The Northwestern Law Scholars Program is an initiative targeted at students in the Law School's JD program interested in academic careers or academic affiliations in their future law careers. The program increases career options for students and enhances the academic reputation of Northwestern Law by affiliating graduates in law schools throughout the country. The program adds to the other academic career initiatives at the Law School, including the JD-PhD program, the VAP program, Senior Writing Program, and the Academic MSL program. A central goal of the program is to introduce students to academic publishing through research and writing a co-authored paper with a faculty member.
Students formally begin the Northwestern Law Scholars Program in the summer after the first year of law school or the beginning of their second year. There are a limited number of positions each year in the program and students must apply to the program. The number admitted to the program varies from year to year depending upon the number of applications, the ability to match student interests with that of a professor, and academic potential of the applicants. All students entering the program will be assigned to work with a professor over their first summer, or during the fall of their second year, on a research project. Each new student in the program is invited to attend a Scholarship Training Workshop held at Northwestern Law prior to the beginning of their second year of law school. In the second year, students in the program are encouraged to take at least two semesters of law school colloquia (we strongly encourage them to take Law and Political Economy and/or Law and Economics colloquia, although there may be other colloquia appropriate to the student's research interest). During their second year in the JD program, Northwestern Law Scholars work with a professor on a research project which is expected to lead to a co-authored publication. While most students take a law firm summer associate position after their second year of law school, there is occasion to offer outstanding Northwestern Law Scholars a summer research opportunity with the Law School or Searle Center. In the third year of the program, students again are encouraged to take at least two law school colloquia. In addition, Northwestern Law Scholars are encouraged to take an advanced course in research methodology. By the end of the fall semester of their third year, Northwestern Law Scholars are expected to have completed a co-authored paper with a professor, and at a minimum have a working paper for job market presentation.
Up to two units of course credit may be earned by a 2L in the program through work and research with a professor during the second year of law school.