Northwestern Law to Consult on New Law School in Qatar

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Qatar will be opening a brand-new law school this fall with the help of faculty members from Northwestern University’s law school. These faculty members will act as advisors to the development of this new law school, which will be a part of Hamad bin Khalifa University. It will be located in Education City, a 2,500 acre campus located in Doha.

The new law school will offer a three-year postgraduate degree similiar to what most law schools offer here in the United States. According to a statement, this law school will be the “first of its kind in the Middle East,” as most students who wish to study law in the region do so as undergraduates. The new law school will have a specific focus on international comparative law in order to target the specific and unique needs of Qatar and the gulf region.

Dr. Ahmad Hasnah, Executive Vice President and Provost of Hamad bin Khalifa University, has expressed his optimism and excitement about the new law school. He said:

By creating a Juris Doctor program, Hamad bin Khalifa University is demonstrating its commitment to help further raise the bar of intellectual inquiry in Qatar in an innovative way. We are very much looking forward to welcoming our first intake of JD students in fall 2015.

The university is part of the Qatar Foundation, which is focused on building human capacity and increasing education and research in Qatar. The aim of creating this law school is not only to benefit the individals seeking their JDs, but to benefit the country as a whole. According to Daniel Rodriguez, the dean of Northwestern Law:

Students in the program will benefit from developing key analytical skills necessary for attaining a very high level of understanding of complex legal concepts. In turn, Qatar’s society will benefit from having such a highly trained group of strategic thinkers within its workforce in the years to come.

Clinton Davis, a Northwestern Law professor, will act as the interim dean to the school. He, along with other Northwestern professors, will advise on issues such as curriculum development and hiring faculty and staff. Essentially, Northwesten Law is acting as a consultant.

This is not the first time that Northwestern has consulted on the development of international schools. According to Northwestern’s Vice President for University Relations, Al Cubbage, faculty from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management helped establish the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. Additionally, Northwestern has been offering journalism and communications degrees in Qatar for a decade now.

However, the degrees offered by this new law school in Qatar will not be Northwestern Law degrees. Rather, students who graduate from this school will earn law degrees directly from Hamad bin Khalifa University.

Some believe that there is financial motivation to consult in Qatar, as Northwestern will recieve a conslting fee for as many years as they are working in the region. According to David Yellen, the dean of Loyola University Chicago’s School of Law, there might be a financial incentive because “gulf states have a lot of money.” However, while overall enrollment across the country is down and there has been an increase in the number of students seeking financial aid, Northwestern University as a whole is in an “unusually strong financial position.” According to Cubbage, this is not really a financially-motivated decision. Instead, it seems like an opportunity to expand global legal education in a ground-breaking way.

Brittany Alzfan
Brittany Alzfan is a student at the George Washington University majoring in Criminal Justice. She was a member of Law Street’s founding Law School Rankings team during the summer of 2014. Contact Brittany at



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