NIU College of Law view book Fall 2019

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Northern Illinois University

College of Law A Rigorous Legal Education in a Supportive Community

A Message from Dean Cassandra L. Hill Welcome to NIU Law! I’m glad you’re taking the time to explore the excellent opportunities that our school provides. Our top priority at NIU Law is student success. To ensure that our students are prepared to be effective and creative lawyers immediately upon graduation, we integrate instruction in practical lawyering skills throughout the curriculum. We provide a variety of externships and vigorous clinical opportunities that serve communities with vulnerable populations with limited access to legal representation. Our academic rigor, hands-on learning, faculty mentoring, diverse community, and opportunities for professional development enable our students to quickly realize the value of a legal education from NIU Law. This viewbook gives you a preview of how NIU Law works toward the goal of providing a high-quality legal education at an affordable cost. As a public law school in the Chicagoland area, NIU Law is particularly proud to have been routinely named a top law school nationally for diversity, value, and careers in public interest and government service. As you look through the viewbook, you will notice some common themes. First, we have small class sizes that allow for stronger connections among students, faculty, staff and administrators. With a low student-to-faculty ratio, our small class sizes allow you to receive more feedback and have strong mentoring relationships with faculty. We take pride in our faculty’s accessibility to students and their personal attention to your professional development. Second, beyond the rigor of the classroom, you will have many opportunities to develop your skills through hands-on learning opportunities. You will get to participate in an excellent skills program with an array

of simulation courses in which you’ll develop the basic skill set for good lawyering. Beyond that, everyone participates in at least one clinic or externship opportunity that allows you to put what you’ve learned in class into practice in the real world. Third, we believe in diversity, equity and inclusion. Our diversity enriches the classroom learning experience, strengthens our curriculum and prepares our students for practice in a richly diverse region and nation. Fourth, we support the development of your professional identity. This includes an emphasis on ethics, civility and the rules of professional responsibility. As a public law school with a tradition of public service, we encourage students to become ethical leaders in the legal profession and to maintain a deep concern for justice in their communities, regardless of their practice area. Fifth, we have a hard-working, mission-driven staff dedicated to student success, and accomplished alumni ready to serve as mentors and coaches. All of these opportunities build to one central goal: the success of every graduate, no matter what career path you choose. I hope after reading this viewbook you will take the time to visit us and get to know our law school, our university and our community. We are excited to help you define and pursue the pathway to your success.

Cassandra L. Hill, Dean College of Law Northern Illinois University

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Dedicated to Putting You First With faculty dedicated to putting you first, our rigorous curriculum is designed to equip you for success in law school, the bar exam and your professional endeavors. Small by design, NIU Law offers you a unique opportunity to learn and interact in an intimate collegial setting. We pride ourselves on our closeknit academic community, which allows you more direct contact with faculty and classmates – building close personal and professional relationships that will last well beyond graduation and throughout your career.

“NIU Law is a very collegial community both for its students and faculty. There is a familiar interaction between students and faculty that resonates in the small class sizes. It is a highly supportive environment where a win for a faculty member or a student is a success for the entire school.” Yolanda M. King, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Law 3

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Our excellent student/teacher ratio of 7.3 to 1 allows for broader and livelier class discussions, mentoring opportunities and class simulations. The smaller classes at NIU Law also facilitate comprehensive and immediate feedback, office discussions with faculty and hands-on learning throughout the law school curriculum. In addition, our small size also allows us to provide you an exceptional skills training program, opportunities for clinics and externships, and a proven bar-exam preparation program.

NIU Law: Committed to Your Career Success


Small Sections and Individualized Attention Our innovative first-year curriculum includes small sections to permit more feedback and interaction with faculty — something that is rarely found in law schools. The required first-year student curriculum is designed to ensure the development of a fundamental understanding of the law, legal analysis and the legal process. It provides the basic building blocks of a rewarding professional career.

A standard feature of many law schools is to grade students based solely on one final examination. At NIU Law, students have a midterm in all of their first-year classes. This allows students to receive feedback and further develop their skills before they take their final examinations.

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NIU Law: Committed to Your Career Success

Upper-Level Curriculum:

Practical Skills Training and Specialization Our core curriculum provides you with a solid foundation in legal studies. From there, you’ll have substantial autonomy in pursuing your J.D. degree. Students wanting to focus on specific areas may pursue certificates in six specialized areas of law or apply for admission to a dual-degree program. Regardless of whether you choose to concentrate your studies in a specific area of law, all of our law students develop essential practice skills through our extensive skills training program.

Practical Skills Program

In addition to taking traditional law school classes, our upper-level curriculum features an excellent skills program for hands-on learning. Our skills training courses and experiential learning opportunities provide you with the practical skills you’ll need to begin your career. Our practical skills training program includes skills training courses, externships and legal clinics.

Skills Courses


Legal Clinics

Advanced Trial Advocacy

Bridge to Practice Externship

Civil Justice Clinic

Civil Externship

Criminal Defense Clinic

Criminal Law Externship

Health Advocacy Clinic

Appellate Advocacy Criminal Practice Skills Introduction to Lawyering Skills Mediation Theory and Practice Mock Trial Competitions Moot Court Competitions Trial Advocacy


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Huskie Athletics Externship Judicial Externship Prisoners’ Rights Project

Skills Training Courses Our skills training courses simulate practice in today’s legal world of both traditional courtroom litigation as well as alternative dispute resolution. In our Introduction to Lawyering Skills course, you will be immersed in the simulated representation of a client from the day the client first walks into the attorney’s office up to a pretrial settlement conference. You’ll prepare many of the written documents that confront the practitioner, including pleadings, written discovery, motions, settlement agreements, and client correspondence. You’ll also engage in a variety of simulated exercises that are video recorded for critique by the instructor in one-on-one student-teacher consultations.

“Throughout my 33-year career, my NIU legal education has given me the foundation to help build and refine the skills necessary to be an effective corporate lawyer. My professors prepared me for the challenges I would face on the job, focusing on developing the critical thought processes necessary to work through and resolve legal issues, developing positive working relationships with internal clients, and shaping top-notch negotiation skills.” Wes Blumenshine, Legal Counsel, Caterpillar Inc. (Class of 1986)

Externships Our externships allow you to gain practical experience under the supervision of a practicing lawyer or judge and with the guidance of a knowledgeable faculty member. Our Criminal Law Externships place students in either State’s Attorney or Public Defender Offices, where you’ll get actual courtroom experience. Examples of Civil Externships include working for Prairie State Legal Services, the federal EPA, city attorney offices, and other governmental offices.

Prisoners’ Rights Project Over the course of two semesters, third-year students represent prisoners in federal court who have alleged that their constitutional rights have been violated. Each case is chosen with the expectation that it will culminate in a federal jury trial where the students will be lead counsel.

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NIU Law: Committed to Your Career Success Legal Clinics We offer three legal clinics that allow you to develop practice skills while serving your communities. Students participating in these clinics learn to be professionally responsible and reflective lawyers capable of quality representation in a diverse and changing world. You’ll gather these skills while providing, under direct faculty supervision, high-quality legal services to persons with otherwise limited access to legal representation. Our legal clinics further reinforce our commitment to community engagement. Through such partnerships, we have the opportunity to model the value of using your legal skills to meaningfully assist members of the community.

“Criminal defendants are among those least regarded in society, and even in the legal system. Students have the opportunity to vigorously defend the constitutional rights of defendants, protect them from the power of the state and see that they obtain justice.� Paul Cain, Director of Criminal Defense Clinic and Clinical Professor


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“The clinical experience is an invaluable experiential learning opportunity that helps prepare students to practice. Many of these students will be interested in criminal law, disability benefits or family law, and they can leverage the skills they have learned in these clinics when they are seeking employment — and throughout their careers.” Anita Ortiz Maddali, Director of Clinics and Associate Professor

The Civil Justice Clinic, Rockford, Illinois. The goal of the Civil Justice Clinic is to provide holistic services to the clinic’s clients. The Civil Justice Clinic prioritizes the needs of low-income senior citizens and survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Students represent seniors age 60 or above in elder abuse cases; draft estate planning documents such as wills and powers of attorney; and participate in probate estate cases, guardianship matters, smallclaims cases, public benefits and disability cases, and other general civil matters. Students also represent survivors of domestic abuse who are seeking orders of protection, civil no-contact orders, stalking no-contact orders, and crime victims’ compensation. Students also work on related housing, employment, and public benefit matters. The Civil Justice Clinic is located at our Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic in Rockford.

The Criminal Defense Clinic, Rockford, Illinois.

typically be misdemeanor offenses or major traffic offenses. In addition, students represent individuals in petitioning for removal from the sex offender registry as a result of juvenile sex offense adjudications. The clinic provides a holistic approach to representation in addressing underlying causes of criminal behavior such as mental health or substance abuse issues. The Criminal Defense Clinic is located at our Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic in Rockford.

The Health Advocacy Clinic, Aurora, Illinois. The Health Advocacy Clinic, located in Aurora, focuses on legal issues that contribute to health problems in indigent populations. This clinic is part of a partnership between NIU Law, Aunt Martha’s Health Center, and Hesed House Shelter and Transitional Living Community. Students provide legal representation to clients, who are receiving health-related services from Aunt Martha’s, in order to address socio-environmental barriers affecting their health and stability.

Students in the Criminal Defense Clinic represent adults charged in criminal matters.The offenses will

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NIU Law: Committed to Your Career Success

J.D. Certificates You may further personalize your curriculum by pursuing one of our six J.D. certificates. Our certificates capitalize on faculty expertise to enable you to focus on specialized areas of the law that align with your career pursuits. This focused training also heightens your visibility with prospective employers in the field. NIU Law offers certificates in Business Law, Civil Advocacy, Criminal Practice, International Law, Law and Gender Studies, and Public Interest Law.

Business Law Certificate The Certificate in Business Law enables you to explore a broad range of business related topics to begin a successful career as a business lawyer. The certificate provides you with a solid understanding of the basic principles of business and commercial law and the complex regulatory environment that business lawyers must navigate. The curriculum includes traditional focus on business organizations, securities regulation, and taxation, as well as special interest topics such as intellectual property, corporate finance, bankruptcy, and labor-related courses.

Civil Advocacy Certificate For the Certificate in Civil Advocacy, you will take courses concentrated in civil litigation and alternative dispute resolution, as well as engage in a hands on practice experience in an externship or clinic. In our practice skills courses, you’ll engage in simulations of all aspects of client representation, from initial client interview to jury trial. Students who earn the Certificate in Civil Advocacy receive solid training in the fundamentals necessary to be a practice-ready law graduate.

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“I came to NIU Law because of its strong public service orientation. I feel it is a lawyer’s responsibility to give back to his community and I work to instill this value in my students, encouraging them to always make the time to give back. The practice of law is truly a calling and I’ve found that using your legal skills to benefit society makes it all worthwhile.” Marc Falkoff, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Law and principal lawyer in the habeas representation of prisoners being held by the U.S. military at Guantánamo Bay.

Criminal Practice Certificate For the Certificate in Criminal Practice, you’ll focus your legal coursework on understanding and addressing key issues confronting the American criminal justice system, as well as policy analysis and contemporary decisionmaking models. This certificate is designed to expose you to litigation procedures within the criminal courts, and within corrections, security, and associated support agencies.

International Law Certificate The Certificate in International Law provides you with insight into how to conduct international business, gives you an understanding of how to tackle important public international law issues, and introduces you to the inner workings of institutions such as the International Criminal Court and the World Trade Organization.

Law and Gender Studies Certificate For the Certificate in Law and Gender Studies, you will study the intersection of gender and the law through a systematic engagement with feminist theory and legal scholarship on women and gender. This program is available to students in the College of Law as well as students enrolled in other graduate programs in the university.

“Professor Falkoff’s Constitutional Law class allowed me to pair my love of language with the very framework by which our society functions. I’m grateful for faculty like Professor Falkoff who go above and beyond for their students. His class solidified my dedication to writing in the area of constitutional law and eventually working in a policy role after law school.” Khalfani Mar’Na, Second-Year Law Student

Public Interest Law Certificate The Certificate in Public Interest Law offers you significant educational exposure to the field of public interest law through rigorous coursework focusing on the legal structures and operations of national, state and local governments, as well as an examination of social issues affecting those who are disenfranchised and lack access to justice.

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NIU Law: Committed to Your Career Success

Dual Degree Programs Partnering with our nationally recognized College of Business and Department of Public Administration, these dual-degree programs permit you to earn either your M.B.A. or your M.P.A. degree along with the J.D. degree at less cost and in less time than it would take to earn both degrees separately.

Juris Doctor/ Master of Business Administration

Juris Doctor/ Master of Public Administration

NIU Law and our College of Business offer a simultaneous enrollment option, which permits you to earn our J.D. and M.B.A. more quickly and economically. Whether you plan to pursue a career in law or as a business leader, your J.D./M.B.A. will distinguish you from other job applicants and provide you with the skills to excel in your chosen field.

NIU Law and our Department of Public Administration offer you a unique opportunity to complete your J.D. and Master of Public Administration in under four years. The mission of the Department of Public Administration is to strengthen the knowledge and skills necessary for nonprofit management through scholarship in teaching, research and service. Graduates of the program have excellent career prospects, with career opportunities in federal, state and local government, as well as in the private and nonprofit sectors.

NIU’s MBA program is ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report and is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

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Expert Faculty Members Who Invest in Your Success We boast an experienced, student-centered faculty dedicated to the development of practice-ready lawyers and to your overall success. Our faculty bring a broad range of professional experience to the classroom. They have worked in large and small law firms, in federal and state prosecutors’ offices, as public defenders, and as lawyers for the SEC and labor unions. Faculty at NIU Law invest significant time cultivating student success by planning innovative learning methods, engaging students and providing individualized attention.

“At NIU Law, our professors are invested in our success. All of my professors have always been accessible and willing to spend additional time with students after class to make sure that we have a firm grasp of the materials covered that day.” Brooke Benoit, Third-Year Law Student

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NIU Law: Committed to Your Career Success

Career Opportunities and Strong Outcomes From the corporate boardroom to the courtroom, from the bench to government agencies and public service organizations, NIU Law graduates can be found in all fields of legal practice and working all across the country.


The excellent education you will receive at NIU Law is not an end in itself but is designed to launch you on a successful career path. In order to achieve this, we provide a variety of opportunities and programs focused on preparing students for the bar exam. These efforts include an Academic Success Program, a special Bar Fundamentals course in your final semester at the school, and a post-graduation bar preparation program in the months immediately before the exam. Though the largest number of our graduates enter private practice, NIU Law has gained prominence as a public interest/government practice law school. Our Career Opportunities Office has successfully counseled and placed a large number of assistant state’s attorneys and public defenders, for which NIU Law has received national recognition.


Advanced Public Degree Interest




Law Firms



52% Law Firms 18% Business 18% Government 8% Public Interest 3% Advanced Degree

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July 2019 Illinois Bar Results. State Bar Passage for First-Time Test -Takers


NIU LAW Class of 2018




83% 80%

Based on the most recent data available and as reported to the National Association for Law Placement 10 months after graduation.



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NIU Law: Committed to Your Career Success

Career Opportunities Office: Highly Personalized Advising

Throughout your NIU Law experience, you will be supported by a highly committed and passionate Career Opportunities Office. Thanks to the small size of our student body, the Office of Career Opportunities and Professional Development staff can provide students and alumni with individualized assistance, offering insights into a wide range of career options.

We offer extensive one-on-one counseling to students and alumni to help them select suitable employment opportunities. You’ll also receive a weekly “Career Corner” bulletin with information about upcoming networking events, job postings and insightful career tips. Networking opportunities are plentiful due to the strong sense of camaraderie at NIU Law. Our Alumni Association is committed to actively working with you to provide guidance, support and assistance with employment placement. The Office of Career Opportunities and Professional Development works with the Alumni Association to coordinate social receptions and speaking engagements to facilitate the networking opportunities for our students every year.

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Law Career Services • One-on-one career counseling • Résumé and cover letter preparation • Job search strategies • Mentoring programs • Interviewing skills • Networking events • Job postings • Weekly Career Corner bulletin

“NIU Law nurtured my interest in working in public sector and government programs, while also exposing me to nontraditional legal careers in alternative dispute resolution. Beyond the classroom, my mediation skills were honed through student organizations, externships and mediation competitions. I am so fortunate that I attended NIU for law school and was thrilled when I was able to return to DeKalb this past semester to teach Health Law.� Ryan Tyrrell Lipinski, Illinois Medicaid compliance officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, and former chief administrative law judge and bureau chief, Bureau of Administrative Hearings, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (Class of 2004).

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NIU Law: Committed to Your Career Success

A Vibrant University Community with Chicago Connections


NIU Law is located in DeKalb, a community located a little more than one hour west of Chicago. DeKalb is close enough to the Chicago metropolitan area to draw on the city’s many resources while retaining a small college town feel. DeKalb is a safe and affordable environment with a high quality of life. The Northern Illinois University main campus is set on 765 acres of rolling country land, featuring two lagoons, several museums and a broad variety of cultural opportunities. The campus provides a rich array of culture for the university community, from concerts — both musical and dance — to art exhibitions, plays, speakers, and events that celebrate U.S. and global diversity. 17 College of Law

Law students enjoy the benefits of being associated with a large, nationally recognized university. You’ll be provided the opportunity to pursue dual degree programs, such as our J.D./ M.B.A. and J.D./M.P.A., take graduate courses in other disciplines relevant to your legal studies and engage with the vibrant intellectual life of a world-class university.

Proximity to Chicago Given our school’s comfortable distance from Chicago, one of the nation’s largest legal markets, many students capitalize on opportunities that close proximity to the city affords. During your second and third years, you’ll have an opportunity to engage in a rich variety of legal externships, internships and paid professional positions with both private and government employers in and around the greater Chicago area. And with a large percentage of NIU Law alumni working in the city, there is a significant network pipeline between those building and those who have built their careers in such a thriving professional marketplace. Chicago and its adjoining area are also home to numerous recreational, entertainment and cultural offerings including world-class museums, major league sports teams and music venues.

“I chose NIU Law because of its proximity to Chicago and unique community. The relatively short commute to Chicago allows for additional internship and clerking opportunities.” Hafsa Jamalvi, Third-Year Law Student College of Law


NIU Law: Committed to Your Career Success

Student Life

We recognize that for you to persevere through rigorous academic programs, you must balance your personal life by taking care of yourself and your family. As a large and diverse campus, we offer more to you than just an academic education. A variety of activities are available for you to enjoy, including free music and fine arts performances, art exhibits, lectures, recreational opportunities, museums, and galleries.

A complete range of services is also available to you including comprehensive health care, personal counseling, child care, and career planning. A bus system operates throughout the campus and the community, allowing you to live or shop in our community while maintaining easy access to campus. The greater NIU community provides the cultural and recreational opportunities as well as the support services that all of our students need in order to focus on their academics.

NIU Law Annual 5K Run/Walk

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Student Organizations Outside of the classroom, our student-led organizations provide support, raise awareness, encourage discussions, and promote open communication around legal topics of interest for you. Participation in student organizations is an integral part of the NIU Law student experience. Some activities sponsored by student organizations — such as Casino Night, the Public Interest Law Society Auction and Barrister’s Ball — have become significant law school traditions.

Representative Student-Led Organizations • • • • • • • • • • •

American Constitution Society Black Law Students Association Christian Legal Society Criminal Law Society Delta Theta Phi Environmental Law Society Family Law Society Federalist Society Gay-Straight Alliance Illinois State Bar Association International Law Students Association • Juvenile Interest Law Society • Latinx Law Student Association

• Law Review • Lawyers Opposing Violence Everywhere • Moot Court Society • Muslim Law Students Association • National Lawyers Guild • Phi Alpha Delta • Public Interest Law Society • Second Amendment Society • Sports and Entertainment Law Society • Student Animal Legal Defense Fund • Student Bar Association • Trial Advocacy Society • Women’s Law Caucus






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NIU Law: Committed to Your Career Success

An Affordable High-Quality Education We offer an unbeatable combination of high-quality education, excellent outcomes and affordable costs. Our tuition and fees are now the same for both Illinois and out-ofstate U.S. residents, making our school an excellent choice for those from other states. Importantly, our students graduate with a debt load substantially below national and state averages.

Financial Aid Scholarships We provide a range of financial assistance for you in the form of loans, tuition waivers and scholarships. All admitted students are automatically considered for available merit scholarships and tuition waivers. Many of our students also apply for and receive private scholarships, and enter writing competitions publicized weekly through school correspondence within the NIU Law community.

Graduate Assistant Tuition Waivers In addition, a number of our second- and thirdyear students have significantly defrayed the cost of their law school education by securing Graduate Assistantships at the law school and in various other schools and departments across the greater NIU community. Graduate Assistants work in departments such as Students’ Legal Services, the Office of General Counsel, the Office of the Ombudsperson, the College of Education, and the College of Business. Most Graduate Assistant positions carry a full tuition waiver and a stipend to offset living expenses. In addition, research assistants work with law faculty engaged in scholarly pursuits. They build important relationships with members of the legal community and hone their research and writing skills, while receiving a partial tuition waiver.

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Learn more and apply online at Northern Illinois University College of Law Office of Admissions Swen Parson Hall, Room 151 DeKalb, IL 60115-2828 Phone: 815-753-8595 Email: