Serving the Needs of the Community
A primary emphasis at NIU College of Law is to build upon our emerging reputation as a law school that embraces multi-cultural awareness as well as service in the public sector. We are dedicated to not only providing quality legal education for the benefit of all, but also to fostering a sense of life-long responsibility towards public service and awareness.
Although a majority of our graduates enter private practice, we also continue to rank near the top among law schools in placing students in public service and public interest jobs. We continue to facilitate such public service/public interest placement for interested students through specialized curricular offerings, focused externship opportunities and the development of a JD/MPA joint degree option. The College seeks to instill a commitment to public service in all students during law school, beginning a lifetime evolving commitment to use their legal education for public interest, no matter what the particular practice setting. Thus, all students are encouraged to engage regularly in pro bono activities, and the College of Law provides a number of "public interest stipends" each summer to support students in full-time public interest work.
Pro Bono Activities
At NIU College of Law, we are committed to encouraging pro bono publico legal services. Pro bono service is defined as work done for the benefit of the underserved populations in public agencies, public interest or pro bono organizations, or charitable or other nonprofit groups or corporations. In this voluntary program, students who successfully complete a cumulative 60 hours of approved pro bono service will receive a notation on their transcript. Various forms of scholarships, stipends, and other grants are designated for the support of students performing voluntary services.
In addition to legal community service activities through the clinics and pro bono work, there are a variety of other volunteer opportunities throughout the College of Law's student organizations and community service projects. Our students have varying degrees of availability for extra projects based on their personal lives and academic schedule, therefore we work with community nonprofits and public agencies to find volunteer opportunities that meet the needs of all interested students.
The Innocence Project is an association dedicated to providing educational opportunities for law students by working with attorneys and law professors providing assistance to prisoners who are currently serving prison sentences or awaiting execution for crimes they did not commit. These educational opportunities include exploring and developing the cognizable claims of prisoners who are innocent of the crimes for which they have been convicted in an effort to understand the law as an instrument for the protection of people, rather than their repression.
Continuing Legal Education
The College of Law offers continuing legal education opportunities such as the annual Law Review Symposium throughout the year.