Northwestern University School Of Law Profile, Chicago, Illinois |

Northwestern University School Of Law

Rank 10


375 East Chicago Avenue,

Chicago, IL 60611-3069









Overview 2

Founded in 1859, the school that would become known as the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law was the first law school established in the city of Chicago. Today, Northwestern 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-faculty ratios, so our students enjoy an unusual amount of individual access to these scholars, even after graduation.

Our lakefront location in the heart of downtown Chicago provides a spectacular setting in which to live and study. A major world financial center, Chicago is the third largest city in the United States and one of its largest legal markets. 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.

Student-Faculty Ratio 3


Law School Overview details based on 2016 data.

Admission Criteria 4

25th-75th Percentile 163-170 3.43-3.89
Median* 168 3.81

The above LSAT and GPA data pertain to the 2016 entering class.

Director of admissions Johann Lee
Application deadline February 15

Law School Admissions details based on 2016 data.

Admission Statistics 5

Approximate number of applications 4625
Number accepted 823
Percentage accepted 17.8%

The above admission details are based on 2016 data.

Law School Cost 6

Tuition and fees Full-time: $59,850 per year
Room and board $14,040
Books $1,418
Miscellaneous expenses $5,926

Class Ranking and Grades 7

Authorized Grades

All course work at Northwestern University School of Law is graded on a 4.33 grading scale. The authorized letter grades and their assigned numerical values are:

A+ 4.33
A 4.00
A– 3.67
B+ 3.33
B 3.00
B– 2.67
C+ 2.33
C 2.00
D 1.00
F 0.00
I 0.00

Authorized grade entries also include:

  • W - Withdrawal
  • CR - Credit
  • NC - No credit
  • I - Incomplete (Exam not yet taken or research paper not yet submitted)
  • IP - In progress (Grade not yet received. Delay approved by faculty and Dean of Students)
  • K - Continuation Course

Grade Normalization (Curve)8

A mandatory curve is applied to all courses with more than 40 students enrolled. A professor in such a course must distribute the grades as follows:

A+ 3-7%
A 12-15%
A– 10-15%
B+ 15-30%
B 20-35%
B– 10-15%
C+ 0-7.5%
C 0-7.5%
D 0-7%
F 0-7%

Note that compliance includes both the high and low range.

Mandatory Curve Policy for Communication and Legal Reasoning and Common Law Reasoning

The median grade for each section of Communication and Legal Reasoning and Common Law Reasoning will be a B+, with approximately the following distribution:

Grade Maximum % Minimum %
A/A+ 20 10
A- 25 15
B+ 40 25
B or below 30 20

Good Academic Standing/Rules on Academic Disqualification

To maintain good academic standing, a student's grade point average must meet or exceed 2.25. Complete details regarding our policies on maintaining good academic standing and rules on academic disqualification may be found in sections 2.08 and 3.02 of our Rules and Regulations.

Honors 9

Class of 2003 and subsequent as follows:

Honor Criteria
Summa cum laude 4.200 GPA
Magna cum laude 3.970 GPA
Cum laude 3.650 GPA
LLM Honors An LLM student who earns a 3.500 GPA or higher will be awarded the degree of Master of Laws with Honors.
Order of the Coif The Northwestern University School of Law Order of the Coif dates from 1907 and consists of those faculty members elected to the Order.

Consistent with National rules, the Northwestern Chapter may elect to membership any graduating senior who has completed at least 75% of his or her law studies in graded courses and whose grade record ranks in the top 10% of all graduating seniors of the school.
Dean’s List Dean's List, like Latin Honors and Order of the Coif, is awarded exclusively to students pursuing a JD degree. JD students may qualify for Dean's List recognition as follows:
  • Fall/Spring Semesters:A full-time JD student may be placed on the Dean's List for a particular semester if s/he is enrolled in at least 9 semester credits of law coursework and his or her grade point average for that semester is 3.500.
  • Summer/Intersession:Dean's List will not be awarded for Summer or Intersession.

Awards 10

Name of Award Awarded for/to
Raoul Berger Prize This prize was established in 1990 through the generosity of Raoul Berger. It provides annual prizes of $2,000* to a law student who submits the best paper in the Senior Research Program.
Leigh B. Bienen Prize This prize was established in 2011 through the generosity of Henry and Leigh Bienen. It provides an annual award of $5,000* to the law student who writes the best note or comment that has been approved for publication in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. The prize is awarded for excellence in writing and research, and for the intelligence and originality of the writer's approach to the topic selected for the written piece. The prize winner will be selected by the JCLC Editor in Chief and the relevant Note and Comment Editors from those essays that have been selected for publication in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology for that year.
Barnet & Scott Hodes Prize This prize was established in 1962 through the generosity of Barnet Hodes, JD '21. This annual prize of $5,000* will be awarded to the law student who writes the best paper on an aspect of the law of local government.
Charles Cheney Hyde Prize This prize was established in 1905 by Professor Charles Cheney Hyde. This $5,000* prize will be awarded every other year to the law student who writes the best paper related to public international law.
Kirkland & Ellis Scholars Program The Kirkland & Ellis Scholar Program was established in 2012 through the generosity of alumni and friends at Kirkland & Ellis LLP. The K&E Scholars Program is a set of annual awards to recognize the excellence of the top 1L student in each section of the first-year substantive required classes and the top 2L student in select upper-level courses. The program provides a prize of $500* to each recipient.
Lowden-Wigmore Prizes This prize was established in 1937 by Frank O. Lowden, Class of 1887, and named in honor of Mr. Lowden and Dean John Henry Wigmore. The annual prizes are awarded to students for their success and public speaking skills in the Julius H. Miner Moot Court Program, and to one student each from the Law Review, JCLC, and JILB for their strong legal writing skills.
Harold D. Shapiro Prize This prize was established in 1977 by Stephen B. Lemann in honor of Harold D. Shapiro, JD '52. The annual prize of $3,000* is to be awarded to the best student in the course in Business Planning at the Law School.
John Paul Stevens Prize This prize was established in 1985 by former law clerks of Justice John Paul Stevens in his honor. The annual prize of $3,000* will be awarded to the third year law student graduating with the highest GPA.

Journals 11-17

About Northwestern Law Journals

Northwestern Law publishes six student-edited journals covering a wide range of subjects. Two Northwestern Law journals, the Northwestern University Law Review and the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, boast a legacy of over 100 years of groundbreaking scholarship. This tradition has expanded to the six journals we publish today, with newer journals focusing on international commercial law, intellectual property, technology, human rights, and social trends and social problems. Together, the journals publish the works of the leading researchers in the United States and throughout the world.

In addition to publishing scholarship, Northwestern Law journals also gather leading scholars for frequent symposia on significant developments in the law. Please visit the journals’ homepages to learn more about each journal, read content and commentary, learn about upcoming events, and listen to podcasts with authors.

The Northwestern University Law Review is a student-operated journal that publishes four issues of high-quality, general legal scholarship each year. Student editors make the editorial and organizational decisions and select articles submitted by professors, judges, and practitioners, as well as student pieces.

First published in 1906, the Law Review has been distinguished by the scholarly qualifications and variety of its participants. Prior Editors-in-Chief include: Roscoe Pound, long-time dean of Harvard Law School; Judge Robert A. Sprecher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit; Justice John Paul Stevens; Dean James A. Rahl; Governor Daniel Walker; and Newton N. Minow, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Other editorial officers have included Justice Arthur Goldberg and Adlai E. Stevenson.

The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology is a student-run publication at Northwestern University School of Law that prints four issues annually and rests upon a century of scholarship devoted to the scientific study of criminal law and criminology. Since its inception in 1910, the Journal strives to capture the breadth and depth of legal scholarship on crime through the publication of legal articles, criminological research, book reviews, and symposia. The Journal is consistently ranked among the most influential legal and criminology publications and remains the most widely read and cited criminal law journal. Our broad readership of judges, legal scholars, criminologists, and practitioners composes the second largest subscription base of all the nation's law journals.

The Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business is a student-run, student-edited publication of the Northwestern University School of Law. First published in 1979, JILB is dedicated to the analysis of transnational and international laws and their effects on private entities. The Journal’s substantive focus—private international law and business—distinguishes it from many other publications in the international field. JILB publishes three issues annually and is circulated to practitioners, professors, and libraries around the world. Articles published in the Journal are written by prominent scholars and practitioners. These articles analyze significant questions and current issues in private international law. The Journal also publishes student-written notes and comments that are of scholarly length and quality.

The Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property is among the top ranked intellectual property and technology journals in the country. The Journal addresses subjects relating to intellectual property and the intersection of law and technology and publishes articles on a variety of topics including: copyright, trademark, patents, the Internet, media, telecommunications, health care, antitrust, e-discovery, and trial and litigation technology. The online format of the Journal permits these rapidly developing issues to be addressed in a timely manner by combining scholarly analyses with an up-to-date examination of the most recent changes in intellectual property and technology law. To accomplish this goal, the Journal publishes three full issues each year and four perspectives issues. Perspectives issues contain shorter articles detailing a first perspective on a recent intellectual property or technology development or offering a new perspective on more developed issues within the law.

The Northwestern Journal of Human Rights (JHR) offers a forum for scholars, practitioners and law students to debate domestic and international human rights issues. By advancing human rights scholarship, the Journal aims to provide the legal community with the strongest arguments available to address human rights challenges. The Journal of Human Rights was founded in 2003 as the Journal of International Human Rights and adopted its present name in 2016 to better reflect its focus.

Welcome to the Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy (JLSP). The Journal is an interdisciplinary publication that explores the impact of the law on different aspects of society. Topics covered include race, gender, sexual orientation, housing, immigration, health care, juvenile justice, voting rights, family law, civil rights, poverty, the environment, and privacy rights.

Moot Court 18

Moot Court programs are an important part of legal training at Northwestern Law. They prepare students for and allow them to participate in appellate arguments:

Arlyn Miner First-Year Moot Court Program

In the first year, all students prepare either summary judgment motions or appellate briefs and present oral arguments before a panel of alumni and faculty judges.

Julius H. Miner Moot Court Competition

In their second year, students may participate in this annual moot court competition, administered by third-year students under faculty supervision. It involves the preparation of appellate briefs and presentation of oral arguments before panels of judges and practitioners. The final round is conducted before the entire student body with a panel of distinguished judges from the federal and state benches.

Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Team

The Jessup competition is the largest moot court competition in the world and Northwestern Law students have a long history of successful participation. Five students are selected to be members of the Jessup Moot Court team after an intra-school competition during their first year of law school. Students on the Northwestern Law team are coached by an adjunct professor and compete in the inter-school competition during their second year. Team members prepare briefs addressed to the International Court of Justice and present oral arguments at the Regional Competition. The team who wins at regionals goes to Washington, D.C. for the International Rounds, where students from more than 80 countries compete for the Jessup World Cup. Northwestern Law won the Jessup World Cup in 1979, and the 1999 and 2005 teams won the Regional Championship and competed in the International Rounds.

Bartlit Center National Trial Team

The Bartlit Center National Trial Team was established in 2003 as part of the Law School's Bartlit Center for Trial Strategy, established in 2000 in honor of Fred Bartlit, renowned trial lawyer and founding partner of Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott. The Bartlit Center National Trial Team consists of eight students selected for their oral advocacy skills, poise, and confidence during a try-out process each October. Team members receive course credit to prepare for and compete in the Chicago Regional Competition each February and, if they advance, the National Trial Competition hosted by the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) each March.

National Trial Team

Law students may try out for Northwestern Law's National Trial Team. Members of the team are selected based upon their advocacy and oral communication skills. The National Trial Team is coached by practicing attorneys who work with the team members throughout the year in preparation for regional and national competitions. At competition, the team members present an entire trial, including an opening statement, direct and cross examinations, and a closing argument.

The National Criminal Procedure Moot Court

Team briefs and argues a criminal procedure problem at a national competition held for participating law students in San Diego, California. Professor Robert Bloom is the faculty advisor.

Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot Court

The Vis Moot is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious international moot court competitions. Held annually since 1993, the Vis Moot draws students from approximately 300 law schools from more than 65 countries. Teams draft memoranda for both the claimant and respondent in a hypothetical commercial dispute between two parties in an international arbitration and then present oral arguments at hearings held in Vienna, Austria, in the Spring. This moot team is a year-long commitment. Team members are selected based on a tryout process held in September. A background or interest in international commercial law or international arbitration is desirable. The judging of the memoranda and oral arguments is performed by over 800 of the world’s top arbitrators, arbitration counsel, and arbitration and international sales law academics.

Clinical Programs 19-34

Bluhm Legal Clinic:

Housing more than 20 clinics within 14 centers, the Bluhm Legal Clinic is widely recognized as one of the most comprehensive and effective clinical programs in the country. Through Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s clinical program, students gain direct experience representing clients and fine-tune their skills as advocates. Students also work with clinical faculty and staff to challenge the fairness of our legal institutions and to propose solutions for reform.

Typically, 90 percent of students from each graduating class participate in the Legal Clinic during their time at Northwestern Law. Students work side-by-side with esteemed faculty. Our professors emphasize giving students strong litigation, negotiation, and transactional skills in their direct representation of clients. It is common for Bluhm Clinic students to gain practical experience early on that their peers may not achieve until several years into practice.

Appellate Advocacy Center:

The Appellate Advocacy Center, part of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law's Bluhm Legal Clinic, provides clients with legal assistance in appealing their cases, and provides students with opportunities to participate in appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the United States Supreme Court. Students choose between two Center offerings: in the Federal Appellate Clinic, students represent indigent criminal defendants before the Seventh Circuit; in the Supreme Court Clinic students act as Supreme Court litigators in partnership with attorneys at Sidley Austin LLP. Since its founding in 2006, the Center has enjoyed victories in its own cases and has been integral in assisting counsel in many others.

Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy:

Preparing law students to become confident, skilled, and effective litigators is the cornerstone of the Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy, part of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law's Bluhm Legal Clinic. The Bartlit Center was established in 1999, made possible by a gift from Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott in honor of senior partner Fred Bartlit, an innovative leader in litigation and business strategies.

Bartlit Center students participate in nationally-ranked, simulation-based teaching programs - among the finest in the country. In addition to Northwestern's preeminent residential faculty, the Center's adjunct faculty includes nearly 100 of the best lawyers and judges in Chicago - private practice, public service, state and federal judges, all of whom bring day-to-day insights into the practice of law. Coursework includes ethics and professional responsibility, evidence, pre-trial litigation, trial technology, and trial advocacy. Students are additionally able to gain unparalleled experience and feedback competing on trial teams and participating in moot court.

Center for Criminal Defense:

The Center for Criminal Defense (CCD) provides trial level representation for adult criminal defendants as well as some advocacy at the post-conviction stage. Founded in 2003, the Center represents a wide range of clients who have cases pending in Cook County, the collar counties, various other venues in Illinois, and in the Federal courts. The Center provides students with hands-on experience defending clients in felony cases. This work includes pre-trial motion practice, evidentiary hearings, jury trials, and sentencing advocacy.

The CCD collaborates with The MacArthur Justice Center, the Appellate Advocacy Center, the Civil Litigation Center, the Children and Family Justice Center, and frequently partners with the Center on Wrongful Convictions. "Our goal is to furnish vigorous representation to persons charged with crimes. Often those allegations may not appear to be well founded, or at minimum, there exists a viable defense to the charge," says Center for Criminal Defense director Jeffrey Urdangen. "Our clients range from those accused of violent crimes to those charged white-collar offenses including, theft, fraud, and bribery. We are involved with cases which at any given time implicate our client's fourth, fifth, and sixth amendment rights. Certainly not every client we represent claims to be innocent. Sentencing advocacy, including the negotiating of plea agreements, is an important skill for students to learn in the context of criminal defense practice."

Center for Externships:

Employers consistently convey their desire to hire law school graduates who are ready to practice and who have the skills, not just analytical or research skills, but also the practical skills needed to be productive members of the team from day one.

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law offers one of the most comprehensive externship programs in the country. Each year, more than 200 law students gain on-the-job training, while earning class credit in a practicum course. The Center for Externship's Practicum program integrates theoretical coursework taught by faculty members with an expertise in a particular field of law, with hands-on learning provided by fieldwork. This integrated approach to experiential learning results in graduates who are confident and prepared with real-world experience when they begin their careers.

Center for International Human Rights:

The Center for International Human Rights (CIHR) is highly esteemed for its deep commitment to and success in securing human rights for countless individuals around the globe. The Center also plays a vital role in Northwestern University School of Law’s expanding international programs. Essential efforts focus on researching and addressing emerging human rights issues as they occur, as well as providing valuable clinical experiences for students interested in the protection of human rights on a global scale.

Students are attracted to the CIHR largely because of the Center’s reputation as a leader in international human rights and international criminal law. In many cases, issues addressed here represent legal topics that have not yet been investigated anywhere else, and students are afforded direct human rights and legal experience in countries around the world.

Center on Negotiation and Mediation:

Over the past 20 years, Cohn has worked to grow the Center on Negotiation and Mediation in terms of innovative and cutting edge course offerings to give students a deep understanding of these processes. She believes that the "best lawyers are those who not only understand the law, but also understand people." She is a practicing mediator and brings students with her to sessions, providing them the chance to see problem-solving skills in action and to understand complex interpersonal dynamics. Cohn has trained lawyers, real estate professionals, management and union representatives, and many others in effective negotiation, mediation, conflict management, and arbitration. Cohn also provides restorative justice services in the Chicago community. She received the student-voted Outstanding Professor of a Small Class Award in 2008 and the Dean’s Teaching Award in 2010. She has been elected to the Leading Lawyers Network in the categories of ADR Commercial and ADR Employment. Her practice is national and international in scope and includes projects in Europe, the Middle East, South America and Africa. Cohn holds a Juris Doctorate from Northwestern University School of Law.

Center on Wrongful Convictions:

When the Center on Wrongful Convictions (CWC) launched in April 1999, wrongful convictions were viewed as anomalies — rare exceptions to an otherwise well-oiled criminal justice machine. Sadly, prisons and death rows around the country are populated by countless individuals who have been wrongly convicted: innocent people doing someone else's time.

"Our efforts not only free innocent people, they reveal mistakes and missteps at every juncture of our justice system—from the moment the yellow crime tape goes up until the last appeal," says CWC Executive Director Emeritus Rob Warden. The Center on Wrongful Convictions is at the forefront of the current nationwide movement to reform the criminal justice system and is dedicated to identifying and rectifying wrongful convictions and other serious miscarriages of justice. The CWC's work focuses primarily in three areas: representation, research, and reform.

Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth:

To date, DNA evidence has exonerated hundreds of people of crimes they did not commit. Many of these innocent men and women served decades in prison before they were vindicated. Many more like them await exoneration. Through the work of the Bluhm Legal Clinic and other leaders, these ever-multiplying instances of wrongful conviction have elicited much attention from the public and the national media.

Before 2008, however, no attention had been focused on those people who may be most likely to be wrongfully convicted: children and adolescents. The Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth (CWCY) – a joint project of the Center on Wrongful Convictions and the Children and Family Justice Center – was created to address the unique problems faced by wrongfully accused youth.

Guided by a staff with special expertise in juvenile interrogations, the CWCY is spearheading national efforts to exonerate wrongfully convicted youth and drive criminal justice reforms that will prevent children from making unreliable and coerced statements during police interrogations. "The U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that children and teenagers are different from adults. They're less able to weigh risks and long-term consequences, more easily pressured by authority figures, and more naïve about the way the world works," says CWCY Project Co-Director Laura Nirider. Unfortunately, law enforcement officials don’t always consider these differences when investigating and questioning children. As a result, much of the evidence used to charge and convict children can be unreliable.

Children and Family Justice Center:

Founded in 1992, the Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC) is a comprehensive children's law office and part of the Bluhm Legal Clinic at Northwestern University School of Law. At the CFJC, attorneys and law students work together to promote justice for children, adolescents, and their families through direct legal representation, policy advocacy, and law reform.

Providing access to justice for unrepresented youth is a core mission of the CFJC. Each year, CFJC faculty, staff and students represent young people on a wide range of matters, from delinquency to immigration and asylum to cases addressing harsh sentencing practices or the collateral consequences youth face after coming into contact with the law. Oftentimes, the CFJC gives its young clients access to a lawyer when they otherwise would not have one.

The CFJC also actively collaborates, both locally and nationally, on key policy and law reform initiatives affecting children and adolescents. CFJC attorneys forge deep connections—from the grassroots level all the way up to major government entities—to develop fair, effective, and lasting strategies for systems reform.

Civil Litigation Center:

At Northwestern Pritzker School of Law's Civil Litigation Center, part of the Bluhm Legal Clinic, students litigate a wide variety of civil cases. The emphasis of this Center is poverty law cases in which students advocate for clients at court in trials or in motions. Students take depositions, draft written discovery, prepare and argue motions and try cases. They regularly interview clients at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago's Loop office and make presentations at case acceptance meetings. Weekly class sessions focus on developing students' pre-trial litigation skills - interviewing, counseling, case planning, negotiation, discovery, and motion practice - brainstorming alternative strategies for litigating cases and exploring various social and legal issues affecting the poor.

Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center:

At Northwestern Pritzker School of Law's Civil Litigation Center, part of the Bluhm Legal Clinic, students litigate a wide variety of civil cases. The emphasis of this Center is poverty law cases in which students advocate for clients at court in trials or in motions. Students take depositions, draft written discovery, prepare and argue motions and try cases. They regularly interview clients at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago's Loop office and make presentations at case acceptance meetings. Weekly class sessions focus on developing students' pre-trial litigation skills - interviewing, counseling, case planning, negotiation, discovery, and motion practice - brainstorming alternative strategies for litigating cases and exploring various social and legal issues affecting the poor.

Cases handled by students and faculty in the Center encompass a wide variety of legal subjects, but in recent years have concentrated on the defense of public housing tenants from eviction, advocacy for students denied appropriate educational services, representation of victims of predatory lending and consumer fraud and representation of journalists seeking government documents under the Freedom of Information Act. In the past, the program has focused on the areas of prisoners' rights, the protection of clients from abusive divorce attorneys, and the representation of victims of domestic violence.

The Civil Litigation Center frequently collaborates with other Bluhm Clinic Centers, including the Center for Criminal Defense in cases where tenants are faced with eviction for alleged criminal activity, and the Children and Family Justice Center in cases when K-12 students are being denied special education services.

Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center:

The Entrepreneurship Law Center has been renamed the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center (DPELC) thanks to a permanent endowment.

Environmental Advocacy Center:

Critical environmental issues--clean air and water, cleanup of hazardous waste sites, safe drinking water, energy policy, and climate change--drive the work of Northwestern University School of Law Bluhm Legal Clinic's Environmental Advocacy Center (EAC). The EAC takes on cases and environmental projects that offer unparalleled opportunities for students to practice lawyering and advocacy, and contribute uniquely to environmental problem-solving. By partnering with the Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest, the region's premier environmental advocacy and legal organization, EAC extends its impact as well as opportunities for students.

Investor Protection Center:

Students are given the opportunity to learn the practical aspects of complex civil litigation representing clients in a variety of cases. Complex civil litigation will cover the range of lawyering skills, including client relations, drafting of pleadings, the discovery process, depositions, arguing motions in court, bench and jury trials as well as appeals, and whistleblower suits. In addition, students will be exposed to the economic considerations that are involved in the litigation process and will become involved in marketing, fee negotiation and budgeting, as well as related ethical concerns. Students work on a range of cases, such as: civil rights litigation, business disputes, real estate, insurance, product liability, personal injury, shareholder rights litigation and securities litigation.

Students also work in the Investor Protection Center, which provides representation to investors with limited income and have disputes with stockbrokers, investment advisers, or securities firms. Students are given the opportunity to learn the practical aspects of securities mediation and arbitration. Students are responsible for interviewing and counseling clients, explaining the arbitration and mediation process, investigation and selecting potential arbitrators, conducting discovery, negotiating settlements, and participating in arbitration trials and mediations. Finally students are exposed to the economic considerations that are involved in securities arbitration.

MacArthur Justice Center:

The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center is a public interest law firm founded in 1985 by the family of J. Roderick MacArthur to advocate for human rights and social justice through litigation. The MacArthur Justice Center became part of Northwestern University School of Law's Bluhm Legal Clinic in 2006. As one of the premier civil rights organizations in the United States, the MacArthur Justice Center has led battles against myriad civil rights injustices, including police misconduct (leading the charge to appoint a special prosecutor in the Jon Burge torture cases in Chicago), executions (helping to abolish the Illinois death penalty), fighting for the rights of the indigent in the criminal justice system, and winning multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for the wrongfully convicted.

The MacArthur Justice Center has been at the forefront of challenges to the detention of terrorism suspects without trial or access to the courts. MacArthur Justice Center lawyers have appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue for the rights of detainees.

Prison Reentry Strategies:

Prison Reentry Strategies at the Bluhm Legal Clinic came about because of the concerns of Malcolm C. Young. Serving as Executive Director of the John Howard Association of Illinois at the outset of the 2008 recession, Young heard many accounts of returning prisoners who, despite doing everything required of them, were unable to find work. In fact, the kind of jobs that returning prisoners traditionally filled were disappearing in Illinois and in many other states.

Placement Facts 35

Starting Salaries (2015 Graduates Employed Full-Time)

Private sector (25th-75th percentile) $149,250 - $160,000
Median in the private sector $160,000
Median in public service $58,500

Employment Details

Graduates known to be employed at graduation 79.5%
Graduates known to be employed ten months after graduation 88.5%

Areas of Legal Practice

Graduates Employed In Percentage
Law Firms 73.7%
Business and Industry 9.3%
Government 3%
Judicial Clerkships 9.6%
Public Interest Organizations 4.4%
Academia 0%
Unknown 0%



Students enrolled in a Practicum course work 12 to 15 hours per week during the school year and at least 18 hours a week during the summer in an approved externship under the close supervision of on-site lawyers. The law school’s location in a large urban area means that students have their pick of a large variety of excellent opportunities. The externship settings include federal and state government agencies, federal and state judicial chambers, non-profits, and corporate general counsel offices. Depending on the setting, the externship work may involve researching and drafting opinions or briefs, interviewing clients, appearing in court, participating in negotiations, or drafting policy documents.

Students receive four credit hours for a Practicum. There are separate Practicum courses for each type of work setting. Each course focuses on legal and ethical issues relevant to the types of placements in the class. Although each Practicum course has its own requirements, all students must participate in all seminar classes, maintain a reflective journal, make a substantive class presentation or submit a paper, and satisfy the requirements of their externship.

Center for Externships Practicum Courses

  • Civil Government Practicum: Students secure externships at federal, state, or local governmental agencies or offices involving civil law. Students conduct research, draft motions and briefs, and work on policy initiatives.
  • Corporate Counsel Practicum: Students secure externships in legal departments of Chicago-area corporations. Students conduct research, write memoranda, and plan legal strategy under the direction of in-house lawyers.
  • Criminal Law Practicum: Students secure externships with either prosecution or defense lawyers in the federal or state criminal justice system, including the United States Attorney's office, the Federal Defender's office, the Cook County State's Attorney's office and the Cook County Public Defender's office. Students conduct research, write legal memoranda and briefs, interview clients and witnesses, assist in trials and trial preparation, and observe courtroom proceedings.
  • Judicial Practicum: Students secure externships with United States District Court Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Court of Appeals Judges. Students conduct research, prepare legal memoranda, draft opinions, and observe courtroom proceedings. In the summer, two sections of this course are offered – one for students with externships in the Chicago area and a remote section for students with externships in other parts of the country.
  • Mediation Practicum: After completing mediation skills training from the Center for Conflict Resolution and becoming certified mediators, students conduct mediations under faculty supervision.
  • Public Interest Practicum: Students secure externships with public interest legal organizations. They help represent low-income clients in civil matters. Students interview clients, research and draft legal memoranda, assist in discovery and trials, and participate in policy initiatives.

Intensive Semester Practicum

The Center for Externships now also offers an Intensive Semester Practicum. Students may work with attorneys at a government or non-profit agency anywhere in the United States. Students work for the agency full time for an entire semester. In addition, they participate in-person or remotely in an accompanying course with a supervising faculty member using a syllabus that is individually designed for their particular placement. Students earn a total of 12 credits for this practicum: three graded credits for the class and nine ungraded credits for the externship experience. The Center for Externships places students in offices all around the city and country. They work side-by-side with lawyers and judges in an array of settings, gaining real-world experience doing everything lawyers do: writing, researching, analyzing, representing clients, conducting intakes, doing policy work, and drafting judicial opinions. The seminar component provides students the opportunity to get together once a week to discuss issues they are facing or that they may encounter, and to further explore legal issues faced by attorneys and judges with whom they are working.

Practicum faculty are actively involved in helping students find a placement that is right for them. They meet individually with students to help identify agencies that are a good match for each student's interests.


NCA Graduate Student Internship Program

Northwestern Career Advancement (NCA) provides comprehensive assistance to Northwestern University undergraduate and graduate students with their career development, graduate/professional, internship and job search needs.

NCA sponsors supervised internships for students in Counseling and Higher Education Masters programs during the academic year (fall, winter and spring quarters). This opportunity is designed to give students broad exposure to all aspects of a comprehensive and centralized career service office as well as in-depth experience providing career counseling services to students. In the past, students have come from graduate programs at DePaul University, Northwestern University, Roosevelt University, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and Loyola University.

Summer Research Internship

The Summer Research Internship will offer students an opportunity to do substantive work with a professor during the summer months, learn about the process of legal scholarship, maintain resume continuity, and earn two credits toward graduation. It also can fill the gap in research opportunities for students who do not yet qualify for the Senior Research program. The internship would be two credits, Pass/No Credit and limited to the summer session.

- Interns would be required to meet with the faculty member once per week for one hour.
- Meetings can be held on a distance basis.
- The interns and faculty member would agree on the form of a "deliverable" work product due at the end of the summer session.
- Regardless of the form of the work product, participation in the internship would not count toward the graduation writing requirement, nor will it be a vehicle for commencing work on an anticipated journal note or comment.
- Paid research assistants do not qualify for this program.

Students must elect paid RA status or this for-credit program. To enroll, complete a counter registration form, signed by the supervising professor to reflect approval. Enrollment will be manually accomplished in the Registration and Records Office.

Student Organizations 39

  • African Legal Library Project (ALLP)
  • AJD Association
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • American Constitution Society (ACS)
  • Amnesty International
  • Arts and Entertainment Law Society (AELS)
  • Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA)
  • Black Law Students Association (BLSA)
  • Christian Legal Society (CLS)
  • Collaboration for Justice (CFJ)
  • Disability Law Society (DLS)
  • Diversity Coalition (DivCo)
  • Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center Student Group (ELC)
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Federalist Society
  • Habeas Chorus
  • Health Law Society (HLS)
  • High Tech Law Society
  • If/When/How
  • Intellectual Property Law Society (IPLS)
  • International Law Society (ILS)
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society
  • JD-MBA Association
  • Jewish Law Students' Association (JLSA)
  • Labor and Employment Law Society (LELS)
  • Latino Law Students Association (LLSA)
  • Law School Democrats
  • Moot Court Society
  • Muslim Law Students Association (MLSA)
  • National Lawyers Guild (NLG)
  • Native American Law Students Association
  • Northwestern University Human Rights Project
  • OUTLaw
  • Public Interest Law Group (PILG)
  • Real Property Trusts and Estates (RPTE)
  • Restructuring and Bankruptcy Law Group (RBLG)
  • South Asian Law Students Association (SALSA)
  • Sports Law Society
  • St. Thomas More Society
  • StreetLaw Association
  • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF)
  • Student Bar Association (SBA)
  • Student Effort to Rejuvenate Volunteering (SERV)
  • Student Funded Public Interest Fellowships Program (SFPIF)
  • Tax Law Society (TLS)
  • Texas Law Society
  • The D.R.E.A.M. Committee
  • Veterans Law Association
  • Wigmore Follies
  • Women's Leadership Coalition (WLC)