throughout the surrounding neighborhood, providing transportation to and from residences and the Law School. Public transportation is easily accessible to other neighborhoods in Chicago.
Career Placement and Bar Passage
Our Office of Career Services (OCS) assists students with permanent and summer employment. They specialize in one-on-one counseling and supplement the individual approach with group programming on various types of careers and topics. The focus on individualized counseling and coaching allows students to tailor their careers based on each student’s goals. The top five destinations our graduates choose for employment are Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.
For the 2020 calendar year, the first-time bar passage rate for graduates was 97.86%.
Tuition and Aid
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Your UChicago legal education is an investment in your future. Because many students will not have sufficient personal resources to make this investment, UChicago provides generous financial aid. Nearly 60 students in the classes of 2026, 2027, and 2028 will receive Rubenstein Scholarships, covering full tuition for all three years as well as a stipend. In addition, the Hormel Scholarship offers a high award scholarship for students committed to public interest. Approximately 80 percent of UChicago Law students receive scholarships. The Law School also provides funding for students who work in public interest positions during their summers. After graduation, the Law School provides financial assistance to graduates who enter careers in public interest legal work through our generous Loan Repayment Assistance Program. Graduates earning $80,000 or less in a government, nonprofit, or public interest job can receive benefits.
Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers
Each year, we seek to create a community from among the best and brightest law school applicants. The Law School’s admission process is both holistic and individual; the Admissions Committee reviews each and every application carefully and on its individual merits, taking into account far more than numerical data. We do not believe standardized tests and GPA alone provide us with sufficient information to evaluate an applicant’s likely contributions to our community; therefore, we do not use any formulas, indices, or numerical cutoffs.
We want students who are intellectually curious, lively, and collegial in their academic approach. We want students who will take their legal education seriously, but not take themselves too seriously. Because we are preparing students to enter a multifaceted profession, we want multidimensional students with a wide range of talents, backgrounds, experiences, and accomplishments.