motiontodismiss wrote:So is there any truth to the "where fun goes to die" reputation and rumors of rampant grade deflation and a ridiculous workload at Chicago? I'm kind of hesitant because of UChicago's um, nerdy reputation. I guess that's fine if you're headed into academia, but I'm definitely going to be headed into private practice after law school, so um yeah...I don't want to be sitting in law school for 3 years and learn a bunch of useless theory, none of which I got to learn to apply. Do you feel like your professors use relevant real-life examples when they lecture or do they just ramble on and on about some obscure theory?
What kinds of clinical programs does UofC offer? And how do they compare with your arch-nemesis up the street, Northwestern?
I can't comment too much on grade deflation / workload at the law school, but I can say that I don't think it's too far out of line with other schools. The workload is probably a bit more intense, owing to the quarter system (we're on semesters at Northwestern). Northwestern's "curve" (which is banded so it's difficult to pinpoint an exact number) for 1Ls ends up at about a 3.3-3.35 by the end of the year. Not sure how the U of C compares.
I can address the reputation question in more detail. I was at the U of C for undergrad -- where there is a ridiculous workload and grade deflation relative to other undergrads. However, the "where fun comes to die" reputation is overrated. Yes, we have t-shirts that have that on them, but we do it in a tongue in cheek fashion. The University has been improving student quality of life by leaps and bounds in the last several years, so it doesn't even really apply to the undergrad as much as it used to. It is even farther from the truth for the law school. What people tend to forget about the U of C's rep in those terms is that the professional programs (and the majority of their Ph.D. programs) are some of the top ranked in their fields in the country. They draw people from all over the country, all different undergrads. Normal people. Fun people.
Also, I hate to break it to you, but the vast majority of law school is about "theory" and "teaching you how to think." There are practical programs. Northwestern has a lot of emphasis on them -- one of the best trial advocacy programs in the nation as well as clinics and the like -- but I'm sure the U of C has them too. For the most part, though, what you learn in law school has very little to do with your life as a practicing lawyer. As for the lecturing issue... I'm sure there are some profs there who do that, but the U of C, like any other law school (perhaps even more so) operates by the socratic method. Not full on lecturing.