John Marshall School of Law (Chicago)

June 11, 2013
Christine Schrader

LSAT - JMLS streetMany people picture the life of a successful lawyer as the ultimate work-hard, play-hard lifestyle– long hours, sure, but also the best restaurants and all of the perks of the big firm life. So why not start practicing now at The John Marshall Law School (JMLS), located right in the middle of the great city of Chicago, a mecca of Michelin-starred dining, great jazz, and more architecture tours than you can throw a rock at.

First, the dry stuff:

  • 2012 graduates: 415

  • Total Enrolled Students: 1,138

  • Full-time tuition per year: $41,304

  • Part-time tuition per year: $28,524

  • 56.1% of graduates employed by nine months after graduation

  • Median undergraduate GPA: 3.14

  • Median LSAT score: 151

  • Acceptance Rate: 50%

  • Average private sector starting salary: $50,000

  • Average public service starting salary: $55,937

Now, the meaty stuff:

Prospective law students looking for a school with more flexible schedule options should definitely consider JMLS. The school offers part-time programs, night classes, and the ever-elusive second semester January admission– as rare as a unicorn in accredited law schools. In the first year, there is a big emphasis on small group Lawyering Skills classes, which sound like some kind of super power (and probably are). There are a couple of particularly well-regarded programs at JMLS worth considering: the legal writing program was ranked second in the nation in 2013 (holla!), and for those of you looking forward to doing some heavy lifting in areas like patent law (one of the highest growth areas for jobs in law) in your career, the Intellectual Property Law program ranked at an impressive 12th. If you are the type of person whose ambition knows no human bounds, check out the eight LLM masters programs available to JD students to really sink your teeth into a specific area of law, or the five honors programs. Remember that law school is not only about being trapped in the library redefining how much information an outline can hold (even if it is mostly about that); JMLS also expects you to get your hands dirty in the real deal, and offers many clinical and externship opportunities, as well as the usual law school extracurricular competitive fare of moot courts and both scholastic and student organizations.

Next, the fun stuff:

This is not your typical midwestern law school; JMLS is in a great location in one of the biggest cities in the country, so the law school experience here has more in common with urban schools in New York, DC, or Seattle than on the plains of Kansas. The first thing you need to know about Chicago is that it is all about food– in fact, JMLS provides a hefty handbook of restaurants popular with students, like Bar Louie and its ginormous two-hander sandwiches, or Cafe Cito, a casual Cuban joint, but you should feel free to run wild through the many edible options Chi-town has to offer. While you are sampling the metaphorical (or is it?) buffet of Chicago’s dining scene, don’t discount the other culture vulture vittles the city abounds in, such as the Field Museum or the Art Institute of Chicago (think Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). With Chicago’s easily accessible L train public transit system right at your feet, your options are as varied as the wind conditions at the top of the Willis Tower. Speaking of which, Chicago has two other primary motivators besides food, architecture and weather. So, jump on a boat for an official city architecture tour, but check the forecast first. Summers can get up to 90 degrees, and windy city or not, winters are rough. Good thing Chicago has so many excellent sports teams; get down to the local bar and settle in with a beer and the Bears, safe from the vicious winds.

Finally, the after-you-graduate stuff:

If you’re the type of person who wants to go to law school, chances are good that you are also the type of person to start freaking out now about what’s going to happen after you graduate from law school. At the JMLS, they have your anxiety all kinds of covered; you’ll have access to their career services offices where professionals will sit you down and help you figure out what to do after—and how to survive until—graduation. The office provides resources in three categories: job finding, private sector, and public sector information, because there’s nothing law students love more than due diligence. It also runs a blog that gives tips and tricks to current and prospective law students, and you know how we feel about blogs (read: very good, you should definitely come back and read more!).

So, now you know a lot of stuff about the John Marshall Law School… but don’t forget to get out there and check out the school and its many programs on your own. As the largest graduate law school in the Midwest, it has a lot of options for enterprising law students; as a school in Chicago, you’ll never get a better hot dog anywhere. Last but not least, good luck with your search for the perfect school– and remember, we are here if you need us!


Christine Schrader None entered

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