IV. Extending Our Impact

Extending Our Impact

Northwestern Law has a measurable impact on the well-being of our communities, be they at the local, regional, national, or even international level. Our students and faculty work on a variety of projects that make meaningful differences in individual’s lives. Going forward, we will continue to leverage our resources and initiatives, including those growing out of our first-rate Bluhm Legal Clinic, in order to extend our impact.

1. Global efforts

As globalization continues to increasingly infuse legal practice and education, this strategic plan must attend to the importance of international, comparative, and global undertakings. Northwestern Law will elevate its international profile and undertake new international initiatives. To respond to the continued and accelerating globalization of the legal profession and of legal education, we will build on a number of our current strengths to create new opportunities for international students and lawyers to learn at and from Northwestern Law, new opportunities for Northwestern Law faculty to pursue international research projects, new opportunities for Northwestern Law’s U.S. students to learn and experience international legal settings, and new opportunities to bring about positive and transformative social change.

(a) Law School Partnerships

In 2012, Northwestern Law was one 17 founding members of the Law Schools Global League, a diverse group of law schools world-wide, each of whom is committed to globalized legal education and scholarship. Northwestern Law continues to be the only U.S. law school member of the Global League, which now includes 25 member schools from almost every region of the world. We will continue to work with the Global League on its programmatic ambitions, which include collaborations on research and education.

Over the next three years, Northwestern Law will additionally enter into collaboration agreements with at least four foreign law schools, one each in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa. These collaboration agreements will be targeted at exchange of faculty and joint education projects, both for the schools’ students and for legal professionals in Chicago and abroad. This initial wave of collaboration will form the basis for expanding the scope and scale of partnerships in the future.

(b) Overseas Education 

Northwestern Law has been uniquely innovative in opening overseas Executive LLM programs — currently in Seoul, Tel Aviv, and Madrid — which offer LLM degrees to local lawyers and business people who desire that education but who cannot leave their jobs for a full year to pursue an LLM in the United States or elsewhere. The degree-based format, however, is only one way in which Northwestern Law can bring education overseas (as well as promote its brand in key markets). Over the next three years, as part of rigorously evaluating its ELLM degrees, We will also diversify our overseas offerings to include short-courses and specializations in areas of curricular strength, including business, finance, human rights, and management.

(c) International Leadership Program

While international law firms continue to dominate the global corporate market, in many countries with growing economies, locally owned law firms are also growing and beginning to mature their legal practices within the local legal market. There is an increasing view on the part of these domestic law firms that they have both the talent and the knowledge to compete with the international firms that have traditionally been the go-to firms for business. In addition, many of the name-partners at these local firms are beginning to look to the next generation for leadership (particularly in Brazil). Northwestern Law has the opportunity to position itself as a front-runner in training and developing law firm leadership in these countries and possibly around the globe. We will create a program to train law firm leaders (and emerging leaders) that is focused on providing the unique management and leadership skills necessary to run a professional service firm today.

2. Center for Public Interest Law

Northwestern Law has the key elements of a top-flight public interest program, including curricular, co-curricular, and career components. There are a variety of public interest curricular offerings, including traditional doctrinal classes, clinical classes, externship classes, and a Law and Social Policy Concentration. Co-curricular opportunities include student public interest groups and a growing pro bono program. Career assistance includes a part-time specialized public interest counselor, a generous Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), and a new post-graduate fellowship program.

The addition of a public interest law center at Northwestern Law will raise the Law School’s profile as an institution that supports public interest law and the advancement of social justice. It will increase the staff resources dedicated to public interest efforts. It will also allow the Law School to house existing public interest functions in one place. A public interest law center will strengthen opportunities and support for students interested in public interest law and encourage all students to develop a public service ethic.

The proposed components of a public interest law center at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law will include the following:

  • Pro bono and community service opportunities;
  • Public interest career advising;
  • Public interest alumni engagement and assistance;
  • Public interest programming;
  • Summer and post-graduate public interest fellowships administration;
  • LRAP administration;
  • Support for public interest student groups;
  • Monitoring public interest issues and course offerings;
  • Launching the Global Public Interest Fellows Program;
  • Sponsoring an annual alumni public interest conference.

We are committed to creating and nurturing a distinct public interest culture at Northwestern Law. We will do so through the development of programs, working with our student groups and public interest law alumni. And we will do so through the specific initiatives that make a tangible impact in our community, including pro bono student work, projects at the intersection of law and public health, and widening access to justice through the great efforts of the Bluhm Legal Clinic. Public interest will be at the forefront of what we do and what we are about at Northwestern Law.

Progress on Extending Our Impact Initiatives