20 Things You Didn’t Know About Northeastern Law School


Are you considering a career in law? If so, and you also value diversity, and rigorous learning with experiential opportunities, Northeastern Law School offers accredited programs. Its modern and inclusive focus exudes a welcoming environment for all. The school is over a century old and is among the top law schools in Massachusetts. Learn more about the institution with our list of twenty things you didn’t know about Northeastern Law School.

1. Northeastern Law School is a private law school in Boston, Massachusetts.

Northeastern Law School is a part of Northeastern University, its parent institution. NULS is a private law school with a rich history NULS serves a small student body. Under 500 students are currently enrolled.

2. How long has Northeastern Law School been in business?

Northeastern Law School opened its doors to students in 1898. The Boston Young Men’s Christian Association launched the School of Law as an evening program to serve the unmet needs of students seeking careers in legal studies and related fields. Two law schools existed at the time, and resources for working-class students didn’t exist. The program filled the gap and provided Bostonians with an alternative to early methods of educating lawyers. The institution celebrates 124 years of academic excellence in 2022. The school is open to applicants from all states and various countries, but it’s less expensive for residents of Massachusetts.

3. Who founded Northeastern Law School?

The YMCA worked with an advisory committee to establish an academic institution to enhance educational practices for lawyers. Before the turn of the century, aspiring attorneys in Boston worked under professional attorneys to learn their trade. Students worked under the supervision of seasoned, practicing lawyers, according to Wikipedia. James Barr Ames, Harvard Law School dean, and fellow advisory committee members Massachusetts Judge James R. Dunbar, Boston University School of Law dean, Samuel Bennett helped to establish the new law school. The group effort was spearheaded by the YMCA.

4. Northeastern Law School changed its name a few times

Northeastern Law’s history goes back to before the turn of the 20th century as the YMCA Law School. It was a part-time program that provided evening classes for students who worked during the day. The beginnings were humble, but the institution evolved quickly. It was also called the Evening School of Law of Boston YMCA, under its incorporation in 1904. Several branches spread in local communities near Boston, Springfield, Worcester, and Providence, Rhode Island by 1921. The Springfield campus evolved into the Western New England University of Law. In 1922, the law school changed its name to Northeastern University School of Law. It’s currently called Northeastern Law and Northeastern University School of Law.

5. Northeastern Law School was there for underserved

NULS began classes intending to offer Bostonians an alternative to expensive law colleges. The evening format allowed the working class to pursue their interest in professional law careers. It served groups that previously could not attend traditional law classes offered by the other two law schools in the city. While part-time evening schools are not new concepts, they were in Boston during the late 1800s. No other institutions offered an alternative means for students in the working class. Northeastern Law was a first in the category, and it continues to provide students with options for night classes with a day class format. The quality of education meets rigorous standards of excellence.

6. Northeastern Law has a new Flex JD Program

Northeastern Law School implemented a FlexJD program. The Flex JD is a part-time Juris Doctor pathway to a degree for part-time enrollment. Students may participate in online and on-campus classes and other components of the program. It’s a program for law students employed full-time or responsibilities or commitments preventing full-time attendance.

7. What is Northeastern Law best known for?

The NULS website, confirms Northeastern Law is ranked number one for Public Interest. The honor was bestowed on the school by preLaw Magazine in 2021. NULS prepares students for lawyering that considers actions in the public’s best interest. It’s a focus and value infused into the curriculum in every class. Public interest is a requirement through work with co-op employers. Northeastern explains that The National Jurist names Northeastern number one for public interest for “the importance of service regardless of careers goals… and it permeates the law school’s atmosphere.”

8. Northeastern University Law School is a leader in experiential legal education

NULS is also known for its experiential legal education that gives students hands-on experience in learning and practicing with real-world situations. The experience-based program launched in 1968, and is currently the longest-running in the nation, and the “most extensive,” with a guarantee of “unparalleled practical legal work experiences.” Students interested in learning more should investigate the Cooperative Legal Education Program and its partnership with over 1,000 employer participants. The program combines education in theory and practice for balanced professionalism development.

9. Does Northeastern promote student competition?

Northeastern keeps its focus on collaboration instead of competition. Students receive written evaluations from co-op employers and professors vs. letter grades. It helps lessen competitiveness to foster an environment of collaboration and freedom to engage in intellectual dialogue and actions that are risky, and that would not normally occur in a highly competitive environment where competition to be the best is necessary for success. Students at Northeastern do not compete for a class rank. They work together, and learn the value of teamwork and sharing thoughts, concerns, and strategies.

10. Northeastern’s faculty are diverse

Northeastern Law School values diversity among its faculty members to provide students with varying worldviews and cultural exchanges. The institution employs fifty-one full-time faculty members and specialists. Sixty-five percent are women and thirty-five percent are men. Thirty-five percent of faculty are persons of color.

11. A law degree from Northeastern can help you pass the bar exam

Northeastern Law School has consistently produced students who pass the bar exam the first time around. From 2016 through 2018, first-time test takers passed at rates of 83%, 90%, and 89%, respectively. 89% passed on the first attempt in 2019, and 85% in 2020. The state average passage rate for first-time test-takers was 85.1% in 2021 with an overall pass rate of 74.7%. Northeastern Law provides exceptional preparation for law students to successfully pass the bar exam.

12. Is Northeastern Law School fully accredited?

Northeastern Law School is fully accredited. Students who graduate from most of the programs are eligible to take their state bar exams to become practicing lawyers. NUSL received full accreditation by the American Bar Association in 1969. The institution is also a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1970.

13. The QC Caucus welcomes students from the LGBTQ+ community

Northeastern Law School is the home of the Queer Caucus student organization. In 1994, CQ changed its name from the LGBT Caucus. It’s an all-inclusive group that has worked within the institution for many decades, ensuring equality, fair treatment, and a welcoming environment for all members of the LGBTQ+ community. The group maintains high visibility and access for students to gain support and fellowship. Group leaders of the QC organization dubbed Northeastern Law School as “the queerest law school in the nation.”

14. Is it hard to get into Northeastern Law School?

Test Max Prep confirms that students at Northeastern are encouraged to collaborate rather than compete for grades, but admissions are at a different level for acceptance for admission. The national average is a 45% acceptance rate. In 2021, Northeastern’s acceptance rate was 41.5% of all applicants. in 2022, the number dropped to 35% of all applicants receiving offers. Requirements for entry are stringent with a low acceptance rate. Applicants with high LSAT and GPA scores have an advantage, but other factors are weighed in admissions decisions. Strong references help, as do impressive community service records and personal/professional accomplishments indicating the likelihood of success from matriculation to graduation. The school considered 2,965 applicants for the class of 2023. Of those applications just 1030 of the students received offers. 140 of them matriculated, showing a matriculation rate of just 4.7%. Acceptance translates into a low overall matriculation rate in Northeastern, comparable to other law schools. Some applicants accepted either delayed attendance at law school or accept offers from other schools.

15. What are acceptable GPAs and test scores at Northeastern Law?

Statistics for the incoming class of 2023 with acceptance for admission and matriculation show a range between 3.3 to 3.75 GPA. 75% were admitted with GPAs ranging from 3.55 to 3.75%, but a quarter of admitted students had GPA scores of 3.3. The median LSAT Score is 161. The lowest 25% of accepted students have LSAT scores of 152. 75% of those accepted have scores of 162 or higher. These statistics can give you an idea of acceptable scores.

16. Northeastern Law has nine clinics

LSAC confirms that Northeastern Law offers nine clinics that allow students the opportunity to work with expert faculty within their fields of study and specializations. They serve clients in the community without the means to pay for legal assistance with real cases and persons with legal problems. It’s a hands-on learning experience that permits them to work weekly throughout the school term. NULS sponsors the following clinics: Public Health Advocacy, Prisoners’ Rights, Immigrant Justice, Poverty Law and Practice, Civil Rights and Restorative Justice, Domestic Violence, IP CO-LAB, Community Business, and Housing Rights Advocacy.

17. NULS welcomes students to participate in various research, work, and institutes of its programs and centers

Northeastern Law invites its students to attend the Institutes, Programs, and activities to join in the research, work, conversations, and other activities of its numerous programs, centers, and institutes. They gain greater insight into various aspects of the law. The school offers the Public Health Advocacy Institute, the Initiative for Energy Justice, Health in Justice Action Lab, the Domestic Violence Institute, and the Criminal Justice task Force. Some are general and others focus on specific specializations in the study and practice of law, such as the Center for Health Policy and Law, Centers for Law, Equity and Race, Law, Information and Creativity, and Public Interest Advocacy and Collaboration. Others from which to choose are the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project, The Burnes Family Center for Social Change and innovation, the programs on the Corporation, Law and Global Society, Human Rights and the Global Economy, and the NuLaw Lab.

18. Does Northeastern Law School offer dual degree programs?

Yes. Northeastern Law School offers dual degree programs. Students may pursue two-degree programs at the same time. While pursuing a law degree, they may also apply for acceptance to other departments such as Business Administration, Public Policy, or Creative Practice Leadership. The school offers dual JD/MS and JD/Ph.D. options. NULS has partnerships with the Tufts University Shcool of Medicine for Public Health, Vermont Law School for Environmental Law, and the Northeastern University Bouve College of Health Sciences for Public Health.

19. Northeastern Law offers JDX certificates

Students may earn interdisciplinary certificates from NULS to focus on specializations. The certificates complement the Juris Doctor degree to provide additional specializations for practice. Students can choose from Women, Gender, Sexuality and the Law, Sustainability and Climate Change, Privacy Law, Poverty Law and Economic Justice, Human Rights Law, or Health Law and Policy.

20. Northeastern University Law School graduated notable alumni

Many Northeastern University Law School graduates became notable leaders in the public interest law arena. Andrew Ketterer graduated in 1974 and became Attorney General in Maine. Bridgitte Amiri (1999) is the Deputy Director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. Richard Griffin of the 1981 graduating class became General Counsel for the National Labor Relations Board. NULS civil rights leaders fighting for LGBT rights are Urvashi Vail of the class of 1983, Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, and MacArthur Genius of 2014. Chase Strangio headed the ACLU LGBT and HIV Project. Attorneys General, Justices and Associate Justices of state Supreme Courts, District Courts, Senators, and other professionals got their starts at Northeastern Law.

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