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The SCALES Student Experience


Success in SCALES is largely conditioned upon the candidate’s progress throughout the program from start to finish. The SCALES faculty will provide candidates with feedback regarding their performance throughout the program with the expectation that candidates will demonstrate considerable improvement.

Without question, our SCALES expectations and standards are demanding. Some candidates enter the program without a realistic view of the level of excellence and preparedness required to succeed. Historically, some candidates have felt the academic requirements were too arduous or unattainable. But nothing could be further from the case. The study of law is wrought with demanding and unforgiving challenges. SCALES is no exception. It is, therefore, incumbent upon every candidate to make wise choices regarding their time and work ethic, and to arrive for SCALES fully prepared to exhibit the requisite dedication and competency necessary to succeed in the program.

Every task, assignment, and assessment has a purpose and is crucial to the faculty’s ability to assess the candidate’s potential to succeed in our JD program. For this reason, candidates must complete 100% of all SCALES assignments and assessments to be considered for JD admission.

Student Experience FAQ's Heading link

SCALES Academics Heading link

To gain admission into UIC Law’s JD program, SCALES candidates must “pass” their Legal Writing course and Academic Skills course, and achieve at least a 2.67 cumulative GPA in the Special Issues in Contracts Law and Special Issues in Property Law Grade courses. The grades candidates receive in SCALES are used strictly to determine eligibility for admission. SCALES grades do not result in the award of academic credit or academic honors.

In Academic Skills, candidates are introduced to federal and state court systems; various categories and sources of legal authority; foundational legal principles; and basic lawyering skills, i.e., note taking, outlining, case briefing, stress management, and legal reasoning. Candidates are required to demonstrate proficiency in:

  1. Identifying the legal issues, rules, material facts, and reasoning courts employ to render legal opinions;
  2. Differentiating between factual disputes, definitional disputes, and consistency disputes relative to legal opinions;
  3. Negotiating multiple-choice and essay exam questions under time constraints;
  4. Employing analogical reasoning; and
  5. Demonstrating attention to detail and precision when analyzing legal rules and hypothetical scenarios.

In Legal Writing, candidates are introduced to the tools used to conduct legal analysis and research. Candidates are required to demonstrate competency in analyzing complex fact patterns using legal rules gleaned from a myriad of sources, including case law, statutes, administrative regulations, and secondary legal authorities; draft responsive and persuasive legal arguments; and articulate ideas in essays, paragraphs, and memoranda with clarity and sound legal reasoning.

In Special Issues in Contracts, candidates are introduced to various jurisprudential principles that underlie certain types of contracts, explains some public policies that influence contractual relations, and examines some difficulties parties may encounter when attempting to enforce certain contractual arrangements. Before each class, candidates are required to prepare written or typed case briefs for assigned cases and develop a sound understanding of the reading assignment.

Candidates are required to demonstrate:

  1. Improved analytical skills and proficiency constructing persuasive legal arguments;
  2. An aptitude for creative analysis and original thought;
  3. The capacity to articulate legal ideas, a court’s legal reasoning, and complex fact patterns with increased confidence and efficiency;
  4. Proficiency crafting legal counterarguments;
  5. Sound active-listening skills, as shown by their responses to the professor’s questioning or arguments presented by their colleagues during class; and
  6. Sound multiple-choice, short-answer, and essay exam skills.

In Special Issues in Property Law, candidates are introduced to various types of property rights and interests; some of the legal principles underlying how property rights are acquired, transferred, and possessed; landlord and tenant law; and how public policy and social morality may influence property law.

Candidates must evince:

  1. Refined analytical skills, as demonstrated by their case brief presentations during class;
  2. An aptitude for creative analysis and original thought;
  3. The capacity to articulate legal ideas, arguments, and complex fact patterns with increased confidence and efficiency;
  4. Proficiency developing legal arguments;
  5. Sound active-listening skills, as demonstrated by their response to the professor’s questioning and arguments presented by fellow candidates during class; and
  6. Proficiency answering complex multiple-choice and essay exam questions.

SCALES Grading Process Heading link

In Special Issues in Contracts Law and in Special Issues in Property Law, grades are assigned as follows:
A+ 4.01
A 4.00
A- 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.0
B- 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.0
C- 1.67
D 1.00
F 0.00
WF 0.00