JD FAQs

JD

Topics


Programs and Statistics

Do you have any joint degree programs?
Yes. We have a JD-PhD program with The Graduate School and a JD-MBA program with the Kellogg School of Management. We also offer two JD-LLM programs: JD-LLM in International Human Rights and JD-LLM in Taxation

Do you have a part-time or evening program?
No. We only offer full-time day classes.

Where can I find a copy of Northwestern's Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics?
As provided by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, you are entitled to request and receive a copy of Northwestern University's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. This Report includes statistics for the previous three years concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus; in certain off-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by Northwestern University; and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus. The Report also includes institutional policies concerning campus security, such as policies on drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. You can obtain a copy of this Report by contacting the Northwestern University Police Department Deputy Chief at (847) 491-3256. The Report can also be accessed and printed from the University Police website.

[ back to top ]


Standardized Tests:  LSAT and GRE 

As of October 26, 2017, Northwestern Law will accelerate our acceptance of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to the current admissions cycle.  As such, we will allow applicants to submit either the LSAT or the GRE for admission to our Fall 2018 entering class.  The following FAQs address admissions-related and logistical matters for the standardized test requirement.

Do you accept the February LSAT for admission?
Yes; however, we cannot guarantee that seats in the incoming class will still be available.

If I take the LSAT more than once, will you take the highest score or the average of the scores?
Northwestern Law’s policy is to review and to report the highest score earned on the LSAT.

For how long is my LSAT score valid?
According to the Law School Admission Council, LSAT scores are valid for five (5) years.

If I previously sat for the GRE and not the LSAT, how do I apply to the JD program?                                     

Please complete the Northwestern Law JD application via LSAC.org

What is Northwestern Law's GRE school code?                                                                                                       

Northwestern Law's GRE school code is 2579.

May I submit an unofficial GRE score report?                                                                                                       

No; we will only accept official GRE report(s) from ETS. You must contact ETS directly to have your Official GRE Score Report sent to Northwestern Law.  

What is the oldest GRE score you will accept for my JD application?                                                           

Consistent with our policy for LSAT score(s), no more than five years may have passed from the date of your GRE administration. 

Am I required to submit a LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report if I only have a GRE score?        

Yes; the CAS report is required for all applicants to Northwestern Law's JD program.  The CAS report will include your transcripts, your undergraduate grade point average, other relevant data, and your required letter(s) of recommendation.

If I have taken both the GRE and the LSAT, how do I apply to the JD program?                                             

Please complete the JD application.  If you have already submitted your application for Fall 2020 admission and wish to have your GRE score considered along with your LSAT score, please submit the Northwestern Law GRE Intention Form.  You must contact ETS directly to have your Official GRE Score Report sent to Northwestern Law. Because a CAS report must be submitted by all applicants to our JD program, the Admissions Committee will have access to any LSAT score(s) reported there.

If I have taken both the GRE and the LSAT, am I required to submit my GRE score?                                         

No; you may submit just your LSAT score if you wish to do so. 

May I apply to the binding Early Decision (ED) program this year with only the GRE?             

ED applicants may satisfy the Law School's admissions test requirement by submitting the LSAT, the GRE, or both. Through the CAS process, the Law School will be able to access the LSAT results and will consider those score(s) in its review if an applicant has previously taken it. Additional guidance is detailed in our Application Instructions.

Why is Northwestern Law including GRE scores in the admissions process?   

We are pleased to continually evolve our admissions process to attract the strongest and most diverse class possible, and we are proud to be at the forefront of this change across law schools.  We are confident this practice will benefit students, faculty, schools, and the legal professional at large. 

[ back to top ]


Applying

How can I obtain an application for admission?
Applications are available online through the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). If you, for accessibility purposes, require a pdf version of our application please contact us by email at admissions@law.northwestern.edu or by phone at 312.503.8465.

How do I request an application fee waiver?
As an incentive for prospective applicants to apply early (between September 1 to December 1), we offer application fee waivers to any prospective JD applicant who simply fills out our registration form. This form can be found on our Apply page. A fee waiver code will be generated and emailed within 2-3 business days. 

From time to time during the admissions cycle, we also send fee waivers to candidates who are registered with LSAC's Credential Referral Service and who meet the Admissions Committee’s criteria. In order to be considered, be sure to check the CRS box when registering your LSAC account. Members of the Admissions team may also offer fee waivers to prospective applicants that they meet at the fall recruiting events we attend. 

After December 1st, in order for a prospective applicant to obtain an application fee waiver, they must submit a complete need-based JD Fee Waiver Application and provide supporting documentation along with it. LSAC fee waiver recipients must still complete the application and attach a copy of your LSAC fee waiver notification. Need based fee waiver requests are reviewed weekly and notices or requests for additional documentation are sent out via email.

If you receive a fee waiver, be sure to apply by the expiration date listed on notice. Once a fee waiver code has expired, it will not be reissued.

Are deferrals granted?
One-year deferrals are granted on a case-by-case basis. Historically, the Committee has granted a deferral for compelling reasons, such as unforeseen hardships or extraordinary opportunities. The admitted student must (1) pay their initial $750 seat deposit that holds their seat in the entering class to which they have been admitted and (2) submit a written request stating the reasons a deferral is necessary. If the Admissions Committee grants the deferral, the admitted student will be required to pay two additional deposits on the dates outlined in their letter. All deposits are non-refundable and applied towards the first tuition bill. In the event that the deferred student withdraws, the deposits are forfeited.

Do you accept visiting students?
Yes, students currently enrolled in another law school that is part of the Association of American Law Schools may apply to be a visiting student at the Law School.

What if I have Character and Fitness questions?
Each state has character and fitness including other qualifications for admission to the bar. Prior to matriculation, all applicants should consult the bar admission authorities in the state in which they intend to practice law to determine these requirements. Information about the requirements for admission to the bars of various states is available from the American Bar Association.

[ back to top ]


Interviewing

I heard that you interview your applicants at Northwestern.  How do I take advantage of this opportunity?  

This is true!  We have long desired to interview as many of our applicants as possible.  And for many years, we have succeeded.  Last year, we interviewed 97% of our entering class.  We offer three interview "platforms" for our JD applicants:

  • Our flagship on-campus admissions interviewing program is undergoing some exciting updates.  Your interviewer will be a current student of the Law School, an alum, or an admissions officer.  Starting October 2019, we are scheduling our on-campus interviews on Saturdays. Our Super Saturday interview programs will take place on select Saturdays this Fall and early Spring.  If you embrace a Super Saturday interview, you may travel to Chicago on a Friday, complete your interview during a pre-scheduled time on Saturday, tour the Law School, and gather with members of the Northwestern Law community during a collegial 'Coffee Hour' with current students in one 'fell swoop.' We'll post the Super Saturday schedule in mid-August.  If you observe the Sabbath, we schedule interviews on the Friday immediately before each Super Saturday.  As such, you may take care of your admission interview, sit in on a class, and visit the Law School. 
  • Our long-standing off-campus interviewing program is successfully administered by our dedicated alumni throughout the United States.  It's a terrific way to build your application, meet an alum who is practicing in your current market, and connect with the Law School. 
  • If traveling to Chicago or meeting with an alum in your area aren't options for you, we are delighted to offer an online video interview.  You will answer (and record!) interview quesions that members of the Northwestern Law community have written and filmed.  Because our online video interview platform is relatively new and unusual, there are a number of frequently asked questions.  We've provided answers to a set of FAQs about this interview platform below.

Can I interview before I’ve submitted my application?
No.  Submission of an application is required for each of our interview platforms: on-campus, off-campus, and online video.  Our office will provide you with instructions for the specific type of interview platform you select after you have submitted your application. 

I indicated that I did not intend to interview on my application, but have changed my mind. What should I do?
You must write to our office at admissions@law.northwestern.edu indicating that you want your application held until your interview occurs. 

Can I interview multiple times?
Applicants are not allowed to interview more than once per cycle unless otherwise indicated by the Admissions Office. 

I scheduled an on-campus interview. Is it possible to be reimbursed for my travel expenses?
Unfortunately, we do not provide reimbursement for expenses associated with interviewing or visiting the Law School.

May I interview over the weekend?
Beginning Fall 2019, our on-campus admission interviews will take place on pre-scheduled Saturdays.  For those who who observe the Sabbath, we will offer a number of on-campus interviews on the Friday immediately prior to each of these Saturday Sessions.  The Saturday Session dates will be published on our Admission webpages in mid-August 2019.  Stay tuned!

What should I wear to the interview?
Our admissions interviews are akin to professional job interviews.  Accordingly, we recommend dressing in business casual attire at the minimum.  Furthermore, your interviewer will require a copy of your resume; please bring one with you.

I need to cancel my off-campus interview. Should I tell anyone?
Yes. If you have received your interview assignment, your interviewer is awaiting an email or phone call from you to set up a time to meet. If you need to cancel, you must email both the interviewer and the Admissions Office so we may assign your spot to another candidate.

I'm applying ED.  What type of interview do I select?
Early decision / ED applicants are required to complete an online video interview. Upon submitting your ED application to Northwestern Law, you will receive an invitation to our online video interview portal and guidance for completing this requirement. 

What metropolitan locations for off-campus interviewing are currently available?
Northwestern Law is fortunate to have alumni volunteers throughout the United States and the world.  The majority of our alumni interviewers are located in major legal markets such as New York City, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles. Once you have selected the off-campus interview option within the JD application, you will navigate to a drop-down menu of available metropolitan locations.  Because there is a high demand for off-campus / alumni interviews in some of our larger markets, it is a good idea to apply early in our cycle if you intend to pursue an off-campus interview.  If a market closes, it will no longer appear within the drop-down menu in the application. 


Online Video Interviewing 

Why does Northwestern Law offer an online video interview?
Interviews have long been an important part of the admissions process at Northwestern Law. It is our goal to interview as many applicants as possible. Online video interviews provide a relatively easy and convenient alternative to our on-campus and off-campus alumni interview options.  For that matter, the online option affords you the flexibility to conduct the interview whenever and wherever you are able. 

How do I schedule an online interview?

You must request an online video interview within our 2019-20 application.  Soon after you have submitted your application, a member of our staff will send you a link to the online video portal.  Please note that your application will remain incomplete until you have completed the interview. You will have 15 business days to complete the online video interview from the date you are invited to the portal.  If you do not complete your interview within this time frame, your application will move forward to the Admissions Committee.

How does the online video interview work?
Once you log onto the site, you will have the opportunity to practice recording yourself as many times as you would like. Once you are comfortable with the site, you may begin recording your official interview to be submitted to the Northwestern Law Admissions Committee. You will view filmed questions, asked by members of the Admissions Committee and members of the Northwestern Law community.  From there, you have only have one take to record your response to each question. The interview will consist of five unique questions that will differ from those that you received during your practice session.

Is the online video interview option considered less valuable than an in-person interview?
No, not at all. The Admissions Committee gives all interview formats equal consideration and weight in the evaluation process.

What types of questions will you ask?
All of our interviewers--our students, alumni, and admissions officers--have been trained to ask questions from a large collection.  The questions are designed to give us more insight into your career goals, motivation, experience, skills, empathy, and resilience.  We are also interested in learning about your specific interest in Northwestern Law.

How much time will I have to think of a response and how long will I have to give my answer?
You will have 30 seconds to formulate your response and 60 seconds to provide your answer. We suggest you take advantage of the unlimited and unrecorded practice questions in order to become familiar with the process and to be more relaxed. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel during the interview itself.

Can I re-record my responses if I am not satisfied?
Unfortunately, no.  Once you begin your actual interview, you will have only one opportunity to answer each question. This is why we strongly encourage you to take advantage of the practice session.

Will I have access to my interview after it is submitted?
No.  Just like the interview report that is generated in the other two interviewing options we offer, only members of the Northwestern Law Admissions Committee may view your video responses.

How long is the interview?
Once you move past the practice round questions and begin your formal interview, it should only take 30 minutes to complete the actual interview.

Do I need to complete the interview in one sitting?
No.  That said, we highly recommend that you do for continuity's sake.  You must complete a question once you start it, but you do not have to finish all five questions in one sitting.

What should I wear?
Treat the online video interview as you would for a job interview and dress professionally. You may wear a suit if you want to, but business casual is acceptable, as well. 

Where should I record my online video interview?
We recommend finding a quiet place with a good internet connection that is free from distractions. Before you get started with the practice questions, you should test the strength of your connection. If at any point you get stuck, our partner firm (Kira) provides technical support to assist you 24 hours/7 days a week. 

How does the online video interview factor into my admission decision?
The Admissions Committee prides itself on the 360 degree review we conduct for all of our applications. Interviews of all three types enable us to envision you as a potential member of the Northwestern Law community. Interviews allow us to get more detailed information about the values that are important to us in the review process, including interpersonal skills. Because the interview is optional, it also demonstrates your level of interest in Northwestern Law.

I did not indicate that I wanted to conduct an interview on my application, but I have changed my mind. Is it possible to schedule an online interview?
Yes, but you must write to our office at admissions@law.northwestern.edu, indicating you want your application to be held until you have completed your online video interview. 

[ back to top ]


Financial Aid

If admitted, will scholarship information be included?
All financial aid determinations are made through a separate application process.

Do you have merit based scholarships?
All of our scholarships are awarded on a combined basis of merit and need. We use the terms "scholarship" and "grant" interchangeably.

Tell me about your Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) for those pursuing a career in Public Interest?
View details surrounding our Loan Repayment Assistance Program

[ back to top ]


Academics

Do you have any clinical programs?
Yes. Further information regarding our comprehensive and historical clinical programs can be found on the Bluhm Legal Clinic website.

Do I have to specialize in any one area?
No. However, if you would like to tailor your schedule of classes following your first year we offer the following concentrations: Business Enterprise, Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution, International Law, Appellate Law, Environmental Law, Law and Social Policy , and Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. 

What are your study abroad opportunities?
Learn more about our international opportunities


Transfer Admissions

Fundamental Information

How many transfer students do you enroll?

Each year, approximately 35 students transfer from other law schools accredited by the American Bar Association.  These students join the rising 2L class during the fall semester. 

What is the “best” time to apply?  Should I wait to apply once my 1L transcripts are available?

The Northwestern Law transfer application will be available on LSAC.org as of Wednesday, May 1st.  A complete transfer application consists of several time-sensitive requirements.  You are responsible for ensuring that every component is submitted prior to the June 15th deadline. 

Given the relatively short application period, we encourage you to establish a thoughtful timeline in order to complete your transfer application well before the June 15th deadline.  Although we will not be able to render a final decision on your transfer candidacy until we receive your complete 1L transcripts, we will conduct a preliminary review of your other application materials.  As such, you may wish to spearhead your application as early as possible and as soon as you have tailored your candidacy for both transfer admission and Northwestern Law. 

In many instances, your complete and official 1L transcripts will be the final document you submit. If you apply within a week or less of the June 15th deadline, it will be more efficient to have your 1L transcripts sent directly to the Office of Admissions.

I just completed my first year of law school as a part-time student.  May I apply for transfer to Northwestern?

No.  Because Northwestern Law does not have a part-time or evening division, we cannot admit transfer students pursuing a part-time course of study. 

I have completed two years of study as a part-time student at my current law school.  As such, I have completed a 1L curriculum that is substantially similar to that of Northwestern Law's first year.  But I have sigifnicantly more credit hours.  May I apply to be a full-time student now?

It depends.  You may apply as a transfer candidate, but the amount of credit any transfer student will receive at Northwestern Law for courses completed at another institution will not exceed 28 credit hours.  Furthermore, you must intend to complete your last two years in residence at Northwestern Law.  For these reasons, you would necessarily forfeit a significant number of credit hours earned at your current law school, and you would extend the amount of time invested in your legal education.

I see that Northwestern is accepting GRE scores in its review of JD applicants.  May I apply for transfer admission with only a GRE score?

Yes.  GRE-only candidates must submit an official score report from ETS, as well as a Credential Assembly Service (CAS) report from the Law School Admission Council. 

What courses must I have completed in order to submit a transfer application?

To be considered for transfer admission, you must have completed a 1L curriculum that is substantially similar to that of Northwestern Law’s

The basic foundation in law and reasoning that all ABA-accredited schools require of first year law students typically includes Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, and Torts.  Furthermore, 1L coursework in legal writing and research is required.  (At Northwestern, this coursework is referred to as Communication and Legal Reasoning I and II.)

My law school does not offer Constitutional Law during the first year, but I see that it is part of the required 1L curriculum at Northwestern.  May I still apply?

Yes.  We recognize that certain doctrinal courses such as Constitutional Law may be upper division requirements at other law schools.  If you are admitted as a transfer student, our Registrar will enable you to enroll in Constitutional Law during your 2L year at Northwestern. 

Admissions Requirements

Are there requirements that are distinct from my applications to various law schools last year?

Yes.  The transfer application requirements are detailed here.  Notably, we require all of our transfer applicants to complete an online video interview.  The questions have been designed specifically for transfer candidates.

What makes a transfer applicant successful? 

We have overarching goals as we build our transfer class each summer.  We'll detail two of our objectives here. 

First, we seek candidates with specific reasons for transferring to Northwestern who will positively impact the Law School community as students and as alumni.  In turn, we anticipate those candidates will develop thoughtful and customized applications.  Thus, we recommend against submitting a personal statement and/or other application materials which closely resemble those from your initial law school applications.

Secondly, while we will carefully review your undergraduate performance, your LSAT score(s), and the whole of your transfer application, we are very interested in learning about your first year performance at your current law school.  The Admissions Committee is committed to enrolling students who will thrive academically at Northwestern Law.  Accordingly, we typically offer admission to transfer candidates who have done very well in their 1L coursework.  To view data for our Fall 2018 entering transfer class, please see pages 3 and 4 of Northwestern Law's 2018 ABA Standard 509 Information Report

Transfer Credit

I will finish my first year at my current law school with 32 credit hours.  Will all of those credits transfer to Northwestern?

No.  The amount of credit a transfer candidate will receive at Northwestern Law for completed 1L courses will not exceed 28 credit hours.  Grades below a ‘C’ or its equivalent will not be accepted for transfer credit.  Furthermore, because of the differences in curriculum among law schools, students who are admitted on a transfer basis may not receive full credit for courses taken at their original law school.  The granting of such credit is at the discretion of Northwestern Law. 

When will I learn which of my 1L courses will transfer and how many hours I will be credited?

Should you be admitted as a transfer student at Northwestern and if you decide to enroll with us, we will share your final and official 1L transcripts with our Registrar’s Office.  You will receive a formal notification from the Registrar that details which courses will transfer, and the total number of credit hours that are transferrable to your JD at Northwestern.  And to reiterate, 28 is the maximum number of credit hours that may be transferred.

Transfer Student Opportunities

Will I be eligible to participate in programming with the other rising 2Ls at Northwestern Law?

Yes!  Transfer students are eligible to participate in all of the activities the Law School offers, including the fall on-campus interviewing program (OCI), moot court, and our law journals.  As soon as the timing is appropriate, we will introduce newly-admitted transfer students to the faculty and departments who administer these programs.

Speaking of OCI, when does it start for Northwestern?

Bidding for our fall on-campus interviewing program takes place in mid-July each year.  Because transfer students are eligible to participate in OCI, we strive to have our transfer class confirmed well before bidding begins.  Our goal is to introduce our transfer candidates to their career strategists so that together, they may prepare for OCI.

Financial Aid

I hold a scholarship at my current law school.  Does Northwestern offer scholarships to transfer students? 

No.  Transfer students are not eligible for scholarship assistance.  With that said, a Northwestern Law education is a valuable investment that will provide lifelong returns.  The Law School is dedicated to offering a comprehensive financial aid program for students seeking assistance.  As such, your financial aid package will include loan funding and will be designed to enable any admitted transfer student to attend the Law School, regardless of financial need.

Visiting Northwestern Law

I am currently in Chicago.  May I complete the required interview in person, rather than through the online interview portal? 

No.  We require the online video interview of all our transfer applicants and the platform itself creates a level playing field.  For that matter, it makes the transfer process more streamlined for both you and the Admissions Committee.  The time period for enrolling a transfer class is quite abbreviated, given the necessity of preparing transfer students for OCI bidding in mid-July.

If I am admitted, may I visit the Law School and speak with someone?

Upon admission, we will inform transfer candidates of opportunities to visit and to learn more about our vibrant community.  We will reach out to you frequently throughout the process so that you may make an informed decision about this critical step in your academic and professional journey. 

Making a Commitment

Is an enrollment deposit required if I am admitted and decide to transfer to Northwestern?

Yes; we require a non-refundable deposit of $750.  Because of the relatively short time period and the importance of introducing our new transfer students to their career strategists, the window for submitting the deposit may be just a few days in many cases.  As with the deposits for our other incoming students, these funds will be credited to your bursar's account. 

Will I receive assistance with various logistical matters?

Absolutely.  We recognize that you will need to pivot and move not only to a new law school, but possibly to another city.  We will provide you with a detailed Pre-Matriculation Guide with instructions and contact information for the appropriate administrators and departments in order to ease your transition to Northwestern Law and/or the city of Chicago. 

back to top ]