NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

(Rankings, Profiles, Tuition, Student Life, . . . )
captainplanet
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:02 pm

NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby captainplanet » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:45 pm

Happy to answer questions from anyone considering applying to Northwestern's Accelerated JD program. I had a lot of questions when I was applying last year so trying to pay it forward. There was also a topic with questions in the spring:

http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=208197&hilit=accelerated+jd

st654
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 7:02 am

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby st654 » Thu Oct 10, 2013 12:53 pm

What kind of work experiences do your classmates generally have? Also, do you have a feel for the type of numbers that would be competitive for admission to this program, if they are different from the numbers for the traditional 3yr program?

captainplanet
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby captainplanet » Thu Oct 10, 2013 2:28 pm

st654 wrote:What kind of work experiences do your classmates generally have? Also, do you have a feel for the type of numbers that would be competitive for admission to this program, if they are different from the numbers for the traditional 3yr program?


The work experience median is 5 years and that's generally where most students fall but there is a wide range of experiences, from 1-2 people who have been working for 15+ years and are going back to school to people with 2 years or less of work experience or a Master's degree or fellowship-type experience.

The most common type of work experience is some type of business background, but there are all types of backgrounds, including engineering, accounting, finance, think tanks, politics, PhDs and MBAs, TFA, tech, paralegals, etc.

As for numbers, it seems that there is a wider range of LSAT/GPA scores for the AJD program than the 3-year program.

I would recommend looking at last year's class profile, which lists LSAT/GPA and past companies students worked for: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/admissi ... ofile.html

User avatar
brrrrcat
Posts: 62
Joined: Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:30 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby brrrrcat » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:29 pm

What kinds of job opportunities are AJD's getting after graduation? I feel like I read somewhere that a lot of the students go for transactional work since it's typically more in line with their business/corporate work experience. I'm curious if that seems to be true. Also, does the clerkship path seem attainable from AJD? I'm really interested in AJD and have a corporate background, but am undecided about transactional work v lit and am trying to determine if AJD will give me the right options.

Thanks!!

captainplanet
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby captainplanet » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:45 pm

brrrrcat wrote:What kinds of job opportunities are AJD's getting after graduation? I feel like I read somewhere that a lot of the students go for transactional work since it's typically more in line with their business/corporate work experience. I'm curious if that seems to be true. Also, does the clerkship path seem attainable from AJD? I'm really interested in AJD and have a corporate background, but am undecided about transactional work v lit and am trying to determine if AJD will give me the right options.

Thanks!!


I think the job opportunities are pretty similar for AJDs and 3-year students (BigLaw mostly), and some AJDs may even have an advantage due to their work experience. And many students are pursuing litigation work, so you're by no means forced into transactional (though some law firms may want a person with a corp. background to do transactional law). There may be more AJDs who want to do transactional law because of their WE, but I don't have any hard data and you should be fine either way. AJDs do have 1 less summer of law work experience but that hasn't really been an issue, since a lot of places don't hire 1Ls anyway and most AJDs have a lot of work experience coming in.

AJD students do clerk (a 2011 graduate clerked on the 6th Circuit and was just named a Bristow Fellow: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/news/newsdisplay.cfm?ID=606) and get externships. However, clerkships are somewhat harder for us to get because when we apply (2L spring) we only have 2 semesters of grades (versus 3 for 3-yr students) and don't have our Con Law grades yet (and maybe Crim), which could make a difference for some judges who hire more conservatively or hire on the early side. Also, most of us wait until our 3L year to take some of the important classes one needs for a clerkship (FedJur and Admin) since we don't take Con Law until our 2L spring, which is fine for clerkships (you don't need to finish the classes by the time you apply, you just need to take them to clerk) but it just means that we have to take extra care in planning our schedules. It also seems like it may be a little harder for AJDs to get on law review (you'll still get on a journal, but your chances may be slimmer for law review) because fewer spots are allotted (we do a write-on competition with the transfer students, and approximately 4-5 out of 50 get on law review, which is 10%, as opposed to a 16% chance for 3-yr students - so not a huge difference).

Overall, the vast majority of AJD students I know are really happy they chose the program, and there are very few differences between our experiences and opportunities compared to 3-yr students. I would say that this is a great program to choose if you have a corporate background or any work experience, because the students are a bit older and more professional, which really made a difference for me. Not to mention, we basically finish our 1L year over the summer ... which is amazing! The only people I would hesitate to recommend the program to are those who may really struggle with the material or with time management (since it is an accelerated program), or if you're really really unsure of what you want to do and may want that extra time, and extra summer, to explore various career paths (though you're still probably fine even if that's the case).

bet4031
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:46 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby bet4031 » Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:21 pm

Thanks for taking the time to answer questions. I'm considering applying for the AJD program and had a few questions. When you applied did you write a why Northwestern essay? Also, I've heard the school is fairly generous with scholarships to AJD candidates. Does that seem to be the case from your perspective?

Thanks again. Really appreciate your help.

captainplanet
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby captainplanet » Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:07 pm

bet4031 wrote:Thanks for taking the time to answer questions. I'm considering applying for the AJD program and had a few questions. When you applied did you write a why Northwestern essay? Also, I've heard the school is fairly generous with scholarships to AJD candidates. Does that seem to be the case from your perspective?

Thanks again. Really appreciate your help.


Sure,happy to help! I did write a why NU essay, and it's generally good practice for most schools short of YHS so I'd recommend writing one for every school, if time permits. As for scholarships, I know of a few AJDs who have full or almost full scholarships, and they seem to be based on top LSAT scores, but I don't know what percentage of students have a scholarship in general and how the scholarships compare to the 3-year program. I guess it seems like NU may be pretty generous with AJD scholarships ...

User avatar
jordan15
Posts: 145
Joined: Sun Sep 15, 2013 12:06 am

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby jordan15 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:10 am

Do you think a higher percentage of students have guaranteed jobs upon graduation? (aka paralegal or computer people whose companies sent them to law school)

captainplanet
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby captainplanet » Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:50 pm

jordan15 wrote:Do you think a higher percentage of students have guaranteed jobs upon graduation? (aka paralegal or computer people whose companies sent them to law school)


I think only 2 people in my class came in to law school with guaranteed jobs upon graduation*, so it's not very common, but there may be some people who have connections to certain law firms or jobs through their previous work experience (but that's also true among the 3-yr students).

*Edited to clarify that I'm only referring to people who are sent to law school by their companies with a guaranteed job upon graduation, not to all students' job opportunities in general. Most AJDs who want biglaw do get offers.
Last edited by captainplanet on Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

maasai
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:17 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby maasai » Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:23 pm

How does the AJD program affect your chances at biglaw? I'm considering the AJD at Northwestern. I've been working for 5 years and would prefer to only be out of the job market for 2 years as opposed to 3 years, but I'm also hesitant to commit to the debt load if biglaw chances are considerably lower than they would be if I was doing the regular 3-year program at NU.

captainplanet
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby captainplanet » Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:23 pm

maasai wrote:How does the AJD program affect your chances at biglaw? I'm considering the AJD at Northwestern. I've been working for 5 years and would prefer to only be out of the job market for 2 years as opposed to 3 years, but I'm also hesitant to commit to the debt load if biglaw chances are considerably lower than they would be if I was doing the regular 3-year program at NU.


From my experience, it doesn't make a difference for biglaw, and the WE most AJDs have make them desirable candidates for biglaw. The only differences between your resume package and the 3-year students' at OCI will be that you have 1 semester of grades, instead of 2, and that you won't know yet whether you'll be on a journal (if employers ask, you can just tell them that you plan to do the write-on competition, and they'll be fine with that). As for grades, if you perform poorly, you don't get that second semester to try to bring up your GPA. However, students who didn't perform as well were able to spin it more easily by saying that it's an intense 10-week program with a 28-person curve, which left most employers impressed and seemed to help alleviate some GPA concerns. Most of the students in the program, and most of those with median GPAs, were able to secure biglaw summer jobs, which I think is because of their WE. Those with particularly relevant WE outperformed those with top GPAs at OCI. I was actually surprised to see the big role personality and experience played compared to grades and I spoke a lot at my interviews about the skills I've gained through my WE and how my professionalism and experience would help me hit the ground running at biglaw.

Bottom line, the stats are probably similar between the 3-year students and AJDs for biglaw, if not stronger for the AJDs because of the boost they get from WE. As a fellow student with 5 years of WE, it helped me a lot to be in a program where other students were my peers age and experience-wise, so I would definitely recommend it for someone with your background.

User avatar
thewaves
Posts: 384
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 7:26 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby thewaves » Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:38 pm

Who do you recommend the program for?

maasai
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:17 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby maasai » Sat Oct 26, 2013 3:59 pm

Hey Captain - thanks for responding so quickly!

However, when you said that only 2 classmates had guaranteed jobs, do you mean that only 2 of the AJD students received offers from the biglaw firms?

Also, in terms of the full scholarship based on LSAT scores, do you happen to know what those scores were? On my timed practice tests I'm scoring no lower than 170, but tend to be around 177 with a couple at 180. I won't be applying until December when my LSAT score comes back, so I do realize my late application makes me less competitive given the rolling admissions. My UGPA is 3.70 and my MBA is 3.80.

captainplanet
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby captainplanet » Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:19 pm

maasai wrote:Hey Captain - thanks for responding so quickly!

However, when you said that only 2 classmates had guaranteed jobs, do you mean that only 2 of the AJD students received offers from the biglaw firms?


No, the question was about people who are sent to law school by their employers, who are footing the bill and offering them jobs after graduation, totally separate from the biglaw process. Most students in the program who want biglaw get offers.

maasai wrote:Also, in terms of the full scholarship based on LSAT scores, do you happen to know what those scores were? On my timed practice tests I'm scoring no lower than 170, but tend to be around 177 with a couple at 180. I won't be applying until December when my LSAT score comes back, so I do realize my late application makes me less competitive given the rolling admissions. My UGPA is 3.70 and my MBA is 3.80.


According to http://mylsn.info/graph_money.php, with your GPA, you'd probably get around 90K at the 170 range, and a full/almost full scholarship at 174+.

maasai
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:17 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby maasai » Sat Oct 26, 2013 5:01 pm

Would you say that biglaw firms see real-world experience as a stronger asset than things like PILIs, Law Review, etc.? Since the AJD's compressed timeline makes it harder to participate in those activities, I'm trying to assess whether my 5 years of experience and MBA might compensate for that during the hiring process.

Thanks again for your quick responses.

captainplanet
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby captainplanet » Sat Oct 26, 2013 5:28 pm

thewaves wrote:Who do you recommend the program for?


I think the program is great for people who have a few years of WE because most AJDs are a little older and have professional experience, which has an impact on the way we approach law school and our interests. The median age is around 27 and some students have very impressive credentials coming in, including PhDs or accomplishments in their field, some students are married, etc. That being said, there is also a wide range in the program, with a number of students who are around 24 and not too far removed from college, and several who are 35+ and switching to a second career, so there isn't an expectation that students need to have a lot of WE or be in a certain stage of life to fit in. It's a very welcoming group and just about anyone will find a good fit here (also true of NU overall, it's a great environment). So I guess I would say it's a program that's great for most people, and is especially well-fitted for students with WE, as it's one of the few programs that are geared toward students who are a little older.

The only people I would hesitate to recommend the program to are those who are really unsure about the type of legal career they want to pursue. AJDs have 1 less summer to work, and the program is compressed so there is less time to explore all the various options that are out there. You are still able to participate in student groups, journal, externships, etc. but it helps if you know what your general interests are (no need to know exactly what you want to do) coming in so that you can be more focused in what you pursue. Also, AJDs usually have to take 1 more class per semester than the 3-year students, which isn't an issue for most (it really isn't, I was worried about this but it's been completely fine), but if you think you'll really struggle with the material it's something to consider before choosing the program.

captainplanet
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby captainplanet » Sat Oct 26, 2013 5:46 pm

maasai wrote:Would you say that biglaw firms see real-world experience as a stronger asset than things like PILIs, Law Review, etc.? Since the AJD's compressed timeline makes it harder to participate in those activities, I'm trying to assess whether my 5 years of experience and MBA might compensate for that during the hiring process.

Thanks again for your quick responses.


Well most students are hired at OCI the summer after 1L, so they won't really have much school-related experience other than their 1L classes and 1L summer. Some may already be involved with student groups and be elected to their boards and they'll have already gotten onto journal, but most won't be that much ahead of the game in terms of law-related activities. Given that, relevant WE will be a big bonus. I think that, in general, relevant WE (like bankruptcy work, accounting, paralegal, a PhD in an IP field, etc.) really helps in the hiring process. Your experience and MBA would probably be a big boost. Also, during your 2 years there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved in all types of activities, and many AJDs are involved in student groups, practicums/externships, journal, moot court, etc. so I wouldn't worry about this too much. The AJD program basically compresses your 1L year, which is the year in which extracurricular involvement is most limited in anyway, and then you still have a full 2 and 3L year. The only difference is that you take an extra class per semester so you do have a little less time in your day (see my response above about knowing what your interests are so that you can choose activities appropriately).

maasai
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 2:17 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby maasai » Sat Oct 26, 2013 7:01 pm

I want to pursue corporate law, and I'm fairly certain I want to do litigation over transactional. I've been working in a heavily regulated industry, so I'm fairly confident this is the direction I want to move in as a lawyer.

User avatar
180asBreath
Posts: 480
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:47 am

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby 180asBreath » Sat Oct 26, 2013 10:37 pm

First off, thank you for opening yourself up to us; info on the AJD program has been hard to come by, and this is tremendously helpful to us inquiring minds ;)

I was wondering if you knew about the PhD's in the program; did they have work experience outside of their doctoral work? I am a K-PhD(-JD, if all goes according to plan) and I was wondering if my PhD would constitute work experience. Also, do you have a sense on the scholarship situation for the PhD's and MBA's?

Thanks again!

captainplanet
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby captainplanet » Sun Oct 27, 2013 3:06 pm

maasai wrote:I want to pursue corporate law, and I'm fairly certain I want to do litigation over transactional. I've been working in a heavily regulated industry, so I'm fairly confident this is the direction I want to move in as a lawyer.


I'm sure you'll find plenty of options for activities that suit that interest. There are a lot of opportunities for litigation-type training, from clinic to moot court to externships.

captainplanet
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby captainplanet » Sun Oct 27, 2013 3:44 pm

180asBreath wrote:First off, thank you for opening yourself up to us; info on the AJD program has been hard to come by, and this is tremendously helpful to us inquiring minds ;)

I was wondering if you knew about the PhD's in the program; did they have work experience outside of their doctoral work? I am a K-PhD(-JD, if all goes according to plan) and I was wondering if my PhD would constitute work experience. Also, do you have a sense on the scholarship situation for the PhD's and MBA's?

Thanks again!


Happy to help! I struggled to find information about the program when I was applying so I wanted to provide a resource for this year's applicants.

The PhD's in the program do have work experience since getting their PhD's, including working as patent agents or professors. However, even without additional WE, I think that a PhD would substitute for WE so you should be fine for the program, especially since there are several students with 2 years of WE or less (and NU considers AJD applicants for 3-year admission anyway so, if this is the program you're interested in, there's no harm in applying).

As for scholarships, advanced degrees probably impact scholarships like softs, offering a bump, but the most important aspect is the LSAT score, followed by GPA. About a third of the class has an advanced degree of some sort (MBA's and PhD's are the most common, followed by MA's), and the people who I know of who have full/almost full scholarships have 174+ LSAT. It's possible that the students who have advanced degrees also got a scholarship bump, but I just don't know their scholarship status.

May I ask what you have a PhD in? The PhD's that seem to be the most valuable to employers are IP-related fields (seriously, employers fall all over themselves for science PhD's). However, if your PhD is in a field that wouldn't be as relevant to corporate law, you may have to overcome hurdles to convince biglaw employers to hire you, since they may suspect that you're not really interested in law and will just go back to academic, think tank, or government work.

User avatar
Ron Mexico
Posts: 13468
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby Ron Mexico » Sun Oct 27, 2013 3:54 pm

captainplanet wrote:
thewaves wrote:Who do you recommend the program for?


I think the program is great for people who have a few years of WE because most AJDs are a little older and have professional experience, which has an impact on the way we approach law school and our interests. The median age is around 27 and some students have very impressive credentials coming in, including PhDs or accomplishments in their field, some students are married, etc. That being said, there is also a wide range in the program, with a number of students who are around 24 and not too far removed from college, and several who are 35+ and switching to a second career, so there isn't an expectation that students need to have a lot of WE or be in a certain stage of life to fit in. It's a very welcoming group and just about anyone will find a good fit here (also true of NU overall, it's a great environment). So I guess I would say it's a program that's great for most people, and is especially well-fitted for students with WE, as it's one of the few programs that are geared toward students who are a little older.

The only people I would hesitate to recommend the program to are those who are really unsure about the type of legal career they want to pursue. AJDs have 1 less summer to work, and the program is compressed so there is less time to explore all the various options that are out there. You are still able to participate in student groups, journal, externships, etc. but it helps if you know what your general interests are (no need to know exactly what you want to do) coming in so that you can be more focused in what you pursue. Also, AJDs usually have to take 1 more class per semester than the 3-year students, which isn't an issue for most (it really isn't, I was worried about this but it's been completely fine), but if you think you'll really struggle with the material it's something to consider before choosing the program.


Isnt that pretty much the same as the student in the 3 year program.

captainplanet
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby captainplanet » Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:25 pm

Ron Mexico wrote:
captainplanet wrote:
thewaves wrote:Who do you recommend the program for?


I think the program is great for people who have a few years of WE because most AJDs are a little older and have professional experience, which has an impact on the way we approach law school and our interests. The median age is around 27 and some students have very impressive credentials coming in, including PhDs or accomplishments in their field, some students are married, etc. That being said, there is also a wide range in the program, with a number of students who are around 24 and not too far removed from college, and several who are 35+ and switching to a second career, so there isn't an expectation that students need to have a lot of WE or be in a certain stage of life to fit in. It's a very welcoming group and just about anyone will find a good fit here (also true of NU overall, it's a great environment). So I guess I would say it's a program that's great for most people, and is especially well-fitted for students with WE, as it's one of the few programs that are geared toward students who are a little older.

The only people I would hesitate to recommend the program to are those who are really unsure about the type of legal career they want to pursue. AJDs have 1 less summer to work, and the program is compressed so there is less time to explore all the various options that are out there. You are still able to participate in student groups, journal, externships, etc. but it helps if you know what your general interests are (no need to know exactly what you want to do) coming in so that you can be more focused in what you pursue. Also, AJDs usually have to take 1 more class per semester than the 3-year students, which isn't an issue for most (it really isn't, I was worried about this but it's been completely fine), but if you think you'll really struggle with the material it's something to consider before choosing the program.


Isnt that pretty much the same as the student in the 3 year program.


Feisty ... No, the median number of years of WE for AJD students is 5 years, which is not the norm for 3-year students at NU or in general. While NU does have a stronger focus on WE than other schools, most students in the 3-year program have 1-2 yrs of WE. In last year's entering 3-year class, 90% of students had 1+ yrs of WE, 70% had 2+ yrs, and 13% had advanced degrees. The AJD students tend to be a few years older and about a third have advanced degrees. It's also a much smaller program, enrolling only 28 students per year. The major difference is that AJD students have more WE and are a few years older - and that they finish in 2 years. My point in the earlier post was to say that every type of student is welcome and will find a good fit, not just those who possess qualities that are near the median type of student.

I suggest looking at:
2012 3-year student profile: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/admissions/profile/jdprofile.html
2012 AJD class profile: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/admissions/profile/AJDprofile.html
Source for stats above: http://www.law.northwestern.edu/admissions/profile/

User avatar
bjsesq
TLS Poet Laureate
Posts: 13383
Joined: Fri Nov 19, 2010 3:02 am

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby bjsesq » Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:27 pm

How sperglord is your AJD class as it relates to the rest of the graduating class? (Alum, I want to see if things are the same)

captainplanet
Posts: 95
Joined: Tue Aug 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Re: NU Accelerated JD: Current student answering Qs

Postby captainplanet » Sun Oct 27, 2013 5:00 pm

bjsesq wrote:How sperglord is your AJD class as it relates to the rest of the graduating class? (Alum, I want to see if things are the same)


I had to look that up on urban dictionary, too funny! I think there are only a couple "special" people, most of us are really chill. I can't really say how that compares to the 3-years, but I think we come out ahead. My favorite moment came this semester, when we were integrated into a 1L class and a 1L in her first week of law school told the professor "well that's what YOU think the law is." #priceless




Return to “Choosing a Law School”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests