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Fast Track to a Law Degree

A “3-plus-3” program that can take a student to the practice of law in just six years is now a reality thanks to an agreement closed this spring between St. Norbert College and Marquette University Law School.

The new program enables qualifying undergraduates to enroll at the law school after completing three years of education (99 credits) at St. Norbert College. Those students would emerge with both a St. Norbert bachelor’s degree and a Marquette law degree in just six years. They would thereby eliminate a full year from the traditional path – and this in a state where there is no bar exam to pass before embarking on a legal career.

“We are delighted and honored to able to work with Marquette law school on this innovative partnership,” says President Tom Kunkel. “Our schools have many shared values and much common history – including lots of ‘dual’ graduates.

“We are delighted to be able to offer law-bound students an opportunity to get their degrees from both schools and still save on a full year of college tuition. It’s exactly the kind of value-added opportunity families are asking for.”

St. Norbert’s LSAT matriculate average is above average, and right around Marquette’s median, says Charley Jacobs (Political Science), director of the pre-law program. St. Norbert is already a feeder school for Marquette, one of only two law schools in the state of Wisconsin. He adds, “Our students tend to be those who think about the qualities of the Catholic tradition and mission and community. Since Marquette is Catholic, they thought that it would a nice draw for students who are attracted to St. Norbert and its mission, and are thinking about law school.”

Joseph Kearney, dean of Marquette University Law School, says: “We are pleased to partner with St. Norbert College on a program that will be beneficial to both institutions. More importantly, it will assist students who wish to pursue a legal education, providing the economic benefit of shortening their time in higher education and the career-related benefit of enabling them to enter their profession one year earlier.

How it works
St. Norbert students in the 3-plus-3 program will be able to apply to Marquette University Law School during their junior year. Those who are admitted would then move directly into the law program. Once they successfully complete all requirements during their first year of law school at Marquette, those credits will be transferred back to St. Norbert to achieve a baccalaureate degree.

Students will need to meet some initial threshold requirements regarding their high-school GPA and test scores. At St. Norbert, they will have been able to “try on” a legal education through the college’s existing pre-law certificate program. Those students will then have two additional years of law school at Marquette before receiving their juris doctor degree. 

June 27, 2016