A look back at 125 years of distictive legal education at Chicago-Kent.
For 125 years, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law has offered a distinctive legal education. Today, Chicago-Kent College of Law has solidified its reputation from its earliest days as a law school known for innovation and diversity. Established by a group of law clerks with the desire to formalize their education, the Chicago College of Law held evening classes with Justice Thomas Moran and Justice Joseph Meade Bailey in their courthouse chambers. Meanwhile, Kent College of Law, named for Chancellor James B. Kent, author of the influential publication Commentaries on American Law formed. In 1900, the two colleges merged to form Chicago-Kent College of Law.
Historically a leader in educating minority and female students, Chicago-Kent graduated the first African-American woman admitted to the Illinois bar, and the second woman of color admitted to practice law in the United States in 1894. Although the law school has had a few homes in its 125 years, one of its first was located at 116 North Michigan Avenue, during which time the Chicago-Kent Review, a precursor to the Chicago-Kent Law Review, began regular publication. In 1924, Chicago-Kent College of Law purchased the building at 10 North Franklin Street, which would be its home for the next half century. In 1969, Chicago-Kent merged with Illinois Institute of Technology, making it the first American law school to incorporate computer technology into legal education, through its affiliation with the technical university. This affiliation has enabled Chicago-Kent to stay in the forefront of legal education.
Always innovating, the law school initiated the first fee-generating law school clinic in the United States in 1976 as a way for students to receive hands-on legal experience in a realistic law firm environment. In the midst of the clinic opening, the law school relocated to its next location, 77 South Wacker Drive. Within those walls, Chicago-Kent introduced its landmark legal writing program, the first three-year program in legal research, writing, and analysis at an American law school. The program remains a model nationwide, and one of the hallmarks of the Chicago-Kent education.
The next generation of the Chicago-Kent alumni would call a new location home, when the law school opened its doors at 565 West Adams Street in 1992. Recognized as the law school of the future at its dedication, the facility has welcomed more than seven thousand students over the past twenty years while serving as a launching ground for numerous academic programs and clinical experiences, as well as reinforcing Chicago-Kent's distinctive legal education. Building on an outstanding reputation in intellectual property law, Chicago-Kent created the first LLM program in international intellectual property in the United States in 2003.
In recent years, Chicago-Kent has made landmark strides in advocacy competitions, and in 2008 became the first law school to win the National Trial Competition and the National Moot Court Competition in the same year. The moot court team also won the championship in 2009, making Chicago-Kent the first law school in more than thirty years to win the competition two years in a row. In addition to outstanding student successes, Chicago-Kent faculty continue to pioneer new areas of research and legal scholarship, and develop programs that address public needs for legal information. In 2010, the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States, or ISCOTUS, was established at Chicago-Kent, anchored by the Oyez Project, an extensive multimedia archive of all audio recorded in the Supreme Court of the United States since October 1955. The Oyez Project makes this audio available online and on mobile devices as a vital learning tool, all while promoting Chicago-Kent to users worldwide.
In 2013, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law celebrates 125 years of distinctive legal education, a time to commemorate these and many more moments of distinction throughout its proud history.
Run time: 5:26
IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, "IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law: Past" (2013). 125th Anniversary Celebration Videos. 3.