Back to (Law) School, in the Windy City and the Big Easy


From kindergarten through graduate-degree programs, millions of U.S. students went back to school in September. So did Lawdragon Campus.

We joined pre-law advisers in the Midwest and the South who visited six of the 200-plus American Bar Association-accredited law schools in the United States, rubbing shoulders with members of an entering class that likely continued to shrink on a nationwide basis this year, though initial enrollment tallies aren’t yet available.

Check out the slide show, at left, for photos from our travels. A key follows at the end of this article.

First, our marketing coordinator, Melissa Chan, and I attended the annual meeting of the Midwest Association of Pre-Law Advisors in Chicago, where we toured both the University of Chicago Law School and the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law.

At Chicago Law, we learned that the contemporary-looking glass-walled building was actually designed in 1956 by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, who also created the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.  Trivia tidbit: Chicago Law was the alma mater of fictional private investigator V.I. Warshawski, the heroine of Sara Paretsky novels from “Indemnity Only” to “Hardball” and “Fire Sale.”

Which leads me to the next stop in our itinerary: Melissa and I participated in a murder-mystery dinner at Chicago’s Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel, which hosted the conference. Despite my life-long love of mysteries, I failed to solve the crime. At least, Melissa and I were able to duck out afterward via a hidden staircase that, according to legend, once led to and from a 14th-floor speakeasy operated by Al Capone’s brother.

The conference continued at Chicago-Kent Law, where student ambassadors showed us building highlights including a game room funded by alumni, complete with a Foosball table and a 1980s video-game machine featuring both Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga.

The next week took us to New Orleans for a joint conference of the Southern Association of Pre-Law Advisers and the Southwestern Association of Pre-Law Advisors.

On our first day, we toured Tulane University Law School, which was founded in the mid-19th century, making it one of the country’s oldest law schools. (NOTE: For John Grisham fans, this is the school where “The Pelican Brief” heroine Darby Shaw wrote a paper on the deaths of two U.S. Supreme Court justices that ended up putting her own life in danger. While Grisham himself has a law degree, it’s from Ole Miss, not Tulane.)

The next day, we visited Louisiana State University’s law school, founded in 1906 and the alma mater of former U.S. Sen. Russell Long, and the Southern University Law Center. Both are located in Baton Rouge, the state capital, about an hour’s drive from the Big Easy.

Like all good things, the trip ended too soon: with an 8:45 a.m. flight back to New York on Saturday morning. Try that after a night exploring the French Quarter.


1)   The University of Chicago Law School’s modernist building was designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen.

2)   Chicago Law’s library was updated during a building-wide renovation.

3)   Chicago-Kent Law’s library features a view of the Windy City skyline.

4)   Chicago-Kent Law’s game room, funded by alumni.

5)   The courtyard at Tulane University law school, founded in the mid-19th century.

6)   Tulane Law’s faculty publications display.

7)   Louisiana State University’s Paul Hebert Law Center.

8)   A statue of former U.S. Sen. Russell Long, an alum of LSU Law.

9)   Southern University Law Center

10)  A statue of Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orleans, in New Orleans.

11)   A cemetery with above-ground graves in New Orleans.

 Contact James Langford at (646) 722-2624 or