Dean Schill on Legal Leadership in University of Chicago Magazine

Legal leadership
Michael H. Schill
University of Chicago Magazine
May 29, 2014

The past several years have seen significant change for the legal profession and for American law schools. The fallout from the Great Recession substantially reduced the demand for new lawyers and, in some instances, led to dislocation for seasoned attorneys as well. The number of applicants to law schools declined by more than 38 percent from 2010 to 2013. Many law schools responded by slashing the size of their entering classes, reducing faculty hiring, and, in some cases, radically altering their curricula to focus on skills that they perceived would have value in the marketplace.

I am pleased to report that the University of Chicago Law School has not experienced these types of pressures. The entering credentials of our classes have hit record levels; the number of applications, while decreasing modestly for a few years, has started to grow again; and our 97 percent employment rate is among the top two or three in the nation. Nevertheless, we are not resting on our laurels. Over the past several years we have carefully rethought our curricular and cocurricular programs in an effort to prepare our students for challenging and fulfilling careers.

One thing that will never change at the Law School is our brand: we have always been known for our rigorous analytical education, for our relentless commitment to ideas, and for producing the best-trained legal professionals in the nation. All of that will remain as we add opportunities for students to gain additional core competencies that will prepare them to become leaders in a wider variety of professions.

Michael H. Schill