Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

The information on this page was provided by the law school.

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs


Introduction

Founded in 1859, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law advances the understanding of law and produces graduates prepared to excel in a rapidly changing world.

Northwestern Law uniquely blends a rigorous intellectual environment with a collegial and supportive community. Our students have access to the most interdisciplinary research faculty in the nation. We also have one of the lowest student-to-faculty ratios (8:1), so our students enjoy an unusual amount of individual access to these scholars, even after graduation. The Law School’s lakefront location in the heart of downtown Chicago provides a wealth of part-time employment options for students while in school, and a spectacular setting in which to study law. Northwestern Law’s proximity to courts, commerce, and public interest activities enables students to experience the practice of law, as well as its theory, in one of the most vibrant legal and business communities in the world.

Enrollment and Admission

Northwestern Law’s close-knit community fosters collaborative learning, which enables students to develop outstanding leadership, team, organizational, and professional skills. We seek students with a wide variety of experience and backgrounds, and our Admissions Committee considers many factors beyond test scores and GPAs when evaluating applicants. Currently, approximately 90 percent of entering JD students have at least one year of full-time work experience. Through a unique interviewing program, Northwestern Law ensures it enrolls students with strong academic credentials as well as the interpersonal skills and maturity needed to thrive in the Law School community.

Faculty

Northwestern Law has a rich tradition of faculty excellence. Throughout our history, our faculty members have been engaged in major public policy debates, and that tradition is alive and well today. Northwestern Law has faculty addressing and speaking out on cutting-edge legal issues ranging from medical malpractice reform to the emergence of the constitutionality of health care reform legislation to intellectual property’s transformation in a digital age, and much more.

Northwestern Law students have access to the most interdisciplinary research faculty in the nation. We have faculty working at the intersection of law and many other disciplines, including economics, psychology, philosophy, political science, sociology, and history. We have distinguished legal theorists as well as one of the strongest cohorts of empirical scholars in any law school.

Together, our faculty members combine to form what is, we believe, the most eclectic and balanced mix of legal scholars among our nation’s law schools. Their diverse mix of expertise and research methodologies allows them to bring a unique perspective to both their scholarship and teaching.

Curriculum

In the rigorous first year of study, Northwestern Law provides a superior foundation in legal reasoning, analysis, and writing, as well as a thorough understanding of the structures and policies of the law. Communication, teamwork, cross-training in business, and experiential learning are also hallmarks of Northwestern Law. The Law School’s size enables students to build one-on-one relationships with professors, with required first-year courses taught in sections of approximately 60 students.

The JD program requires 85 semester hours of credit. The broad and flexible curriculum gives upper-level students the opportunity to specialize in particular areas, to pursue advanced research in legal theory, or to pursue a range of hands-on simulation, externship, and live-client opportunities. The Owen L. Coon/James A. Rahl Senior Research Program enables third-year students to do individual research under the supervision of a professor, using library, field, and interdisciplinary research methods.

Special Degree and International Programs

A combined program in law and business, jointly offered with Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, enables students to earn both a JD from the Law School and an MBA degree from Kellogg after only three years of study. Students may also enroll in a highly integrated six-year JD-PhD program with the law school and one of the graduate school departments.

Northwestern Law is the only top law school in the country to offer a four-year joint-degree program leading to both a JD and an LLM in International Human Rights (JD-LLM IHR). JD-LLM IHR students receive a thorough grounding in the norms and mechanisms of international human rights law and international criminal law and are required to complete a semester-long externship with one of a number of designated international and hybrid criminal tribunals, foreign supreme courts, and international human rights organizations.

Students who wish to specialize in the study of tax law can earn an LLM in Taxation or pursue a JD and an LLM in Taxation at the same time. Students educated outside the United States can earn an LLM through a 9-month program of advanced study. In addition, international lawyers have the option to earn an LLM in 15 weeks over the summer in Northwestern Law’s accelerated Executive LLM-Chicago program. Legal and business professionals abroad can earn an LLM degree from Northwestern through our Executive LLM Programs in Seoul, South Korea; Madrid, Spain; and Tel Aviv, Israel.

Northwestern Law offers a unique Master of Science in Law (MSL) degree designed specifically for professionals with backgrounds in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) and medicine who wish to study intellectual property and patent design, business law and entrepreneurship, or regulatory analysis and strategy.

Clinical Programs

In Northwestern Law’s comprehensive clinical program, students learn strong litigation and negotiation skills and gain direct experience representing clients and reforming laws. The innovative simulation-based curriculum gives students the skills they need to negotiate and communicate effectively, solve problems, prepare briefs, examine witnesses, present evidence, and argue cases.

Housing more than 20 clinics within 13 centers, the Bluhm Legal Clinic is widely recognized as the best legal clinic facility in the country. The clinic centers are nationally recognized for their direct involvement in legal reform. They include

  • Appellate Advocacy Center
  • Center for Criminal Defense
  • Center for Externships
  • Center for International Human Rights
  • Center on Negotiation and Mediation
  • Center on Wrongful Convictions
  • Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth
  • Children and Family Justice Center
  • Civil Litigation Center
  • Environmental Advocacy Center
  • Fred Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy
  • Investor Protection Center
  • Roderick MacArthur Justice Center

Students represent underserved clients as well as challenge the fairness of our legal institutions and propose solutions for reform. Working in teams, they assist small business owners and prepare cases in juvenile justice, immigration and asylum, and criminal matters. In addition to fine-tuning their skills as advocates, they often effect change in the law and legal institutions.

Additionally, the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center (DPELC), originally founded as the Small Business Opportunity Center more than 13 years ago, created one of the first programs in the United States to provide intensive, hands-on training for students who want to be transactional lawyers or founders of start-up companies. Since that time the DPELC has served hundreds of entrepreneurs while educating future lawyers about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial thinking through a variety of traditional, clinical, and simulation-based course offerings, a marquee annual conference, a speaker series, and workshops and outreach efforts in the entrepreneurship community.

Student Activities

Northwestern Law students take an intense and energetic interest in their community and education. Six scholarly journals are available for research, writing, and editing. Students automatically belong to the Student Bar Association, which gives them a voice in curriculum and administration, and they have an opportunity to participate in more than 50 student organizations. Our students also enjoy Chicago’s sophisticated yet friendly atmosphere, along with its world-class cultural, sports, and entertainment offerings. Northwestern’s 20-acre Chicago campus is nestled between the shores of Lake Michigan, the energy of Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile, and the elegant Gold Coast residential area.

Library and Facilities

The Pritzker Legal Research Center combines outstanding personalized service by dedicated librarians and staff with access to a wide range of law-related electronic resources and use of legal information from a rich, print historical collection. It also provides students access to the 3.7 million volumes of the combined Northwestern University libraries.

Our modern facilities and recent additions support collaboration and interaction. Wireless technology is available throughout the law school, and recent renovations include more than 10 state-of-the-art classrooms and seminar rooms, as well as expanded student study spaces with videoconferencing technology.

Designed specifically as a teaching law office, Northwestern Law’s 22,000-square-foot Bluhm Legal Clinic space includes an open work area for students that offers spectacular views of Lake Michigan and Navy Pier, a number of meeting and conference rooms, a glass-walled training room equipped with smart technology, and a student teleconferencing room.

Career Services

The Center for Career Strategy and Advancement proactively cultivates relationships with potential employers while assisting students in focusing their goals and developing short- and long-term career strategies. Traditionally, more than 600 national employers recruit our students. Nearly 75 percent of the recruiters are based in regions outside the Midwest.

Expenses and Financial Aid

Northwestern Law administers an extensive program of grants and scholarships, all of which are awarded on a combined basis of merit and financial need. These awards are available through endowed funds, gifts from alumni, and general funds from the university. Detailed instructions and forms for completing the financial aid application can be found on our website.

For graduates who accept lower-paying public interest jobs and have substantial education debt, Northwestern Law offers an innovative Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), developed and revised by a group of students, administrators, and faculty. Our current LRAP will allow many Northwestern Law graduates who remain in public service work for 10 years not to use any of their own funds for federal education debt repayment.

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at Northwestern:

3.57 to 3.92

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Northwestern:

165 to 171

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Northwestern:

3.57 to 3.92

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Northwestern:

165 to 171

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Northwestern:

3.57 to 3.92

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Northwestern:

165 to 171

120
135
150
165
180

Contact Information

375 East Chicago Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60611-3069,
United States