Northeastern University School of Law
Located in lively Boston, Massachusetts, Northeastern University School of Law is an attractive option for a number of reasons. The school's unique co-op program offers students the opportunity to compliment their studies with practical experience, which comes in handy around hiring time. Further. NUSL places better nationally than most schools similarly ranked. It is still a regional school, however, and career prospects are not as strong as most students would like.
Admissions & tuition
While admissions standards at Northeastern are not prohibitively high for all, the school can hardly be said to have an open-door policy. Roughly 32% of applicants were granted admission last year (~1,200 out of 3,798). For those who matriculated, the 25th to 75th percentile GPA range was 3.20-3.63 and the range for the LSAT was 155-163-with medians of 3.40 and 161, respectively
For those who do gain acceptance, and eventually matriculate, there is a high price to be paid for a Northeastern education-though it is comparable to other private schools in the area. Last year, students paid $38,400 in tuition, roughly $15,000 in room and board, and around $4,000 in miscellaneous expenses. This amounts to an annual tally of nearly $60,000, and a three year total of approximately $180,000.
Students at Northeastern meet the financial demands of their education in a number of ways. While very few students (.5%) receive full-tuition grants, a whopping 80% of Northeastern students receive some sort of grant from the Financial Aid office. Undoubtedly this is a strong number, but upon closer inspection, it becomes obvious that the amount received is often quite low relative to the cost of attendance: Last year, grants ranged from $7,400 to $11,400 for the 25th and 75th percentiles respectively. Perhaps this is why the average Northeastern student graduates with almost $102,500 of debt (USNews).
After passing the Bar-and passing it at a rate of almost 87%, which isn't awful considering the state-wide passage rate is 89%-most NUSL graduates (53%) find work in law firms or business. Salaries in these fields ranged from $55,000 (25th percentile) to $160,000 (75th percentile), with a median of $75,000. NUSL also employs a very high number of graduates in public-interest fields. In fact, with over 16% of graduates entering such fields, NUSL sports one of the highest percentages of public-interest graduates in the country. These lawyers make significantly less, however, with a median of around $45,000 for all graduates who find a public service job (USNews).
Northeastern is a regional school in both reputation and job placement; but NUSL does a far better job of placing graduates nationally than most of its peer schools: while more than 60% of graduates stay in Massachusetts, USNews reports that 13% end up in the Middle Atlantic region, 10% head down to the South Atlantic states; and 6% made it as far the West Coast.
Northeastern Law stands out academically for two reasons: 1) the school's unique co-op program and 2) its focus on public-interest law. According to the school's website. the co-op program, officially known as "Cooperative Legal Education", allows students to "complete a traditional first year of academic study and then, for the remaining two years, alternate every three months between full-time legal work and attending classes on a full-time basis." This program is indicative of the school's belief in the value of practical experience. Prospective students should not worry that this will slow their education; to the contrary, co-op participants are still able to graduate in the normally allotted 3 years.
Northeastern's other focus-that on public interest law-is also central to the school's educational philosophy. It is a stated goal of NUSL's that "all students graduate from the School of Law with an understanding of what social justice means and how ethics apply to the law." This focus is best evidenced by such programs as the civil rights and restorative justice clinic, the program on human rights and the global economy, and the public health advocacy institute, among others.
While NULS will struggle to compete with such public-interest giants as NYU, Boalt, Yale, and GULC, it is obvious that the school has the resources and willingness to equip public-interest lawyers for a lifetime of important work.
Quality of life
Life on campus seems to be good for Northeastern students. The school does not assign grades to students. That's right: no grades. Though it is hard to estimate exactly the effect this will have on a students' time at NULS, it seems safe to say it will serve as a stress-reducer. This, together with the school's small size, allows for a more cohesive student-body, a sense of community.
Unsurprisingly-given the school's emphasis on public-interest law-students at NULS are liberal in their political views. They are so liberal, in fact, that the Princeton Review ranked them as #2 in the country on a list of schools whose "students lean to the left". Conservatives and liberals alike should keep this in mind when deciding whether or not to apply to NULS.
For anyone who likes city-life, Boston is a great place to spend three years. The school is close to the city's subway system, giving students access to a surplus of social activities. Music, bars, food, sports; you name it, Boston probably has it.
Northeastern University School of Law is characterized by its focus on public interest law, unique cooperative education program, and its location in Boston, Massachusetts. For students who have interests that are compatible with such characteristics, Northeastern should be a wonderful place to spend three years.
U.S. News Ranking: 94
LSAT Median: 161
GPA Median: 3.40
Multiple LSAT scores: Higher score accepted
Application Deadlines: 03/01
Application fee: $75
Entering class size: 214
2009-2010 Tuition: $38,400
Bar passage rate: 86.9%
Percent of graduates employed 9 months after graduation: 89.9%
Median private sector starting salary: $75,000 (Class of 2007, 60% reporting)