Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

A forum for applicants and admitted students to ask law students and graduates about law school and the practice of law.
User avatar
MrHart
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:35 pm

Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby MrHart » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:11 pm

Hey folks,

Several of us current AJD students (and AJD Board members) have volunteered to help answer any questions regarding the Accelerated JD program at Northwestern. We can chime in on a variety of subjects including general information, admissions, coursework, OCI, job prospects, etc. The idea here is to get more correct, relevant information out to you, the potential students. So here we are. Lay it on us.

- Hart

bm25
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:03 am

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby bm25 » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:49 pm

Hi! Thanks for taking questions.

I'm nervous about a few things: Did you feel like you were adequately prepared for OCI after one summer of classes? Were there workshops/interview prep sessions facilitated by Northwestern? Do big international firms recruit at Northwestern, including firms based outside the US? I'm interested in international arbitration.

Which of the AJD classes are graded on a curve? How did you feel about grading overall?

User avatar
MrHart
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:35 pm

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby MrHart » Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:29 pm

Bm25,

The typical AJD student has several years of work experience and thus comes out of the gate with a huge advantage over other JDs who may not have said experience. I'm assuming you fit this profile. If you have been through the job interview process once or twice before, you should have no problem with OCI. The firms are looking for mature, well-rounded associates who can pass the '3AM test'. The AJD class does receive some interviewing tips and options for mock interviews with alumni, but again, if you have been through the interview process before, it's mostly just common sense stuff. Anecdotally, my AJD class did as least as well at OCI compared to the regular JD class in terms of placement percentage and big firm 'prestige', if that's important to you. Virtually all the big firms come to Northwestern Law's OCI, with a few exceptions from New York-based firms with no Chicago offices. Firms that do international work are common at OCI, but I'm not sure if there were any internationally-based firms. If there are specific firms you are looking at, or geographic regions, we can give you more specific info.

As far as grading at NU, all doctrinal courses and classes with enrollment over 40 are curved, adhering to the published ranges. So, in the first summer of the AJD program, contracts, torts, civil procedure and property are curved. Negotiation is not curved and frankly, I don't remember whether CLR I was curved. Many of the upper-level electives (which are available as soon as the fall following the first summer) are not curved. Curved classes are a fact of life at any law school and it doesn't feel overbearing when applied to the AJD program.

Getting back to OCI, most firms didn't know what the AJD program was all about and once I finished telling them about it at OCI there was almost a universal comment of: "wow" or "I wish I could have gone through that program when I went to law school." So it's definitely a conversation-starter during OCI and AJDs definitely get serious respect from the interviewers because of the rigor of the program. So it's a clear advantage to be in the program. Happy to answer more q's if you have them.

Hope this helps,

MrHart.

bm25
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:03 am

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby bm25 » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:31 pm

Thanks, MrHart--very informative. I haven't fully done my research about firms, but the international one I had in mind was the UK-based Freshfields Brukhaus Deringer. Covington & Burling, which is based in DC and does not have a Chicago office, is another that does int'l arbitration work. Other names that come to mind: Allen & Overy, WilmerHale, and Debevoise & Plimpton. Do you know which, if any, of these recruit at Northwestern?

A separate question: if I wanted to both extern and work for a clinic while in law school, do you think that would be a problem? I've looked at the AJD curriculum and it seems there's enough flexibility to do this credits-wise, but I'm wondering if you know of any conflicts I haven't noticed.

pack_85
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:25 pm

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby pack_85 » Sat Apr 20, 2013 6:53 pm

bm25 wrote:Thanks, MrHart--very informative. I haven't fully done my research about firms, but the international one I had in mind was the UK-based Freshfields Brukhaus Deringer. Covington & Burling, which is based in DC and does not have a Chicago office, is another that does int'l arbitration work. Other names that come to mind: Allen & Overy, WilmerHale, and Debevoise & Plimpton. Do you know which, if any, of these recruit at Northwestern?

A separate question: if I wanted to both extern and work for a clinic while in law school, do you think that would be a problem? I've looked at the AJD curriculum and it seems there's enough flexibility to do this credits-wise, but I'm wondering if you know of any conflicts I haven't noticed.


I think all those firms, except Debevoise, were at our OCI last year. I found the mock interviews I did over the summer to be really helpful. It's just good to have some practice responding to law-specific questions (like transactional v litigation, any specific focus). Besides that, the interviews are pretty straight forward. I don't think most interviewers expect you to know exactly what you want to do after one summer, or even one year, of law school. I wasn't sure after the summer, still not 100% sure two semesters later, but my mock interviewer helped me figure out how to say that without sounding flakey.

I don't think CLR I is curved, but it will be your least favorite class regardless.

Several of our classmates are doing judicial externships or clinics this semester, but I'm not sure about both. I don't see why it would be a problem provided you hit your hours. The curriculum advisors here do a great job helping us out with planning, so if it's possible, then they'll make it happen. Lots of sneaky ways to pick up extra credit hours around here.

bm25
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:03 am

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby bm25 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:54 pm

Thanks pack_85! Good to know those firms recruit at Northwestern. Also good to know that employers are receptive to the AJD.

User avatar
MrHart
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:35 pm

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby MrHart » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:22 am

bm25 wrote:Thanks pack_85! Good to know those firms recruit at Northwestern. Also good to know that employers are receptive to the AJD.


bm,

Just to give you some idea of the breadth and quality of law firms hiring AJDs, here's a sampling of summer associate firms for a few of my colleagues in the AJD Class of 2014:

WilmerHale
Kirkland and Ellis
Katten Muchin Rosenman
McDermott, Will & Emery
Sidley Austin
McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff
Fenwick & West
Paul Hastings
Cravath, Swaine & Moore
Foley & Lardner
Proskauer Rose
Goodwin Proctor

- Hart

TinternAbbey
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:54 am

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby TinternAbbey » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:59 am

I am a first year AJD doing an externship right now. It is completely possible to do both an externship and a clinic. I am not sure whether I would advise doing both at the same time; they can tend to be a lot of work. You would definitely want to plan ahead to make sure you can do both an externship and a clinic. For externships, you have to apply and be selected by a judge/organization, so you might have to apply more than once.

I think one theme of the AJD program is advance planning. You can do all the things other students would do; you just need to think about it a little bit more.

bm25
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:03 am

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby bm25 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:57 pm

Thanks to both. Did anyone have issues interviewing after one summer and having no journal prospects yet, since AJDs have to write on in the fall?

I'm definitely sensing the "plan things out from now" theme. Someone mentioned curriculum advisors-are they and career services approachable and knowledgable? For example, if I wanted help sending my application to a firm that wasn't at OCI, would career services help me in that process?

pack_85
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:25 pm

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby pack_85 » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:16 pm

bm25 wrote:Thanks to both. Did anyone have issues interviewing after one summer and having no journal prospects yet, since AJDs have to write on in the fall?

I'm definitely sensing the "plan things out from now" theme. Someone mentioned curriculum advisors-are they and career services approachable and knowledgable? For example, if I wanted help sending my application to a firm that wasn't at OCI, would career services help me in that process?


As evidenced by the firms Hart threw up, interviewing without knowing journal status really isn't a big deal. It's likely that you'll know what journal you're on by the time call-backs roll around anyway (many people interview through October). Anecdotally, I told my firm I wasn't interested in a journal during our first interview, and they didn't care. I'm sure some firms care more than others, and some may have had different experiences, but it didn't seem like a deal breaker to me.

The career service office went through some turnover the summer we were in class, but they were still pretty good. I learned most of what I know about firms through other students, alums, internet searches, etc. But the career services people will definitely get you straightened out with any logistical issues like mass-mailing and resume prep.

TinternAbbey
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:54 am

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby TinternAbbey » Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:08 pm

I actually think doing OCI before the write-on is strangely beneficial. You can just say, "I plan on participating in the write-on competition." Firms seemed to have no problem with that, and they understand that it's not possible at that point. I interviewed with some firms where I thought they appreciated I was interested in journals, but they understood that it wasn't possible yet. I also know people who used that phrase intending to do the write-on and then decided they didn't want to. So, they didn't have to explain during OCI why they weren't/didn't want to be on a journal, and they didn't get stuck being on a journal when they really didn't want to be. It ends up decreasing pressure a bit.

I think career services is what you make of it, to a large degree. If you go in a lot and get to know them, then they are probably helpful. My adviser was out on maternity leave last summer, so I was with a temporary person. You guys should have an easier time of it when it comes to their staffing issues. I thought doing mass-mailing was pretty easy to do on my own, once I got a cover letter worked out. They will definitely help you with that part of things. Although I didn't use career services a lot over the summer, they were really helpful when I had a problem arise during OCI. They got things resolved for me, and that left me with a good impression.

bm25
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:03 am

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby bm25 » Sun Apr 28, 2013 2:25 pm

Got it, that makes sense. Thanks for the input.

The program is going to start in 3 weeks! Getting a bit nervous. Any tips for the intense summer? Are there things you did/wish you had done to prepare (reading supplements etc)? Every time I tell a friend who did a standard 3 yr program about the AJD first summer curriculum, they tell me I'm going to be miserable.

User avatar
MrHart
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:35 pm

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby MrHart » Fri May 03, 2013 12:17 pm

Sorry for the slow response, we're in the middle of finals. Now that our doctrinal course exams are done, we're all breathing a little easier.

First of all, there's no doubt about it, the summer is intense. The pace starts out fast and doesn't slow down. Luckily, you'll likely be in class while getting to know some pretty cool classmates, which makes the first AJD summer a whole lot easier.

Others may have other tips, but I think the best thing you can do is just try to be as efficient as possible with your time during the summer.

Along those lines, one specific technique that I've been relying on more and more (and I wish I had used during the summer) is outlining as you go. Most law students will sift through their notes and compile outlines during the last few weeks of class at the end of the term. The resulting outlines usually serve as the primary source of study material for law school classes. However, IMHO, AJDs don't have nearly enough time to wait until the last couple weeks to get outlines together. I know for me during last summer (when I didn't use this technique), it was a hurried mix of pasting together information from in-class PPT slides and my OneNote jottings - it wasn't very pretty.

Since then, I have learned to multitask by having OneNote as well as Word open during class. I try to take more copious notes in OneNote and then cut and paste key concepts from cases, tests, and definitions (in real time) into my Word doc, which serves as my running outline. I usually take some time at the very beginning of the semester to look at the overall structure of topics from the syllabus and pre-populate that structure into my outline. It has helped me a lot, especially at the end of the term. Just before finals, I can focus on refining my existing outline instead of trying to compile the whole load of relevant stuff from the entire course. That way, when you are studying for finals, you are working with sort of a 'second draft' instead of a 'rough draft' outline.

Of course, your mileage may vary and others may have different strategies. However, it's been such a game-changer for me that I suggest you give it a shot. Good luck this summer!

- Hart

pack_85
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:25 pm

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby pack_85 » Fri May 03, 2013 1:05 pm

bm25 wrote:Got it, that makes sense. Thanks for the input.

The program is going to start in 3 weeks! Getting a bit nervous. Any tips for the intense summer? Are there things you did/wish you had done to prepare (reading supplements etc)? Every time I tell a friend who did a standard 3 yr program about the AJD first summer curriculum, they tell me I'm going to be miserable.


I'm sure your friend's 1L wasn't a vacation, either. The summer is brutal, traditional 1L is brutal - you'll just be done with it quicker. It's like anything else, you'll find a routine and be fine with it after the first few weeks.

Agree with Hart. Try to outline as you go. Also, I try to follow along with class supplements as we move through material. Read the assigned material for class; take my class notes; then read through that section in the supplement over the next few days. Really helps you understand the stuff better, and when finals roll around, studying is more of a refresher than a cram session. I found the E&E ones to be great for Contracts and Torts. Good explanations and practice problems to work with. Don't bother with a supplement for Property; Francis has his own approach. Didn't have one for Civ Pro, but maybe others have input on that.

Also, and maybe more importantly: with the amount of material you'll have to read every night, you could easily spend 4 hours briefing cases. In my opinion, this is not the best use of your time. Most of our teachers set up on-call people for the semester - basically we knew the days we would get called on, and diligently briefing for those days is obviously necessary. But for the other days, I would just read the cases, make some margin notes, maybe write a brief summary for super complex cases. Cut my reading time in half. Spend the time you save outlining, looking at supplements, or maybe being a real human being. Spend a few weeks getting the feel for the teachers, whether they deviate from their on-call lists (or even use them; we didn't have Lupo, and Redish is a straight cold-caller), how hard they grill, etc, and see if your time is better spent on things besides intensely briefing every case.

bm25
Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:03 am

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby bm25 » Sat May 18, 2013 2:45 pm

Sorry for the delay--got caught up in moving etc.
Just wanted to say thanks so much for the tips and for being so nice about answering all my questions! Hope finals went well for you all, and congrats on being done for the summer.

CupOfTea
Posts: 15
Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 12:33 pm

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby CupOfTea » Thu May 30, 2013 9:32 am

Question not specific to the AJD but o Northwestern in general. Where do students typically live? I have a friend looking into Lincoln Park and Gold Coast. They want to live alone for a reasonable price and want to minimize outside distractions during school. What is the atmosphere like in these areas? Any other area you would recommend? Thanks in advance :)

User avatar
MrHart
Posts: 21
Joined: Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:35 pm

Re: Northwestern AJDs Taking Questions

Postby MrHart » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:45 pm

CupOfTea wrote:Question not specific to the AJD but o Northwestern in general. Where do students typically live? I have a friend looking into Lincoln Park and Gold Coast. They want to live alone for a reasonable price and want to minimize outside distractions during school. What is the atmosphere like in these areas? Any other area you would recommend? Thanks in advance


Sorry for the slow response here - it's been awhile since I've checked this message board and it's been a pretty busy summer for us as summer associates.

I would say the majority of single NULaw students live near campus in Streeterville. Living close by reduces commute time to campus, which can make life a little easier during law school. The campus is fairly close to the CTA (Red Line, Chicago stop), which puts lots of locales within easy reach. Old Town, Lincoln Park, and Lakeview are popular areas. I also know folks that commute in from all sorts of other areas of Chicago and the suburbs. From personal experience, commuting in from the Western Suburbs is not particularly fun, but it is definitely doable since the law school runs shuttle buses to Ogilvie, Union, and Randolph Metra stations for a pretty nominal ticket cost.

I'm probably not qualified to comment on the atmosphere in Lincoln Park and the Gold Coast, but anecdotally I would say that Lincoln Park attracts a younger crowd while the Gold Coast tends to skew a bit older and maybe stuffier? pack_85 may be able to comment further here because I think he lives up in that area. If you friend is still looking for a place to live, I would definitely encourage a Chicago visit to investigate the "vibe" in each of these places.

- Hart


Last bumped by MrHart on Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:45 pm.




Return to “Ask a Law Student / Graduate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests