Strategic Plan Implementation Progress

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is proud to report on our progress toward the strategic goals outlined in our strategic plan, Leading Law. This page presents a list of initiatives implemented in the following areas of focus:


I. Learning Infrastructure

March 2013

Dean Rodriguez announces the Law School’s commitment to temper future tuition increases, to increase financial aid for entering students and the School’s LRAP program, and to reduce the size of the JD program class to address the changes occurring in the legal marketplace.

July 2013

Lanny and Sharon Martin provide a multi-million dollar unrestricted gift to help the Law School implement innovative strategies for improving legal education and to enhance the student experience.  

March 2015

The Center for Practice Engagement and Innovation (CPEI) is established. Led by Professor James Lupo, the center serves as an incubator for legal education innovation, bringing together leaders from all sectors of the legal profession to inform and shape best practices for training Northwestern Law students to assume future leadership in law.

March 2015

The Harris H. Agnew Visiting Professor of Dispute Resolution and the M.R. Bauer Foundation Clinical Fellow in Dispute Resolution are created through a gift from the M.R. Bauer Foundation, expanding the teaching and research capacity of the Law School’s Center on Negotiation and Mediation.

April 2015

Harry's CafeThe South Atrium expansion project is completed, adding classroom, group study, and dining space consisting of:

  • David and Libby Savner Hall, a 25-seat state-of-the-art classroom dedicated to technology-based teaching solutions;
  • group study spaces with seating for up to 50 people; and
  • a renovated and expanded Harry’s Café, consisting of a 90-seat eating area and a 60-seat outdoor terrace.

September 2015

The CPEI hosts its inaugural forum, entitled “Engaging Practice: Judgment, Strategy, Leadership.” The event draws on legal industry leaders to explore how law schools can provide opportunities for students to develop critical judgment, strategy, and leadership skills.

September 2015

Admissions Office video interviewsAdmissions introduces video interviews into its process, marking Northwestern as the first law school to provide applicants with the option to complete their interview using video technology from any internet-accessible location and at any time of the day. The video interviews are constructed to solicit information along five competencies: motivation, maturity and responsibility, resilience, empathy, and problem solving.

October 2015

J.B. and M.K. Pritzker donate $100 million, the largest single gift ever to any law school. The gift renames the law school as Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and earmarks support for increased financial aid; initiatives at the intersection of law, technology, and business, including entrepreneurship and our MSL program; public interest and social justice endeavors; and faculty hiring. The gift also renames the Entrepreneurship Law Center as the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center (DPELC).

November 2015

Minow DebateThe inaugural Newt and Jo Minow Debate is held at the Law School. The debate series is established as part of a gift from friends and colleagues of Newton N. Minow in order to honor his commitment to elevating public dialogue throughout his career. This same gift endows a new named professorship at the Law School.

May 2016

The CPEI hosts its first Design Charette with industry practitioners at 1871, Chicago's largest incubatorfor tech startups.

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II. Modern Legal Education at the Interface of Law, Business, and Technology

October 2012

Thirty-one alumni partners of Kirkland & Ellis give to provide scholarship funding for the JD-MBA program and to establish a Business and Law Forum, co-sponsored by the Law School and the Kellogg School of Management, for C-suite executives, general counsel, business development executives, and lawyers.

April 2013

Howard and Betsy Chapman fund and establish a professorship in their name to promote scholarly work in business law, trial advocacy, trust, or estate law.

August 2013

The Searle Center launches the Project on Innovation Economics, an initiative bolstered by a gift from Qualcomm and designed to study how patent laws may or may not hinder technological innovation.

September 2013

The Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center launches a massive open online course (MOOC), Law and the Entrepreneur, as part of a university-wide initiative to provide selected Northwestern courses globally. More than 16,000 students worldwide register for the course.

November 2013

MSL classThe Law School announces the establishment of a one-year Master of Science in Law (MSL) program, designed to help advance careers for professionals with backgrounds in STEM fields (science technology, engineering, and math) and medicine. The program supports innovation and entrepreneurship by offering these professionals a fundamental understanding of how law and business intersect with technology. An inaugural class of 30 students (18 full-time and 12 part-time) enroll in Fall 2014. New student enrollment nearly doubles by 2016.

November 2013

The Searle Center on Law, Regulation, and Economic Growth creates a series of databases to collate information regarding technology standards, standard setting organizations and patents. The data provides an understanding of how inventive activity occurs, how it is commercialized, and what can be done to facilitate future innovation.

September 2014

The JD-PhD program enrolls its first student with the McCormick School of Engineering. The student will pursue a JD and PhD in Civil Engineering.

April 2015

Soshnick ColloquiumThe Soshnick Colloquium on Law and Economics established through a gift of Andrew Z. and Brenda K. Soshnick. This advanced seminar brings together visiting scholars, resident faculty, and students for discussion of leading research in the fields of law and economics.

June 2015

The Law School presents “Bridges Not Barriers: The Law-STEM Alliance as a Catalyst for Innovation,” a conference that explores the role of law, policy, and regulation in the innovation process, and the role of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs in the process of law and policy-making. Approximately 75 guests attend the program led by panels of industry and academic experts.

October 2015

J.B. and M.K. Pritzker donate $100 million, the largest single gift ever to any law school. The gift renames the law school as Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and earmarks support for increased financial aid; initiatives at the intersection of law, technology, and business, including entrepreneurship and our MSL program; public interest and social justice endeavors; and faculty hiring. The gift also renames the Entrepreneurship Law Center as the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center (DPELC).

January 2016

A Legal Technology course is introduced, exposing students to a variety of technology-based applications within legal practice, including cloud computing, virtual law practice, information security, case management and e-discovery software, courtroom and mobile technology, knowledge management, and social media.

February 2016

A group of Law School faculty deliver a “Law 101” presentation for McCormick School of Engineering faculty in Evanston. Using several real world examples, the session introduces McCormick faculty to the way lawyers think and make decisions amidst ambiguity.

February 2016

The Law School hosts a Chicago meetup on legal innovation and technology at which Professor Alyson Carrel presents a session titled, “The Legal Ed Response to Emerging Technology.”

March 2016

John McGinnis moderates a panel of industry and academic experts, including David Cambria, global director of operations for law, compliance, and government relations, Archer Daniels Midland; Kyla Moran, senior industry consultant and leader of legal offerings, IBM Watson Group; and Daniel Martin Katz, Professor, Chicago Kent College of Law on “The Current Practice and Future Promise of Legal Technology.”

March 2016

Modeled after the Law School’s International Team Projects, MSL students embark on an Entrepreneurship Team Project, culminating in a Silicon Valley field research experience that exposes students to the region’s business and legal ecosystem through company visits and interviews with business officials.

May 2016

The Law School announces two curricular additions at the cross-section of law and technology to prepare students to be skillful and strategic users and consumers of technology and to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. These curricular initiatives are:

  • A Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship concentration allowing students to explore issues that drive the innovation process through coursework in three main areas: innovation regulation and policy, legal practice technology, and entrepreneurship. The concentration includes capstone course offerings for students to put the knowledge and technical skills they learn into practice.
  • An Innovation Lab, a joint initiative of the Master of Science in Law program and the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center. Through it, student teams develop legal subject matter expertise in an area of focus and then collaborate to create a commercially viable technology-based solution to address an existing legal problem.

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III. Strengthening Financial Support

October 2012

Thirty-one alumni partners of Kirkland & Ellis give to provide scholarship funding for the JD-MBA program and to establish a Business and Law Forum, co-sponsored by the Law School and the Kellogg School of Management, for C-suite executives, general counsel, business development executives, and lawyers.

March 2013

Dean Rodriguez announces the Law School's commitment to temper future tuition increases, to increase financial aid for entering students and the School’s LRAP program, and to reduce the size of the JD program class to address the changes occurring in the legal marketplace.

December 2013

The Law School receives an historic gift from Neil Bluhm to bolster the Law School’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), to support educational programs within the Bluhm Legal Clinic, and for unrestricted use.

March 2014

The Parrillo Scholars program is created through a gift of Bob Parrillo to award a half-tuition scholarship to students who attended a Chicago Public High School.

April 2014

Jay A. Pritzker Public Interest Fellowship Program is announced. Facilitated by a gift from the Jay Pritzker Foundation, these fellowships, awarded through a competitive application process, provide up to nine recent graduates working in the public sector with a $50,000 salary plus health insurance benefits.

May 2014

Dean Rodriguez announces that the Law School’s investment in entering student financial aid has more than doubled since 2012.  Likewise, the Law School’s rate of tuition increases since 2011 is second lowest among top private law schools.

April 2015

The Interest Freedom Plan is announced, pledging to cover first year loan interest payments for recent graduates who initially pursue private sector positions with an annual salary less than $85,000.

May 2015

The Michael and Mary Schuette Global Fellowship in Health and Human Rights is formed through a gift of Courtney and Chris Combe. The fellowships help fund up to two graduates who pursue international field work through Northwestern’s Access to Health Project. Inaugural fellow to work at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva.

August 2015

Walter and Dawn Clark Netsch Scholarship Fund created through a bequest of the estate trust of Dawn Clark Netsch. The fund provides scholarships for students who have shown a demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in public interest law as well as support for the Law School’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) for graduates who embark on public interest careers.

August 2015

The Walter Family Foundation Scholarship Fund is established through a gift of Mark and Kimbra Walter, providing full funding support for an entering student with demonstrated need for up to three years.

October 2015

Pritzker GiftJ.B. and M.K. Pritzker donate $100 million, the largest single gift ever to any law school. The gift renames the law school as Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and earmarks support for increased financial aid; initiatives at the intersection of law, technology, and business, including entrepreneurship and our MSL program; public interest and social justice endeavors; and faculty hiring. The gift also renames the Entrepreneurship Law Center as the Donald Pritzker Entrepreneurship Law Center (DPELC).

February 2016

The Law School announces nine new initiatives designed to provide additional financial support for current students and alumni. Initiatives include:

  • Interest Freedom Plan is expanded to fund alumni for up to two years after graduation; the minimum salary threshold is raised to $90,000.
  • Emergency Alumni Relief Fund to fund to pay annual interest for qualifying graduates encountering financial hardship caused by unforeseen personal circumstances.
  • $8,000 summer public interest funding guarantee for students who complete at least 20 volunteer hours for SFPIF and/or another nonprofit organization and whose summer employment resides within the public sector. Guarantee catapults Northwestern Law to position as law school providing the highest per student summer public interest funding amount.
  • $500 travel expense reimbursement for students who attend school-sanctioned off-campus job fairs.
  • $500 travel expense reimbursement for students interviewing for judicial clerkships outside of the Chicago area.
  • Research assistant hourly rate raised to $16/hour.
  • Teaching assistant annual stipend amount raised to $2,000.
  • A full-time Alumni Career Specialist position is created to provide career counseling for alumni at all career stages, to facilitate links to potential employment opportunities, and to develop an ongoing series of career-related and networking programs for alumni.

June 2016

The Law School establishes the Global Public Interest Fellowship Program which funds up to six JD students to work abroad during the summer for an approved governmental or nongovernmental organization active on legal issues.

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IV. Extending Our Impact

May 2012

The Law School creates a full-time assistant dean of external partnerships to support and enhance strategic initiatives in the critical areas of external relations and employment.

Global Efforts

April 2012

Individuals from the Law School’s Center for International Human Rights travel to Malawi to lead a two-day training workshop to build capacity in state party reporting before the United Nations. Drawing representatives from the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, members of the Law School at Chancellor College and civil society organizations, the training focuses on best practices in state reporting and shadow reporting before United Nations bodies and litigation before International Human Rights Tribunals.

June 2012

Northwestern Law becomes a founding member of the Law Schools Global League, an invitation-only consortium of 24 leading global law schools in North America, Latin America, Asia, Oceana, and Africa. Through collaborative meetings of its members, by hosting academic conferences, and by offering a summer school program for member school students, the Law Schools Global League exists to promote legal education and scholarly research in relation to the globalization of law by bringing together law schools that share a commitment to the globalization of law and to integrating global law in their teaching and research.

July 2012

Professors Josh Kleinfeld and Stephen Sawyer travel to Ethiopia's Addis Ababa University School of Law to teach intensive two- and three-week courses to human rights lawyers. This endeavor builds on Professor Tom Geraghty’s work to help the Ethiopian law school build a clinical program and, more recently through a USAID-funded ABA Rule of Law Initiative to support judicial and legal education reform in Ethiopia by training law students faculty, lawyers, and judges on issues such as the separation of powers and the importance of judicial independence.

August 2012

The Center for International Human Rights is granted consultative status with the United Nations, an accreditation held by only one other US law school.

September 2012

Faculty, Students in Douentza, MaliIn collaboration with the Feinberg School of Medicine and the Kellogg School of Management, the Law School launches Access to Health, a cross-campus initiative designed to build teams of students and faculty who work with non-governmental organizations in the developing world to develop sustainable interventions that improve health outcomes.

October 2012 

Professor Sandra Babcock travels to Malawi along with three students through the Center for International Human Rights to work with a coalition of Malawian NGOs and government agencies to convene resentencing hearings for approximately 200 prisoners who were given mandatory death sentences in violation of the Malawi constitution.

March 2013

Professor Juliet Sorensen leads an Access to Health project team of Northwestern Law, Kellogg, and Feinberg students to the Dominican Republic where they finalize a plan to improve healthcare for impoverished residents of Guaymate. Their plan focuses primarily on issues of maternal health, HIV/AIDS, famly planning, and Type II diabetes.

October 2013

Global Jurist of the YearThe Center for International Human Rights establishes the annual Global Jurist of the Year award to recognize judges who have substantially contributed to the advancement of international human rights law and international criminal law. Dikgang Moseneke, deputy chief justice of the South African Constitutional Court and the Centers inaugural recipient, delivers a lecture on “The People, the Courts, and the Embryonic Jurisprudence of South Africa.

May 2014

The Center for International Human Rights convenes a one-day conference at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the Hague, the Netherlands, to review and discuss recent developments in atrocity law, specifically, that component of international criminal law arising from the practice and jurisprudence of war crimes tribunals.

September 2014

Access to Health students work with healthcare providers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to propose hydrocarbon legislation that better governs expanding extraction industries.

February 2015

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law enters a partnership with the Qatar Foundation and Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), to assist them in creating a new graduate law school in Doha, Qatar. Professor Clinton Francis assumes the role of interim Dean to launch a three-year JD program at HBKU, the first of its kind in the Middle East.

March 2015

Professor Juliet Sorenson leads an Access to Health project team to Douentza, Mali, where they successfully commission an album of songs espousing health-related messages airing on Radio Dande. The songs aim to raise awareness and influence policy related to malaria, HIV, breast-feeding, and female genital mutilation (FGM), a brutal practice of the region.  

April 2015

Professor Ron Allen and a team of ten law students travel to Tanzania to present to the justices of its highest court a proposal to replace the East African nation’s rules of evidence with a new set they have written themselves. The trip builds on Ron Allen’s work in Tanzania since 2011 when he as asked by Dr. Edward Hoseah, a senior government official and leader of the country’s Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau, to become the chief legal reform consultant to the Tanzanian parliament. The justices vote unanimously to forward the Northwestern proposal to the Tanzanian Parliament, along with the court’s recommendation that the proposed new law of evidence be adopted.

May 2015

The Michael and Mary Schuette Global Fellowship in Health and Human Rights is formed through a gift from Courtney and Chris Combe. The fellowships help fund up to two graduates who pursue international field work through Northwestern’s Access to Health Project. The inaugural fellow will work at the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Geneva.

November 2015

Professor Ron Allen hosts a two-day conference, The Foundations of the Law of Evidence and Their Implications for Developing Countries, examining the challenges of law reform in third world countries with a particular focus on reform movements concerning the law of evidence in Tanzania and China. Attendees include scholars from every continent throughout the word, except Antarctica.

January 2016

The Accelerated LLM program is renamed the Executive LLM Chicago (ELLMC) to synchronize with ELLM programs in Seoul, Madrid, and Tel Aviv. The renaming coincides with plans to increase enrollment; to expand the core curriculum; to focus the curricular offerings on the way lawyers interact across the world with business clients and enterprises; to add two academic tracks comprised of three courses each: one to concentrate on topics related to capital raising and other methods of financing business; the other to focus on intellectual property and competition law; and to launch a speaker series featuring Chicago legal and business community leaders.

January 2016 

Professor Tom Geraghty leads a three-day conference and training workshop on clinical legal education at Ethiopia’s Addis Abab University.

February 2016

Northwestern Law and IE Law School in Madrid, Spain, establishes two new programs, a joint LLB-LLM program that will allow students earn their LLB at IE and their LLM at Northwestern, and a joint JD-LLM program that will allow JD students at Northwestern Law to use their third year for study at IE to earn an LLM.

July 2016

Northwestern Law, a founding member of the Law Schools Global League (LSGL), hosts the annual summer school and conference for the League. The LSGL consists of 24 schools from 22 countries who share a commitment not only to the globalization of law, but also to the integration of global law in teaching and research. 

Public Interest

February 2012

CWC Celebration - Royal, Rivera, DrizinThe Law School hosts a celebratory event to recognize the Center on Wrongful Conviction’s role in securing 11 exonerations during the prior three-month period, the single largest cluster of exonerations in any three-month period in the history of the innocence movement.

May 2012

The Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Center on Wrongful Convictions partners with the University of Michigan Law School to launch the National Registry of Exonerations, the largest and most varied collection of exonerated cases ever assembled.

May 2012

The Bluhm Legal Clinic, along with the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, the Illinois Childhood Trauma Coalition, and Children's Memorial Hospital sponsors and hosts a Symposium on Child Trauma in the Public. The day-and-a-half event attracts more than 600 attendees and features experts in the fields of medicine, psychology, law, and public policy who examine the impact that trauma has on our children and youth and what we, as professionals who interact with these youth, need to know in order to be able to help.

November 2012

Leigh Bienen, in conjunction with the Bluhm Legal Clinic’s Center on Wrongful Convictions and the Illinois Committee to Study the Reform of the Death Penalty, launches a website offering in-depth statistics on murders in Illinois during the 10-year period leading up to the abolition of the death penalty in 2011.  The new database on murder and capital punishment in Illinois includes indictments of more than 2,220 murders across Illinois between 2000 and 2010.

December 2013

The Law School receives an historic gift from Neil Bluhm to bolster the Law School’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP), to support educational programs within the Bluhm Legal Clinic, and for unrestricted use.

December 2013

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law partners with Gideon's Promise, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that trains, mentors, and supports young public defenders, to create the Gideon’s Promise Fellowship program. The fellowships consist of a $50,000 stipend plus benefits and will fund recent graduates to serve in public defender offices in the American South. Fellowship recipients are guaranteed permanent positions at the affiliated public defender offices after the conclusion of the fellowship term. Three Northwestern Law graduates are selected to become Gideon’s Promise Fellows, working as public defenders in Tennessee.

April 2014

The Jay A. Pritzker Public Interest Fellowship Program is announcedFacilitated by a gift from the Jay Pritzker Foundation, these fellowships, awarded through a competitive application process, provide up to nine recent graduates working in the public sector with a $50,000 salary plus health insurance benefits.

August 2015

The Walter and Dawn Clark Netsch Scholarship Fund is created through a bequest of the estate trust of Dawn Clark Netsch. The fund provides scholarships for students who have shown a demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in public interest law as well as support for the Law School’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) for graduates who embark on public interest careers.

October 2015

The Law School creates a full-time associate director for public interest position to provide additional leadership of and administrative support for school-wide public interest initiatives, including enhanced career support.

February 2016

The Law School announces nine new initiatives designed to provide additional financial support for current students and alumni. A key public interest program is the $8,000 summer public interest funding guarantee for students who complete at least 20 volunteer hours for SFPIF and/or another nonprofit organization and whose summer employment resides within the public sector. The guarantee catapults Northwestern Law to a position as the law school providing the highest per student summer public interest funding amount.

April 2016

The Children and Family Justice Center partners with the Chicago Housing Authority to implement a program designed to assist system-involved youth in Chicago achieve successful transitions to adulthood.  As part of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and The Department of Justice Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program, the Center’s work will assist eligible youth with expunging, sealing, and/or correcting juvenile or adult records as permitted by State law; it will also coordinate support services to mitigate collateral consequences.

June 2016

Law School establishes the Global Public Interest Fellowship Program which funds up to six JD students to work abroad during the summer for an approved governmental or nongovernmental organization active on legal issues.

September 2016

The Law School established the Public Interest Center to house the growing array of public interest offerings at the school under a single umbrella, enhancing the Law School’s strong commitment to a public service ethic. Among the Center’s features are financial support for students doing public interest work during and after law school; a robust menu of course offerings, including a law and social policy concentration; career programming and counseling; a wide range of pro bono and public service opportunities; and passionate student organization participation and leadership.   

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V. Engaging Our Alumni Community

2012

BLSA Student, Facutly, Alumni EventChicago, New York City, Washington DC, and San Francisco alumni clubs are launched.

2013

Detroit, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, and Boston alumni clubs are launched.

September 2013

Northwestern Law revamps its Reunion Weekend program and welcomes more than 500 alumni to its inaugural All-Alumni Weekend.

September 2013

The Law School honors six alumni and one firm at its first annual Law Alumni Awards ceremony.

2014

The Houston alumni club is launched.

December 2014

The Law School hosts its first-ever JD-MBA specific alumni reception in New York City. Subsequent events take place in Chicago (March 2015); New York City (November 2015); and Chicago (March 2016).

2015

Dallas and Denver alumni clubs are launched.

2016

Miami and Seattle alumni clubs are launched.

February 2016

The Law School announces nine new initiatives designed to provide additional financial support for current students and alumni, including the creation of a full-time Alumni Career Specialist position to provide career counseling for alumni at all career stages, facilitate links to potential employment opportunities, and develop an ongoing series of career-related and networking programs for alumni and an Emergency Alumni Relief program to assist qualifying students who encounter unforeseen personal circumstances.

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