Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
chicagolawgirl
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Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby chicagolawgirl » Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:25 pm

Did a master's degree and worked after undergrad and started U of C Law this year. For what it's worth, I absolutely love it here.

Fire away!

USAIRS
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby USAIRS » Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:35 pm

Bump for Epstein debating a lame Yale prof on CSpan.

nicdmx
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby nicdmx » Thu Nov 12, 2009 11:43 pm

What made you decide on Chicago?

chicagolawgirl
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby chicagolawgirl » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:02 am

There were a lot of reasons I picked Chicago (I'm sure I obsessed over the law school choice as much as many of you are now.)

I may be interested in clerking and/or academia at some point, and, among its peer schools, Chicago tends to do the best in this category, and also places incredibly well at firms. I also decided I didn't want to be in a college town since I'm a few years out of undergrad, so I've enjoyed being able to explore the city.

Chicago is also a smaller school -- 190 students to a class -- which is a huge advantage when you're looking for jobs. Firms and government agencies want intellectual diversity, even in a struggling economy. If they take three Chicago grads every year, that's a larger percentage of our class than it would be at a school with a bigger student population. That means they're generally willing to go deeper into the class to hire us, which is great. Interestingly, I've heard this has been helping a lot in terms of the 2L job summer job search. It also makes you very valuable if you're interested in applying to jobs in places like DC and NYC -- you'll stand out among the hordes of Columbia, NYU and Georgetown applicants. Less students at Chicago, plus a healthy dose of geographical diversity, means less competition for jobs in different cities.

The student-faculty interaction here is unparalleled. They come to coffee mess (free donuts, bagels and coffee every Wednesday morning), wine mess (incredibly cheap booze in the Green Lounge every Friday afternoon) and hang around after classes to talk and answer questions. If you study in the library, you'll see them wandering through all the time. It's really fantastic.

I was a little worried about social life at U of C given its intense reputation and the whole "where fun goes to die" slogan that the undergrads tout. I was totally wrong on that front; it's been great. A large percentage of the 1L class goes to bar review every Thursday, and people definitely go out on the weekends a lot as well. It's a generally friendly and intellectually curious crowd -- people from really varied backgrounds -- which makes for an interesting experience all around.

Chicago also is known for picking some of the best and brightest younger faculty members. The school has an uncanny ability to select the future academic "stars" (and presidents of the United States, of course)!

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echoi
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby echoi » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:17 am

Reposting same question from USAIRS thread: What are some things that you don't like about UChicago? I only ask because I already know all the positives about the school, which is why it's my first choice--now I'm curious about some of the negatives I should know about.

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booby87
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby booby87 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:24 am

.
Last edited by booby87 on Tue May 03, 2011 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Campagnolo
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby Campagnolo » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:34 am

Do you know Joao?

chicagolawgirl
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby chicagolawgirl » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:44 am

echoi: So far, I don't have too much to complain about. I think the most inconvenient aspect has been transportation/the nightlife. We tend to go out towards the Loop and on the northside, and there's no good public transportation at night. That said, if you live in Regents (where the majority of 1Ls live), it's only a $5 cab ride to get wherever you want to go if you share with other people. And if you have a car, of course, it's much easier. During the day, it's easy to take the Jackson 6 bus downtown. The majority of 2Ls and 3Ls move to the South Loop, the Loop, Lincoln Park and Wicker Park.

On the class front, everything has been good. Of course we have our gunners, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a law school that doesn't. There aren't too many though, which is fortunate. Nothing ruins a class so much as the kid who's constantly trying to prove how smart he is.

chicagolawgirl
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby chicagolawgirl » Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:58 am

booby87: The location is fine, except for the minor transportation issues I mentioned above. Like most urban areas, you have to be careful in Hyde Park. The most important thing is to be smart and not wander around by yourself late at night, because crime can be an issue here.

The restaurant options and nightlife options are limited, but there are a few good places to eat in Hyde Park (and a huge number of fantastic restaurants across the city of Chicago). There are a lot of beautiful old homes in HP and tree-lined streets. It has a neat academic/professor vibe.

The majority of 1Ls, say 60 to 70 percent, live in Regents Park, a high-rise luxury building in Hyde Park. They give a discount if you're enrolled at U of C, and it's a good way to get to know people in your class. It's right on the bus line to the law school and also has decent amenities. You can get much cheaper apartments if you go through university housing (they advertise apartments), but then it's more difficult to find people to carpool with to bar review etc. You also could live in New Grad, university dorms, but you wouldn't have your own kitchen, and I just couldn't deal with that after being out of undergrad for a few years.

While Hyde Park has been a good option my first year of school, I'll likely move to the South Loop or somewhere around there my second year.

Campagnolo: Yes, I do know Joao.

freeflowfox
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby freeflowfox » Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:59 am

Is it possible to bike around Hyde Park and into downtown? I'm an avid bike enthusiast and would like to be able to get around by bike.

Also, I know you already answered why you went to Chicago, but I wanted to know more specifically, how did you choose Chicago over the other schools you must've been accepted to when you had to decide? Did you get scholarship?

Thanks!

chicagolawgirl
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby chicagolawgirl » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:32 pm

freeflowfox: Biking around Hyde Park is incredibly easy. There are bike racks at the law school, and there is indoor bike storage if you live at Regents. There's a girl in my class who bikes to school nearly every day (though I'm guessing that will decrease once the weather gets colder.) Hyde Park is fairly bike friendly, though the streets are a bit narrow. Because of the undergraduate population and the other grad schools, you see a lot of bikers.

You also have an absolutely gorgeous biking/running path along Lake Michigan. A ton of people in the law school class use it, and I think it's 18 miles long (don't quote me on that). It will take you straight into downtown, so it's incredibly easy to bike there.

In terms of how I chose Chicago: for me, the law school was not the best financial option at first glance. I could have gone to other T10 schools and paid significantly less. I think by the time I was making my decision, it would have been difficult to go wrong. I was looking at several great schools, and it came down to my career goals and personal preferences.

As I said before, I liked Chicago's access to a city. There's so much to do in downtown Chicago, from the restaurants, to the entertainment, to the nightlife, and it's all quite a bit cheaper than it would be in New York and DC (the two East Coast cities with which I'm most familiar). I also liked the community feel at Chicago. The smaller class sizes, Hyde Park location and interaction with professors means you get to know your classmates very well. One other T6 school I visited felt very scattered and cold to me, while Chicago is (contrary to some reports) a very warm and welcoming place. The intellectual engagement and debate also helps contribute to the tight-knit atmosphere and fosters friendship among the students.

I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do post-law school yet, and going to Chicago seemed like a great way to keep all doors open as well. If you want to clerk, well, according to Leiter, we're one of the best places in the country for it. If you want to go to a law firm, there are numerous advantages (which I got into in an earlier post) thanks to the class size and geographic diversity. Chicago just revamped their loan system for those interested in non-profit work (I'm not sure of the details, but I hear it was a significant improvement), and also instituted a new international internship program for 1L and 2L summers. We also produce a huge number of academics.

Basically, for me, Chicago checked every box in terms of what I was looking for in a law school. It cost more than some other schools would have, but I knew it would provide me with basically limitless options and ideally a bit more leeway in terms of having perfect grades/class rank. I also harassed a number of my friends/parents' friends who are lawyers, as well as former professors, and Chicago won out among them as well. If you have any questions about particular areas, just let me know!

chicagolawgirl
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby chicagolawgirl » Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:43 pm

I also should probably add that I find Chicago's political diversity interesting. Like most law schools, the majority of students are liberal, but because of Chicago's reputation and economic bent, we get to hear from a vocal and (for the most part) well-informed array of conservative students. I think this makes discussions much more entertaining and tends to prevent student from just reiterating talking points or spouting knee-jerk conclusions. Additionally, students are quite accepting of and willing to listen to opposing views, which, from what I hear, is not always the case at every law school.

We also have a selection of famous (at least in the law/government world) people speaking nearly every day at lunch. These lectures are very well attended -- possibly because they offer free food (seriously, you could probably get through law school here buying lunch twice a month at most) -- and because they cover a huge number of topics.

ohnoyoudidn't
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby ohnoyoudidn't » Fri Nov 13, 2009 4:15 pm

I think that you mentioned it, but I think that Chicago's location is ideal and very similar to Columbia's (although in a much cheaper city). The school is close enough to a major city that you can enjoy all the amenities that go with it, but at the same time its a little out of the way so you can get the feeling of being in a community that isn't spread out. I think that not being right downtown also takes away some of the distractions. I haven't actually visited, but I've done everything possible to find out more about Hyde Park from information off of the internet, including a video tour, and I think that it is overall a nice location.

UChicagoStudent
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby UChicagoStudent » Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:58 pm

Started the same thread at (almost) the same time. I will be contributing to the questions at hand, helping out ChicagoLawGirl.

chicagolawgirl
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby chicagolawgirl » Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:12 pm

Excellent :)

ohnoyoudidn't
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby ohnoyoudidn't » Fri Nov 13, 2009 7:34 pm

Can either of you two take me through a typical day at Chicago in terms of your schedule, how much you study, what extra things are going on at the law school?

chicagolawgirl
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby chicagolawgirl » Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:07 pm

Okay, typical day. We're taking five classes: Civ Pro, Crim Law, Contracts, Elements and Legal Writing. My classes start at 8:30am three days per week and 9:45am the other two days. On any given day, I'll have between two and five classes, though as the quarter goes on, Legal Writing is cancelled often, which lightens the load. I'm always done with classes by 2:35pm if not earlier.

If I have time in between classes, I usually go to the library). Chicago has a ton of amazing lunch lectures that also offer free food, so I usually go to one of them (they begin at 12:15pm every day and bring in a great selection of men and women discussing everything from ethics reform in Illinois to the plight of women in developing countries to law and economics issues).

I generally go to the library a bit after class unless I decide to go work out instead, but am usually home by early evening and make dinner. I tend to not do a lot of work at night, though that's going to change as exams approach. I haven't felt the schedule to be too strenuous yet, but I also tend to take the beginning of the year easy and then cram toward the end (not recommended, but at a certain point in life your study habits are more or less set).

At night, I'll probably hang out with friends on at least one or two weekdays and go to bar review on Thursday. Fridays tend to be more low-key for me, and I generally go out on Saturday. Other than that, I volunteer about once a week. It's a busy schedule, but not impossible.

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MF248
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby MF248 » Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:17 pm

Cubs or White Sox?

freeflowfox
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby freeflowfox » Fri Nov 13, 2009 9:40 pm

I guess here comes the inevitable: how much, from what you guys know, do you think the current 3L class has been affected by the downturn? And, though I understand this is not very predictable, from what you are seeing, are you guys worried about job prospects in a year or so?

UChicagoStudent
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby UChicagoStudent » Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:45 pm

freeflowfox wrote:I guess here comes the inevitable: how much, from what you guys know, do you think the current 3L class has been affected by the downturn? And, though I understand this is not very predictable, from what you are seeing, are you guys worried about job prospects in a year or so?


From what I've heard, the 3L's are fine. Most that I've talked to (albeit very few) have jobs. OCI for 2L's was bad, but not as bad as people thought it was going to be. People were expecting only Law Review to end up with offers, and from what I heard, it was the top half of the class ended up getting some sort of offer if they wanted one through OCI.

I'm terrified about jobs. One reason I chose Chicago was the fact that in a typical economy, I heard that the top half will end up with V30 jobs, and almost everyone will have the option for BigLaw firms. In this economy, you have to remember that people at Harvard/Stanford are even striking out at their respective OCI's. Going to a top-tier school is not a guarantee of walking into a big law firm any more, another reason why I personally would promote taking scholarship money over a higher ranked law school in many occasions.

For 0L's and the class of 2013 and beyond, I imagine that the economy will be fine by the time you go through your OCI process; you'll be fine. Current 1L's will be better off than the current 2L's. In 10 years, we will look back and laugh about worrying so much about our job prospects before even starting law school. But right now, it's a concern (at least that should be) on the back of every 0 and 1L's mind.

UofChicago JDPhD
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby UofChicago JDPhD » Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:10 pm

I hope this is the right place, this time =)

Are there many JD/PhD students? Any in your year? I ask because the site says that some JD/PhD candidates get a full scholarship and others get partial ones. I'm just wondering if by "some", they mean 1 or if they mean 10; there isn't a wealth of information about the joint degree so I was hoping to get a better picture.

Also, I've been wanting to contact a professor about my research (I'm in the PhD program) but I'd like to find out which professors would be open to talking about it. Do you have any ideas or is there anyone you would recommend that I talk to? I'm in the social sciences, I'm not the regular Econ PhD. My research will involve the aspect of trial law; if there is a professor who teaches the trial/courtroom aspect of law, they'd probably be my best bet - if you know of one.

Thanks for being here.

chicagolawgirl
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby chicagolawgirl » Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:43 pm

MF248: White Sox. Definitely :)

chicagolawgirl
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby chicagolawgirl » Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:50 pm

freeflowfox: I've heard largely the same things as UChicagoStudent. All of the 3Ls I've met, except one, have jobs. The ones with whom I've spoken are primarily clerking or doing big firms.

It is a rough economy, but on the face of it, UChicago students are coming through it fairly well. In regard to 2Ls, I heard that our employment numbers were above peer schools due to our small class size. I have absolutely no idea if this is true though, heard it anecdotally from an upperclassman.

I also agree that your class will likely be better off than ours, and we'll probably be better off than the current 2Ls.

UofChicagoJDPhd: I'm not aware of any JD/PhDs in the 1L class, although that doesn't mean there aren't any. I do know a couple students aiming for the JD/MBA. I'm not entirely familiar with all the professors here yet, so I'm not sure which faculty member would be best for you to contact. If I were you, I would call the admissions office and ask them to set up a meeting with someone. Faculty bios are also available on the law school Web site, so you may want to browse them, see if anyone interests you and e-mail that professor.

UofChicago JDPhD
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby UofChicago JDPhD » Sat Nov 14, 2009 3:12 pm

Thanks, chicagolawgirl.

Originally, I had only seen a simple faculty page that didn't provide much information about each professor; I just found the following page (http://www.law.uchicago.edu/people/faculty) and it has a detailed page for each professor. I think I have already found a professor I'd like to contact so thanks for the advice!

I think I'll try to put some of my worries/curiosity to the side and just focus on what I can control; even if only one person gets a scholarship a year, if I put all of my effort into my research and LSAT prep - I'll be giving myself the best chance that I have to be that one person (if that's the case).

I appreciate your response.

UChicagoStudent
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Re: Chicago 1L Taking Questions!

Postby UChicagoStudent » Sat Nov 14, 2009 5:36 pm

chicagolawgirl wrote:MF248: White Sox. Definitely :)


+1!!!!!




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