LLM Admissions Process
Each year the Law School receives approximately 900 applications for the 70 positions in the LL.M. program. In recent years virtually all of the students admitted to the LL.M. program have been graduates of foreign law schools. This is a reflection not of a bias in favor of foreign law school graduates but rather a judgment by the Graduate Studies Committee that the Law School's small size and lack of graduate programs specializing in specific substantive areas make it unsuitable for most American law school graduates thinking of a second degree. Exceptions may be made for American law graduates whose research interests strongly correlate with those of a member of the faculty, and for whom graduate studies at this law school seem to be particularly appropriate.
Admission decisions for the LL.M. program are based primarily on two factors: 1) the ability of the applicant to flourish in a demanding academic program as evidenced by the prior academic and professional record, and English proficiency; and 2) the extent to which the applicant's personal characteristics indicate that he/she will be active and engaged in the intellectual and social life of the Law School.
A word about professional record. In situations where we are considering applicants who are currently in school or are recent graduates, there understandably may not be much of a professional career to consider. Our faculty often indicate that they appreciate the perspective which experienced lawyers can bring to the discussions in their classes. As a consequence, the Graduate Studies Committee tends to favor candidates who have been working for a while before they come to Chicago. This factor will be balanced with our desire to have a variety of countries represented in the class. For example, there are certain countries in Europe where most of our applicants do not have extensive work experience so that becomes less important to us. As a general proposition, it is fair to say that the Graduate Studies Committee prefers experienced applicants from a country if they are available in the applicant pool of that country.
Applicants sometime use their personal statements to indicate how much they want to attend Chicago. The phrase that is often used is that Chicago in "my dream school" or something similar. While we appreciate the effort to convey passion about attending Chicago, please understand that it is not necessary. We assume that most of our applicants have strong interest in attending the Law School. Otherwise, they probably would not have applied in the first place. We also understand that most applicants know to apply to several schools beside Chicago, given the competition for admission here and elsewhere. Our Graduate Studies Committee realizes that it is impossible to differentiate applicants on their stated desire to be admitted so that is not something that is generally considered in the admissions process.