University of Notre Dame Law School Profile, Notre Dame, Indiana |

University of Notre Dame Law School

Rank 20


P.O. Box 780,

Notre Dame, IN 46556









Overview 3-4

In the practice of law, the same ethical standards must be met whether you are a graduate of Notre Dame or any other university. So, what is it that makes our graduates unique? We believe it can be found in our ultimate goal. Beyond striving for professional achievement, a Notre Dame lawyer fundamentally acts in service to others. Our approach seeks to do more than train students in a profession; it seeks to help them discover their lives as a vocation. A different kind of lawyer is one who realizes the practice of law is not an end in itself. It’s the beginning of a new, highly specialized way of giving back.

Notre Dame Law School is an eminent law school at the heart of a great Catholic university. We are engaged in an integrated mission that combines teaching, research, and service.

As teachers, we consider our role fundamentally to be one of professional formation, as we educate our students to practice law with competence and compassion, and to be leaders in the bar, the academy, and their communities. As scholars, we seek to advance knowledge in a search for truth through original inquiry and publication. We serve our University and the other communities to which we belong, and by doing so we seek to foster an understanding of how law enables and inhibits the achievement of individual and social goals, as well as to facilitate greater commitment to the relationship between law and social justice.

We do all of this within our Catholic tradition. That tradition, which spans the globe and embraces believers from all races, cultures, and levels of economic development, leads us to strive to broaden and deepen our academic and practical understanding by drawing upon the unique resources of our religious tradition and the traditions of other faiths. Committed to the most demanding standards of scholarly inquiry, we seek to illustrate the possibilities of dialogue between, and integration of, reason and faith.

Student-Faculty Ratio 5


Admission Criteria 6

25th-75th Percentile 158-165 3.41-3.82
Median* 164 3.71

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

Director of admissions Jacob Baska
Application deadline March 15

Law School Admissions details based on 2016 data.

*Medians have been calculated by averaging the 25th- and 75th-percentile values released by the law schools and have been rounded up to the nearest whole number for LSAT scores and to the nearest one-hundredth for GPAs.

Admission Statistics 7

Approximate number of applications 2612
Number accepted 791
Percentage accepted 30.3%

The above admission details are based on 2016 data.

Law School Cost 8

Tuition and fees Full-time: $54,297 per year
Room and board $9,900
Books $1,700
Miscellaneous expenses $8,650

Class Ranking and Grades 9-10

Notre Dame Law School’s system judges its students against a high Notre Dame standard rather than against student performance at other institutions. Grades are issued based on the following scale:

Letter Grade Value
A 4.000
A- 3.667
B+ 3.333
B 3.000
B- 2.667
C+ 2.333
C 2.000
C- 1.667
D 1.000
F 0.000

Notre Dame Law School does not rank students. The University computes law school means for grade point averages, and those are provided below for your information.

Interpretation of Grades. Within the grading system described in section 7.1.1,“A”is superior, “B” is good, “C” is satisfactory, “D” is unsatisfactory with credit, “F” is failure. (F.M., February 14, 1992.)

Other Grades


The grade of incomplete (“I”) is a temporary grade indicating failure to complete work in a course. The course work must be completed and the incomplete changed prior to the end of the next semester’s final examination period; otherwise the incomplete will be changed to an “F.” (F.M., May 14, 1981.)


The Law School will use a grade of satisfactory or unsatisfactory for selected courses.


The pass/fail option is limited to two elective courses, and only with the permission of the professor teaching the particular course. These two courses may not be taken in the same semester. The limits imposed by the first two sentences of this section may be waived by the dean, but only for extraordinarily compelling reasons. If a professor grants permission to elect the pass/fail option for a particular course, that option must be made available to all students in that course. To elect this option when it is available, a student must inform the Law School Registrar of this election by no later than the end of the add-drop period for the semester in which the relevant course is offered and that election is irrevocable as of the end of that add-drop period. The professor will not be informed that the student elected the pass/fail option and so will report letter grades for all students in the course as provided in section 7.1.5. The final letter grades of “A” through “D” will then be interpreted as a pass for students who elected the pass/fail option for that course.

Other Grades

Average GPA(Fall 2016 semester) Average Cumulative GPA(through Fall 2016 semester)
Class of 2017 3.385 3.356
Class of 2018 3.381 3.336
Class of 2019 3.317 3.317

Grade Normalization (Curve)11

The law school implemented a grade normalization policy beginning in 2011-12, with mandatory mean and distribution ranges. Law student grades are based on the following means and distributions:

A 8-14%
A- 15-25%
B+,B 25-35%
B- 7-13%
≤C+ 0-10%

1L Legal Writing (I & II)

Mean: 3.15 to 3.45

Distribution: none

*Note: Prior to 2015-16, 1L Legal Writing courses were subject to the same mean and distribution as all other 1L courses.

Large Upper-Level Courses (> 25 students) Mean: 3.25 to 3.35


A 8-18%
A- 15-25%
B+,B 25-35%
B- 5-15%
≤C+ 0-10%

Paper-Based* Small Upper-Level Courses (10 to 24 students)

Mean: 3.15 to 3.60

Distribution: none

*Note: A “paper-based” course is one in which the primary means of evaluating all students in the course is one or more papers, as opposed to an exam or other means of evaluation. Prior to 2015-16, such courses were subject to the same mean and distribution as all other small upper-level courses.

Other Small Upper‐Level Courses (10 to 24 students)

Mean: 3.15 to 3.45

Distribution: none

For upper-level courses with fewer than 10 students, there is no formal grading policy.

Previous Grading Practices

The policy above has been in place since 2011-12, except for the changes in 2015-16 as noted. Prior to the introduction of the 2011 grading normalization policy, the median grade point average for first-year classes was approximately 3.1 each year. There was no grading curve, and the grading scale listed above was in place.

Beginning in the Fall of 1995, the grade of U was assigned a numeric value of 0.000. This assignment is currently still in place.

Effective in the Fall of 1988, the grading system was changed to the following: A (4.000), A- (3.667), B+ (3.333), B (3.000), B- (2.667), C+ (2.333), C (2.000), C- (1.667), D (1.000), and F (0.000). As noted above, this grading scale is the one currently in place.

Effective in the Fall of 1986, the grading system was changed to the following: A (4.0), A- (3.67), B+ (3.33), B (3.0), B- (2.67), C+ (2.33), C (2.0), C- (1.67, D (1.0), F (0.0).

Beginning with students admitted for the 1981-1982 academic year, the grading system was changed to the following: A (4.0), A- (3.67), B+ (3.25), B (3.0), B- (2.75), C+ (2.25), C (2.0), C- (1.75), D (1.0), F (0.0).

Beginning with students admitted for the 1972-73 academic year, the grading system was changed to the following: A, B, C, D and F with no numeric equivalences.

Beginning with the 1969-70 academic year, the Law School discontinued averages, class ranks, and the comprehensive examination. The grading system for courses was converted to Honors (H), High Pass (HP), Pass (P), and Fail (F). Where courses were taken overseas, the appropriate grade legends are explained in the semester data.

Prior to 1969-70 the passing grade in all courses as well as the then existing comprehensive examination was 70%. In computing the course average, the courses were weighted by credit hour. This weighted average and the comprehensive examination grade were then added together and divided by two to determine the semester average. The cumulative average was determined by adding the semester averages and dividing by the number of semesters.

Honors 12

Graduation honors at Notre Dame Law School are based on grade point average, which is computed by including all courses taken at the school.

Honor Criteria
Dean’s Honor Roll A Dean’s Honor Roll for J.D. students, based on semester grade point average, will be published each Semester
summa cum laude cumulative GPA of at least 3.800
magna cum laude cumulative GPA of at least 3.600.
cum laude cumulative GPA of at least 3.400.

Graduation Honors

Graduation honors for J.D. and LL.M. candidates are based on grade point average, which is computed by including all courses taken in the Law School.

For determining eligibility for graduation and also graduation honors in the case of students dismissed and readmitted, the grade point average will be figured only on the basis of courses taken following readmission and those earlier courses for which degree credit is given.

Awards 13

Name of Award Awarded for/to
A. Harold Weber Moot Court Competition award For outstanding achievement in art of Oral Advocacy 1981
A. Harold Weber Writing award For Excellence in Legal Writing
Alvin McKenna Alumnus of the Year award Presented by BLSA to a graduate who distinguishes him/herself with the African American legal community and through support of BLSA programs & activities. The honoree also demonstrates a commitment to service through active involvement within the community.
Arthur A. May award This award is presented annually to a member of the Notre Dame Barristers Team who demonstrates a commitment to professional ethical standards and who exhibits excellence in trial advocacy.
Captain William O. McLean award Notre Dame Law School Community Citizenship Award
Charles Crutchfield Professional Excellence award Named in honor of the first African American member of the Notre Dame Law School Faculty, the Black Law Student Association presents the award to a current professor, who like Professor Crutchfield, demonstrates a commitment to diversity both in and outside of the classroom, as evidenced by scholarship and personal example.
Client Counseling Competition For Excellence in Lawyering Process
Clinical Legal Education Association Outstanding Student award Outstanding in clinics.
Colonel William J. Hoynes award The Hoynes Prize, is a gift of Dean William James Hoynes, 1878, LL.D. 1888, first dean of the Notre Dame Law School.
Conrad Kellenberg award In honor of Professor Conrad Kellenberg’s fifty years of service to the Notre Dame Law School and the local community, this award is annually given to a graduating student who has dedicated a substantial amount of time to the betterment of the community through service. In keeping with the legacy Professor Kellenberg created, such service includes participation in the Notre Dame Legal Aid Clinic, volunteering at local community organizations, and to mentoring the youth of the South Bend area.
David T. Link award For outstanding service in the field of social justice
Dean Joseph O’Meara award “Excellence is our platform and we can be content with nothing less” Presented annually to a member of the graduating class for outstanding academic achievement
Dean Konop Legal Aid award For outstanding participation as a member of the Notre Dame Law School Legal Aid and Defender Association established by his family in memory of Thomas F. Konop, Dean Notre Dame Law School 1923-1941
Dean’s award Winner of the Annual Moot Court Competition 1950–1980. Established June 1950 by Clarence E. Manion, Dean, College of Law.
Distinguished Teaching award Recognizing that member of the Law School faculty exhibiting excellence in leadership, friendship, legal knowledge, legal teaching and professional ability.
Dwight King Service award Presented by Notre Dame Black Law Students Association to a BLSA member who has devoted considerable time, energy, and attention to both BLSA and the Notre Dame Law School community.
Edward F. Barrett award The advocate champions the cause entrusted to him honorably and with the courage born of competence, to the end that justice shall prevail.
Farabaugh Prize For High Scholarship in Law
George and Claudine Pletcher Senior Scholarship award The George and Claudine Pletcher Senior Scholarship Award, 1994–1998.
Graciela Olivarez award The Notre Dame Hispanic Law Student Association, HLSA, annually recognizes The Outstanding Hispanic Lawyer or Judge that best exemplifies the principles and ideals of the pioneer for whom this award is named, including commitment to community service, demonstration of the highest ethical and moral standards, and dedication to justice.
H. King Williams Memorial award To a graduating student who has made a significant contribution to building community at the Law School
International Academy of Trial Lawyers, The, Notre Dame Law School Commends the following students for their distinguished achievement in the art and science of advocacy
Jessup International Moot Court award For excellence in advocacy
John Bruce Dodd Memorial Scholarship Memorial Scholarship in honor of John Bruce Dodds
Jon Krupnick award For Excellence in the Area of Trial Advocacy
Joseph Ciraolo Memorial award Memorial scholarship in honor of Joseph Ciraolo, class of 1997. For a law student who exemplifies spirit, service, and significant achievement in the face of adversity.
Judge Joseph E. Mahoney award For outstanding leadership
Kresge Library Student Service award This award is granted by the staff of the Notre Dame Law Library to a graduating student worker whose efforts on behalf of the library exemplify the highest standards of dedication, loyalty and service.
Peter A.R. Lardy Scholarship award We, the Class of 1975, Dedicate this Scholarship Award to those who exemplify his, Courage, Love and Understanding toward his fellow man.
Smith-Doheny Legal Ethics award The competition is open to all law students at U.S. and Canadian law schools. Entries should concern any issue within the general category of legal ethics. Entries must be original, unpublished work not exceeding 50 pages including notes. Coauthored essays may be submitted. Submissions will be judged by a panel of faculty of the Notre Dame Law School. A prize of $2.500 will be awarded for one winning entry.
William T. Kirby award For Excellence in Legal Writing

Journals 14

American Journal of Jurisprudence (Natural Law Institute)

The Natural Law Institute, a function of the Notre Dame Law School, was established in 1947. In 1956, the Institute founded the Natural Law Forum, the only journal of its kind in the English language. The name of the journal was changed in 1970 to the American Journal of Jurisprudence.

Journal of Legislation

The Journal of Legislation contains articles by both public policy figures and distinguished members of the legal community. It also publishes notes written by members of the staff. All material contained in The Journal concern either existing and proposed legislation or public policy matters. Some articles and notes make specific suggestions regarding legislative change. The Journal is presently one of the country’s leading legislative law reviews and is a member of the National Conference of Law Reviews.

Notre Dame Journal of International and Comparative Law

The mission of the Journal of International and Comparative Law is to provide a forum of discussion for international, comparative, and human rights law; to educate students about international legal issues; to provide open and equal access to our publications; to be economically efficient, environmentally sustainable, and immediately responsive to current events in the field of international law; and to inspire our readers to work on these issues.

Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy

The Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy is unique among legal periodicals because it directly analyzes law and public policy from an ethical perspective. The Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy strengthens the Law School’s moral and religious commitment by translating traditional Judeo-Christian principles into imaginative, yet workable, proposals for legislative and judicial reform.

Notre Dame Law Review

The Notre Dame Law Review was founded in 1925 and was known as the Notre Dame Lawyer until the name was changed in 1982. It is published five times a year by our students. It affords qualified students an invaluable opportunity for training in precise analysis of legal problems and in clear and cogent presentation of legal issues. The Law Review contains articles and lectures by eminent members of the legal profession and comments and notes by members of the staff. Entirely student edited, the Law Review has maintained a tradition of excellence, and its membership has included some of the most able judges, professors and practitioners in the country.

Moot Court 15

The Moot Court program is a student run organization that coordinates intermural and intercollegiate competitions in appellate and international divisions.

Established in 1950, the Moot Court program provides an opportunity for students to develop their appellate advocacy skills. The program is administered by the Moot Court Board (a group of students selected to represent Notre Dame Law School in competitions) and guided by a faculty advisor.

Students are selected to the Moot Court Board after competing in the optional 1L Moot Court Competition and receiving an invitation to join the Board based on their 1L briefs and their performance in the competition. In the fall of their 2L year, Board members compete intramurally to determine placement on the Board’s various teams. In years past NDLS’ teams have competed in the National Moot Court competition, the ABA competition, the National Religious Freedom Competition, and the Jessup International Law Moot Court competition. The National team also performs the Showcase argument in front of a panel of sitting judges, watched by the 1L class.

Members of the Board also have the opportunity to argue actual cases in front of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Under the guidance of a local attorney, they take on a case representing a prisoner. In that capacity, they write a brief, a reply brief and argue the case before a three judge panel.

Students are entitled to one co-curricular credit for each semester that they participate in Moot Court.

Clinical Programs 16

Clinics are the law school’s teaching law offices. They are free, community legal services programs that allow students to engage in law practice under close supervision of full time, seasoned expert faculty members.

Whether involving litigation, transactional work, or mediation, the clinics place students in a “first chair” position as lead attorneys in their matters, with full responsibility to carry out all lawyering duties. The clinics provide the most intensive training and supervision among NDLS experiential programs, combining classroom sessions with frequent one-on-one supervision.

While learning a host of fundamental lawyering skills, clinic students also provide an invaluable community service to clients who cannot afford legal counsel.

Each clinic has unique policies and procedures. Students interested in registering for a clinic should carefully review the information listed on that clinic’s web page.

  • Community Development Clinic
  • Economic Justice Clinic
  • Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship Clinic
  • Mediation Clinic
  • Tax Clinic

Placement Facts 17

Starting Salaries (2015 Graduates Employed Full-Time)

Private sector (25th-75th percentile) $80,250 - $160,000
Median in the private sector $120,000
Median in public service $55,098

Employment Details

Graduates known to be employed at graduation 60.9%
Graduates known to be employed ten months after graduation 79.3%

Areas of Legal Practice

Graduates Employed In Percentage
Law Firms 55.4%
Business and Industry 7.6%
Government 15.9%
Judicial Clerkships 13.4%
Public Interest Organizations 7%
Academia 0.6%
Unknown 0%



Externships offer an opportunity for second-year and third-year students to earn academic credit while working in outside law offices or judicial chambers. Externships enable students to explore legal work in the South Bend or other cities, including Chicago and Washington, D.C., that may not otherwise be available through clinics or other courses. Externship students participate in faculty-led seminars and other activities to help them reflect on their field experiences.

Notre Dame offers a wide variety of externship offerings, listed in the lefthand menu, that allow students to work in the field for as little as a half day per week or as much as four days per week. Many externships are subject-specific. On the other hand, several of our externship courses – the Lawyering Practice Externship, the Corporate Counsel Externship, the ND Law in Chicago program, and the ND Law in D.C. program – allow students to spend one, two, or four days per week in nearly any non-profit, governmental law office, court, or corporate counsel office of the student’s choosing. The opportunities are nearly limitless.

Many positions are eligible for the externship programs. For Lawyering Practice Externship, the ND Law in Chicago and ND Law in D.C. programs, students are free to choose from a list of existing placement sites or identify opportunities in consultation with Professor Jones.

  • Lawyering Practice Externship
  • Public Defender Externship
  • National Immigrant Justice Center Externship
  • Intercollegiate Athletics Externship
  • Seventh Circuit Practice Externship
  • Corporate Counsel Externship
  • Appalachia Externship
  • Summer Externship

Summer Research internships19

The Law School offers two international immersion opportunities as well. Through the Law & Human Development in Practice (LAW 73430) course, students participate in summer research internships on global justice issues around the world and then develop a deeper understanding of the theoretical, historical, and practical features of human development work through a seminar that meets both before and after their summer immersions. Law students may also participate in the Business on the Frontlines (MGT 76030) course offered through the Mendoza College of Business, through which teams of students study about and then travel to countries struggling to rebuild their economies after a war or violent conflict.

Student Organizations 20

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Society
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • American Constitution Society
  • Asian Law Students Association
  • Black Law Students Association
  • Business Law Forum
  • Christian Legal Society
  • Education Law Forum
  • The Environmental Law Society
  • The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies
  • Food & Beverage Law Club
  • Future Prosecuting Attorney’s Council
  • Health Law Society
  • Hispanic Law Students Association
  • Innocence Project Club
  • Intellectual Property Law Society
  • International Human Rights Society
  • International Law Society
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society
  • Jewish Law Students Association
  • Journal of International & Comparative Law
  • Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy
  • Journal of Legislation
  • Jus Vitae of Notre Dame
  • LGBT Law Forum
  • Law Review
  • Legal Voices for Children & Youth
  • Married Law Students Organization
  • Military Law Students Association
  • Moot Court
  • National Lawyer’s Guild
  • Native American Law Students Association
  • Phi Alpha Delta
  • The Public Interest Law Forum
  • Sports, Communications and Entertainment Law Forum
  • St. Thomas More Society
  • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Student Bar Association
  • Women’s Legal Forum