For information on our partnership with the Jack Miller Center and the John Templeton Foundation, click here.


About the Program

The Center for Legal Studies at Northwestern University provides an environment where scholars and students combine the study of legal issues with the methodology and perspectives of the social sciences and humanities.

Undergraduate Study

Legal Studies offers undergraduates the chance to engage in exciting, critical work with professors from all over Northwestern, the Law School, and the professional world, with courses in a variety of innovative topics. Recent favorites include American Lawyers: Demystifying the Profession; International Human Rights; Legal and Constitutional History of the United States; and Race, Politics and the Law.


Are you an incoming First-year student? Take a look at our First-Year Focus page.

Graduate Study

At the graduate level, Legal Studies provides programmatic content for Graduate Fellows in Legal Studies (GFILs) which include JD/PhD students, PhD students who entered graduate school with JDs earned elsewhere, and graduate students in a variety of disciplines (economics, anthropology, sociology, political science, theater, and English, to name just a few) interested in the interdisciplinary study of law.  Together with faculty, GFILs attend significant lectures and events, graduate students and faculty participate in regular reading groups and writing seminars. 

News & Bulletins


Congratulations to Kendall Beeman, whose thesis entitled "Special Education Litigation in Chicago: IDEA and Due Process in Conflict" has been named the best thesis in Legal Studies for 2013-14!


Check out our Spring courses! Classes include Law & Society (Legal Studies 206), The Constitution: Past and Present (Legal Studies 376), Foundations of Legal Thought (Legal Studies 394), Gender & the Law (Legal Studies 340), and Legal and Constitutional History of the U.S. (Legal Studies 318-2).


Click here to read Legal Studies Director Laura Beth Nielsen's op-ed, "Facebook is Not the Government."

Read Prof. Laura Beth Nielsen's recent op-ed on skateboarding here.

Listen to Prof. Laura Beth Nielsen on NPR's Life of Law Podcast.

Prof. Laura Beth Nielsen's editorial "Democracy at Stake" is currently on the PBS website.



Upcoming Events

The Constitution: Then and Now
April 24, 20143:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Law in Motion Lecture
May 1, 20143:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Law in Motion Conference: Institutionalizing Dissent: From the Founding Fathers to Guantánamo
May 2, 20148:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Information

For general inquiries:

Prof. Laura Beth Nielsen
Program Director
1808 Chicago Ave 209
Spring Quarter Office Hours:
Tues/Thurs 11:00-12:00pm

Prof. Joanna Grisinger

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Crowe 1-111
Spring Quarter Office Hours:
Tues, 2:00-5:00pm

Ann Kelchner

Program Assistant
Crowe 1-107
Office Hours:
Mon-Fri 9:30-4:30pm


Legal Studies Photos

April 17, 2014