Southern Illinois University School of Law

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

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs


Introduction

Southern Illinois University School of Law is an outstanding small public law school that provides an optimal mix of theoretical and experiential educational opportunities in a student-centered environment. SIU School of Law emphasizes excellence in academics. Students learn from faculty members who are nationally recognized in their fields and are engaged with the legal community on local, state, national, and international levels.

Students at SIU School of Law receive a strong grounding in legal theory and excellent training in professional skills development. SIU School of Law provides skills training through legal clinics and externship programs, a semester-in-practice program, moot court, pro bono opportunities, and a wide variety of extracurricular activities.

Students receive a rigorous legal education in a supportive environment. Students benefit from individualized attention from professors and administrators who genuinely care about their success. In addition to a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio, SIU School of Law has an excellent student support system that includes an Academic Success Program.

SIU School of Law prepares practice-ready graduates for a changing legal profession in a global environment.

Campus

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 17,000. Carbondale, a community of 26,000 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 recognized SIU Carbondale as among the best US education institutions for research and awarded it the Community Engagement Classification for its significant commitment to service and outreach.

Degree Programs

  • Juris Doctor (JD): A three-year, full-time day program. Some students take advantage of summer classes to complete the program in two-and-a-half years. Eligible students can participate in a Two-Year Honors scheduling option. Students must indicate their interest in this option at time of application. Only students with outstanding academic credentials will be eligible.
  • Dual Degrees: SIU School of Law has partnered with the SIUC Graduate School to offer a variety of dual JD/master’s degree programs in accountancy, business administration, education, electrical and computer engineering, public administration, and social work. A six-year program offered in cooperation with the School of Medicine permits students to concurrently obtain JD and MD degrees.

Curriculum

All JD students have a uniform first-year curriculum. A broad range of courses are offered in the second and third years.

SIU School of Law is at the forefront of legal education in providing a strong Writing Across the Curriculum Program. Our students acquire strong legal writing skills by practicing those skills in every course in the law school and receiving substantial constructive critiques of their work throughout the three-year curriculum.

All entering law students are assigned to a study group as part of the Academic Success Program and participate in the Professionalism and the Law class. Both programs give students additional tools and skills necessary in the legal profession. The Professionalism class grew out of the SIU School of Law Professional Development Program, which was awarded the E. Smythe Gambrell Award from the American Bar Association. The law school was recognized for its design and implementation of a model professionalism program for law students.

An innovative and nationally recognized first-year Lawyering Skills Program gives students a solid foundation in basic lawyering skills, including legal research and writing, oral advocacy, client interviewing and counseling, and negotiation.

After an intensive education in theory and skills, graduates are prepared to not only pass the bar, but also to begin their careers with confidence in the skills they have learned and practiced while in law school.

Professional Skills Training

SIU School of Law is one of the few schools in the country to guarantee its JD students an opportunity to participate in a legal clinic or field placement experience.

Clinical programs enable senior law students to represent clients under the supervision of licensed attorneys. The Civil Practice/Elder Clinic provides direct legal assistance to persons 60 years of age and older in the 13 southernmost counties of Illinois. The Domestic Violence Clinic provides legal assistance to victims of domestic violence. The Juvenile Justice Clinic provides legal services to minors as guardians ad litem.

Our public interest externship program allows students to earn course credit for work in a publicly funded law office, a nonprofit organization that has in-house counsel, or a federal, state, or local agency that has attorneys on its staff. Special sections are available for students interested in working on cases for the Innocence Project, Prisoners’ Civil Rights, or Veterans’ Legal Assistance. Students who are interested in working for a state or federal judge may enroll in a judicial externship. Students can also earn a full semester credit through a semester in practice externship that combines courses related to a particular field of study with externship opportunities in locations outside of Carbondale.

SIU School of Law provides a comprehensive trial and appellate moot court program with teams that have successfully competed in the McGee National Civil Rights Moot Court, ABA Moot Court, and Darras Disability Law Moot Court competitions, among others. In addition, SIU School of Law holds an annual intramural Appellate Moot Court Competition, the Saluki Invitational Trial Competition, and the annual National Health Law Moot Court Competition—the only health law appellate advocacy competition in the United States.

Special Programs

To support our graduates’ mastery and balance of legal skills and theory, SIU School of Law offers specializations in Intellectual Property, Health Law and Policy, International and Comparative Law, Business and Transactional Law, and Litigation and Dispute Resolution. Students who complete the requirements of these specializations earn a transcript notation and certificate that will allow them to demonstrate to potential employers their genuine interest and growing expertise in the field.

SIU School of Law offers a semester-long legal globalization course in which students will examine the country’s legal and political structure. In addition, the students will travel abroad for a portion of the semester for an in-depth study of the impact globalization has on legal issues and cultures.

SIU School of Law is the first Illinois law school to create a pro bono requirement. Students must complete 35 hours of approved pro bono work prior to graduation. Students are able to participate in pro bono opportunities that already exist, such as the Immigration Detention Project, the Innocence Project, and the Self Help Legal Center, and are also free to pursue law-related projects in their own areas of interest.

Library and Physical Facilities

SIU School of Law’s primary facility is the Lesar Law Building, which houses the classrooms, courtroom, auditorium, faculty offices, law library, and legal clinic.

Law students enjoy evening access to the law library during the semester and 24-hour access during exam periods. In addition to a rich print collection, the law library has evolved to meet the changing nature of legal research and user expectations by providing wireless access to a wide array of digital legal materials. Law students also have virtual as well as physical access to the university’s Morris Library, which houses a major research collection and is located within walking distance of the law school. The law librarians, who hold both law and library science degrees, are committed to teaching law students the fundamentals of legal research, both formally by teaching the Lawyering Skills first-year course, as well as upper-level advanced courses, and informally through their interactions at the reference desk.

Student Activities

SIU School of Law publishes the Southern Illinois University Law Journal, which provides editorial and writing experience for a number of upper-class students. Students with a particular interest in health law have the opportunity to write and edit for the American College of Legal Medicine’s Journal of Legal Medicine. As mentioned previously, the school provides a comprehensive trial and appellate moot court program as well as an annual intramural Appellate Moot Court Competition.

All students belong to the Student Bar Association (SBA). The SBA serves as a channel of communication between students and faculty. In addition to providing services to its members, the SBA schedules lectures and coordinates two major social events annually, including the Barristers Ball and Chili Trivia. Students can also participate in a wide variety of other student organizations depending on their specific interests. Students play an active role in law school governance, serving on most faculty committees.

Career Services

SIU School of Law graduates find employment nationwide, with alumni in 48 states and several international countries, including Austria, Belgium, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Ukraine, and the Virgin Islands. The Office of Career Services provides services for both enrolled students and alumni, including individual career counseling, on-campus interviews, career workshops, access to the web-based career services management system, and more. Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of regional and national job fairs and career conferences. The Office of Career Services coordinates access to diverse career materials, including national and international directories, judicial clerkship information, and government and public interest job information.

Expenses, Scholarships, and Financial Aid

SIU School of Law offers competitive scholarships up to full tuition. Scholarships are awarded to incoming students who demonstrate a high aptitude for the study of law. In addition, incoming students whose permanent state of residency is outside of Illinois may be eligible to receive a Non-Resident Tuition Scholarship, which will offset the difference between out-of-state and in-state tuition.

SIU School of Law graduates enjoy an average debt load that is below the national law school average.

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at Southern Illinois:

2.91 to 3.60

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Southern Illinois:

147 to 152

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Southern Illinois:

2.91 to 3.60

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Southern Illinois:

147 to 152

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Southern Illinois:

2.91 to 3.60

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Southern Illinois:

147 to 152

120
135
150
165
180

Contact Information

Office of Admissions, 1150 Douglas Drive, Mailcode 6804,
Carbondale, IL 62901,
United States