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Northwestern Law School Acceptance Rate + Requirements

December 5, 2023
8 min read


Reviewed by:

David Merson

Former Head of Pre-Law Office, Northeastern University, & Admissions Officer, Brown University

Reviewed: 11/16/23

If you’re interested in joining a leading law school in social justice teaching and learning, read on to learn more about getting into Northwestern Law School. 

The Northwestern Pritzker School of Law is located in downtown Chicago, allowing students to begin their legal journey in a bustling commerce, law, and business hub. 

With connections to large law firms, corporations, courts, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, Northwestern students are given an abundance of opportunities to kickstart their legal careers and become excellent attorneys.

If you’d like to join this law school located in an ideal environment for opportunity, read on to find out everything you need to know about getting into Northwestern Law School!

Northwestern Law School Acceptance Rate: 15%

The Northwestern Law School acceptance rate is estimated to be around 15% for the 2023-2024 admissions cycle. While specific data regarding the number of admitted students has not been officially released, historical trends suggest that Northwestern accepts around 900-1000 applicants each year. 

Year Number of Applicants Number of Accepted Students Acceptance Rate
2023 6,225 n/a ~15%
2022 6,247 940 15%
2021 7,410 1,031 13.9%
2020 5,302 1,018 19.2%

How Hard Is It to Get Into Northwestern Law School?

Getting into Northwestern Law School is difficult; less than 2 out of every 10 applicants are granted admission. As a T14 law school, Northwestern is considered one of the hardest law schools to get into!

Northwestern University

Northwestern Law School Programs Offered & Ranking

Northwestern offers the following programs to its aspiring law students: 

Programs Offered Length of Program Key Information
Juris Doctor (JD) 3 years A typical JD program
JD-MBA 3 years Gives students a thorough grounding in both management and law
JD-PhD At least 6 years For students who intend to pursue an academic or research career that will be enriched by both degrees
Master of Laws (LLM) 1 year Allows students to gain expertise in a specialized field of law: American law, taxation, human rights, or the international executive program
JD-LLM 3-4 years Allows students to complete a JD and LLM in the above fields of law


Northwestern Law School ranks 10th in the nation, earning its place among the esteemed T14 law schools. It is best known for its tax law program, which boasts a remarkable 4th-place ranking.

Northwestern Law School Admissions Statistics

Want to know what it takes to be considered a competitive applicant at this school? Here are the scores to beat:

Northwestern Law School Average GPA: 3.92

Successful Northwestern Law School applicants had an average GPA of 3.92 in the recent admissions cycle. The total GPA distribution ranged from 3.66-3.97.

Northwestern Law School Average LSAT Score: 172

The average LSAT score of the 2023 entering class at Northwestern Law was 172. Admitted students’ scores went as low as 166 and as high as 174. 

Northwestern also accepts GRE scores instead of the LSAT.

Northwestern Law School Requirements

Interested applicants must submit the following as part of their application to the Pritzker School of Law:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a subject of your choice
  • Transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • LSAT or GRE scores
  • A personal statement 
  • Optional essays
  • A resume
  • At least 1 letter of recommendation, preferably from an employer
  • An application fee of $75 or a fee waiver

Pritzker School of Law Letters of Recommendation

Students must submit at least one letter of recommendation from someone who can speak on their character and potential. Northwestern prefers letters of recommendation from supervisors or employers over professors. 

Professor typ

Pritzker School of Law Personal Statement

This statement helps the committee learn more about you, your personal and professional goals, and the influences that have confirmed your decision to pursue a legal education.

While Northwestern doesn’t offer a specific prompt to answer, most personal statements answer at least one of the following questions:

  • Discuss your academic and career goals and how our program can help you achieve them.
  • Describe your educational background, work history, and how they have influenced your decision to pursue law.
  • Share your motivations and personal experiences that have shaped your desire to enter the legal field.

Personal Statement Example

“The intricate tapestry of the past and the depths of complex literary texts have always fascinated me. It’s why I studied History and English and decided to instill the same passion in high school students. For two years, I happily navigated the familiar hallways of the high school where I had once been a student myself, and yet, a striking irony began to emerge— it seemed as though history was repeating itself.

Teaching was undeniably fulfilling, an opportunity to shape young minds and impart knowledge to the next generation. But a persistent feeling lingered—a sense that a substantial part of my life remained unexplored, as though a puzzle with vital missing pieces. It was as if I were operating at only 60% of my potential, yearning for the elusive 40% that would complete me.

The turning point arrived during a school career fair. Among the array of booths and displays, a petite yet confident woman in a pin-striped suit stood out. Her narrative, as an attorney, resonated with me in a profound and unexpected way. The fervor with which she spoke about advocating for her clients, the transformative changes she witnessed in their lives, and the policies she helped shape to make a tangible difference left an indelible mark on my aspirations.

A spark had been ignited within me, and I realized that the uncharted 40% of my life was uncovered. It was the field of law, with its capacity to influence change, to serve as a voice for those in need, and to shape the policies that underpin our society. The transition from educator to aspiring attorney may seem unconventional, but it is driven by an unshakable determination and a yearning to venture beyond the boundaries of the classroom.

My pursuit of a legal education has been relentless. Weekends and evenings were devoted to intensive LSAT preparation, while any available free time was spent delving deeper into the intricacies of the legal field. I eagerly participated in workshops, which solidified my interest in law, particularly in the realm of education law. This field, I realized, offered me the opportunity to continue shaping the lives of children, not only through the impartation of effective reading techniques and historical knowledge but also through the transformational power of policy change.

As I contemplate this transition, I am drawn to Northwestern Law School because of its commitment to academic excellence, its distinguished faculty, and its reputation for nurturing diverse perspectives and fostering a community of change-makers. My journey from teacher to aspiring attorney is guided by a passionate commitment to making a difference in the lives of others. I believe that Northwestern Law School can provide the supportive environment and rich academic resources necessary to help me achieve this goal. It is with this profound sense of purpose and a desire to expand my horizons that I aspire to become a part of the Northwestern Law community, where I can channel my passion for history, literature, and education into a career that creates lasting, impactful change and completes me at 100%.” 

Why it Works

Not every student knows they want to be a lawyer right away, which this essay proves. In it, the applicant shares their unconventional transition from teaching to aspiring law, with a captivating hook that draws the reader in.

It clearly articulates the applicant's motivation, the turning point at the career fair, and their growing passion for the field of law. It is also well-structured and maintains a consistent theme throughout, illustrating the applicant's desire to complete their life's puzzle and embark on a new journey. 

Optional Essays 

You may respond to any or all of the following prompts if you believe it will strengthen your application: 

1. Describe your interest in attending Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. 

2. Describe any experiences in your life or unique qualities you think would benefit Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and/or your classmates. (Relevant information may include but is not limited to financial hardship, education adversity, special talents, work or community service experience, first generation or immigrant experience, and unusual rural or urban upbringing, foreign residence, military background, or unique family and/or personal circumstance.) 

3. What does public service mean to you and how do you see yourself engaging in public service or pro-bono work to meet the needs of the underserved?

 4. Did you face any particular challenges we should know about when considering your academic history or test scores?

You’re asked to limit your response to each essay to 1-2 pages, double-spaced.

Pritzker Interview Questions and Format

Around 95% of Northwestern Law’s entering classes completed interviews.

virtual interview with student

Interview Format

All applicants are given the opportunity to complete online video interviews, where you will be asked five unique questions. You will have 30 seconds to formulate a response to each question and 90 seconds to record each answer. 

These interviews are optional! You must indicate you’re interested in interviewing on your application if you wish to complete one. You will have 14 days from the date you receive an invitation to record your interview. While the interview does not have to be done in one sitting, it’s recommended you complete it in one for continuity’s sake. 

Question Examples

Here are some sample questions you can expect to be asked: 

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why Northwestern Law?
  • What is a positive attribute that your friends, teachers, or supervisors would prescribe to you?
  • How have you handled stressful situations in the past?
  • What is something you want the admissions committee to know about you that is otherwise missing from your application?

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Tuition and Scholarships

Tuition costs $73,754 a year at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. In addition to the other expenses first-year JD students typically have, the total cost of attendance is estimated to be around $107,463.

Here’s a breakdown of this budget, including Northwestern Law School’s tuition and fees:

Expense Cost
Tuition $73,754
Health Services Fee $798
Health Insurance $5,383
Housing & Food $19,026
Books $1,650
Personal $3,168
Transporation $1,476
Loan Fees $2,208
Total $107,463


Luckily, Northwestern recognizes the financial burden of these costs and has an extensive scholarship program that gives students grants based on their financial need and academic merit. Students may also be eligible for a Northwestern Law fee waiver to decrease their expenses. 

Northwestern Law School Application Deadlines

JD applications for fall 2024 admission open September 1st, 2023, and close February 15th, 2024. Candidates must submit their application documents via the JD application and through LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS). 

Here is a breakdown of the Northwestern Law School application deadlines to keep in mind:

Deadline What’s Due
September 1, 2023 Applications open
November 1, 2023 Recommended deadline for early decision applicants to submit their online video interviews
November 15, 2023 Application completion deadline for early decision applicants
February 15, 2024 Deadline for regular JD applications
February 28, 2024 Deadline to complete online video interviews

Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Bar Passage Rate: 95.1%

The Northwestern Law School bar passage rate of 95.1% underscores its strong reputation and ranking. With a rate that surpasses the national average by 16%, Northwestern prepares its students well for successful legal careers.

woman celebrating with fists in air

How to Get Into Northwestern Law School: 5 Tips To Improve Your Admission Chances

If the admission statistics are making you second guess if you should apply to this school, here are some helpful tips that can increase your chances of getting into Northwestern!

Consider Taking a Gap Year

While you’re likely eager to get into law school to begin your legal journey as soon as possible, taking a gap year can make you stand out as an applicant. 

There’s a reason the average age of students joining Northwestern is 25. 85% of all applicants have one or more years of full-time work experience and took one or more years off after their undergrad. 

Northwestern strongly considers work experience in the admissions process, so you might want to take a gap year to gain valuable full-time experience to help you stand out as an applicant! While your work experience does not have to be law-related, it should give you good leadership, collaborative, and project management experience.

Pay Attention to the Details!

According to Northwestern Law School officials, the biggest mistake they see in law school applications is students using the wrong school name in their personal statements. For instance, they’ll say, “I’m interested in attending (insert wrong school name).” 

Officials call this a kiss of death because it’s a surefire way to get rejected from Northwestern. It shows a lack of attention to detail and, most importantly, a lack of dedication to the school since the students are clearly rehashing the same sentiments to each school they’re applying to.

With this being said, make sure to pay attention to detail and review your application as much as you can.

Leave the Comedy to The Professionals

While students believe using humor in their personal statements will make them stand out, Northwestern officials say it’s best to leave the punch lines out of your essays. Since various admissions members will review the statements, what one person may find humorous may be offensive to another. 

Avoid humor altogether in your personal statement to err on the side of caution.  


One of the most unconventional tips to get into Northwestern that officials recommend is traveling! Northwestern is interested in knowing which extracurriculars students pursue in their free time. Traveling internationally for work, volunteering, or leisure can help applicants stand out.

By exposing themselves to different cultures, justice systems, and perspectives, students may be more prepared for law school and contribute diverse perspectives to the student body.

Letters of Recommendations Don’t Matter As Much As Your Other Application Components

While you should put effort into each component of your application, it is worth noting that Northwestern considers your letters of recommendation to be the least important aspect of your application.

This is because letters of recommendation are generally always positive and generic, making it challenging to distinguish which candidates are the most qualified.

As such, you should aim to secure only one powerful letter of recommendation that can offer specific instances highlighting your character and work ethic and focus your efforts on enhancing the other aspects of your application.

What Does Northwestern Look For?

What Northwestern Law School is looking for is applicants who possess a unique blend of academic excellence, professional experience that showcases leadership and collaboration, and distinctive qualities that set them apart beyond test scores. 

They seek individuals who bring diverse perspectives, such as travel experiences or other remarkable life stories, enriching the academic and social environment of the school. Successful candidates not only excel in the classroom but also exhibit the practical skills and character traits required to be successful legal professionals. 


For those of you who still have questions, here are the answers to frequently asked questions about getting into Northwestern Law School. 

1. Is Northwestern Pritzker a Good Law School?

Yes, it is a high-ranking law school and has a renowned, progressive legal education that is constantly revised to better prepare students for real-world law.

2. What LSAT Score Do I Need For Northwestern?

You should aim to score between 166-174 on your LSAT to get into Northwestern. 

3. Is Northwestern Hard to Get Into?

Yes, it has a low acceptance rate of 15% and high expectations of its prospective students.

4. What Is Northwestern Known For?

Northwestern ranks fourth in the nation for its tax law program, making it most well-known for this area of law.

5. What Makes Northwestern Law School Different?

Law schools are generally believed to be extremely competitive environments, where students must compete with their fellow classmates in order to excel. However, Northwestern has a collegial, non-competitive environment that is key to the success of its students. 

Additionally, Northwestern places great emphasis on work experience in applicants. They almost exclusively enroll students with post-graduate work experience. Northwestern also does its best to interview almost every applicant to give them a fair chance at admission. 

6. What GPA Do I Need for Northwestern?

You should maintain a GPA between 3.66-3.97 to be considered a competitive candidate. Anything lower will reduce your chances of admission. 

7. How Many Letters of Recommendation Should I Submit?

Since the letters of recommendation are the least important part of your Northwestern application, it’s better to secure one strong letter of recommendation rather than several generic letters. 

Final Thoughts

Northwestern Law School dedicates itself to providing students with the best education to prepare them for successful and substantial legal careers. Gaining admission to this top-ranking school is sure to set you on the right path to excel in your legal career!

If you’re looking for more guidance on how to get into the law program of your dreams, Juris experts can give you valuable resources to create a compelling, differentiated application that’ll maximize your chances of getting that acceptance letter!

Schedule A Free Consultation

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