Northwestern is building a solid reputation as a students' law school.
Last year they became the first top tier law school to make a commitment to a two year JD program. While that program doesn't really change the amount of classes students take, it saves students some tuition money and gets them out into the job market faster.
The National Law Journal is reporting that Northwestern is ahead of the pack on an even more pressing student concern: the economy.
Yesterday, Dean David Van Zandt sent out a memo to students suggesting a variety of ways for dealing with deferrals and unemployment.
The memo outlines methods of extending the school's health insurance plan and securing short term insurance. It also notes that the school has extended its LLM program deadlines, and suggests specific clinical opportunities and opportunities with public interest organizations. The memo also discusses loan deferral and forbearance options for students.
My first instinct was to interpret this as a transparent attempt by Northwestern to keep its ranking up by shuffling unemployed students into clinical positions, public interest jobs, and LLM programs.
After reading the memo, my gut tells me that's not the case. However, it doesn't really matter if it is, because the bottom line is the Northwestern memo contains a lot of useful information, and, as far as I know, Northwestern is the first major law school to take proactive steps to help students stay afloat after graduation.
Props to Northwestern, and I hope other law schools wake up and start using their institutional power to help students find solutions to their economic troubles.