Welcome Back to Northwestern Law
August 29, 2008
Welcome back to Northwestern Law. I hope you had an enjoyable summer. We mark the school’s 150th anniversary this academic year, and I am sure it will be an exciting and memorable one. As we start our new year, I want to inform you of some new key developments at the Law School, which I have outlined below. Also, please remember to visit EsqwireCentral or our student portal page EsqwireStudent for information about upcoming events.
Over the last few days, we have introduced a new class of JD and LLM students to our community, including 217 JD students, 26 JD-MBAs, 14 two-year international JDs, 45 transfers, 78 LLMs, 14 LLMs in International Human Rights, 36 LLM/Kellogg students, 37 LLM Tax students and four JD-LLM tax students. In addition, five students in our JD-PhD program start the Law School portion of the program this fall.
The Student Affairs team and student orientation committee planned a full schedule of events for our new students. Events ranged from community service projects to social events to the second year of the PORTAL series (Professional Organization, Team Advancement, and Leadership). It has been a great event and I am delighted to welcome our new students.
Our largest employment recruitment program, August On-Campus Interviewing (OCI), concluded August 22. During this year’s 10-day program, more than 6,100 interviews were conducted on campus, including more than 90 new employer offices. More than 800 nationwide and international employer offices participate in Northwestern Law's fall recruitment programs, which include six off-campus recruitment programs and a resume collection program in addition to August and September OCI.
I am pleased to welcome several new and distinguished members to the Northwestern Law faculty this year:
• Tom Brennan, assistant professor
• Peter DiCola, assistant professor
• Ezra Friedman, assistant professor
• Michael Barsa, senior lecturer
• Margaret Curtiss, clinical assistant professor (CLR)
• Allison Heverin, clinical assistant professor (CLR)
• David Iskowich, clinical assistant professor (CLR)
• Eric Truett, clinical assistant professor (CLR)
Also, Franita Tolson joins us as part of our Visiting Assistant Professor program and Sharon Hannes joins us from Tel Aviv as a visiting professor.
Incoming Students Continue Trend of Improved Overall Class Quality
The quality of our incoming classes continues to improve thanks to our unique admissions program. We are the only law school that attempts to interview everyone who applies. Our admission team, along with 25 current students and more than 750 alumni volunteers, interviewed more than 4,200 applicants of our 5,600 applicants (more than 70 percent of the applicant pool) to the various JD and LLM Programs.
Highlights of the 2008 entering JD and JD-MBA classes include:
• Superior academic credentials
The median GPA is 3.71 and the median LSAT score is 170.
• Strong work experience
This is our most experienced student body ever — and the most experienced among the top law schools — with approximately 97 percent entering with at least a year of professional work experience and more than 80 percent with 2 or more years.
• The most geographically diverse law school student body in the country
Our incoming students represent more than 40 states. The Northeast and the Midwest tied for the most highly represented region at 29 percent. Approximately 11 percent of our entering students this year come from outside the United States (includes 2-year international JDs).
• The most ethnically diverse entering class among top law schools
More than 40 per cent of the incoming class are racially or ethnically diverse.
• A range of international experiences
Nearly 2/3 of our incoming students have spent at least a month abroad for work or for an educational program.
Our entering LLM students in the various programs are also very strong:
• Strong global representation
Our international LLM students represent 37 different countries total; we have 80 LLM students, 26 LLM/Kellogg students, and 13 LLM International Human Rights students.
• A number of students pursuing specialized degrees
The incoming class includes 26 JD-MBAs, 36 full-time LLM Tax students, and 4 JD-LLM in Tax
Overall, about 20 per cent of our students in the residential degree programs come from outside the United States
Student Programs and Events
Students play an important role in shaping life at Northwestern Law. Each year more than 40 student organizations plan and celebrate a variety of events to engage and educate the Law School community. Students not only choose topics and enlist speakers but also develop budgets and raise funds. In 2006-07, students, working with our Firm and Corporate Relations team, raised more than $210,000 from more than 70 firms and corporations to sponsor student events.
Class Gift Program
I am pleased to report that the Class of 2008's Graduating Class Gift effort was truly a great success. With 81 percent participation, the Class of 2008 raised $106,860, which totaled more than $140,000 with challenge gifts from me and alumni Garry Crowder (JD-MBA '82) and Jill Evans (JD-MBA '83). In addition, 46 students also made pledges of $1,500 over the next five years, qualifying them for membership as Young Wigmores in our John Henry Wigmore Club giving society.
This year we look for even bigger results as we seek 100 percent participation from the Class of 2009.
Our Working Group recently completed a comprehensive report of its findings and recommendations called “Plan 2008: Building Great Leaders for the Changing World.” We have also moved forward with one of the recommendations: an accelerated JD program, which will launch in May 2009.
Plan 2008 focuses on maximizing the success of Northwestern Law graduates in mutli-job careers. It outlines core competencies that legal employers say they want in employees, such as project management and leadership, teamwork, strategic understanding, written and verbal communications, cross-cultural sensitivity, and basic quantitative abilities, and recommends new initiatives and programs to instill them in our students.
The plan culminates a two-year strategic planning process which included extensive research into legal industry and education trends, alumni career trajectories, and focus groups with more than 200 students, faculty, alumni, and industry leaders throughout the U.S. and London. To my knowledge, no other law school has undertaken such an extensive and systematic research process that solicited direct feedback from leading practitioners throughout the world. We have now formed task forces to further refine the details of the plan and its initiatives.
Judicial Education Program
In July, we became the new home of the Judicial Education Program (JEP), which offers judges premier courses on economics and quantitative fundamentals that relate to the complex cases they decide today. Formally with the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute, the JEP followed its founder, Henry Butler, to Northwestern Law and our Searle Center.
Northwestern Law Scholars Program
This fall we launched the Northwestern Law Scholars Program, which provides students with the theoretical and methodological skills necessary for careers in legal teaching. During their first summer, program participants focus on a faculty-student research project. Thereafter, each student gets assigned to a faculty mentor who helps facilitate the scholar’s ongoing, individual research interests, as well as provides them with advice and guidance regarding potential academic careers. The program includes a series of specialized classes in a choice of concentrations, complemented by empirical/theoretical perspectives, intensive writing, workshops with leading scholars, teaching experience, and faculty mentors.
During the summer, the former Admissions Office (RB160) was converted into a small seminar room with four breakout spaces. Regularly scheduled classes are occurring in the space throughout the year. We also refinished five study rooms in the Pritzker Legal Research Center with new carpet, paint, lighting, and furniture and updated the stairs in the Atrium.
In mid-term Spring 2008, we completed two 25-seat seminar rooms on the third floor of McCormick which will host classes for the first time this fall. They are in the former location of the Bluhm Legal Clinic.
Finally, we changed caterers from Tri-Star to Sodexo and have reopened Harry’s Café with a minor facelift and an expanded selection.