FAQs: About the Law School

Basic information about Notre Dame Law School (NDLS).

How many years of study is the J.D. program?
The J.D. program is a full-time, three-year program, with six full-time academic semesters. Classes begin in late August and conclude in mid-May each academic year.

Does NDLS offer an evening or part-time program?
No. The J.D. program is a full-time program only.

Where is the Law School located?
The Law School is located in the heart of the University of Notre Dame campus in Notre Dame, IN. Founded in 1842, Notre Dame stands on 1,250 acres considered by many to be among the most beautiful in the nation. From the collegiate Gothic architecture and park-like landscape to exquisite outdoor sculpture and breathtaking views, Notre Dame’s campus is a beautiful oasis. The greater South Bend community is a vibrant and affordable community in which to live. Please visit the South Bend website to learn more.

How many students are in each entering class at NDLS?
Class sizes can vary annually but – over the past decade – NDLS has enrolled approximately 180 students in the entering J.D. classes. There are approximately 600 students in the entire student body. Our small class size allows us to cultivate the strong community both inside and outside of the classroom that is a hallmark of studying at NDLS.

What is NDLS’s median LSAT score and GPA?
For the entering class in 2017, the median LSAT score was a 164 and median GPA was a 3.73. You can view more information regarding our most recent incoming cohort on the Class Profile page.

What does it mean to “Educate a Different Kind of Lawyer?”
In the practice of law, the same legal ethical standards must be met whether you are a law school graduate of Notre Dame or any other university. What makes an NDLS education distinctive is our approach that seeks to do more than train students in a profession; it seeks to help them discover their lives as a vocation. Your education at NDLS will focus on the mind as well as on the heart and soul because a different kind of lawyer – a Notre Dame Lawyer – is one who realizes the practice of law is not an end in itself but is rather the beginning of a new and highly specialized way of giving back.

What is the percentage of Catholic students NDLS?
Historically, the student population at NDLS has been approximately 60-65% Catholic. We encourage students of all faith backgrounds – or none at all – to consider if the education offered by the Law School matches what they would like for their professional and personal development.

Does NDLS offer dual degree programs?
NDLS offers a limited number of dual degree programs including a J.D./M.B.A. (both a three-year and four-year option), the J.D./M.A. in English, the J.D./M. in Global Affairs, and the J.D./Master of Engineering. Interested students must apply to both programs individually and will be required to meet all admission criteria for both programs (i.e., GRE or GMAT).

Students who wish to combine their JD with another graduate program offered by the University must gain approval by both the Law School and the other department prior to enrollment.

What are NDLS’s specialty areas or areas of concentration?
NDLS offers eight Programs of Study to its students: Business Law; Criminal Law; Energy and Environmental Law; Global Law; Intellectual Property and Technology Law; Law, Ethics, and Public Policy; Public Law; and Real Estate Law. The programs are offered to all students but are most beneficial to students who wish to concentrate on one of these particular fields. These programs are designed to enable students to study established and/or emerging areas of law in light of modern challenges and developments. These are not certificate programs and do not result in any additional credentials upon graduation. Students are not required to select a Program of Study. Classes in other areas of law are also available. You may want to review the entire course catalog for a better sense of both the breadth and depth of classes available at NDLS.

Not all students arrive with a specific academic plan in mind and that is normal. Discussions with the Career Development Office (CDO), your faculty advisor, current students, and alumni will help you craft your academic path.

What are the Law School’s job placement rates? Approximately how long does it take your students to get a job?

Class of 2016 – 81% placed in full-time, long-term JD advantage or bar passage required positions within 10 months of graduation.

Class of 2015 – 81.6% placed in full-time, long-term JD advantage or bar passage required positions within 10 months of graduation.

Class of 2014 – 85.4% placed in full-time, long-term JD advantage or bar passage required positions within 10 months of graduation.

Class of 2013 – 80.4% placed in full-time, long-term JD advantage or bar passage required positions within 10 months of graduation.

What experiential learning opportunities are available at NDLS?
Experiential learning is a core component of the Notre Dame Law School curriculum. Clinics, externships, lawyering skills courses, immersion courses, as well as, student organizations and journals provide opportunities that complement the analytical training offered in the traditional classroom and allow students to development practical skills, explore career paths, reflect on their professional identity, and observe how the justice system functions.

Where are NDLS graduates working?
The Career Development Office (CDO) works to provide NDLS students and alumni with the information, education, and tools they need to development fulfilling, successful careers. They promote the national and international employment of Notre Dame Lawyers so that the values, ethics, and legal talents developed by NDLS are used for the benefit of people throughout the world.

The Classes of 2012-2016 reported initial job placement in 41 states including Hawaii, as well as in Washington, D.C. Historically, NDLS graduates have placed very well in the Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles legal markets. Currently, there are NDLS graduates in all 50 states. Internationally, NDLS graduates can be found in over 80 countries around the world.

To learn more about career opportunities for our graduates, you may wish to review the employer research resources, annual employment data, or search the Career Placement Map.