The Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law (Chicago-Kent Law) has a unique history involving three educational institutions. In the late 19th century, the Chicago and Kent Schools of Law merged to form the Chicago-Kent College of Law. Both schools were formed in the 1880s by notable pioneers and scholars in the legal profession. In 1969, the combined law school was merged with the Illinois Institute of Technology as the College of Law recognized the increasing relationship between technology and the law. The school would move into its 10-story state-of-the-art facility in 1992. The school continues to be recognized as a pioneer in the field of technology and the law. Its mock trial program is also one of the best in the country. In its long history, Chicago-Kent Law has produced a number of distinguished alumni including Florence King, the first female patent attorney in the United States, and former Illinois Governor Richard Ogilvie.
The traditional first-year curriculum at Chicago-Kent Law grounds students in five core courses: civil procedure, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. First-year students also take two semesters introducing them to the fundamentals of legal research and writing with a particular emphasis on the utilization of technology. Traditionally, first-year students also take a semester course on the legislative process.
Chicago-Kent Law also offers a unique opportunity to defer some of the traditional first-year courses in lieu of an elective or a clinical experience. By allowing for flexibility, Chicago-Kent Law recognizes the necessity for innovation to meet the diverse educational goals of its students.
Upper-level students at Chicago-Kent Law must complete 87 hours of course work but have tremendous flexibility as they plan their academic coursework. The law school offers 12 certification programs that offers students a more tailored approach to their academic curriculum as well as access to faculty advisers who are experts in a given practice area.
Chicago-Kent Law also offers an extremely flexible part-time, evening program that allows students to complete their Juris Doctor while also pursuing career or family obligations. After completing the first-year curriculum in the evening, students may also take days classes during the final years until they complete the necessary requirements for graduation.
Chicago-Kent Law offers a number of additional degree programs to complement its Juris Doctor degree. The law school offers a Master of Laws (LL.M) program in five different practice areas. The LL.M program generally requires one year of residential coursework although some concentrations allow for part-time completion of the program. Additionally, students may also opt to pursue an LL.M in partnership with one of 12 other international law schools.
For students who have earned their LL.M but wish to continue to pursue an area of legal academia, Chicago-Kent Law offers a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree. The S.J.D. program is intended for students who flourish with independent research and writing as they prepare a dissertation under the supervision of faculty advisors.
Chicago-Kent Law also offers a unique Master of Intellectual Property Management and Markets in conjunction with the univeristy. This hybrid degree combines law and technology in an interdisciplinary way for non-lawyers who need a deep understanding of intellectual property law. Similarly, the law school offers a Master of Taxation degree for non-attorneys who desire a deep understanding of the taxation system.
Finally, Chicago-Kent Law offers its Juris Doctor candidates to pair their J.D. with another professional degree from the university’s business school. Students can earn an M.B.A., M.P.A. or one of two Master of Science degrees while studying in conjunction with their J.D. courses.
Career and Career Placement
Based on the most recent data, over 86% of graduates of Chicago-Kent Law are employed in careers either requiring a law license or law degree within 10 months of graduation. The most popular career path for students was traditional law firm work in small firms of 1 to 10 attorneys. Students also notably opted for careers in business (12.5%), government (14%), and the public interest sector (10%). Over 80% of graduates remain in the legal epicenter of Chicago to begin their careers.
The Chicago-Kent Law Office of Career Services is staffed by all former practitioners who help guide students through their professional careers at every stage. Students meet with their career advisor and begin planning their career path from their very first weeks at law school. This early planning helps students make academic choices that can deeply impact their careers. Aside from standard programs on resumes and mock interviews, the OCS provides a wide range of networking events with alumni and local practitioner as well as diverse speaker programs to widen students perspective on potential career choices.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Chicago-Kent Law is committed to graduating practice-ready attorneys. This focus on practical skills is evident from the very first semesters with the school’s comprehensive approach to teaching legal writing and research. First-year students also have the opportunity to begin clinical rotations in their first year through the school’s flexible first-year curriculum.
All students at Chicago-Kent Law have access to the school’s clinical and externship programs. Both provide students with the opportunity to work with real clients in actual legal settings. The law school has unique access to the Illinois Attorney General’s office which has allowed students to work on a number of complex, timely legal matters. The clinical program offers 10 different practice areas that each function much like an in-house law firm. Students serve the local residents in need of representation on a number of fronts.
Chicago-Kent law also offers students the opportunity to compete with their robust trial and appellate advocacy teams. Students learn practical skills in a competitive setting.
The campus of Chicago-Kent Law reflects its surroundings in the heart of Chicago’s famed “loop.” The 10-story campus is remarkable for its inclusion of technology and innovation in both classrooms, student spaces, and in its extensive library. Students maintain a wide array of organizations that reflect the school’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Each year, the law school celebrates “diversity week” to celebrate its diverse student body and help remove barriers to the legal practice for traditionally under-represented groups.
With its location, students can take advantage of the many housing opportunities in the greater Chicago area and still access the law school by the cities public transportation system. With its downtown location, students are immersed in America’s second city with its historic sports teams, nightlife, and beautiful beaches on Lake Michigan. Chicago offers a city full of history, museums, and parks.