I finally got around to typing up a review of my visit to the University of Chicago. I must say, I was more impressed than I expected to be.
Day 1 (Saturday)
I arrived in Chicago Saturday afternoon and took a cab to the law school. As the other admitted students arrived we hung around and drank and ate fancy finger foods (chips & salsa but also sushi). Once everyone arrived (maybe 100 give or take), we went to the Sears Tower where the Schiff Hardin law firm held a reception for us on the 66th floor. The view was great and it was a nice gathering. Once again more fancy finger foods, though this time we had chicken, shrimp, and such. Both gatherings had plenty of alcohol. Some partners from Schiff Hardin were present and walked around to talk to us. Following the reception some students went back to Hyde Park (where the law school is located) or to their student hosts' places. A little less than half went to a local bar for an after party.
Day 2 (Sunday)
We began the first full day of the visit with lunch and a talk by Assistant U. S. Attorney Lisa Noller. The talk was interesting, but not as informative as it might have been if the audience (now 216 give or take) was smaller and allowed for questions. We were also given spiffy Chicago Law shoulder bags and thumb drives. After lunch we had a town hall meeting with Dean Saul Levmore in the courtroom. Like all the classrooms and the auditorium, the courtroom looked like it had been recently renovated. The seats were comfortable but the courtroom got hot after we had all been sitting in there a while. Dean Levmore spoke well and fielded questions from admitted students. He came across as genuine and spoke positively of the law school while also acknowledging that Chicago is not the right place for some of the people they admitted.
Following the town meeting with Dean Levmore, we attended a mock class with professor Geoffrey Stone where we discussed the Supreme Court's decision in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale. That was fun and quite interesting, though not entirely like a real class since there were 200+ of us and the professor didn't know our names to call on us. After that, we had a financial aid and career session.
After that we went to a "Wine Mess" in the law school lounge. Then we went out to dinner in smaller groups led by student hosts. Later we went to Lucky Strike, a bar with bowling lanes and pool tables. The Law School had reserved a private room for us with more free booze.
Day 3 (Monday)
We began the day with breakfast at the law school. While we were eating, Dean Levmore came and sat down at my table (round table with about 7 admittees). He made some interesting conversation. He asked if any of us had committed any felonies (an unusual conversation starter if I've ever heard one). He managed to get one guy to confess to speeding regularly. For the next several minutes that was discussed in Chicago fashion (considering lots of different hypothetical scenarios and discussing why young people take bigger risks when they arguably have more to lose than an older person in terms of the percentage of their lifespan).
At 10am we attended a fascinating faculty panel discussion entitled "Commander-in-Chief: Presidential power in Times of Conflict and Emergency." Three of the law school's best professors discussed their views on the matter: Cass Sunstein, Eric Posner, and Richard Epstein. After that we broke up into three sections by last name and attended a real law school class. I was fortunate to have the best draw: Epstein's Land Use class. That was the best part of the entire trip. Epstein was brilliant, engaging, and entertaining. It was quite possibly the best single class I've ever attended. Epstein began by giving us a brief summary of what they had covered in the first week of the quarter and then began the class. He made good use of the Socratic method and called on students to state the case under consideration and answer questions. He even called on us admitted students. It was quite fascinating.
After class, we ate lunch and sat with the student organization of our choosing. Following lunch, we attended the annual Faculty/Student Trivia Contest where the student finalists compete against law professors. For the first time in 15 years the professors beat the students. They answered questions in all manner of subject areas, not just the law. The professors were able to name the four noble gasses, define "sin, cosign, and tangent", name who won the second season of Survivor, and a host of other topics.
Lastly, we took a tour of the most popular 1L apartment complex, Regent Park. They offer law students special pricing and access to the exclusive rooftop "Summit Club" reserved for students at the University of Chicago law school, medical school, and business school. It sits on the 38th floor and has a bar area, pool tables, a chess table, and various seating and table areas. It opens onto the roof with more tables and chairs outside where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city and Lake Michigan. The rooms themselves were decent: about the size of what I have now for $300 more per month, which is purportedly $300 - $400 less than the market rate for the same rooms to non-law students. ... After we left the Regents Park they dropped us off at the train station and I rode the "L" to the airport where I caught my flight home.
I was much more impressed than I expected to be. The school sells itself well. The professors were absolutely brilliant and the other current and admitted students were also evidently bright. The library isn't pretty, but it's functional. The classrooms all look good. I was impressed with the 1L summer prospects. I'll let others add their thoughts, but overall it was a great visit. I hope this helps some of you who weren't able to visit. Cheers!