Located at Northwestern University's downtown Chicago campus in what is commonly known as the "Streeterville" neighborhood — home to Navy Pier, Water Tower, and Chicago's famed Magnificent Mile — the law school offers a multitude of degree programs in addition to the J.D., including the following:
- J.D.-MBA with Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management
- J.D.-Ph.D. with one of Northwestern's graduate schools
- MSJ-MSL with Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism
Northwestern is one of the few law schools in the nation to design its curriculum to be inclusive of the needs of foreign law students looking to practice law in the United States. Northwestern offers a two-year J.D. program for foreign students who have already earned first-level law degrees in their native countries.
A nine-month LL.M. program is also available to graduates from foreign law schools, who are given the opportunity to study international law and comparative legal research. Several Executive LL.M. programs are also available to practicing legal and business professionals in Europe and Korea who do not wish to study in the United States. These programs are offered in conjunction with the KAIST Graduate School of Management in Seoul and the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid.
Northwestern is also home to a distinguished tax program which provides students with a comprehensive understanding of tax law and the complexities of tax transactions. J.D. graduates can enroll at either full- or part-time status in the program, which is also open to practicing attorneys looking to build their expertise in this specialty. J.D. candidates may enroll in a joint J.D.-LL.M. program and receive both degrees in seven semesters.
Currently, Northwestern Law is ranked near the top in numerous law disciplines:
- fourth in the country in tax law
- fifth in the country in trial advocacy (tie)
- seventh in the country in legal writing (tie)
- 10th in the country in clinical training
- 12th in the country in international law (tie)
- 14th in the country in dispute resolution (tie)
The Princeton Review 2007 also listed the school as the recipient of the following distinctions:
- first for "Best Career Prospects"
- eighth for "Toughest to Get Into"
- 10th for "Best Quality of Life"
- 10th for "Best Overall Academic Experience"
Northwestern Law is home to six student-run and operated legal journals
. Participating students are selected based on writing merit and first-year grades. These six journals are among the most widely read and cited university journals in the world and include:
- the Northwestern University Law Review (among the eight most frequently cited law journals in the nation; former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg was an editor)
- the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology
- the Journal of International Law and Business
- the Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property
- the Northwestern University Journal of International Human Rights
- the Northwestern Journal of Law and Social Policy
Admission to Northwestern School of Law is highly competitive, with less than 10% of interviewed applicants earning admission to the J.D. program. For 2007 only 238 students were enrolled out of a total of 3,543 interviewed applicants.
The median LSAT score for the class entering in 2007 was 170, from a span of 167-172. The LSAT scores for 2007 ranked among the 94th and 99th percentile of all LSAT takers in the United States that year. The reported median GPA stood at 3.7, from a range of 3.4 to 3.8.
The J.D. class is about evenly split along gender lines, with 42% of students enrolling in 2007 being of color. The average age of enrolled students is 26, with 95% of students reporting having worked for at least one year prior to admission.
Given the breadth of its student body, Northwestern is also home to a number of legal clinics and law centers where students are allowed to assist in real-life legal matters. The most prominent of these clinics and centers are:
- the Bluhm Legal Clinic
- the Center on Wrongful Convictions
- the Children and Family Justice Center
- the MacArthur Justice Center
- the Small Business Opportunity Center
- the Center for International Human Rights
- the Investor Protection Center
- the Fred Bartlit Center for Trial Strategy
Notable alumni from Northwestern School of Law include a number of prominent public and historic figures, including former Illinois Governor and two-time Democratic nominee for president Adlai Stevenson; current Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens; CareerBuilder President and CEO Matt Ferguson; Dawn Clark Netsch, the first woman to be elected to a Constitutional office in Illinois; and Ada Kepley, the first American woman to earn a law degree in the nation's history in 1870.