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Northwestern University (School of Law)

In 1998 we issued a visionary plan to “build the great law school for the changing world.” The Strategic Plan grew out of a two-year planning process chaired by faculty members and involved students, faculty, staff, and alumni. It represented a realistic assessment of trends in the legal profession, a critical analysis of the Law School’s strengths and weaknesses, and a blueprint for leveraging the strengths to distinguish Northwestern from the competition.

The mission of Northwestern University School of Law is to lead in advancing the understanding of law and legal institutions, in furthering justice under the rule of law, and in preparing students for productive leadership, professional success, and personal fulfillment in a complex and changing world.

Bold and ambitious, the plan’s overarching goal is to “empower our graduates to adapt to and master the challenges of the changing world better than those of any other law school.” As the world continues to change, we, in response, continue to sharpen our analysis of the market and alter or expand our strategic initiatives.

We expect members of our extended community to hold us accountable for the decisions we have made in formulating and implementing the plan, and we expect to benefit from criticism and advice, as we have in the past. The plan as well as the progress report and related articles that can be found here demonstrate our commitment to accountability. Review our Annual Reports for details on our progress year to year.

In today's competitive world, law students soon discover that their support for each other is vital to their success. Our supportive, noncompetitive environment is a large factor in the success of our students. To ensure a dynamic, collegial atmosphere, we limit our total JD enrollment to 240, but at no cost to the depth and diversity of our student body.

We consider many factors beyond test scores and GPAs when evaluating applicants. Through our unique interviewing program, we determine applicants' interpersonal skills, judgment, and maturity, which are important in our collaborative and team-based curriculum. Our students also reflect a broad range of experience and opinion. In addition to being racially and ethnically diverse, the JD class is split equally between males and females. Also, more than 90 percent of entering students have had one or more years of full-time work experience, and nearly 75 percent have had at least two years.

Using a unique pre-admissions interviewing process, we attract students that have not only strong academic abilities but also strong speaking and writing skills, judgment, maturity, and ambition.
We continue to add depth to our already diverse and multifaceted faculty - excellent teachers whose high-quality research impacts leading academic and public policy issues.
Faculty and students have close interactions in courses that provide a strong foundation in legal reasoning and research and also build teamwork and communication skills and cross-train in business.

Students develop supportive, not competitive, relationships with each other and faculty in our small and intimate community that is based on mutual respect for differing ideas, perspectives, and backgrounds.

Northwestern Law's admissions philosophy places unusual emphasis on matriculating students demonstrating maturity and interpersonal skills, attributes the law school believes are conducive to career success. In this sense it mimics the approach increasingly embraced by many business schools.

The school’s practical philosophy is manifested in a strong preference for applicants with at least two years of work experience. As a result, NU Law's student body tends to have more practical experience prior to enrolling. Approximately 94% of the school's students enter with at least one year of full-time work experience; 74% possess more than two years of experience.

The law school's admissions also emphasize social, interpersonal, and professional communication competency. To that end, every applicant is invited to interview, either with a member of the admissions staff or a local alum. According to the law school, this system “attract[s] students that have not only strong academic abilities but also strong speaking and writing skills, judgment, maturity, and ambition.”

The school's selectivity, as measured by various quantitative criteria, is among the top seven law schools in the country. The median LSAT score for the 2005 incoming class was 169; the median undergraduate GPA was 3.7.

School name:Northwestern UniversitySchool of Law
Address:357 East Chicago Avenue
Zip & city:IL 60611-3069 Illinois

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