Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Current Students

The spread of COVID-19 has caused many changes at NIU. For the latest information, check your NIU email account daily and refer to NIU's coronavirus updates, as well as the Keep Learning website. If you're experiencing anxiety or distress, keep in mind that student counseling services are available.

We're here to support you and keep your legal education on track during this time. We ask that you use email to contact faculty and administrators, as we're working toward having everyone work remotely. If you're an RA, GA, ASP tutor, etc., contact your supervisor to see if you can work remotely.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Dean Hill, Dean King, or Dean Coles.

Please note: If you recently traveled, you may need to self-quarantine. Read more about what to do if you recently traveled.

Law School Operations

Given online instruction for Fall 2020, we encourage everyone to engage Student Services remotely. If you are need of in-person services, please see the list of limited in-person office hours.

Online Classroom and Learning Expectations

On August 22, 2020, Dean King sent an email to all students regarding online classroom and learning expectations for Fall 2020. Please review this document carefully and contact Dean King if you have any questions.

Fall 2020 Updates

On August 6, 2020, Dean Hill sent an email summarizing the following points covered in her online meeting with rising 2Ls and 3Ls:

  • The College of Law will return to the normal grading system during the Fall semester.
  • Updated block and list schedules are posted on the College of Law website.
  • The North Wing will be available to students for study space, internet access, and printing only for the Fall semester.
    • At this time, the tentative hours for the North Wing will be the same as the building hours. The building opens around 5:30 a.m.-7 a.m. and closes around 11 p.m.-midnight.
    • The reduced room capacity for the North Wing is 20-25 students. Students must wear a facial covering and maintain six feet of social distance from others at all times. Please remember that the health and safety of the entire law school community is our utmost priority. The purpose of these restrictions is to minimize traffic in the building and and limit interactions among people in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
    • If there is a surge of positive COVID-19 cases on campus or in the area, we may reevaluate the hours for the North Wing.
  • Law library staff will be available on Mondays-Thursdays 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for contactless library services, including checkouts and returns for books. The librarians will be providing virtual reference services through Bookings appointments for Teams meetings.
  • The Riley classroom (Room 170) and the Law Library (South Wing) may be opened later in the Fall semester for study space only. Again, we will need to evaluate whether additional space can be opened for use based on the trajectory of COVID-19 at that time.
  • All exams will be administered online. The final exam schedule is posted on the College of Law website. Faculty determine whether midterm and final exams are open book or closed book for their courses.
  • The Kaplan diagnostic exam (baby bar) will not be administered this Fall. Students in the 2L class will have the option (but will not be required) to take the diagnostic exam at the end of the Spring 2021 semester.
  • Because we prioritize the health and safety of the law school community and seek to reduce potential exposure to COVID-19, all student organization meetings, competitions (including preparation for competitions), study groups, and meetings with faculty will be online for the Fall.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Dean Hill.  Also, please feel free to contact other Deans/Directors and review the College of Law website for additional information.

Fall 2020 Classes

On August 3, 2020, Dean Hill announced in a letter to students that instruction for the fall 2020 semester will be primarily online, with exceptions for externships where the field placement component is approved to be in-person. Decisions about spring semester will be made and announced later.

Illinois Bar Exam

On Thursday July 23, The Illinois Board of Admissions to the Bar (IBAB) announced that the September 9-10 in-person bar exam will be cancelled and that an October 5-6 remote bar exam will be administered.  The Illinois law school deans will continue to work with the IBAB to address any access issues and assist test-takers who lack sufficient equipment or a stable internet connection at home.

Summer Session Grading Policy

The College of Law faculty has approved the use of the Spring 2020 grading policy for the Summer 2020 session. Please see the Grading FAQ for Spring 2020 for more information.

Emergency Fund

AccessLex Institute is generously providing the College of Law with $25,000 in emergency funds for law students. The funds will be administered through the emergency fund that NIU’s Division of Student Affairs has set up. Use this form to apply.

Externships

  • The faculty voted on April 9 to temporarily (for summer and fall 2020) relax the restriction on externship placements in private firms to include placements in private firms where a student’s work is not limited to pro bono work.
  • Please contact Dean Anderson with externship questions.

Access to Campus

Avoid campus when possible and stay away if you're not feeling well. See Self-reporting  instructions if you have questions about whether you should come to campus.

Remote Learning

Here's who to contact for specific questions:

  • For questions about how a class will operate, contact your professor. Contact Dean King if you have an issue that needs to be brought to the administration's attention.
  • For questions about accommodations or accessibility, contact Dean Coles or Dean King.
  • For technology questions, contact Rahul Thatte at colit@niu.edu or 815-753-0860.