Two-Year JD: Sign Us Up for This One!

Building on a recent trend, Northwestern Law School has announced that starting next Spring, it will offer an accelerated J.D. program, to be completed in two years instead of three. The compressed program will require the same amount of credits as a typical three-year program, but will “squeeze them into five semesters instead of the usual six—the first one taking place during the summer before the start of the first law-school year.” In addition to the more intense courseload, the express program will also only allow students one summer off to “work and hopefully line up a post-graduation job.” Oh, and it will cost the same as the three-year plan, around $128,000.

Commenting on the motivation for the fast-track program, David Van Zandt, dean of Northwestern Law, explained, “Part of our thinking was to be competitive and open up a whole new market of applicants.”

Practicing attorneys nationwide have debated which of these applicants, exactly, will be more likely to throw their hat in the ring for this new program—those who prefer to cram three years of classes into two just to get a jump on working at firms they’ll want to leave after six months? Or those who prefer to pay just as much as their three-year counterparts just to graduate one semester early?  A semester that also happens to be universally regarded as the last good six months you will ever have in your lifetime before becoming a practicing attorney.  When reached for further comment, the debating attorneys noted it was just too tough to call at this point. [Time]

Photo by Jesse Michael Nix