No offense to John Marshall Law School which has produced some of the best and most successful lawyers in Chicago, but it's generally regarded as the worst law school in the City behind U of C, Northwestern and then the triumvirate of Loyola, DePaul and my alma mater, Chicago-Kent. The first two are as elite as any law school in the country. The last three are just a hair above Marshall and have also produced some amazing attorneys (present company excluded).
The order could dramatically change as UIC is in talks to merge with Marshall and create the first City based public law school. This isn’t the first time the two have sat down for preliminary discussions about merging the two colleges. In 1998, the schools were in discussions, but failed to come to a compromise on the exact vision of what the newly merged law school would look like. This time it seems closer to happening.
Currently, tuition and books at John Marshall is bordering on $50,000.00 a year. While UIC doens't have a law school, under graduate tuition plus books costs are around $15,000.00 a year for in-state students. If this merger goes through, students could potentially see a $35,000 reduction in law school fees, which hypothetically could make UIC the most popular and sought out law school for new students. With the cost of law school tuition sky rocketing, there is no doubt this could be the merger of the future.
I for one can tell you that while Kent was a fine school, I would gladly spend 100k less over three years and come out of it with a John Marshall degree. Once you get that first job, your school doesn't have nearly as big of an impact as what you do in the work place.
Does this all sound too good to be true, especially because it's loaded with common sense? The answer is yes and the reality is that even if there's a merger, it likely wont' benefit students as much as it should. That's because tuition at the University of Illinois Law School is over $35,000.00 a year. I can't imagine they'd have their Chicago counterpart be cheaper.
It's really unfortunate that the powers that be won't recognize that if they really want to make Marshall the #3 choice in Chicago and get "better" applicants, that coming in at a number around $25,000 a year, which is similar to what University of Arizona charges and slightly more than a decent school like the University of Georgia, would be the right path.
Law school is so expensive right now that unless you are a trust fund kid or really excel, it can put you in to huge debt. Not that anyone would mourn less lawyers, but it's not a good thing if only rich people can have a shot at a legal career.