3 out of 5 Stars
Class sizes were rather small given the size of the school. Academic advising needs to be sought out, they will not come to you. There were many research assistantships available throughout my time here. Some professors use the Socratic method more than others. 1L classes were almost all based on the Socratic method. Grading is all curved. There is a study abroad opportunity through NIU COL to France that many students choose to partake in during the summer after their 1L year. It is competitive because of the curved grading, but all the students were very willing to work and study with each other.Quality of Life
I would say that it is your typical university town atmosphere. It is sort of small town living. The recreation facilities on campus are nice and are free to students during the school year. There are many apartments to live in around campus as well. The law library has its own computer lab. The Courtroom in the College of Law was recently redone in terms of seating and is also the largest classroom used. There is a certain amount of crime that seems higher than in other places, but I cannot say whether it's more or less than average.Admissions
Fairly basic admissions process. An essay was required describing why you wished to attend the University. LSAT scores are a factor, but I don't think they were a significant one.Graduation Year
Small class sizes, not very competitive, good collaboration, study abroad opportunities, and multiple research opportunities.Quality of Life
Low cost of living.Admissions
LSAT, basic application.
Great financial aid assistance and scholarship opportunities.Level
There is a strong emphasis on practical skills courses, which include challenging first-year legal writing and research courses. Students are expected to take courses such as lawyering skills and trial advocacy later in their law school careers. Some, but not all, professors use the Socratic Method. There are academic advisors, but they are not well advertised or utilized. Class sizes are generally small; the largest class I was in had 90 people, and 1L class sizes tend to hover around 50. NIU could be more competitive, particularly in terms on placing graduates in jobs in the Chicago area. There are research opportunities, but they are primarily reserved for those at the top of the class, though all students are required to write a law review-standard article as part of a seminar course. The curve tends to center around a B-, though this is only a de facto standard and some professors grade tougher than others. There is a study abroad trip each year to France, though students have taken advantage of opportunities sponsored by other law schools. Workload overall is reasonable, though a disproportionate amount of the 1L workload tends to be in legal writing.Quality of Life
The cost of living in DeKalb is very cheap. Given that NIU is a large state school, there are plenty of resources for the university at large. The law school itself could use some physical improvements, but the new dean has worked to do this. It has two courtrooms which are used heavily in moot court and mock trial programs, as well as for classes. Unfortunately, the largest classroom is a little too small, and there is no auditorium. Housing is ample, though the vast majority of it is off campus. There are plenty of dining options in DeKalb. DeKalb is generally a safe community, though certain neighborhoods have lately had a high amount of shootings.Admissions
The admissions process for my law school was standard, consisting of the LSAT, an application, and an essay. While NIU does not offer many scholarships, it is a state school, so they are perhaps not really needed. However, this resulted in my tuition being paid entirely from student loans, so I am actually having to pay more back in financial aid to NIU than to the private school I went to for undergrad and received a substantial scholarship.Level
I thought that most of the faculty was good at their job. I don't recall any particularly notable faculty. However, the faculty was helpful and generally easily accessible outside of class time.
Classes the first and second semester utilized the Socratic method much more intensely than later years. Classes that I attended ranged from 10 students to 60+ students depending on the year and the subject being taught. The vast majority of classes I took were black letter and theory oriented. There are practical classes available, but more classes that have real world applications would are always warranted in a field such as law where law school does not seem to teach you the practical realities of how to be a lawyer.
There was a study abroad program to Agen France for European Union and Civil Law which is was well done.Quality of Life
I enjoyed the quality of life at the law school. The apartments and cost of living was high, but no higher than your average state school college town. There were plenty of things to do outside of class and the other students were very friendly.
I never felt unsafe during my time at NIU. However, when I attended there was the school shooting there. That said, I believe the campus security did everything possible to resolve the situation. There are a few areas off campus that were a little rough but I don't know anyone that had any problems and most of the areas that had problems were not areas law students had any reason to frequent.Admissions
A full tuition scholarship (tuition only) was available for LSAT score and undergraduate GPA. The scholarship was given without additional paperwork or application. I used the LSDAS coupled with application form for admission purposes. I do not recall any part of the application process that was particularly unique from other schools to which I applied.Graduation Year
Learned a great deal and there was good opportunity for practical courses.Quality of Life
The school was in need of serious renovation my first 2 years. A big renovation was undertaken my 3rd year for the main courtroom. However, still some work needs to be done on the "court" portion of the room.Admissions
The same process as every other school with little scholarship opportunity.Graduation Year
Generally, I thought the academics at the school were good. If you were willing to put in the time and effort, you could learn a great deal. The professors, for the most part (there are always exceptions) made classes challenging. The Socratic method was used in many of my classes. Classes were small and professors were always available outside of class, which was great. The professors generally focused more on practical skills than theory and the school had a great selection of clinics and trial-skills courses. There were also great opportunities to work as research assistants and to get involved with challenging extra-curricular activities. Competitiveness seemed to change year to year; however, every student was generally willing to work collectively and to take the time to meet with others (study groups were common). Don't expect to have pages ripped out of library books or anything like that here. The school really has a family-like student body.Quality of Life
Cost of living is small. The campus has a great feel. The law school building is currently being updated, which will be nice when it is done.Admissions
I don't recall any specific application questions or essays, but I know that one of the individuals that wrote a letter of recommendation for me was contacted by the law school to thank him for his letter, which the board found very moving. The LSAT scores are average. Financial aid opportunities are limited in number, but the school has a great opportunity (due to the small number of students) to obtain Graduate Assistant and Research Assistant positions that provide tuition waivers and/or stipends.Graduation Year
There is a good balance of theory and practical study. The small size of the law school allows for a lot of personalized attention from professors. Professors are willing to help and guide students in research and help them find what works best for the students.Admissions
lots of financial aid opportunities particularly through the RA or GA programs that pay for the full tuition and some even have stipends.Graduation Year
Like any academic setting, some of the teaching staff were brilliant and others were quacks. Overall, the instruction at this school possessed a brilliance exceeding what one would expect from a small, lesser known, relatively young law school. But the bad instructors were sometimes really bad.Quality of Life
Warm atmosphere, stately building, usually well-kept but with a few structural problems that were being attended to. Library and computer labs were well equipped. Community had a balanced relationahip with the large university, of which the law school was a part. Crime was too high for a small town, but other positive quality of life factors outweighed the negatives. Good dining, nice parks, and adequate schools. Happy family living.Admissions
Application procedure seemed to be roughly the same as what is standard across the country. The school was selective to the extent that one was applying to law school, which in and of itself is a highly selective process. I do not believe I know enough to assess the selectiveness of this school as compared to other law schools.Graduation Year
Classes are good, teachers are really caring. Class sizes are relatively small so you get a lot of good attention. There are a lot of cool externship and clinic opportunities because of the small size. The faculty is amazing and we have a really unique study abroad program in France.Quality of Life
Cost of living is extremely inexpensive in DeKalb. The law school is decent. We have two moot courtrooms that are both very nice. There is plenty of housing and dining options in DeKalb given that it is a college town. Crime is relatively low and there are always campus police available. Overall, it is a fun, safe school.Admissions
Regular essay, low LSAT requirments, easy application generallyGraduation Year