Corporate Lab Represents "Innovative Future for Legal Academy"

Changing Times: A More Innovative Future for Legal Academy

The University of Chicago Law School’s Corporate Lab operates through a partnership with global firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Through the program, students execute transactional projects with in-house legal departments within global corporations such as JPMorgan Chase & Co,, and Microsoft.

The Lab was co-founded by Professor David Zarfes and alum Sean Kramer, now a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP. In reflecting on his experiences as a student Kramer explained, “You can learn more from parsing through the language of one contract than reading though a contracts textbook. The fact that bright and hardworking students have the energy to perform legal work for for-profit clients creates a win-win situation for both the corporations and students alike.”

In commenting on his transition into corporate practice, Kramer shared, “I felt like I had a leg up right off the bat – I was comfortable being able to walk into a meeting to lead a conference call. These are the kind of tasks that require experience and repetition. I was lucky to receive that training during two years of law school.”

The University of Chicago Law School showcases one of the highest corporate law placement rates in the country. The student body has embraced the Corporate Lab platform with enthusiasm, with nearly 1 in 4 law students participating in the Lab. The impact has been significant: with just under 40 clients serviced per quarter, student teams work on nearly 100 discrete matters per term. “It is amazing to watch students dig into the commercial side of any matter,” shares Zarfes, “explaining to clients not only the law behind any issue, but the implications on the client’s core business.”

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