As the first Black president, Barack Obama has held many titles in his life, including that of law professor. That's right, before ascending to the highest office in the land, he spent 12 years at the University of Chicago Law School teaching courses on due process and voting rights. One can only imagine what he might teach if he ever returns to the academic world.
There are a number of reasons why you should consider law schools in Illinois as you embark on your professional career. From having nationally respected programs to unique experiential learning opportunities in a major U.S. legal market, the land of Lincoln may be the right place to start your career.
Below you'll find information on law schools in Illinois to help you take your next step.
What Do Illinois Law Schools Have to Offer?
Illinois is home to nine American Bar Association (ABA) accredited law schools, each providing a wide range of professional development opportunities. A description of some of those avenues is provided below.
University of Chicago Law School
Chicago is home to one of the most prestigious law schools in the country — the University of Chicago. It's ranked among the top five in the nation, and for good reason. After all, it has a large and prestigious faculty that are known to even teach courses out of their home.
The school houses a number of institutes and clinics, such as:
- Abrams Environmental Law Clinic
- Civil Rights and Police Accountability Project
- Criminal and Juvenile Justice Project
- Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic
- Jenner & Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic
- Poverty and Housing Law Clinic
An education at the University of Chicago Law School definitely opens doors in the wider professional world. One hundred percent of the Class of 2021 were either employed or pursuing other graduate degrees within ten months of graduation. Around 98% of first-time bar examinees from the University of Chicago passed the bar exam in 2021, a much higher pass rate than the national average of 79%.
Given the school's prestige, it's not too surprising that tuition is high — around $73,000 a year. But, around 80% of students receive at least some scholarship funds.
Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
Also a top 20 law school, Northwestern University School of Law offers a wide range of degree options, including a Master of Science in Law designed specifically for students with a background in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It also hosts an annual entrepreneurship law conference, a great way for law students to connect and network with local business and community leaders.
Tuition at Northwestern is comparable to the University of Chicago at about $71,000 a year. Northwestern grads also achieve very high bar passage rates — about 95% of first-time test takers passed the bar in 2021.
University of Illinois College of Law
If you're looking for a more economical law school option, the University of Illinois is a strong choice. Tuition for residents is around $36,000 a year, and the school guarantees JD students a frozen tuition rate for all three years they are in the program. They also offer scholarships that aren't tied to a certain GPA, you just have to stay enrolled.
The school's location in Champaign-Urbana offers a more affordable option when it comes to the cost of living, but the city is still big enough to provide plenty of entertainment when it's time for a study break.
Illinois College of Law also provides quality academic opportunities for law students. Students can gain hands-on experience in several clinics, including the Family Advocacy Clinic, Federal Civil Rights Clinic, and Patent Law Clinic.
Ninety percent of first-time test takers from the University of Illinois College of Law passed the July 2022 bar exam.
Illinois Law Schools: Overview
There are a number of other professional opportunities available to law students in Illinois. Learn more by reviewing the full list of ABA-approved law schools in the state:
|Chicago-Kent College of Law
|DePaul University College of Law
|Loyola University Chicago College of Law
|Northern Illinois University College of Law
|Northwestern University School of Law
|Southern Illinois University School of Law
|University of Illinois Chicago Law School (Formerly John Marshall Law School)
|University of Chicago Law School
|University of Illinois College of Law
At first glance, the thought of starting a legal career can seem overwhelming. The good news is that you have a reliable source of information and advice from the lawyers at FindLaw, and better yet, it's completely free. As you advance in your career, keep connected with FindLaw for Law Students for all things law school and beyond.