Even as a PT option, Kent is widely considered much better than those other schools. And it's not even a knock on the others; it's just that Kent is close to UIUC in terms of prestige...not quite there, but well-respected. And it is ranked much higher than its USNWR ranking in almost every other poll (about top-30!)
It shouldn't even be a hard choice. Take Kent PT. You can transfer to FT after a year, if that's the way you want to go. Plus, more and more students are going BigLaw from Kent if that's your goal. More top Chicago firms employ kent grads than those from any other school, including U-Chicago or NU. This is not to say Kent is better than NU or Chicago, because those grads tend to leave Illinois at a higher rate. But with so many Kent grads at the firms, the networks will be there. It's a great education: tops in IP and writing.
Sorry for using you as a punching bag but...
I'm sick of seeing schools recommended on the sole basis of their rankings. It's an appeal to authority, which is an inherently flawed ranking to begin with. 50-75% (depending on your P.O.V.) is based on the quality of the entering class and the opinion of the school's graduates, and the best students go to the highest ranked schools because the highest paying jobs cherry pick from those schools because they get the best students... it's a self-fulfilling circle jerk and the rankings have very very little to say about the acqual quality of the schools themselves. Yale could physically beat it's students on a regular basis but as long as the 180 LSATs with 4.0 GPAs go there to get the 150k/yr jobs on graduation it'll get ranked highly by the USNWR.
I'd like to see more substance to these recommendations. You're lawyers (or wanna-be lawyers for Christ sakes). Back it up with something more quantifiable. Kent is highly regarded for IP, so is Depaul and John Marshall. For Kent being so highly regarded in IP/IT law, their website is rather anemic in playing this up. Whereas at least DePaul has a fairly impressive entry with their CIPLIT program and JMLS puts in an effort with their CITPL program. One thing I've noticed is that Kent seems to be far more into the Bio- area of IP law, and focused more on technology in IP law. Whereas DePaul is more into IP law regarding creative works and information technology issues, whereas JMLS is more focused (and judging by their past two years of class offerings) much more in information technology issues. I see the OP has a biotech background so that would be a strong reasoning for me to look into Kent over the other schools.
I have acceptances to the four Chicago part-time schools, with varying scholarships. My initial reaction to Kent was one of joy. But, I'm finding it hard to justify, in my position as a non-trad, to take on additional 50k debt & interest over and above the base amount of debt I'd take on to cover that which I won't pay out of pocket during the year, when all I get is prestige. Especially since I am interested more in IT law than IP law, and privacy issues and Cybercrime. I'm not convinced the school offers me anything more than a designer-brand law degree, when I can pass the bar and practice law and even get a more focused education in my desired area of specialty for a far more reasonable cost. And frankly, looking at the employment prospects of the four schools, Kent doesn't seem to offer a significant enough bonus. Perhaps if I were 21, an additional expectation of a 10-15 thousand a year would be worth while over the course of a career, but that is also going to largely even out after 5-10 years and salary will become largely dependent on skill and ability than school.
Sadly though I am also caught up in the whole rankings game. I'm having a tough tough time convincing myself that these lower ranked schools really are the better solution for me, when I too want to wear that designer-label on my diploma.