"Experiential" and "collaborative" are today's hot buttons in legal education. But for one school, those buttons have been hot for more than 40 years. At Northeastern University School of Law, we developed our practical learning education model in 1968. Central to it is our Cooperative Legal Education Program, which allows students to graduate with four, quarter-long, full-time jobs on their résumés. Combining classroom theory and rigorous academics with work experience, Northeastern law students receive their JD degrees in the same three year period as students at other schools, but graduate with at least 1,500 hours of full-time work experience.
We walk the walk in terms of collaboration, too. Instead of grades, students receive written evaluations from their professors and co-op employers. Without an onerous class rank, students are free to work together and take intellectual risks. The school cultivates a culture of cooperation, collaboration, and mutual respect. Our talented students, graduates, and faculty understand what it is lawyers do, how they should do it, and the difference they can make in the lives of others. Consistently recognized as one of the best public interest programs in the nation, the school's commitment to social justice extends through the curriculum, co-op program, clinics and institutes, and student groups.
Northeastern law students are people who believe that if you don't agree with the system—change it. They're risk takers who enjoy using the law—and their careers—in both traditional and nontraditional ways. They're team players who thrive on learning together as opposed to learning at the expense of others. They're realists who believe practical experience is critical to the legal education process. And best of all, they're passionate idealists who truly believe they can change the world.
"Experiential" and "collaborative" are today's hot buttons in legal education. But for one school, those buttons have been hot for more than 40 years. At Northeastern University School of Law, we developed our practical learning education model…