University of Chicago Law School

The University of Chicago Law School is the professional graduate law school of the University of Chicago. It is consistently ranked among the best and most prestigious law schools in the world, and has produced many distinguished alumni in the judiciary, academia, government, politics and business. It employs more than 200 full-time and part-time faculty and hosts more than 600 students in its Juris Doctor program, while also offering the Master of Laws, Master of Studies in Law and Doctor of Juridical Science degrees in law.

The University of Chicago Law School
Parent schoolUniversity of Chicago
Established1902; 119 years ago (1902)
School typePrivate
DeanThomas J. Miles
LocationChicago, Illinois, U.S.
USNWR ranking4th (2022)[2]
Bar pass rate98.9%[1]
ABA profileStandard 509 Report (2019)

The law school was conceived in the 1890s by the President of the University of Chicago, William Rainey Harper. Harper and the law school's first Dean, Joseph Henry Beale, designed the school's curriculum with inspiration from Ernst Freund's interdisciplinary approach to legal education.[3] The construction of the school was financed by John D. Rockefeller and the cornerstone was laid by President Theodore Roosevelt. The law school opened for classes in 1902. Since its inception, the law school's professors have taught students using the Socratic Method, which remains the law school's predominant mode of teaching in lectures and seminars.[4]

In the 1930s, the interdisciplinary nature of the law school's curriculum was further shaped by the law and economics movement. Economists Aaron Director and Henry Calvert Simons taught courses integrated with the antitrust curriculum taught by statesman Edward H. Levi, leading to the development of the Chicago school of economics and the Chicago School approach to antitrust law.[5] The law school expanded rapidly in the 1950s under Levi's leadership and, in the 1970s and 1980s, many scholars in the social sciences were attracted to the school's influence in law and economics, including Nobel laureates Ronald Coase and Gary Becker and the most cited legal scholar of the 20th century, Richard A. Posner.[6] Longstanding members of the law school faculty have included Cass Sunstein and Richard Epstein, two of the three most-cited legal scholars of the early 21st century, 44th U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia, John Paul Stevens and Elena Kagan.

The law school's chief publication is the University of Chicago Law Review, which is among the top five most cited law reviews in the world.[7] Students edit two other independent law journals, with another three journals overseen by faculty. The law school was originally housed in Stuart Hall, a Gothic-style limestone building on the campus's main quadrangles. Since 1959, it has been housed in an Eero Saarinen-designed building across the Midway Plaisance from the main campus of the University of Chicago. The building was expanded in 1987 and again in 1998. It was renovated in 2008, preserving most of Saarinen's original structure.