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Experiential Learning

Students and faculty discuss client issues as part of the NIU Law experiential learning program.

NIU College of Law offers students a number of practice experiences through a variety of externships and clinic courses. The externships allow students to gain practical experience under the supervision of a practicing lawyer or judge and with the guidance of a knowledgeable faculty member. The clinic courses are taught by the clinical professors at the NIU College of Law Zeke Giorgi Legal Clinic in Rockford, Illinois. All of these experiences help to create strong “holistically trained” lawyers prepared for any practice setting. Pro bono opportunities provide students with connectivity while providing needed services to the community.

Externships are normally for one semester and are offered for three credit hours. Externships may require concurrent enrollment in a one credit hour classroom component. Externships and the classroom component are graded separately on a pass/fail basis. Clinic courses are also one semester courses and are offered for four hours of pass/fail credit.

Enrollment in externships and clinic courses is by application and requires the permission of the supervising faculty member. Students may not enroll in more than one practice experience (clinic course or externship) in any given semester. Students may not receive credit for a practice experience that is substantially duplicative of a prior practice experience for which the student has received credit.

Beginning with students matriculating in Fall 2015, the College of Law requires students to take either a clinic or an externship of at least 3 credits to graduate. For more information, see the graduation requirements.

Clinic courses and some externship placements require students to have Certification as a Senior Law Student pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 711. Rule 711 permits certified law students to perform designated legal services under the supervision of a member of the Bar of the State of Illinois. To qualify for Rule 711 certification, an NIU Law student must have completed 45 credit hours. Applications for rule 711 certification are available from the Illinois Supreme Court website.

Prerequisites for clinic courses and most externships include Lawyering Skills and Professional Responsibility.

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