NUSL Ranked Best Public Interest Law School in Nation

11.18.08 — Northeastern University School of Law is the the best public interest law school in the country according to two publications in the legal field.

The law school was selected for the first place ranking by two sister publications, The National Jurist and preLaw Magazine, a national magazine targeted to prospective law school students. The story appears in the fall issues of both publications.

Northeastern was the only law school in New England to make the top 10 list.

The law school’s selection was based on the magazine's scoring system that provides points in three equally weighted categories — student involvement, curriculum and financial factors.

The top schools exhibited strength in their clinical programs, pro bono requirements, percentage of graduates entering public interest law and loan assistance programs, according to the magazine.

“We are quite pleased with the national recognition, but it comes as no surprise to those in the legal community who know of our commitment to social justice,” said Dean Emily Spieler.

“We strongly believe that every student who enters law school should learn about law and society and get practical legal experience supporting public interest organizations,” she said.

“While many of our graduates join distinguished law firms as well as serve nonprofit organizations, we believe they all benefit from a curriculum in which social justice is a core principle,” Spieler said.

In the preLaw story, Northeastern was cited for the fact that it is the only law school in the country that requires every first-year student to work on a community-based legal research project for a nonprofit organization.

The program — Legal Skills in Social Context — involves teams of students providing more than 1,000 hours of free legal services to each of 10 to 12 organizations a year committed to social justice throughout the country.

All Northeastern law school students also get practical experience through the school’s cooperative legal education program, in which every student spends four 11-week quarters working full time as legal interns.

Approximately 85 percent of each graduating class satisfies the school’s public interest requirement by completing a public interest co-op with a legal services, public defender, nonprofit advocacy group or government agency.

Students and faculty also run a number of public advocacy clinics, programs and institutes, including the Domestic Violence Institute, Public Health Advocacy Institute, the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy, and the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project.

Read the preLaw cover story, “Best Public Interest Law Schools.”