Founded in 1909 by the Catholic order of the Jesuits, Loyola University Chicago School of Law (Loyola Chicago Law) is one of several law schools located in downtown Chicago. Steeped in the tradition of the Jesuit order, Loyola Chicago Law has a commitment to social justice and educating lawyers who view the law as a means to social justice. Aside from its notable bar passage rate (over 85% pass on their first attempt), Loyola Chicago Law is also noteworthy for a number of its specialization including its health law program–considered to be one of the best in the country. The law school has produced a number of notable alumni including Mary Ann McMorrow, the first female Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, as well as the current Chief Justice, Robert Thomas.
In the first-year full-time program, students at Loyola Chicago Law take three core courses–civil procedure, property and torts–and two practical courses, one focused on legal writing and another on establishing a professional identity. In the second semester, students complete their core course work with classes in constitutional law, contracts, and criminal law. Students take a second semester of legal writing and round out their first-year with an elective course covering any of the various perspectives on the law.
Loyola Chicago Law also offers a flexible evening program that requires the same course work as full-time students but allows students additional semesters to complete the courses.
Prior to graduation, students must also complete courses in professional responsibility, advocacy, and skill-based learning. Most students take additional core courses to cover subject matters generally included on the state’s bar exam (such as evidence and administrative law). However, students are free to choose their academic paths to suit their career goals. The law school offers nine different certification programs including certification in the school’s highly regarded health law and family law concentrations.
Along with its Juris Doctor program, Loyola Chicago Law offers several advanced degrees to both lawyers and non-lawyers. For students who have already obtained their Juris Doctor degree, Loyola Chicago Law offers a Master of Laws (LL.M) degree in eight different concentrations. All LL.M programs require a year of residential coursework and a minimum of 24 hours of credit. Of note, Loyola Chicago Law offers LL.M with a concentration in its esteemed family law and health law programs.
For students with additional academic goals beyond the LL.M, the law school offers a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) focused on international and comparative law. The S.J.D. program is designed for students who wish to pursue a career or subject matter in legal academia. The program combines rigorous coursework with independent research and study as students work towards writing a dissertation of publishable quality.
For non-lawyers, Loyola Chicago Law offers four distinct Master of Jurisprudence degrees that provide a fundamental understanding of the intersection of law with other professional areas including health law, risk management, and child policies.
Juris Doctor candidates at Loyola Chicago Law also have the option of applying for one of six dual-degree programs. In dual-degree programs, students share credits between two professional programs, which allows them to complete both programs in less time than completing them separately. Additionally, combining programs allows for students to gain additional insights into the often interdisciplinary nature of the legal practice.
Career and Career Placement
Within 10 months of graduation, nearly 92% of graduates of Loyola Chicago Law are employed in positions that either prefer a law degree or requires a candidate who has passed the bar exam. Graduates of Loyola Chicago Law pursued a wide array of careers with the business industry and traditional law firm work being the two most popular choices. In terms of law firm work, students opted for small law firms (2-10 attorneys) as frequently as large law firms (500+ attorneys). True to the school’s commitment to social justice, nearly 25% of students pursued careers in government or public interest offices. Most graduates remained in the Chicago area to begin their careers.
All students at Loyola Chicago Law are assigned a career counselor who oversees their professional development. This development begins in their first semester as students begin to develop their “professional” identity–their goals of how their legal practice reflects their values. Career counselors work with students to craft resumes, prepare for interviews, and select job offers. The career center staff also provides a number of resources for students including year round programming to educate students on the broad opportunities available with a law degree.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Like most law schools, Loyola Chicago Law requires students to complete a minimum of six hours of experiential learning credits. However, Loyola Chicago Law is unique in requiring that three of these credits include work with actual clients. Students can participate in the school’s clinical program. The school’s six legal clinics allow students the opportunity to work with clients on a range of legal issues. The law school also houses a community legal clinic that addresses the need for advocacy in Chicago’s many impoverished neighborhoods.
Inside the classroom, students can learn either in small, seminar like practicum courses which spend a semester engaged in hands-on learning for a particular practice area or learn from a semester-long simulation course. In simulation, students work in a small group with expert practitioners to solve real-world legal problem under supervision of faculty.
Although Loyola Chicago Law requires residential coursework for its degree programs, the school’s flexible evening program is tailored for students who have additional career or family obligations.
Loyola Chicago Law offers its students a host of services that intend to enrich their personal, professional, and spiritual lives. The law school offers a number of counseling services for all students. The law school’s wellness center provides an array of physical and mental health programs that intend to build life-long skills in practicing a balanced lifestyle. The Student Bar Association facilitates a broad selection of student organizations that reflects the student body’s commitment to social justice, diversity, and recreation.
Located just off the Magnificent Mile–Chicago’s renowned shopping paradise–the Loyola Chicago Law school campus is immersed in the life of one of America’s most unique cities. With access to public transportation, students can take advantage of the many housing opportunities in the Chicagoland area. Students also enjoy all the brilliant and unique opportunities afforded by one of the countries largest and most colorful cities. From baseball games in historic Cubs stadium to the firework displays on the water each night, Chicago is a one-of-a-kind experience for all students at Loyola Chicago law.