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Northwestern Law Announces $150 Million Campaign

Campaign to focus on financial aid, curricular innovation, law-business-technology programs and social justice initiatives

CHICAGO --- Northwestern University School of Law has announced a $150 million fundraising initiative called Motion to Lead: The Campaign for Northwestern Law.

With “bold ambition, commitment to excellence and a culture of innovation,” Northwestern Law’s multiyear campaign will focus on securing financial support for three critical objectives:

  • Improving the well-being of Northwestern Law students -- academically, financially and professionally;
  • Maintaining Northwestern Law’s distinguished stature among American law schools through enhancements to the school’s intellectual and physical infrastructure; and
  • Growing the Law School’s reputation as a place of innovation and a champion of justice

The Campaign, the largest in the Law School’s history, has already raised $67 million toward its goal.

“Our aim is to not only train future leaders of the profession, but also to educate a new type of lawyer -- one whose capacity to advocate, strategize and lead will further the objectives of both clients and employers,” said Daniel Rodriguez, dean of Northwestern Law. “Our graduates will adapt to the rapidly changing legal profession and act as change agents within their professional and civic communities.”


One of the Law School’s primary campaign goals is to address the serious issue of student debt, with $80 million being targeted for financial aid.

A critical measure of a law school’s progress is its commitment to financial aid, Rodriguez told the Northwestern Law community earlier this summer.

“While a first-rate legal education remains an expensive proposition, we remain committed to reducing the overall financial burden on our students,” he said. “This is important to maintain our competitive position -- and it is simply the right thing to do.”


With the ever-evolving legal market, the Law School plans to invest in a creative, state-of-the-art curriculum that integrates different modalities of knowledge; leverages and enables the stellar research of faculty; develops the right combination of legal and business skills; and promotes collaboration through structured teamwork and cross-disciplinary coursework.

This fall, for example, the Law School launched its new Master of Science in Law (MSL) -- designed specifically for professionals with backgrounds in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) and medicine. Designed for non-lawyers, the one-year master’s program supports innovation and entrepreneurship by offering STEM-trained professionals a fundamental understanding of how law and business intersect with technology. The Campaign will help fund additional initiatives that support teaching and scholarship at the intersection of law, business and technology.

Investing in a learning infrastructure with a particular focus on technology, classrooms, study space and program integration is a priority for the Campaign, as is expanding experiential learning opportunities through the Bluhm Legal Clinic. The Campaign also will help create the Center for Practice Engagement and Innovation, which will develop an institutional approach to ensuring that Northwestern Law builds deeper and sustained links with the legal practice communities.


The Campaign also will help the Law School continue to exert a strong, positive impact on communities -- locally, nationally and internationally -- by investing in important projects that advance social justice and improve the lives and circumstances of individuals who interact with, and are, affected by, law and the legal system.

The Law School will continue to encourage pro bono efforts by its students; support students who aspire to work as lawyers in the public interest; and nurture an environment in which students, faculty, staff and alumni work on behalf of the disadvantaged.

“Northwestern Law remains committed to preparing and supporting first-class lawyers -- and to helping them succeed in a dynamic profession,” Rodriguez said. “Through the campaign, the Law School will make meaningful strategic and financial investments to support these future exemplars of a proud and ever-changing profession.”

The Campaign’s funding priorities include:

  • Financial aid (target of $80 million)
  • Learning infrastructure (target of $20 million)
  • Bluhm Legal Clinic (target of $15 million)
  • Public interest initiatives (target of $10 million)
  • Law-STEM initiatives (target of $10 million)
  • Global initiatives (target of $10 million)
  • Center for Practice Engagement and Innovation (target of $5 million)

The Law School’s last major fundraising effort, which took place from 1997 to 2003, raised $78 million.

Motion to Lead: The Campaign for Northwestern Law is part of Northwestern University’s We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, a $3.75 billion fundraising initiative that launched earlier this year. It is the largest campaign in the University’s history.

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