SIU School of Law - Lesar Law Building

Southern Illinois University School of Law

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

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs

SIU prides itself on being a collaborative, tight-knit community that allows you to thrive. Through relationships, experiences, and connections, the School of Law opens doors so you can navigate a career on your terms.

Carbondale is where education, culture, and nature come together. With the Shawnee National Forest as its backdrop, our neck of the woods is unique in many ways. Come and see for yourself!

Learn more about SIU LAW

The JD Program

The Juris Doctor (JD) degree is a post-baccalaureate program designed for those who wish to practice law. Traditionally, the 90-credit hour program takes three years to complete. Students who enroll in two continuous summer sessions may be eligible to graduate in two and one-half years. This program is a full-time, day-time program with fall admission only. This program is fully accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. The School of Law does not offer a formal part-time program.  

Our JD program selectively admits a small class of students each year, so you each get the personal attention you deserve. SIU Law focuses on taking the theoretical and turning it into what works. You’ll master theory, but you’ll also learn to understand that theory will only take you so far. To go the distance, you’ll develop a skill set that you’ll never stop adapting—skills that are in short supply yet in great demand.

Our curriculum equips you for a career in any environment—from a legal aid office to a large urban law firm, from a corporate boardroom to a government agency.

Learn more about the JD program at SIU LAW

Public Interest and Private Externships

Students who enroll in the Public Interest Externship will work in a publicly funded law office which provides public "service" type legal assistance. These include State's Attorney offices, Public Defender offices, Legal Service offices, private law firms, and offices associated with a public university that have licensed attorneys on staff, such as the SIU Legal Counsel, SIU Student Attorney, or the SIU Athletic Department. 

As students work in law offices or a judge's office they will learn real-world practical experiences. Students are able to work in legal offices throughout America where they can get credit and be paid if the job is a paying position. Students can get as many as 6 credits for working in a semester in a legal environment. 

For every 1 credit, a student must work 42.5 hours. For example, if a student wants to earn 6 credits they must work 255 hours. Multiply 42.5 times the number of credits desired.

Judicial Externships

The Judicial Externship Clinic provides a unique opportunity for law students to learn about the legal system by working for a sitting judge. While experiences vary from chamber to chamber, most placements allow Externs to hone their research and writing skills while learning how judges make decisions and observing a wide range of courtroom proceedings.


Our students begin to grow into their roles as expert communicators, negotiators, and advocates as participants in a variety of hands-on learning opportunities, including our award-winning clinics. Serving residents in a 13-county area in southern Illinois, our legal clinics offer students the opportunity to work closely with clinical faculty while representing clients in a variety of cases.

Metro East Criminal Justice Experiential Learning Program

Third-year students from the Southern Illinois University School of Law live and take classes on the Southwestern Illinois Justice and Workforce Development Campus while working at various state and federal offices.

In the semester-long Metro East Criminal Justice Experiential Learning Program, students gain immersive experiences in the justice system, and the community benefits from the legal services the students provide under the supervision of practicing attorneys. In accordance with Supreme Court Rule 711, students will make court appearances, counsel clients, negotiate settlements and prepare documents.

The program provides a unique opportunity for SIU Law to collaborate with other campus tenants, including the Illinois State Police Forensic Institute, the Southern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission, a police training academy offered by Southwestern Illinois College, and other nonprofit organizations.

Student Life


A majority of our students elect to live off-campus in Carbondale or other surrounding communities such as Cambria, Carterville, Herrin, Murphysboro, Marion and Anna-Jonesboro.

The Office of Admissions has compiled a list of off-campus property managers to assist in your search. For information about on-campus housing for graduate/professional students, visit University Housing at:

Student Organizations

The School of Law currently has twenty student organizations for students to pick from including: 

  • Asian American Law Student Association
  • Black Law Student Association
  • Christian Legal Society
  • Law School Democrats
  • Environmental Law Society 
  • The Federalist Society
  • Mindfulness in Law Society
  • Hispanic Latinx Law Student Association
  • If/when/how: Lawyers for Reproductive Justice
  • Intellectual Property Society
  • International/Immigration Law Society
  • Military Law
  • Mock Trial Society
  • Parents Attending Law School 
  • OUTlaw
  • Phi Delta Phi 
  • Student Bar Association 
  • Social Justice Initiative
  • Sports Lawyers Association
  • Women's Law Forum

Student and Family Support Services

The School of Law Office of Student Services provides services and support for students as they navigate their way through law school. We are committed to your success and well-being. Our office serves as the primary liaison between students and administration at SIU School of Law and the primary resource for information about student services.  We administer or provide access to programs and information concerning campus life, special academic programs, disabilities, student organizations and publications, personal problems, and community concerns.  

Campus video tours

Learn more about the following through video tours:

  • Location
  • Campus Resources
  • Explore Southern Illinois
  • Alumni
  • Careers
  • Experiential Learning
  • JD Degree
  • Supportive Community
  • Programs

SIU Carbondale

The School of Law is located on the campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, a 147-year-old university with a tradition of excellence as well as a diverse, multicultural student body of approximately 11,000. Carbondale, a community of 21,000 people, is one of the most scenic areas of Illinois.

Students at SIU School of Law enjoy the advantages that come with a university that is a major research institution. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognizes SIU Carbondale as a Research University: High Research Activity, the second highest tier.

Career Placement and Bar Passage

Southern Illinois University School of Law offers Career Services to it’s students. Students can participate in On Campus Interviews (OCI), resume drops, and employment fairs. SIU LAW uses the 12Twenty platform to post jobs, schedule OCIs, and keep student employment records. Career Services also offers panel discussions on differing employment opportunities available to students and graduates.

SIU School of Law is celebrating its 50 year anniversary, with a proud heritage of serving the public good in Southern Illinois.  Our school has produced thousands of licensed attorneys, and each class has exceeded the ABA required pass rate within two years of graduation.  We are continuing on an upward trajectory with passage rates, having identified barriers to success, and putting a plan of action in place to overcome any obstacle to first-time passage.  Our academic support programming provides support to students from the time they matriculate until they are licensed to practice law.

Learn more about career placement at SIU LAW

Tuition and Aid

Expense Cost
Expected Cost of Attendance

Financial support from the State of Illinois and our “Pay It Forward” pledge allows graduates of the SIU School of Law to enjoy an average debt load that is below the national law school average. In fact, SIU Law was ranked 16 out of 193 law schools for average debt incurred at graduation by US News in their 2022 Best Law Schools rankings.

Learn more about tuition & aid at SIU LAW

Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers

The School of Law Admissions Committee will conduct a holistic review of every application upon receipt of all required documents. Therefore, while GPA and LSAT are important factors in the admissions process, non-numeric factors are considered. Non-numeric factors include the personal statement, letters of recommendation, and work experience, community service, honors or awards reflected through a resume.

Learn more about admission at SIU LAW

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at Southern Illinois:

2.94 to 3.62

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Southern Illinois:

146 to 152

25-75% UGPA Range at Southern Illinois:

2.94 to 3.62

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Southern Illinois:

146 to 152

25-75% UGPA Range at Southern Illinois:

2.94 to 3.62

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Southern Illinois:

146 to 152

Contact Information

1150 Douglas Drive, Mailcode 6804,
Carbondale, IL 62901,
United States