Northwestern University School of Law
375 East Chicago Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Academics & Programs: Located “in the heart of Chicago,” Northwestern University School of Law has a first-rate “national reputation” for “developing practical skills” and offering “world-class” clinics that give students “unbelievable” opportunities to work on “real cases.” Many here agree, “It’s hard to imagine getting a better mix of academic rigor and practical job training anywhere else.” Other highlights at NU include study abroad programs all over the world, a highly touted JD/MBA program, and lots of “self-scheduled exams.” One demerit is the “legal writing program” that students wish was “a pass/fail class” due to the “incredible amount of work” it requires.
Northwestern’s “brilliant” and “very friendly” faculty is made up of “nationally and internationally renowned scholars” who have “a great sense of humor.” Students have “an unparalleled opportunity to learn from the best, starting right at the beginning.” “My classes and instruction have ranged from very good to simply outstanding,” relates a 2L. “I’d go so far to say that my Constitutional Law class was one of the most intellectually stimulating courses I’ve encountered.” Professors are “accessible” and “seem to really enjoy talking to students outside of class.” “It is not uncommon for them to stop me in the hallway and chat about a class topic, my journal comment, or even college football,” explains a student. For the most part the administration is “receptive to student concerns” and “always approachable.” “Everything goes pretty smoothly,” and the atmosphere is “not very bureaucratic,” though some note that “change is very slow to come” in regards to “accommodation for disabilities.”
Students happily report, “If you do even moderately well in your 1L classes at Northwestern, you’re going to have legal employers knocking down your door.” “You’d be hard-pressed to find someone coming out of NU to a less-than-excellent job.” “Most of us start out at big firms,” adds a 1L. “The Chicago firms just love NU students.” However, some students complain, “There should be a greater emphasis on public interest career choices,” as “not everybody wants to go to a big law firm upon graduation.”
Campus Life/Facilities: The architecture here is “nice, consisting of both old, more traditional buildings, and a newer building.” “A quiet atmosphere prevails” and the “gorgeous” library overlooks Lake Michigan. Also, trust us: Lincoln Hall is exactly what a law school classroom should look like. While “good,” the classrooms could use some “updating,” and “There aren’t enough areas to study.” Also, “lighting conditions” in the library are “bad,” and though “wireless Internet continues to improve,” it can still be “insufficient and annoying.
“Northwestern places a huge emphasis on admitting students who have a couple years of work experience after undergrad, and it makes a huge difference,” says one student. These future lawyers “come from a variety of backgrounds and offer amazing insights into a range of issues.” They “are grounded and have balanced lives.” “People have a better sense of the world around them and the realities of life beyond a classroom,” observes a 2L. “This keeps the drama to a minimum and also assembles a group of people who’ve done some pretty interesting things—minor league ball, the military, symphonic bassoon, and so on.” “There seems to be the misconception that the students at Northwestern are really old,” clarifies another student. “For most students it is only about two years before we come to law school.”
“Class sizes are small” and “The school goes to great lengths to create and foster a sense of community among the students.” In this “collegial” atmosphere, students are “intelligent, friendly, [and] laid-back.” “There are not too many gunners,” reports one student. “We’re smart, personable people who mix well socially while doing top-notch legal work,” says a 2L. However, some students project an “‘I-don’t-study-at-all’ attitude in the middle of the semester, trying to throw others off base. Then, suddenly, the same person who ‘never studies’ has a 150-page annotated outline with hyperlinks to all of its sections and subsections.”
Outside of class, Northwestern is “a very fun place to attend school.” “The school sponsors many events for students every week,” and there are “free lunches almost every day,” along with “random social events put on by the many, many student organizations.” “Lunchtime speakers, panels, and club meetings provide great opportunities to explore different facets of the law school experience and the legal profession without taking up too much time.” In addition, “Chicago is a great city” with “a great mix of…hustle and bustle and Midwestern friendliness”—all of which starts right “next door” to campus with “Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile.”
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.