Skip to main content

Northwestern Law Guides Creation of New Law School in Qatar

Hamad bin Khalifa University to open the first law program of its kind in Middle East
  • Law college to open in 2015 with three-year program that leads to Juris Doctor degree
  • Northwestern dean shares belief in power of higher education to make difference in world  
  • Northwestern Law professor to serve as interim dean of new law school in Doha

CHICAGO --- Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU), in strategic partnership with Northwestern University School of Law, is establishing a new graduate-level law school in Doha, Qatar, officials announced Feb. 22.

The school will open in the fall of 2015 in Education City, a 2,500-acre campus located on the western edge of Doha. The new law program will be the first of its kind in the Middle East.

The HBKU law school will offer a three-year Juris Doctor degree program with a comprehensive curriculum that will enable graduates to take important leadership positions in the public and private sectors throughout the region.

“As part of Qatar Foundation’s commitment to building human capacity, Hamad bin Khalifa University has a key role in establishing QF’s cycle of education and research for the benefit of Qatar’s community,” said Dr. Ahmad Hasnah, HBKU executive vice president and provost.

“We are committed to immersing students in a culture of learning that nurtures their creativity and innovation, prioritizes the development of research skills and prepares them not only for the next stage of their education, but also enables them to become the future leaders of Qatar,” he said. “As such, the launch of our first postgraduate degree program in our new law school is a prime example of this.”  

Based in Chicago, Northwestern University School of Law serves a key advisory role.

“We are excited about the opportunity to work with Hamad bin Khalifa University on this important initiative and appreciate the Qatar Foundation’s leadership in their ongoing development of Education City,” said Daniel B. Rodriguez, dean of Northwestern University School of Law. “We share their belief in the power of higher education to make a positive difference in the world.”

Clinton W. Francis, a professor at Northwestern University School of Law, will serve as the interim dean and, with assistance from key members of the Northwestern Law faculty, will help to guide the development of the school’s curriculum, hiring staff and faculty and serving as an advisor to HBKU officials. Francis teaches and researches in the areas of corporate restructuring/bankruptcy, commercial law, intellectual property and intellectual capital management. He is a recognized expert in context-based teaching, using role-playing and entrepreneurial simulations.

“We are developing a leading-edge curriculum, instruction and scholarship with the goal of delivering the maximum knowledge and value to students and to domestic, regional and global partners,” Francis said. “We will achieve this value commitment through a unique pedagogical approach, emphasizing the structural linkage of students, faculty, employers and the larger community to build sustainable intellectual, legal and business best practices to support growth throughout the region.”

Since 2008 Northwestern has offered undergraduate degree programs in journalism and communication at Education City. Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) graduates have gone on to become reporters and editors at media outlets in the Middle East and communications professionals in government and private industry, as well as to create their own media production firms.

Northwestern faculty and academic leaders provided expertise and guidance in a similar strategic development partnership when the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad was established in 2001. Faculty from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business were instrumental in creating the new school in India.

Hamad bin Khalifa University, a member of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, offers graduate education in a variety of fields. The new law school will join the College of Science, Engineering and Technology; the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; and the Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies at HBKU’s Education City campus.