Michael Turkel, '14

Michael Turkel, ‘14
Bronx, NY
Undergrad: Yeshiva University, ‘11
Major: English with a minor in Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Law School activities/organizations: Students Advisory Committee for Faculty Hiring, Jewish Law Students Association, Student Admissions Committee

One of Michael Turkel’s concerns in selecting a law school had more to do with what he was leaving behind than where he was going.

Though he was moving from New York, a heavily populated urban metropolis, he also was coming from an orthodox Jewish community, a small, close-knit collection of families and individuals. What other place could have those qualities?

Chicago Law, it turns out.

“I quickly realized that I was moving to a community as familial as the one I was leaving in a city with the size and sensibilities of New York,” he said.

Michael has been struck by how inclusive his classmates have been and how easy it has been to get to know his professors. “Sure, they are all scholars at the top of their fields. Sure, they could spend their time and energy with more established people than a bunch of 1Ls,” he said. “But at the Law School, conventional hierarchies are turned on their heads as professors remind us that they are here because they want to spend time with us; they actually enjoy and encourage our company.”

His 1L year has been one of the most exciting times of his life, loaded with ideas and opportunity. “Rare is the moment that 1Ls aren’t being presented with something,” Michael says. He’s not kidding. Whether it’s lively classroom discussions, encouragement and guidance from the Office of Career Services, or classmates organizing fun outings, the first two months of his 1L year have been a busy whirlwind – one he has been happy to join.

Here's one of Michael's memorable experiences from his 1L year:

“Recently a few students and I were having lunch with Professor Douglas Baird, who teaches Contracts. One student asked Professor Baird if he had worked on any bankruptcy cases we would know. Professor Baird mentioned a few very big and familiar cases – taking us all by surprise – but immediately qualified his response by saying he didn’t generally spend time on matters so low on the food chain. Suddenly, it struck me: Professor Baird was spending time with us. We, evidently, were pretty high on the food chain.”