The BA/JD program at Shimer College is a six-year program that allows Shimer students at Shimer College to integrate their Great Books coursework with the JD program at Chicago-Kent School of Law. Under the program, which dates to 2006, students complete their Shimer core curriculum coursework in year 3 and receive their BA in year 4, after completing the first year of the JD program at Chicago-Kent; they then receive their JD in year 6, one year earlier than would normally be the case.
The BA-JD program arises from a tradition of prelaw education at Shimer College dating to the school's earliest years, when it provided early training to noted lawyers including Massachusetts governor Samuel McCall, Evanston mayor Humphrys Miller, and early Nebraska woman lawyer Winona Sawyer. The legal profession has remained a popular career destination throughout Shimer's history; more recent Shimerian lawyers have included Asian American Bar Association president Young Kim and international business attorney Peter Schroth.
- in "Interview with Mohini Lal on Shimer College and the BA/JD program", Samuel Henderson, 2012-05-19:
- When I found Shimer’s early entrant program, it quickly became the education of my dreams: cooperative learning in the Windy City. The BA-to-JD program was the tipping factor: I’ve known since before starting high school that going to law school is something I want to do more than anything else. On the practical side, I have so far skipped a year I would have spent taking filler classes and saved another year’s worth of tuition. Between the two programs, I am able to live where I want to live, learning what I want to know, and go where I want to be, all at a slightly lower interest rate. It’s not a rush, folks: it’s a joyride.
- When I started working out the kinks in the Chicago-Kent enrollment process, Jim Ulrich, Shimer’s registrar, called the law school and (on speakerphone) asked if there were any classes I would be able to take at Chicago-Kent during my undergraduate years. When the registrar said that wasn’t possible, Jim asked what kind of undergraduate courses would be best for preparing for law school. The Chicago-Kent registrar responded, “Well, any sort of classes where analytic thinking is key and where a great deal of writing is necessary.” Jim and I both broke out laughing because that’s essentially the tagline to Shimer. This is about the best place for a pre-law student to go to get those foundational skills for law school.