UChicago Law Lingo

CBI? OCI? Bigelow? When you first get to the Law School, you might be confused by the shorthand many of us use to talk about staples of Law School Life. This cheat-sheet will help get you up to speed.

AnnouncementsA publication that contains (just about) all things Chicago Law: history, course descriptions, program requirements and policies, breakdowns of the student body, and more.

Bigelow: All 1Ls take a legal research and writing course called the Bigelow Program, named after former Law School Dean Harry Bigelow. The 1L class is divided into six sections, called “Bigelow Sections,” and each group takes all their courses together. The Bigelow class is taught by a Bigelow Fellow, an academic with a two-year fellowship. Students often refer to papers written for the class as “Bigelows” as well. So, as confusing as it sounds, you might hear sentences such as: “After Bigelow, I have a conference with my Bigelow about my Bigelow.”

Briefs: Daily and weekly lists of Law School events, delivered by the Communications Office via email and on the screens around the building.

Coase LectureA lecture series established in honor of Nobel Prize-winning professor Ronald Coase; features a Law School professor speaking on law and economics.

CBIs, or Chicago’s Best IdeasA lecture series; three or four times a quarter, a professor will discuss his or her works-in-progress. Lunch is provided.

Coffee Mess: A weekly social tradition that brings the Law School community together for coffee, doughnuts, and bagels. The event, held on Wednesday mornings in the Green Lounge, is made possible by a generous endowment.

Dewey LectureA lecture series established in 1981 by the John Dewey Foundation to honor the American philosopher and educator John Dewey. The guest lecturer speaks about a topic related to law and philosophy.

Elements, or Elements of the Law: A class students take the first quarter of their 1L year that introduces them to legal theory and philosophy, as well as the most common methods of legal analysis. The course is unique to the Law School.

Fulton LectureAlumnus Maurice Fulton, ’42, and his wife Muriel support this annual lecture, which brings a prominent legal historian to the Law School.

Fulton Room: The Maurice and Muriel Fulton Room is located on the west side of the third floor of the library. Look for red chairs and shelves of magazines. The Fultons thought our students needed more well-rounded reading material and donated money for a collection of magazines on non-legal topics. There is also a Fulton-funded DVD collection, in the Reserve Room near the second floor reference desk.

The Glass Menagerie: The annual student and faculty facebook. The name dates to 1962, when the Law Students Association published a collection of caricatures of faculty drawn by David Rothman, ’62. The publication was called The Glass Menagerie, a reference to the Tennessee Williams play and the then-new, all-glass library building that housed faculty offices. (A menagerie is where animals are kept and trained for exhibition, such as in a circus.) Today’s Glass Menagerie has photographs, not caricatures, and is produced by administrators.

Greenberg Seminars, or Greenbergs: One-credit courses taught by two or three faculty members and hosted in their homes. These popular seminars focus on far-ranging topics, usually touching on the academic expertise and special interests of the faculty hosts. Acceptance is determined by a bid process.

Students and a professor interact in the Green Lounge
Chatting in the Green Lounge

Green Lounge: The Law School’s main social hub, named for Harold Green, ’28. Coffee Mess, Wine Mess, and special events like the Entering Students’ Dinner take place there. The lounge also is home to the Law School Café and a foosball table.

JSDThe Doctor of Jurisprudence degree program is for students who already have earned the basic and master’s level degrees in law and wish to pursue academic careers, usually in a foreign country where a PhD is required to be a law professor. JSD dissertations usually take between three and four years to complete.

Kapnick Leadership Development Initiative: A series of robust workshops designed to foster self-awareness and lay the groundwork for enduring leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills. Launched in 2014, the program is mandatory for all 1Ls and runs during orientation.

Kirkland and Ellis Scholars: Honor given to the top 5 percent of the 1L and 2L class. By graduation, 10 percent of the class earns the honor.

Law Journals: The Law School has three student-run journals: the University of Chicago Law Reviewthe Chicago Journal of International Lawand the University of Chicago Legal ForumStudents are eligible to serve on the staffs their 2L or 3L years, and the editorial boards are made up of 3L students. Faculty oversee the publication of the Supreme Court Reviewthe Journal of Law and Economicsand the Journal of Legal Studies.

Legal Profession: General term for the Law School’s ethics courses. Students must take one before graduating; completing the requirement by autumn quarter of 3L year is encouraged.

LLMOne-year advanced study program for students who have already completed the basic law degree in the U.S. or another country. Our LLM program is designed for international students who wish to get a broad introduction to U.S. law.

LSA, or Law Students Association: Student government at the Law School. LSA members organize social events, bring student concerns to the administration, and participate on key committees.

Midway DinnerHeld across the Midway each February to celebrate the midway point of the 2L class’ time at the Law School and to remind students to take advantage of all the University has to offer. In recent years, the event has taken place at Ida Noyes Hall.

OCI/OCS: On-campus interviewing (OCI) is managed by the Office of Career Services (OCS). Fall OCI is for 2Ls and 3Ls. Winter OCI is for 1Ls. Legal employers (mostly law firms) come to campus to conduct screening interviews. OCS prepares students for these interviews in a number of ways.

A twisting bronze statue radiating in different directions, with thin, angular planes and hyperbolic curves
The Pevsner

The Pevsner: The informal name of the sculpture in the Law School’s reflecting pool. The real name is “Construction in Space in the Third and Fourth Dimension,” by Antoine Pevsner.

RAs, or Research Assistants: The faculty hire research assistants each year. Most students approach faculty about the opportunity, but Kate Shim in the administration and budget office also collects a list of faculty seeking RAs.

Schwartz Lecture: The Ulysses and Marguerite Schwartz Memorial Lecture is given by a distinguished lawyer or teacher whose experience is in academia or public service.

Wine Mess: Both an event and a student organization. The Wine Mess Committee organizes a Thursday or Friday “happy hour” at the Law School. Families are welcome.

WIP, or Work-in-Progress: Each Thursday, a member of the faculty presents his or her work-in-progress to colleagues over lunch. A lively discussion about weaknesses in the arguments follows.