Additional Career-Related Services for Students and Alumni
February 18, 2011
To: The Northwestern Law Community
From: Kim Yuracko
Re: Additional Career Services & Information
As we have done the past couple of years, I am writing to make you aware of several services and items of information that we hope will assist you through the economic challenges that continue to confront graduating students and alumni.
I am mindful of the anxiety associated with the continuing economic uncertainty, much of which has been highlighted in the media. We all are aware of our nation’s high unemployment rate and the sluggish growth in jobs so far in the present economic recovery, as well as the continuing challenges public sector organizations face as they cope with reduced budgets. Yet, some significant positive trends within the legal industry and our economy as a whole are beginning to take hold which I am optimistic will soon begin to benefit our students and graduates.
In light of the present circumstances, I hope the following information and services will assist many of you. They have been developed by many individuals throughout the Law School 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 an extended job search, I encourage you to consider these alternatives, which may serve as a short-term bridge to the next step in your career.
A. Graduating Students and Alumni
Bluhm Legal Clinic Unpaid Internship Opportunities
Our Bluhm Legal Clinic has arranged to provide opportunities for graduating students, alumni, and current 1st- and 2nd-year JD students to work as unpaid interns in several of its centers and programs. If you are interested in one of these opportunities, please contact Shericka Pringle-Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LLM Tax Program
Similar to prior years and as a one-time option, we 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 2011, thereby matching the total tuition cost of Northwestern Law students who pursue our joint JD-LLM in Taxation program. Please contact Sarah Arimoto-Mercer (email@example.com) in the admissions office if you are interested in applying.
LLM Human Rights Program
Like prior years and again 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 2011. Please contact Bridget Arimond (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested in applying.
Webinar Program for Northwestern Law Alumni
The Center for Career Strategy and Advancement and the Office of Alumni Relations will host a webinar for Northwestern Law alumni on Tuesday, March 15 during which we will present a snapshot of the legal job market as well as job search strategies. We will provide you with further details in the coming weeks.
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. Note that many law schools have blackout dates (usually in the fall) during which reciprocity requests will not be granted and that most law schools do not grant online access to job postings to non-alums or non-students. We will notify you of the outcome of your reciprocity request by e-mail. Please contact Shahab Tabatabainejad (email@example.com) for more information.
B. Graduating Students
Opportunity to Pursue Additional Coursework at No Charge
As another means to allow you to stay sharp, engaged and productive during any ongoing searches, class of 2011 graduating students may complete additional coursework at the law school during the Fall 2011 term free of charge.
In August, you will receive an email from Jason Moy advising you of classes with potential open enrollments. If you would like to take one of the courses, you will be asked to reply to Jason via email and, if there is a seat available after the close of the drop/add period, we will enroll you as a student in that class. You will be expected to participate fully in the class, and grading for you will be on a credit/no credit basis.
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.
FEDERAL LOANS: For federal student loans, borrowers enter a grace period after graduation (6 months for Stafford, 9 months for Perkins, and 90 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 3 months to 1 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. We strongly recommend using the National Student Loan Database Service at for the most up-to-date information on the holder of your federal student loans and who to contact regarding repayment and forbearance information.
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 36 months of forbearance time during the 10 year repayment term. Forbearances are usually approved in 6 month increments. Please contact the Student Loan Office (firstname.lastname@example.org), to discuss your options. Note that this should not have a negative impact on your credit score. Please consult the Northwestern University Student Financial Services website for more information.
The Admissions & Financial Aid Office hosted a session on various federal student loan repayment options earlier this year on October 26, 2010. That session was video-taped and is available for viewing. Also, the Student Loan Office will conduct exit counseling on March 2nd and 3rd from noon – 1:30pm and again on March 3rd from 2:30pm – 3:45pm where they will also address loan repayment options. The locations for each session are listed below:
March 2nd from noon – 1:30pm – RB 140
March 3rd from noon – 1:30pm – RB 175
March 3rd from 2:30pm – 3:45pm – RB 180
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 with Aetna-Chickering (August 31, 2011) and their employment start date. All other students should check with their current health insurance provider for coverage dates.
The Northwestern Alumni Association offers a short-term medical plan with Marsh Affinity Group.
Students interested in speaking with an agent experienced in short term, post-graduation insurance options can contact Randy Sable 847-905-1915 or visit the Total Benefits Services web site.
You may finance the cost for this short-term health insurance coverage through Bar Examination Loans (see next).
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 were sent an email on January 20th that outlined your bar loan options, including the ability to borrow a small amount of additional Graduate PLUS loans (for US citizens and permanent residents) to only cover the fees associated with bar exam. If you want to use this option, you must contact Jason Nemo (email@example.com) in the Financial Aid office prior to April 15th to request this increase.
With regards to bar loans offered by outside lenders, 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 two to three weeks. There are several 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)* in the Admissions and Financial Aid Office for more information about bar examination loans. *Please note: sometime in April, Jill will be going on maternity leave and you should then contact the Admissions Office at email@example.com.
C. Graduating JD and JD-MBA Students
Networking Opportunities with a Member of our Law Alumni Board
We are contacting members of our Law Alumni Board to serve as networking contacts for Northwestern Law graduating students. The Law Board is the Law School’s main advisory board and its membership can be found on our website. Please contact Bill Chamberlain (firstname.lastname@example.org) to obtain further information about this opportunity.
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.” For more information and a list of qualifying employment, click here. Also, because individual state policies and procedures can vary, please be sure to consult the specific requirements of other states if you intend to pursue an opportunity outside of Illinois.
Five-on-One Counseling Sessions
Students may take advantage of this opportunity to get help and feedback from all five JD counselors at once during an hour-long session. The counselors supplement each other’s advice to come up with options, strategies, and contacts that you may not have considered.
D. 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 (email@example.com) for more information about these opportunities.
E. First- and Second-Year JD and JD-MBA Students
Summer Research Internships
Summer Research Internships provide first- and second-year students a 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 interested, you will need to contact the professor with whom you would like to work and mutually agree on the nature of the project and the form of the work product. Once you have secured this agreement, please provide Jason Moy a completed Counter Registration Form (available online or in person) countersigned by your supervising professor no later than June 15, 2011.
Summer Research Interns must meet with their professor at least one hour/week and, occasionally with the agreement of the professor, conferences may be held on a distance basis. Please note that work as a Summer Research Intern does not count toward the graduation writing requirement, nor can it be used to begin a law journal note or comment. Grading for the Summer Research Internship is Credit/No Credit.
Note that students who pursue Summer Research Internships are not charged tuition; however, students who are eligible for financial aid may be able to obtain additional loan funding to cover summer living expenses.
Summer Judicial and Public Interest Practica
The Summer Judicial Practicum and Summer Public Interest Practicum provide first and second year students the opportunity to work for judges or public service agencies and take a related four credit class free of charge. Students must work a minimum of 18 hours per week and attend a weekly two hour seminar. Students also submit reflective journals and prepare a final paper or presentation. Each of these Practica will offer one class for students working in Chicago and a distance class for students working in other parts of the country. Students enrolled in these classes who are eligible for financial aid may request additional aid to pay summer living expenses. If you have questions about the Summer Practica, contact Professor Cindy Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Summer Business Intern Program
The Summer Business Intern Program provides opportunities for first- and second-year students to work in the general counsel’s office of a corporation. While most corporations do not hire right out of law school, students gain experience in working for a client and exposure to various areas of law including contracts, labor and employment, intellectual property and environmental law. These positions are paid. They are treated as resume requests in Symplicity. When we receive a position, the Career Strategy Center will notify all first- and second-year students by email.
Summer Global Intern Program
The Summer Global Intern Program provides first and second-year students with the opportunity to work in the office of a local law firm in a foreign country. We contact our LLM and JD alumni who are working in countries outside the US and request that they take on a student as a summer intern. In the past, our students have had successful internships in Costa Rica, Argentina, Germany, India and Japan. Knowledge of the local language is often not a prerequisite. These positions are also treated as resume requests in Symplicity and you will be notified about them via email.
If you have any questions about the Summer Business Intern or Summer Global Intern programs, please contact Bill Chamberlain in the Career Center at email@example.com.
Finally, if you are in the midst of an extended job search, please remain in close communication with your career advisor or our alumni advisor (whose contact information is included here) and take advantage of the many services that our Career Strategy Center provides. Your career advisors will ensure that you leave each session with a strategy and plan for next steps. Meet regularly and heed their advice to cast a wide net in terms of practice area, geography, and size. Above all, it is important to maintain a long-range view and to take heart in the strong preparation that you are receiving. We are greatly interested in the success of all of our students and alumni and encourage you to leverage the support of the strong Northwestern Law community and network. Please feel free to contact me or other members of our faculty and staff if we can be of additional help.