Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law
565 West Adams Street
Chicago, Illinois 60661
TippingTheScales (2013): NR
U.S. News (2013): 68
AboveTheLaw (2013): NR
CHICAGO-KENT LAW STUDENTS SAY…
Academics & Programs: If you’re looking to “feel both challenged and encouraged to learn” rather than “beaten down by the stereotypical combination of sadistic professors and hyper-competitive classmates,” then you might want to try the Chicago-Kent College of Law, which works to create a scholarly community under the auspices of a science and engineering heavyweight. Placed “just high enough in the rankings to attract talented students who aren’t arrogant, but not too high so that the professors are attracted for research rather than teaching,” the school makes it clear up front that the experience “will be competitive,” while also stressing “how important it is to not dwell on grades and rank even though they’re important.”
Known for its “intense” and “well-recognized” legal writing program (one of the few three-year programs in the country), students at Chicago-Kent must endure “several hellish weeks each semester” so they can say, “The memo [I] did in the first three weeks of school is the equivalent of another school’s 1L final project.” “Every attorney I’ve worked with in the past three years has commented on the strength of my legal writing skills,” boasts one third-year student. Other tough aspects of the school’s curriculum include its grading curve. Many also cite the Intellectual Property Program and the variety of in-house clinics (in which students work with actual clients for credit) as strengths.
As one would expect judging from its parent institution, Chicago-Kent’s “top-notch” classrooms are “enabled with the best educational technology,” including myriad outlets, and the entire campus is blanketed with wireless Internet (some even claim the technology “outranks” the institute itself). The comprehensive library provides plenty of study space, and is run by a “knowledgeable” staff that is “willing to assist you with any issues.” Chicago-Kent’s location in the West Loop “is crucial to practical experience” and “maximizes chances for great externships,” though summer jobs “aren’t all that easy to come by with the competition of Northwestern, University of Chicago, U of I, and Michigan so close by.”
Despite a large contingent of part-time faculty in the upper-level courses, professors at Chicago-Kent are “passionately engaged in the subject matter” and “totally committed to the students as well as to their research.” They “work hard to encourage you and support you outside of the classroom” and are particularly good at “treating the students as adults and expecting them to perform at a higher level,” according to a first-year student. Though they’re not without complaints, most here say that the administration is “very accommodating [of] students’ needs” and “are always quick to reply to questions.”
The general opinion of the Career Services Office is one of mild discontent, and a large number of students wish the school could “expand its ability to place students in the legal workplace nationwide” having noticed that most of the “prestigious” law firms only hire the top ten percent of Chicago-Kent students. “For some reason, I say we are associated with IIT, and people outside of the legal community think I am going to truck driving school,” complains a 3L.
Campus Life/Facilities: After three years at Chicago-Kent, one student can safely say, “Students are happy, teachers want to teach, and learning is fun, yet also difficult.” Numerous clubs and organizations “for everything you can imagine” mean that “there is a constant flow of speakers and programs for students to attend that cover all areas of the law.” After a hard day of classes and legal writing boot camp, students look forward to the Student Bar Association’s monthly “Kent Nights,” for which the SBA rents out a different downtown bar for a “really great way to get noses out of books and make the student body relax with each other to have a good time.”
The student body at Chicago-Kent is a friendly bunch, and while there is a “subtle” competitive streak throughout the program years, most agree, “There is definitely a friendly, helpful attitude that prevails among students here,” especially between the different sections of 1Ls. “I love being surrounded by individuals who allow me to have intelligent and insightful discussions about current issues or about what we are discussing in classes,” says one student. However, a definite divide exists between day and evening students, with evening students complaining that most of the extracurricular activities are “pretty much unavailable to the evening students due to the timing of special events.” While it’s true that students live scattered all throughout the Chicago area, preventing some from attending certain events, others see it as a plus: “Most students will spend the better part of their day interacting with each other, instead of simply coming to class and then going home,” explains a third-year student.
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.