Paul L. Caron

Friday, June 20, 2008

Northwestern to Offer 2-Year J.D.

Northwestern will become the first Top Tier law school to offer an accelerated, two-year J.D., starting in Fall 2009 (Southwestern has offered a two-year program since 1974, and Dayton began offering such a program in 2005 following the ABA's elimination of the six-semester requirement.).  Students in Northwestern's two-year program will be required to take courses in the summer and in the winter intercession period.  From today's Inside Higher Ed:

David Van Zandt, dean of the law school, said in an interview Thursday that no decision had been made about whether tuition would differ for the program. While Northwestern currently charges tuition of $42,672 for a year of law school, Van Zandt said that the decision may be to charge by the program and not the semester. The financial attraction to the program, he said, is much more likely to be the ability to be earning a salary a year earlier — not an insignificant matter when many Northwestern law grads pull in $150,000 to $200,000 in their first jobs. ...

While the two-year option will have the same curriculum as the traditional program, Van Zandt said that to be admitted to it, applicants will be required to have two or three years of “substantive work experience” after college. While this is typical of Northwestern law admissions, it is not a requirement for the three-year program. People with work experience are likely to have “the good time management” necessary, he said. Northwestern hopes to admit 25-40 students into a two-year program next year.

Northwestern will require all students (in both the accelerated two-year and the traditional three-year programs) to take three new courses:

  • Quantitative analysis (accounting, finance and statistics)
  • Dynamics of legal behavior (teamwork, leadership and project management)
  • Strategic decision making.

For more, see :

Update:  Former IRS Commission Sheldon Cohen offers a dissenting view:

I received my J.D. in two years. I did extremely well, but would not advise it to most others. I was just out of the Navy as I entered undergrad and engaged to be married as I entered law school. Being a post WW II class, George Washington Law School allowed some of us to accelerate. In my group were Dan Inouye (US Senate) and Harry Hughes (former MD governor and later head of the VA). We all surivived and indeed flourished.  But there was no time to think though and mull over issues. I have never recommended it for others.

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