News Releases

Services Available to Students and Alumni

Update, May 4, 2009

Summer Research Internships (JD Class of 2010, JD Class of 2011, and JD-MBAs)

This summer students will have the opportunity to participate in a new program called Summer Research Internships. Summer Research Internships will offer you the chance to do substantive work with a professor during the summer months, learn about the process of legal scholarship, and earn two credits toward graduation.

If you choose to participate in the program, you will need to solicit a professor with whom you would like to work. Professors are limited to three summer research interns. Students may complete only one summer research internship for credit.

You and the professor will agree on the nature of the project and the form of the work product deliverable by the end of the summer session. Once you have secured the agreement of your professor, you will need to provide the Registrar a completed Counter Registration Form (available online or in the Registrar’s office) countersigned by your supervising professor no later than June 15, 2009.

You will be required to meet with your professor once per week for one hour. With the agreement of the professor, conferences may be held on a distance basis.

Grading for the Summer Research Internship is Credit/No Credit.

Work in the Summer Research Internship will not count toward the graduation writing requirement, nor can it be used to begin a law journal note or comment

Paid research assistants cannot receive credit for the project for which they are being compensated.

For those who choose to participate, we hope this new program will be an enriching and rewarding experience.


Update, April 23, 2009

Important Information About Additional Health Insurance Options for the Class of 2009

As Dean Van Zandt mentioned in his message describing additional services for graduating students and alumni, we are continuing to research health insurance options for students to explore for bridging the gap between the termination of University Student Health insurance coverage (August 31, 2009) and their employment start date.  We have just learned that the ABA Law Student Division is offering an option that might be attractive to graduates with delayed start dates.  The option is described in detail below, but there are two key features:

(1)     if you are a current member of the ABA Law Student Division and you are currently enrolled in the Division’s health plan, you may apply for a continuation of that insurance;

(2)     if you are not currently a member of the ABA Law Student Division and/or are not enrolled in the Division’s health plan, you may still sign up for the plan and become eligible for continuation, provided you do so before you graduate.

Please keep in mind that neither the University nor the Law School is recommending or endorsing this plan, and that neither the University nor the Law School is affiliated with this plan.  We are providing information about it as one additional option for students to consider.  Please see the description below for details and contact information at the ABA.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Student Health Insurance Available for up to One Year after Graduation

The ABA Law Student Division health insurance plan with UnitedHealthcare Student Resources (UHCSR) offers a health insurance coverage extension for up to one year from the student’s graduation date PROVIDED the student is currently carrying this plan AND there is no break (lapse) in coverage between the date of graduation and the first day of this one-year extension.

Graduating law students who are not currently carrying this health insurance coverage with the ABA Law Student Division UHCSR plan may still qualify for the graduate extension by purchasing the last quarter of the health plan before graduating.  Enrollment in the plan prior to graduation is an ABSOLUTE requirement of the carrier. Students may view the health plan benefits at

For more information regarding this benefit and a pro-rated premium amount that will provide coverage for 12 months from the date of graduation, students may call UHCSR at 1-800-505-5450.

Two simple steps –

1. This program is offered to ABA Law Student Division members only.  If not currently enrolled in the ABA – students may join by calling 800.285.2221 or visiting

2. If not currently enrolled in UnitedHealthcare Student Resources – students should sign up now while still a student and before graduation for the last quarter (90 days) of the current plan, in order to be eligible for the graduate extension. Eligibility requires being a law student – not a graduate; being enrolled in an ABA-approved law school and being a member of the ABA.  Students enrolling (or already enrolled) must request the graduation extension which will expire one year from the student’s graduation date. Please keep in mind that there can be no break in coverage from the original plan and the extension. UHCSR will calculate a pro-rated premium for that graduation extension coverage. For a copy of the plan benefits, please visit .

Contact the Law Student Division at for additional information.


Original message from David Van Zandt, April 13, 2009


As we approach the end of the academic year, our nation’s economy continues to struggle through a deep and prolonged global recession. Recently, some positive signs have begun to emerge; yet many economists forecast continued tightening in the labor market through the duration of the calendar year. The legal services industry is not immune. Like most sectors, it continues to experience significant strain as law firms and other legal employers attempt to adapt to the current circumstances. Several have announced layoffs; a few have suspended operations; and many are now contacting incoming associates and new hires with the news that their start dates will be delayed anywhere from three months to a year, sometimes conditioned upon short-term employment with a public interest organization.

With these realities in mind, we are taking proactive steps to identify and establish additional ways that the Law School can help our graduating students and alumni during this challenging period. These options are grounded on the premise that it is important to continue pursuing activities that build your network, your skill set, and your resume. If you are currently in the midst of a job search, have been notified of a deferred start date by your future employer, or are experiencing other related circumstances, I encourage you to consider the following alternatives, which may serve as a short-term bridge to the next step in your career and the ensuing recovery in our economy which will eventually occur.

A. Graduating JD and JD-MBA Students and Alumni with Delayed Start Dates Conditioned on Public Interest Employment

Bluhm Legal Clinic Unpaid Internship Opportunities
As a means to assist graduating students and alumni who are experiencing delayed start dates conditioned with a public interest requirement, our Bluhm Legal Clinic has arranged to provide opportunities for students to work as unpaid interns in several of its centers and programs. If you have a deferred start date with a public service requirement and are interested in one of these opportunities, please contact Shericka Pringle-Jackson. Please also consult with your prospective employer to ensure that this will fulfill its public service requirement.

Opportunities with Other Public Interest Organizations
We have identified several public interest employers who are interested in hiring students and alumni as interns (possibly unpaid). These opportunities are being tracked by our Career Strategy Center and will be listed and updated on our website. These options could be open to all students but may be of particular interest to students with delayed start dates conditioned upon public service work.

B. All Graduating Students and Alumni

LLM Tax Program
We have decided to extend the application deadline for our Graduate Tax Program to June 1 for Northwestern Law students and alumni. As a one-time option, we also will waive one semester of tuition for Northwestern Law graduating students and alumni who are accepted and enroll in this two semester program in Fall 2009, thereby matching the total tuition cost of Northwestern Law students who pursue our joint JD-LLM in Taxation Program. Please contact Stephanie Wurtzel in our admissions office if you are interested in applying.

LLM Human Rights Program
We have also decided to extend the application deadline for our LLM in International Human Rights Program to June 1 for Northwestern Law students and alumni. As a one-time option, we also will waive one semester of tuition for Northwestern Law graduating students and alumni who enroll in this two semester program in Fall 2009. Please contact Bridget Arimond if you are interested in applying.

Additional Career Counseling with Alumni Legal Recruiters and Consultants
Some of our alumni who work as professional legal recruiters and consultants and who manage executive search firms have agreed to provide free or discounted individual counseling to Northwestern Law students and graduates. Please contact Bill Chamberlain for further information.

Reciprocity with Other Law School Career Offices
Northwestern Law students and alumni may request reciprocity in order to gain access to the career offices at most law schools in other cities throughout the country for a prescribed period of time by submitting this form. Note that many law schools have black out dates (usually in the fall) during which reciprocity requests will not be granted. We will notify you of the outcome of your reciprocity request by e-mail. Please contact Amy Androff for further information.

Student Loan Repayment Options
Students and alumni may apply for forbearance on their Northwestern and Federal Loans in order to reduce or postpone scheduled loan payments until the end of a forbearance period.

NORTHWESTERN LOANS: Students and alumni may apply for forbearance on their NU Loans. Interest does accrue and is capitalized at the end of the forbearance period but Northwestern does not require that a balloon payment be made at the end of the forbearance period to make up for the missing payments. The repayment schedules are recalculated over the remaining term of the loan. Northwestern also does not require payments during the forbearance period (though you may make payments if you choose to do so). You are allowed a total of thirty-six months of forbearance time during the ten year repayment term. Forbearances are usually approved in six month increments. Please contact the Student Loan Office, to discuss your options. Note that this should not have a negative impact on your credit score. Please consult this website for more information.

FEDERAL LOANS: For federal student loans, borrowers enter a grace period after graduation (six months for Stafford, nine months for Perkins, and ninety days for Graduate PLUS) which means you are not required to begin to make payments while you are in your grace period. Many lenders will offer you a forbearance on your Graduate PLUS loans that will suspend payments until your Stafford loan goes into repayment. After your grace period has ended, you have the ability to request forbearance with your lender, which will allow for scheduled payments to be reduced or postponed until the end of the forbearance period. Interest can be paid as it accrues and it can be capitalized at the end of the forbearance period. Forbearance periods range from three months to one year. To initiate the process, you must contact your federal student loan lender. Your Stafford loan lender will be different than your Perkins loan lender. Please make sure you contact all lenders regarding repayment options.

C. All Graduating Students

Health Insurance Extension
Graduating students with University Health Insurance may apply for privately provided Short Term Medical Insurance to bridge the gap between the termination of University coverage (August 31, 2009) and their employment start date. There are a number of products on the market, but the product that is recommended by Northwestern University, and with which University graduates have reported high levels of satisfaction, is offered by United Health Care.

Northwestern also offers a short-term medical plan through Marsh Affinity Group Services for alumni who are seeking post-graduation employment; between jobs; in part-time or temporary positions; or in other circumstances that may require short-term health insurance coverage. For more information including a free online quote, please consult this website or call 877-249-7868.

You may finance the cost for this short-term health insurance coverage through Bar Examination Loans (see next). We also are researching alternative options for bridging the health insurance gap.

Bar Examination Loans
Graduating students may apply for a bar examination loan to assist with expenses (including the health insurance costs described above) while studying for the bar exam. You may apply for a bar examination loan up to a few months after graduation and turnaround time for the funds to disburse is typically less than two weeks. There are many lenders that offer bar examination loans. Lenders typically describe the terms and conditions on their website and in their application. Note that lenders will require international students to provide a US citizen or permanent resident as a co-signer. Please contact Jill Rubin Decremer in the Admissions and Financial Aid Office for more information about bar examination loans.

D. Graduating JD and JD-MBA Students

Additional Networking Opportunities with a Member of our Law Board
We are contacting members of our Law Board to serve as additional networking contacts for Northwestern Law graduating students. Second-year students may also participate. The Law Board is the Law School’s main advisory board and its membership can be found on our website. Please contact Bill Chamberlain to obtain further information about this service.

711 License
If you are not planning to take the July bar examination, you may be able to practice in a qualifying public interest organization under a 711 license for up to 18 months. According to the Illinois Supreme Court website, “Unless otherwise provided by the Administrative Director for good cause shown, or unless sooner withdrawn or terminated, the certificate shall remain in effect until the expiration of 18 months after it is filed, or until the announcement of the results of the first bar examination following the student's graduation, whichever is earlier. The certificate of a student who passes that examination shall continue in effect until he/she is admitted to the bar.”

E. Graduating LLM Tax Students

Research Assistantship with a Tax Program Faculty Member
To assist graduating LLM in Taxation students who are seeking employment, members of our Tax Program faculty have created a limited number of openings for short-term research assistantships. A modest stipend may be associated with these research projects. Please contact Jacqueline Reise for more information about these opportunities.

I hope these services will assist many of you during this difficult time. Additionally, please remain in close communication with your career advisor (whose contact information is included here) and feel free to contact me or other members of our faculty and staff if we can be of additional help.

We are deeply interested in the success of all of our students and alumni and, despite the current turmoil, I remain optimistic. This current economic phase will be temporary and more prosperous times undoubtedly await us. As I mentioned in my October message, you have entered this period with many advantages. The Northwestern Law reputation is strong, and our distinctive strategy -- from the way we selected you to the design of our programs -- has been developed with a focus on your careers and your employers. Regardless of your present situation, I am confident that much success lies ahead as you continue to plan your multi-job career.

Posted: May 04, 2009