Second and Third Year Curriculum

After first year, your educational plan is largely in your hands as there is only one mandatory class. You must take Legal Ethics, but all other courses are elective. Students generally register for 14 to 16 credit hours each term.

You must also fulfill a writing requirement in your second or third year. This requirement can be met by completing a minimum of four hours of supervised Senior Research or submitting two manuscripts, one of which must go through at least three drafts (including the final submission).

The three-draft manuscript can be satisfied by writing for one of the Law School's legal journals, participating on the National Trial or the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court teams, or completing a class or seminar that requires an extensive paper.

In planning your second and third year curriculum, you may choose a general course of study or a concentration in one of four areas: Business Enterprise, Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution, International Law, or Law and Social Policy. Concentrations require 16 credit hours of course work and completion of related research and writing projects. This leaves you with ample time to continue exploring other areas of law.

Northwestern offers many opportunities for you to apply your legal skills outside the classroom:

  • Our renowned Bluhm Legal Clinic is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the country. The program offers training through a simulation-based curriculum, which includes the Bartlit Center for Trial Advocacy, the Program on Advocacy and Professionalism, and the Program on Negotiation and Mediation. You may also choose to pursue on-the-job experience through a Practicum. Northwestern offers Judicial, Criminal, Public Interest, and Corporate Counsel practica, which, unlike other schools, also have a seminar component.
  • Second-year students can participate in the Law School's annual Julius H. Miner Moot Court competition, an appellate advocacy program administered by third-year students with faculty supervision.
  • For those interested in international law, Northwestern offers study abroad programs in Australia, Belgium, Amsterdam, Israel, Argentina, and Singapore. You may also earn credit for summer study abroad programs offered by other American Bar Association-approved institutions.
  • Another option for students with global legal interests is through an International Team Project (ITP). You work with other students to customize a curriculum and research agenda, then team up for extensive study of the chosen country, including two weeks of field research abroad and a final group project. Recent ITP countries have included Brazil, Russia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Chile, India, and Namibia.