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Best Law Schools in Chicago: What You Need to Know

September 5, 2023

Chicago is home to several accredited law schools. To learn which ones are the best and how to get into them, read on!

Accurately named the Windy City, Chicago is known for its cool breezes, lively and moving music, and extraordinary food and culture that’ll sweep you off your feet! As an aspiring lawyer, another aspect of this bustling state that might blow you away is its extensive list of large law firms and legal organizations.

To help you get your foot in the door, Chicago has several top law schools that can provide you with direct access to these opportunities! This guide will go over these schools, their most redeeming qualities, and their key admission statistics!

Top 5 Law Schools in Chicago

Here are the top five law schools in Chicago:

1. The University of Chicago

The best law school in the city is the University of Chicago, a T14 school that ranks third in the nation. This school takes a unique approach to its education by offering a premier interdisciplinary curriculum that blends the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. 

It also offers a small, tight-knit community to ensure its students make the most out of their education and can build close connections to some of the foremost members of the legal industry. Some of these members also run the school’s leading clinics

  • Abrams Environmental Law Clinic
  • Civil Rights and Accountability Project
  • Criminal and Juvenile Justice Clinic
  • Employment Law Clinic
  • Federal Criminal Justice Clinic
  • Housing Initiative Transactional Clinic
  • Immigrants’ Rights Clinic
  • Global Human Rights Clinic
  • Exoneration Project Clinic
  • Innovation Clinic
  • Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship
  • Jenner and Block Supreme Court and Appellate Clinic
  • Kirkland and Ellis Corporate Lab Clinic
  • Poverty and Housing Law Clinic
  • Prosecution and Defense Clinic

Considering the University of Chicago’s prestige, it’s no surprise that it has a low acceptance rate of less than 12%. Students must score high to stand a chance of gaining admission to this school. To be exact, they should aim for an LSAT score of 172 and a GPA of 3.91 to fall within the competitive median of past successful applicants.

Students will have to submit stellar applications to get into this top-ranking school. But, if you put in the hard work and are granted acceptance to this esteemed law school, you’ll be well prepared for your legal career and sought after by some of the country’s largest law firms!

In fact, over 95% of their alumni find employment within a year of graduation and almost 98% pass the bar exam on their first try!

2. Northwestern University

Another T14 law school in Chicago is Northwestern University. With similar admission expectations as the University of Chicago, Northwestern has a median GPA of 3.86 and a median LSAT score of 171, with a slightly higher acceptance rate of almost 14%

Students that do get into this revered school will have access to the most interdisciplinary research faculty in the nation, the third lowest student to faculty ratio, and a clinical program known to change law and make significant advances to justice. 

Around 96% of Northwestern graduates pass the bar exam on their first try and 90% find employment in less than a year after graduating, with many students working at the largest law firms in Chicago.

3. Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University is another one of the best law schools in Chicago and is highly regarded for its health law program which ranks third in the nation. This school is student-focused and guided by Jesuit principles of intellectual openness, service to others, dedication, and academic excellence. Its mission involves:

  • Educating students to be responsible and compassionate legal professionals ready to thrive in the diverse world
  • Preparing students to be ethical and just advocates that work to dismantle the economic, legal, and political structures that perpetuate racism and other forms of oppression
  • Contributing a deeper understanding of law through a dedication to anti-subordination, leadership, public service, teaching, research, scholarship, transformation, and intersectionality

If these values align with yours, Loyola may be the perfect fit for you! Assess your competitiveness to get into this school by considering Loyola's median scores: a GPA of 3.46 and an LSAT score of 159

Loyola has an acceptance rate of 40%, employment rate of over 78%, and bar passage rate of almost 89%

4. Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent 

The fourth best law school in Chicago is the Illinois Institute of Technology. This law school ranks 94th in the nation but 13th for its part-time program

Its mission involves providing students with extensive practical experience, a forward-thinking approach, and a solid skills-based foundation to ensure they can excel in a rapidly changing legal industry. This university also offers deep connections to the Chicago legal community that provide students with diverse externship opportunities.

Illinois Tech’s 92% employment rate and 80% bar passage rate can attest to the value of the resources and opportunities this law school provides its students.

To join this school’s long list of successful attorneys, students should have LSAT scores of around 159-160 and GPAs between 3.55-3.6. Fortunately, this school accepts over half of all its applicants, meaning you have a high chance of gaining admission to Illinois Tech!

5. DePaul University

DePaul University boasts of being as connected to Chicago as it is to the world, giving students the opportunity to gain valuable practical experience in the heart of the city and abroad. This school is best known for its health and intellectual property law programs, which consistently rank within the top 30 programs in the country. 

Its rigorous curriculum is supported by nine unique centers that allow students to pursue their interests:

  • The Center for Animal Law
  • The Center for Art, Museum, and Cultural Heritage Law
  • The Center of Intellectual Property Law and Information Technology
  • The Center for Jewish Law and Judicial Studies
  • The Center for Public Interest Law
  • The DePaul Migration Collaborative
  • The International Human Rights Law Institute
  • The Mary and Michael Jaharis Health Law Institute
  • The Schiller DuCanto and Fleck Family Law Center

DePaul also encourages students’ intellectual curiosity and inquiry by offering a diverse course range with supportive faculty that continuously generate innovative opportunities for students to learn and thrive. 

Students interested in attending this committed law school should aim for a GPA of 3.57 and an LSAT score of 156. Around 44% of applicants are able to meet DePaul’s admission standards. Of these successful applicants, around 80% pass the bar exam on their first try and are employed soon after graduation.

FAQs: Chicago Law Schools

In this guide, we’ve gone over the top five law schools in Chicago and included the admission statistics and details necessary for you to get into your top choice. For any remaining questions about law schools in this city, read on to find your answers. 

1. Does Chicago Have Good Law Schools?

Yes, Chicago has two T14 law schools which are regarded as some of the most sought after and prestigious schools in the nation. Additionally, all of its other schools offer comprehensive curriculums and clinical programs that prepare students for prosperous legal careers within Chicago and beyond.

2. What Is the Easiest Law School To Get Into in Chicago?

The easiest top law school to get into in Chicago is DePaul University because it has the lowest LSAT score median of 156. This score is around the average of all LSAT test-takers, so it is not considerably difficult to obtain.

3. What LSAT Score Do I Need for the University of Chicago?

The University of Chicago is the best law school in the city and the third best in the nation overall, meaning it is highly selective. Students will need an LSAT score of 172 to be considered competitive applicants.

4. What GPA Do I Need to Get Into Law Schools in Chicago?

The GPA you need will depend on the school you’re planning on applying to. Higher ranking schools, such as the University of Chicago and Northwestern University will require GPAs between 3.86-3.91. The lower-ranking schools on this list will require GPAs in the range of 3.46-3.6. 

5. How Many Accredited Law Schools Are There in Chicago?

There are six accredited law schools in Chicago.

6. Is Chicago a Good Place to Study Law?

Yes, Chicago is an excellent place to study law because it’s one of the largest cities in the nation and can offer students unparalleled job opportunities to begin building their networks and gaining valuable career experience.

This city also has some of the most prestigious law firms and organizations that students can have access to while pursuing their JD! Many of these firms offer externships to local students that can eventually turn into full-time positions. 

Regardless of your preferred employment location, the law schools in this guide will equip you with the skills necessary to thrive in any legal environment! Many of them even offer global internship opportunities to help you expand your perspectives on law!

7. Which Chicago Law School Should I Apply to?

Sometimes it might be hard to decide which law school to attend, and that's why we created a quiz that will provide you with a list of law schools for you to apply to based on your needs and preferences.

Final Thoughts

With almost 200 law schools to choose from in the country, picking your top choices can leave you feeling winded (pun intended). After going over the best law schools in one of the finest cities to practice law, compiling this list should be easier! 

Any one of the schools discussed in this guide can offer you the resources and experience to thrive in the legal field!

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