The John Marshall Law School
Academics & Programs: The John Marshall Law School is an independent bastion of legal education that offers day and evening programs as well as both fall and spring admission. John Marshall is pretty large as far as law schools go and it “places a huge emphasis on real-world practice.” Students report that they are “ready to hit the ground running even as clerks and interns.” The “unparalleled” writing program “creates students who can file complaints and briefs immediately, with little or no additional training.” The trial advocacy program is “outstanding” as well. “When you graduate from John Marshall, you are ready to work in a courtroom,” a 2L says. John Marshall also offers specialized programs and joint JD/LLM programs in a host of areas including employee benefits, information technology and privacy law, international business and trade law, real estate law, intellectual property law, and tax law. “Students are encouraged to find a specific field of interest and are given every opportunity to become experts” in that field.
“The school’s faculty is comprised mostly of professors who have accumulated years of experience,” a 2L explains. “Their experiences and knowledge give a true and practical look at the actual practice of law.” Students boast that John Marshall’s “accessible” faculty is comprised of “the best professors, judges, and lawyers in Chicago.” It’s also worth noting that the hardcore, old-school Socratic Method is very much alive and well at John Marshall. A few professors are “very hard to comprehend” and “not good teachers,” though. Opinion concerning the administration is split. One faction of students calls management “extremely helpful.” “There seems to be a genuine interest in the needs of the students,” they say. Other students aren’t so happy. “The deans never get anything done,” a 3L says.
About ten percent of each graduating class is able to obtain the really plum jobs at big firms. Most students tell us they are satisfied with their career prospects. “The connections that John Marshall has to the Chicago area are incredible,” a 1L says. “It is very easy to connect with other John Marshall alumni, who are very willing to meet with and help you.” A 3L adds, “John Marshall has done everything possible to put its graduates in a position of getting a job.” Some students aren’t as pleased, though. “I have had little help from the staff at the Career Services office,” a 2L gripes. “Every time I have asked for assistance, they have merely told me where to look. I really could have figured that out for myself.”
Campus Life/Facilities: John Marshall is located in the middle of Chicago’s South Loop “in the heart of the legal community” and “close to all the action.” The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit are across the street. The Chicago Bar Association is “right next door.” As for the actual law school facilities, “The buildings are old Chicago architectural mainstays,” and “They’ve got charm.” “The place needs a little sprucing up,” though. It “doesn’t offer many perks you see on other campuses.” “The classrooms that are newer are very good.” On the other hand, some classrooms are “a couple decades behind.” Students also complain that John Marshall is generally “overcrowded.” “Elevators are hard to come by,” and “It’s slightly hard to get around.”
The student population at John Marshall is pretty diverse, ethnically and just about every other way. Some students tell us that the academic atmosphere is cordial. “We help each other, share outlines, and study in groups,” a 2L says. However, the prevailing opinion seems to be that John Marshall is home to “a very competitive environment, which rewards achievement.” “One thing that sets John Marshall apart is that they give people who would otherwise not get to go to law school a chance,” a 2L explains. “After first semester things became much more competitive among people in my section,” another 2L recalls.
Students here say that it’s “very easy to find friends here,” and they promise that they are a “very nice, normal bunch.” “People are split into those active in school activities, such as trial teams, versus those who choose to work outside of school.” “The social aspect really depends on the individual,” a 1L says. “Some prefer to get in, do the work, and get out. Others prefer to socialize. There is something for everyone.” If you want to get involved, “There are plenty of school-sponsored social events.” “We have over fifty student organizations to choose from so that everyone can find their niche,” a 3L notes. “Being a joiner at John Marshall is easy and doesn’t feel corny like it did in undergrad.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.