In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M., S.J.D., and M.L.S. 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. Acct. (Juris Doctor/Master of Accounting), J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration), J.D./M.D. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Medicine), J.D./M.P.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Administration), J.D./M.S.ECE (Juris Doctor/Master of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering), J.D./M.S.Ed. (Juris Doctor/ Master of Educational Administration), J.D./M.S.W. (Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work), and J.D./Ph.D. (Juris Doctor/Doctor of Philosophy in political science).
Two in-house clinics are offered to senior law students for up to 6 hours of credit; the elder law clinic and the domestic violence clinic. Third-year students, except editors of the Southern Illinois University Law Journal, are required to take a senior writing seminar for 3 credit hours. Senior law students may enroll for up to 6 hours in externships; credit is earned by working in a public interest or legal services agency or for local prosecutors and public defenders, for local judges, or for local and state agencies. Independent research and a writing credit is allowed under certain conditions. Each year the law school hosts the Lesar Lecture Series and the Dr. Arthur Grayson Distinguished Lecture (Law and Medicine). All first-year students participate in the Academic Success Program, which includes structured study groups led by upper-class students. The school makes individual accommodations to the needs of its disabled students. The most widely taken electives are Criminal Procedure, Introduction to Commercial Law, and Corporations.
To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 90 total credits, of which 48 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: Civil Procedure I, Contracts I and II, Criminal Law, Lawyering Skills I and II, Legislative and Administrative Process, Property I and II, and Torts. Required upper-level courses consist of a writing requirement, Civil Procedure II, Constitutional Law, Evidence, and Legal Profession. All students must choose from a menu of skills courses. The required orientation program for first-year students involves a day-and-a-half program of presentations aimed at providing vital information to entering students.
In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0, have completed the upper-division writing requirement, and must maintain a 2.0 GPA for courses taken during the third year of law school.
In the fall 2007 first-year class, 660 applied, 343 were accepted, and 135 enrolled. Fourteen transfers enrolled. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 61; the median GPA was 3.3 on a scale of 4.0. The lowest LSAT percentile accepted was 20; the highest was 95.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. The most important admission factors include LSAT results, GPA, and academic achievement. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.
The application deadline for fall entry is March 1. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a personal statement, a nonrefundable application fee of $50, 2 letters of recommendation (suggested) and the Admissions Committee Memorandum. Notification of the admissions decision is as early as possible. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is February. The law school uses the LSDAS.
About 92% of current law students receive some form of aid. Awards are based on need and merit. Required financial statement is the FAFSA. The aid application deadline for fall entry is April 1. Special funds for minority or disadvantaged students include scholarships. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application at time of acceptance.
About 37% of the student body are women; 9%, minorities; 4%, African American; 3%, Asian American; and 2%, Hispanic. The majority of students come from Illinois (70%). The average age of entering students is 26; age range is 21 to 53. About 38% of students enter directly from undergraduate school and 6% have a graduate degree. About 11% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 84% remain to receive a law degree.
Students edit the Southern Illinois University Law Journal and the Journal of Legal Medicine. The Moot Court Board sends teams to numerous competitions, including the ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition, Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition, Gibbons National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition, and Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition. The student division of the ABA holds an annual intraschool Client Interviewing and Counseling Competition as well as a Negotiation Competition. Students also participate in the National Trial Competition. Law student organizations, local chapters of national associations, and campus organizations include the Environmental Law Society, International Law Society, the Student Bar Association, Black Law Students Association, Lesbian and Gay Law Students Association, Women’s Law Forum, Amnesty International, Federalist Society, and the ABA/Law School Division.
The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered days only and must be completed within 5 years. There is no part-time program. New students are admitted in the fall. There is an 8-week summer session. Transferable summer courses are offered.