Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 6 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration) and J.D./M.P.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration).
The College of Law offers concentrations in corporate law, criminal law, environmental law, family law, intellectual property law, international law, juvenile law, labor law, litigation, sports law, tax law, and torts and insurance. In addition, The Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic offers clinics in criminal defense, domestic abuse, elder law, and mediation. All students must complete a 3-hour seminar in their fourth or fifth semester. Seminars include Gender and the Law, E-Commerce, and Emerging Issues in Civil Procedure. Externships are offered in the Judicial Externship Program, which places students with state and federal judges; civil and criminal externships are also available with state criminal prosecutors and public defenders and appellate defender externships are available at the Illinois Appellate Defender Office. There is the annual Riley Lecture Series on Professionalism, the annual Land Use Symposium and the Marla Dickerson Lecture Series. Study abroad in Agen, France is available for law students as well as other options through the International Program Office. Tutors are available to first-year students upon request. The Academic Support Program is available for students who may need additional support during the first year of law school. Peer and faculty support programs are available for minorities. Speakers on a variety of topics are sponsored by the Women’s Law Caucus, International Law Society, BLSA, and LLSA. The most widely taken electives are Agency, Corporations, and Real Estate Transactions.
To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 90 total credits, of which 39 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Basic Legal Research I and II, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law I, Contract I and II, Criminal Law, Legal Writing, Advocacy I and II, Property, and Torts I and II. Required upper-level courses consist of a writing seminar, Constitutional Law II, and Professional Responsibility. The required orientation program for first-year students is a week-long orientation introducing briefing cases, case synthesis, outlining, exam preparation, and ethics and professionalism.
In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0 and have completed the upper-division writing requirement.
In the fall 2007 first-year class, 1351 applied, 490 were accepted, and 113 enrolled. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 67; the median GPA was 3.41 on a scale of 4.0. The highest LSAT percentile was 91.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. The most important admission factors include academic achievement, LSAT results, and letter of recommendation. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.
The application deadline for fall entry is May 15. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a personal statement, a nonrefundable application fee of $75, 2 letters of recommendation, and LSDAS report. Notification of the admissions decision is on a rolling basis. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is June. The law school uses the LSDAS.
About 79% of current law students receive some form of aid. The average annual amount of aid from all sources combined, including scholarships, loans, and work contracts, is $15,983; maximum, $36,084. Awards are based on need and merit. Required financial statements are the FAFSA and in-house financial aid verification form. The aid application deadline for fall entry is March 1. Special funds for minority or disadvantaged students include scholarships for partial- or full-tuition waivers (some with stipends) available to culturally and/or financially disadvantaged individuals. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application after acceptance.
About 50% of the student body are women; 14%, minorities; 8%, African American; 7%, Asian American; and 4%, Hispanic. The majority of students come from Illinois (87%). The average age of entering students is 25; age range is 21 to 54. About 40% of students enter directly from undergraduate school, 6% have a graduate degree, and 60% have worked full-time prior to entering law school. About 10% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 90% remain to receive a law degree.
The Northern Illinois University Law Review is a student-edited publication. Teams compete at the National Moot Court, the Chicago Bar Association, and International Information Technology and Privacy Law competitions. Other competitions include the ABA Client Counseling, the ABA National Appellate Advocacy, and National Trial Advocacy, Negotiation, and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Student organizations include the International Law Society, Women’s Law Caucus, and the Public Interest Law Society. There are local chapters of Phi Alpha Delta and Delta Theta Phi. Other organizations include the BLSA, LLSA, and Moot Court Society.
The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered primarily during the day, with some upper-division courses taught in the evening and must be completed within 3 years. For part-time students, courses are offered days only and must be completed within 5 years. New full- and part-time students are admitted in the fall. There is a 6-week summer session. Transferable summer courses are offered.