JD FAQs

JD FAQs

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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.

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Standardized Test Requirement:  LSAT and GRE 

Northwestern Law welcomes both LSAT and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results from applicants to our entering JD programs.  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 2022 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 standardized test requirement by submitting the LSAT, the GRE, or both. Through the CAS process, the Law School will view 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. 

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Applying

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

How do I request an application fee waiver?
As an incentive for prospective applicants to apply "early" (between September 1 and December 31), we offer application fee waivers to any prospective JD applicant who simply fills out our registration form. This form may be found on our Apply page. A fee waiver code will be generated and emailed within two to three 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 certain Admissions Committee 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 they meet at fall recruiting events. 

As of January 1, prospective applicants seeking a fee waiver must complete a need-based JD Fee Waiver Application and provide the required supporting documentation. Applicants holding LSAC fee waivers are required to complete our JD Fee Waiver Application and should attach a copy of the LSAC fee waiver notification. Need-based JD fee waiver applications are reviewed weekly, and notices or requests for additional documentation are sent via email.

Should you receive an application fee waiver, be certain to submit your JD application by the stated expiration date. Once a fee waiver code has expired, the Office of Admissions will not issue a new one.

Are deferrals granted?
One-year deferrals are granted on a case-by-case basis. Historically, the Admissions 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 will hold their seat in the entering class to which they have been admitted; and (2) submit a written request stating the reason(s) a deferral is necessary. If the Admissions Committee grants the deferral, the admitted student will be required to pay two additional deposits by the dates articulated in the deferral letter.  All deposits are non-refundable and will be applied toward the student's first tuition bill. In the event that the deferred student withdraws, the enrollment deposits are forfeited.

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

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

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Interviewing

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

We have long been dedicated to interviewing as many of our applicants as possible.  In recent years, we have interviewed at least 95% of our entering class.

We are delighted to offer our applicants an online video interview platform. You will record answers to interview questions 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 process below.

May I interview before I’ve submitted my application?
No.  Submission of an application is required before you may proceed with your interview.  Furthermore, you must opt into the interview process within your application form.  Our office will provide you with instructions and guidance 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. 

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

I'm applying ED.  Do I have to interview?
Yes.  As a specific requirement for the Early Decision (ED) application, ED candidates must complete an online video interview.  Upon submitting your ED application to Northwestern Law, you will receive an invitation to our online portal and detailed guidance for completing your interview.  


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. Online video interviews provide a relatively easy and convenient method for our applicants across the nation and the world! 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 2021-22 application.  Soon after you have submitted your application, a member of our staff will send you a link to the online video portal.  Your application will remain incomplete until you have submitted your interview responses.  You will have 30 days from the date you submitted your application to complete the online video interview.  We highly recommend completing your interview within two weeks of applying to minimize any processing delays of your application.  After 30 days, your application will be moved forward in the process if you have not completed your online video interview.  (Please note:  For applications submitted on or after February 1, 2022, interviews should be submitted as soon as possible, but no later than the February 15th JD application deadline.) 

Transfer applicants are required to complete an online video interview. Within two business days of submitting your transfer application, a member of our team will send you instructions for completing your transfer interview and a link to our online interview platform. We encourage you to submit the interview as soon as possible, but no later than the transfer application deadline.

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 responses.  You will view recorded questions, all from members of the Admissions Committee and 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(s).

What types of questions will you ask?
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 recommend 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.

May 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 encourage you to take advantage of the practice session.

Will I have access to my interview after it is submitted?
No.  The only individuals who may view your responses are the members of the Northwestern Law Admissions Committee.

How long is the interview?
Once you move past the practice round questions and begin your formal interview, it should take approximately 20-25 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 if you are preparing for a job interview and plan to dress professionally. You may wear a suit if you wish, but business casual attire is acceptable. 

Where should I record my online video interview?
We recommend locating 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 enable us to envision you as a potential member of the Northwestern Law community. They also 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. 

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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

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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 - Timeline and Eligibility

How many transfer students do you enroll?

Each year, between 30 and 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 through LSAC.org on Monday, May 3, 2021. A complete transfer application consists of several requirements. You are responsible for ensuring that every component is complete and submitted prior to this year's deadline: Friday, June 18th.

Given the relatively short application period, we encourage you to establish a thoughtful timeline in order to complete your transfer application well before the deadline. With that said, we recommend starting your application in May, after you have completed your 1L final exams at your current law school.

We will not be able to render a final decision on your transfer application until we receive your complete 1L transcripts. It may take some time to complete the other requirements; you may wish to work on those as you await the release of your 1L transcripts from your current law school. 

Does the Admissions Committee admit transfer students on a "rolling" basis?

Yes.  Beginning in early to mid-June, the Admissions Committee will go out with its first "round" of offers for successful transfer applicants. Because of the brief transfer admission cycle, these admitted students will be required to submit a deposit in a matter of a few days so that we may introduce them to their career advisers in preparation for the Law School's summer On-Campus Interviewing Program (OCI). We will also introduce them to the student editors of the Law School's six Journals so they may apply for the summer 'Write-On' competition. As you may imagine, this is all rather time-sensitive.

The Admissions Committee will continue to review completed transfer applications and admit successful candidates on a weekly basis until the beginning of July. This underscores why it is critical for transfer applicants to ensure that all application requirements are submitted and complete by the Friday, June 18th deadline

How do I secure a fee waiver to apply for transfer admission?

Historically, we have not offered fee waivers to our transfer applicants. This policy will continue for our fall 2021 transfer application period taking place from May 3rd to June 18th.

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. As is stated on the Law School's Academics webpage pertaining to Transfer Students: "To be eligible to apply as a transfer student, you must have completed 28 credit hours and a 1L curriculum similar to that of Northwestern Law’s.

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.

Northwestern Law's GRE school code is 2579. Please notify us at the time of your application that you will be submitting a GRE score in lieu of an LSAT score. Please send an email to us at the time of your transfer application; the address is: admissions@law.northwestern.edu.

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

To be considered for transfer admission, you must have completed 28 credit hours in 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. 

Application Requirements

Is there a checklist for applying as a transfer student?

Yes. We know you successfully completed the law school admission process a year ago. However, provided the relatively brief time to apply and the distinct requirements for transfer admissions, it may be a bit daunting to get started. We encourage all prospective transfer applicants to review these detailed instructions to guide you through the process.

I heard that Northwestern Law requires interviews for transfer applicants. Is that true?

Yes.  We are excited to meet you! We require all of our transfer applicants to complete an online video interview. Most all of the questions have been designed specifically for our transfer applicants. Here are a number of detailed answers to FAQs about our online interview program; please note that these FAQs pertain to our interview program for entering 1Ls, as well. 

Within two business days of submitting your transfer application, a member of our team will send you instructions for completing your transfer interview, and a link to our online interview platform. We encourage you to submit the interview as soon as possible, but no later than the transfer application deadline of Friday, June 18, 2021.

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 interview is a great way for you to build your transfer application. We look forward to learning more about your motivation, maturity, and interpersonal skills.

What makes a transfer applicant successful? 

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

First, we will carefully review the whole of your transfer application and your interview. Every component of the transfer application is designed to provide us with important information about your candidacy. At the same time, are also 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 2020 entering transfer class, please see pages 3 and 4 of Northwestern Law's 2020 ABA Standard 509 Information Report. 

Secondly, 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 applications. We recommend against submitting a personal statement and/or other materials which appear to resemble those from your 1L law school applications.

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 1L courses will transfer to Northwestern Law, 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. As we mentioned in other answers above, 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 practically all of the opportunities the Law School offers, including the on-campus interviewing program (OCI), the Bluhm Legal Clinic, and our law journals. As soon as the timing is appropriate, we introduce our admitted transfer students to the faculty and departments who administer these programs.

Speaking of OCI, when does it start for Northwestern Law?

Traditionally, bidding for our fall on-campus interviewing program (OCI) has taken place in early to mid-July, with the actual interviews taking place in August. 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 new transfer students to their career advisers so that together, they may prepare for OCI. 

This is why the transfer application period is "brief by design." The deadline for submission of completed transfer applications is Friday, June 18, 2021. After the Admissions Committee has reviewed and admitted our new transfer students, we make certain they meet their career advisers as soon as possible.

This way, these new Northwestern Law students may effectively prepare for OCI; they may write a Northwestern Law resume, develop a plan and bidding strategy for OCI, and meet the OCI deadlines that typically fall in mid-July. Finally, OCI will take place during the first two weeks of August 2021 this year.

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. 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. Upon admission, we introduce new transfer students to our colleagues at Northwestern University's Chicago Office of Financial Aid. 

Visiting Northwestern Law

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

You will be able to meet with us virtually; we are committed to creating opportunities for admitted students to engage with members of our vibrant community. Even though we are still working remotely due to public health concerns, we will host Transfer Talk/Ask Me Anything appointments and/or The Northwestern Law Difference information sessions for admitted transfer students. We will also share helpful information frequently throughout the post-admission period. In turn, we hope you may make an educated decision about transferring to Northwestern Law.

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 for transfer admission discussed above, the window for submitting the deposit may be just a few days in most all cases. As with the deposits for all our incoming students, these funds will be credited to your student account/your tuition bill should you decide to enroll at Northwestern Law.

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.

Furthermore, the Law School's Office of Student Services, our Registrar and her Academic Affairs colleagues, and the Career Center team host a day-long Transfer Student Orientation prior to the first day of OCI. This administrative, academic, and social orientation typically occurs at the end of July.

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