News Releases

Welcome Back to Northwestern Law

August 28, 2009

Welcome back to Northwestern Law.  I hope you had an enjoyable summer.  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, 28 JD-MBAs, 6 two-year international JDs, 31 transfers, 82 LLMs, 10 LLMs in International Human Rights, 40 LLM Tax students, and 4 JD-LLM tax students.  In addition, 3 students in our JD-PhD program start the Law School portion of the program this fall.  They are joining 21 LLM/Kellogg students and our initial class of 27 Accelerated JD program students who began their studies here during the summer.

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 week of events, and I am delighted to welcome our new students.

New Faculty
I am pleased to welcome several new and distinguished members to the Northwestern Law faculty this year:

Also, Pierre Larouche joins us as a Searle visting fellow.

Law School Welcomes Inaugural AJD Class
The Law School welcomed the inaugural class of Accelerated JD (AJD)
students on May 18.  The class is comprised of twenty-seven students, all of whom possess strong academic qualifications and impressive work and life experiences.  For more information on the students in the AJD program, visit our AJD entering class profile page.  We are very excited to have this group join our Northwestern Law community.

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 1,000 alumni volunteers, interviewed more than 3,850 applicants of our 6,166 applicants to the various JD and LLM Programs.

Highlights of the 2009 entering JD and JD-MBA classes include:
Superior academic credentials
The median GPA is 3.7 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 98 percent entering with at least a year of professional work experience, 84 percent with two or more years, and 61% with three or more years.
The most geographically diverse law school student body in the country
Our incoming students represent more than 35 states, with 70 percent of the incoming class from non-Midwest states.  Approximately 10 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 percent of the incoming class are racially or ethnically diverse.
A range of international experiences
More than 60 percent 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 35 different countries; we have 82 LLM students, 21 LLM/Kellogg students, and 10 LLM International Human Rights students.
A number of students pursuing specialized degrees
The incoming class includes 40 full-time LLM Tax students and 4 JD-LLM in Tax students.

Overall, about 20 percent of our students in the residential degree programs come from outside the United States.

Fall OCI
Despite the struggling economy, employers representing more than 300 offices visited Northwestern Law to interview our students August 10-19 for our Fall On-campus Interviewing program. While this number is less than in recent years, we have experienced smaller declines than many other top law schools, particularly those located on the coasts, which rely more heavily on their particular geographic market.  Our innovative admissions and educational model also continues to resonate with potential employers.  Nevertheless, the short-term will present increased employment-related challenges, and I encourage students to meet regularly with your career advisor, to take advantage of our Center for Career Strategy and Advancement’s many services and programs, and to heed the advice I shared in my July 24 message. 

Bill Chamberlain and our Career Strategy Center team continue to explore the possibility of a second, expanded on-campus interviewing program in the spring, as we anticipate many employers will take a cautious approach to their hiring this fall or may delay their hiring altogether until later in the academic year.  We will keep you updated as our plans progress.

Justice Ginsburg to Visit Law School
I am honored to welcome U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as this year’s Howard J. Trienens Visiting Judicial Scholar.  In addition to various scheduled activities, Justice Ginsburg will participate in a discussion in front of the Northwestern Law community followed by a question and answer session on Tuesday, September 15 at 4 p.m. in Thorne Auditorium.  In anticipation of high attendance, tickets will be required for this event.  A limited amount of seating is available for students, faculty, and staff on a first come, first served basis. Please note that the invitation is only available to the Northwestern Law community and invited guests.

Celebrate Our 150th Anniversary

Northwestern Law turns 150 this year.  In celebration of our anniversary, we have launched a web site that chronicles the history of the Law School.  Take a moment to travel through some highlights of our past.  We are planning an event to commemorate this milestone during Alumni Reunion Weekend.

Reunion Weekend

Alumni from the classes of 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, and 2004 come back to the Law School Oct. 2-3 for Reunion 2009.  Mingle with alums at the Alumni Community Day Party on Oct. 2 from 5:30-7:30 pm.

Inauguration of Northwestern University President Morton Shapiro

Pomp and circumstance, talks and music, and events on Northwestern's Evanston and Chicago campuses will highlight the inauguration of Morton O. Schapiro as the 16th president of Northwestern University Oct. 7-10.

President Schapiro previously was president of Williams College from 2000 to 2009.  Prior to that, he was a member of the Williams College faculty and the dean of the College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences at the University of Southern California.  President Schapiro is among the nation's leading authorities on the economics of higher education, with particular expertise in the area of college financing and affordability and on trends in educational costs and student aid.

Student Programs and Events
Students play an important role in shaping life at Northwestern Law.  Each year more than 55 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 2008-09, students working with our Firm and Corporate Relations team raised more than $205,000 from more than 75 firms and corporations to sponsor student events.

Class Gift Program
I am pleased to report that the Class of 2009's Graduating Class Gift effort was a success.  One hundred and thirty-two students from the Class of 2009 pledged $112,388, which totaled more than $131,784 with challenge gifts from alumni Garry Crowder JD-MBA '82 and Jill Evans JD-MBA '83, and me.  An amazing 50 percent of student donors made commitments of $1,500 over the next five years, qualifying them for membership as a Young Wigmore in our John Henry Wigmore Club giving society.

This year we aim to increase the participation rate for the 2010 Class Gift by reaching out to students from each of our many programs.  Stay tuned for information about how you can get involved in the 2010 Graduating Class Gift Committee.

Facilities Upgrades
As you may have noticed, we have made several improvements to our facility this summer, including the relocation of Harry’s Café from the basement of Levy Mayer to the first floor of Rubloff – just off the south end of the Atrium.  The new space will feature an expanded menu including made-to-order sandwiches and a full complement of espresso drinks.  In addition, we have also installed new carpeting, furniture, and banners in the Rubloff Atrium, and as part of an ongoing process, we have replaced some of the oldest soft seating in the Law Library.

Posted: August 31, 2009