The Chicago Program

The Chicago Program offers semester-long Chicago-based courses and events for interested third-year students.

Taught by leading practitioners and College faculty, courses are taught in the Illini Center in downtown Chicago, The Chicago Bar Association, and in the offices of several preeminent law firms, including Winston & Strawn, Foley & Lardner, Steptoe & Johnson, and Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella.

Events and lectures are open to all third-year students, offering fantastic opportunities to network with the College’s more than 4,000 Chicago-based alumni. Launched in 2012, the Chicago Program is designed to enrich the College’s curriculum, expand professional opportunities for students, and involve alumni and other practitioners more closely in the College’s educational mission.

The Program has four principal objectives:

  • to provide enhanced skills-related training;
  • to broaden exposure to specialized areas of legal practice;
  • to orient students to the global legal market; and
  • to facilitate connections between students, alumni, and prospective employers in Chicago, the nation, and the world.


Professors are College of Law faculty and leading practitioners predominately from Chicago-area law firms, corporations, government agencies, and public interest organizations. They offer real-world experience and advice to students, helping the transition from law student to lawyer.

The innovative curriculum engages students with insight into timely and relevant areas of legal practice as well as practical skills training essential to new practicing lawyers.

Students network with professors, panelists, legal professionals, and the College’s Chicago-based alumni at program events and lectures.

The flexible schedule allows students to work part-time during the week, providing the opportunity for students to start post-graduation jobs early; intern with firms, government agencies, and judges to gain valuable experience; and interview with prospective employers.

Additional Chicago Opportunities

Corporate Counsel Practicum

Second- and third-year students are able to gain work experience at in-house legal departments  in the Chicago area, at organizations such as Aon, Baxter, Gold Coast Bank, and Globetrotters Engineering Corporation. They spend time in the classroom learning about topics critical to in-house lawyers, such as corporate governance and litigation management, and then have field placements with in-house legal departments. Depending upon the number of hours worked, students are eligible to earn academic credit.

Professional Experience Day

Through a college-wide initiative, 1L and LLM students participate in a class-wide visit to Chicago, where they receive an early and unique introduction to the practice of law. Students visit or meet with attorneys from leading Am Law 250 firms, judges, small practices, governmental agencies, and public interest organizations across one of the nation’s most complex and vast legal communities. 

First Look Networking Reception

First-year law students are able to meet and network with alumni and recruiters from many law firms that will be recruiting on campus the following autumn.

Careers in Public Service Evening

An annual event in Chicago, students interested in pursuing public service have the opportunity to connect with alumni working in government and public interest.