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University of Illinois-Chicago Law

Chicago’s Only Public Law School Gets a Name Change

The John Marshall Law School at the University of Illinois, Chicago is getting a new name.

The 122-year-old law school will officially be called the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law after the U. of I. board of trustees approved the name change last week. The change will go into effect starting July 1, the Chicago Sun Times reports. The name change follows months of discussion and review over findings that highlighted Chief Justice Marshall’s role as a slave trader and slave owner as well as his pro-slavery and racist views.

“The university has arrived at this new name following a thorough and carefully studied process that included input from all corners of the institution and beyond, considered issues of racial injustice and aimed to ensure that our university continues to be a place where diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity are supported and advanced,” UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis says in a press release.


An official task force was put together to gather input from students, faculty, staff, and alumni as well as conduct research and propose principles to help guide UIC in evaluating the name change.

The task force’s report found “that despite Chief Justice Marshall’s legacy as one of the nation’s most significant U.S. Supreme Court justices, the newly discovered research regarding his role as a slave trader, slave owner of hundreds of slaves, pro-slavery jurisprudence, and racist views render him a highly inappropriate namesake for the Law School.”

In February, after completing the report, the task force voted 6-1 in favor of renaming the law school. In March, law school faculty followed suit and voted in favor of a new law school name. In May, UIC received approval from the Legacy Law School Corporation and the Foundation Legacy Corporation to go forward with a name change.


The John Marshall Law School was formally established as an independent law school in 1899. In 2019, it officially merged with UIC to create the UIC John Marshall Law School.

“The name of the school has changed, but it doesn’t erase its proud history or the impact of its faculty, alumni and students. As Chicago’s first and only public law school, our mission continues to center on academic excellence, diversity, student success and bettering the lives of the people of Chicago and beyond,” Darby Dickerson, dean of the Law School, says.

Sources: Chicago Sun Times, UIC Today

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