3 out of 5 Stars
Northern Illinois offers a great quality of classes and a well balanced theory vs. practical study application. The Socratic method allows for students to quickly think on their feet, but is not so overwhelming that students feel overly anxious. The class sizes are relatively small, which allow and encourage student participation. The students at Northern Illinois are competitive, however the competition is not mean spirited and students are willing to make the best out of the situation. Professors are more than willing to provide students with assistance after class or during their office hours.Quality of Life
The cost of living at Northern Illinois is relatively cheap, the campus has everything a student could need. The law library is very organized and the staff are very helpful. The law school has a computer lab which always has open seats. There is also a computer lab located in Northern Illinois main library. The moot courtrooms are very up to date and provide for a real life experience. Housing and dining are limited however there is still a large range for students who start looking early. Like any other campus crime does occur on the campus and withing the neighborhood, however police are often present on campus. Overall i am very happy with the quality of life, Northern Illinois offers students facilities and services which large universities offer, but still has a small school feel to it.Level
Almost 1/2 of third year students receive a tuition discount (typically 1/2 or full waved)for some sort of assistantship.Level
Everyone gets along great. Campus community provides a lot of great activities and fun things to do.Graduation Year
NIU is small and you get to know the people in the school. With such a small school there opportunities to explore many different opportunities. I am very happy with the education that I am receiving at NIU.Level
Class sizes are great, you really get to know your other students and the professors as well. The quality of classes varies depending on the instructor. I just finished my first year so I haven't experienced the practice oriented classes (except for legal writing and research). Many of the professors take on graduate assistants and seems like it would be a great experience to work with one of them on their scholarly writings.Quality of Life
DeKalb is cheap. Compared to Chicago at least. The school is great, the library could use some TLC, but still good.Admissions
Scholarships seem to be based on admitting information and there are not many 'write on' scholarships. However, for minorities, there seems to be a good deal of scholarship opportunity.Level
Many excellent internship and externship opportunities for those who are interested. Also a good deal of practical coursework, which proved most useful to me as opposed to Socratic-based courses. Research opportunities are extended often by professors. Professors are liberal, knowledgeable, down to earth and very approachable. Study abroad opportunities are always available and encouraged by faculty. Class size is small enough to allow for a rather tight-knit student body.Admissions
Pretty standard.Graduation Year
Northern stresses practical training, offering a strong curriculum in writing, research, skills training, and clinic work. Also, the class sizes are kept relatively small, with easy accessibility to the faculty (both full time and visiting).Quality of Life
Everything needed for success in law school is available at Northern; excellent library facilities, mock court rooms, etc.Admissions
Northern offers very attractive financial aid packages, from scholarships coordinated with third parties to graduate assistant positions for upper class students.Graduation Year
The variety of courses available to students was slim due to the small teaching staff. The courses focused mostly on practical study but a few offered theory. There were study abroad opportunities and grading was fair. Workload depended upon the individual faculty.Quality of Life
The dorm I stayed in was reasonably priced, included several amenities and was within walking distance of the law school. Crime was low and I was very happy there. The dorm had its own computer lab, gym, cafeteria, pool, store and meeting rooms.Admissions
You have to fill out an application and submit your LSAT scores. Financial aid can also be applied for. I am not sure whether a personal statement was required.Graduation Year
NIU provides great fundamentals. Teachers are available for questions and conversations. There were opportunities to socialize with Professors which provided great theorectical debates. Class sizes were small. Sevearl classes focused on the practical study and really understanding the theories as used, for example immigration law dealt mainly with the practical side of practising in the field only touching on the changing theories behind US immigration policy. This was extremely helpful and provided a great base of knowledge to actually practice in the field. Each study is assigned a faculty advisor.
Each year there is a summer program to study in France the European Union and the French civl system. I enjoyed this program emensely. It was well put together and provided great learning opportunities to how things work in other countries.
Encountering other attorneys now and reading their briefs, I realize how much I owe my school for focusing on legal writing. At the time I hated the year long class. But I believe it greatly benefited me and in fact I even get comments from Judges I practice under that my briefs are well written.
(hopefully I dont have too many typos in this quick survey, that has no spell check :)Quality of Life
The socializing and networking activies that were provided were great. I always felt like there was a community feel to NIU law. The school is small, I'm confident I knew most of the students. Everyone was friendly. The library staff was always helpful. However, the buildings were old and probably could be revamped. I always lived close enough to walk to class and work.Graduation Year