Northwestern Law was the first top-tier law school to offer an accelerated JD program. Each year, the Law School enrolls a limited number of highly-motivated students to our Accelerated JD (AJD) program.
Students in the Accelerated JD program complete the same number of credit hours as traditional three-year JD students, only they do so in five semesters over the course of two calendar years. While this faster pace means students have a more set schedule of classes, they also have the opportunity to select from the full-range of electives offered by the Law School. Students can also participate in all extracurricular and co-curricular activities, including journals.
Structure and Curriculum
Accelerated JD students begin classes in May. Interested students participate in the Fall On-Campus Interviewing process (OCI) upon completion of their first term with one semester of grades, and join traditional JD students in classes during the fall and spring semesters. AJD students typically work during their second summer. They then return to the Law School for two more semesters and graduate in May, completing the program in two calendar years.
During the first summer term, students are enrolled in four traditional first-year doctrinal courses*, a professional skills course, and Communication and Legal Reasoning I. Students are enrolled in 1L required courses open only to entering Accelerated JD students. Four classes are taught over a ten week period, while two courses are completed in five weeks.
First Fall and Spring Semesters
The remaining required and elective coursework are taught in sections integrated within the JD community. To graduate, students must earn credit in courses that include a perspective elective and a legal ethics elective. These courses can be taken at any point after the first summer term.
Second Fall and Spring Semesters
During the final two semesters, the course schedule is comprised almost exclusively of electives, allowing Accelerated JD students to customize their legal degree to their career goals and interests. This includes focuses on public interest, business law, advocacy, transactional work, and other areas. The graduation writing requirement is completed during the second year.
*The curve shall apply to sections of courses limited in enrollment to students in the Accelerated JD program where the average enrollment for all other sections of those courses exceeds 40.