The Launch of the HBKU Law School


By Zeena Ojjeh

Northwestern Law
Northwestern Univeristy School of Law
Photo retrieved from


In a partnership that is the first of its kind in the Middle East, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) will be launching a three-year juris doctorate (JD) program in fall 2015 with Northwestern University’s law school.

The three-year program will work in a strategic partnership with Northwestern University in Chicago, which also has a campus in Education City. Unique to the majority of other universities in EC, students from the JD program will receive an HBKU degree.

Northwestern University as a strategic partner will be the lead partner of the program. Northwestern was deemed as the best fit and the program will reflect on inputs from both Northwestern and HBKU. The program will add other partners in the future but the choices are open ended, said Dr. Clinton Francis. Francis is a professor of law at NU and will be the dean of the law program in Qatar.

The application process requires a strong undergraduate record, including a competitive GPA, extracurricular involvement, leadership and experience relevant to the field of study. To apply, students need to submit two recommendations, their resume and a personal statement. Tests like the LSAT, GRE and GMAT are encouraged but are not required. Students from all majors can apply, said Francis.

“Quality lawyers are needed in this region. We are committed to the students and we want to produce students who are valuable to the region. We also understand that this is an investment of time and money and we will do everything in our power to give students splendid vocational opportunities in Qatar and beyond,” said Francis.

Francis said the new school’s location has not been established but its full time faculty will be employed by HBKU. The school will also have visiting faculty, to give students a two-fold advantage.

“Students will have a variety of faculty that cannot be afforded full time, with expertise in different fields. The faculty to student ratio will be the best of any existing JD program,” added Francis.

The HBKU law school will also include different specialties such as energy, infrastructure development, finance, health and media. In addition, Islamic law, civil law and common law will be studied. By having these focuses, Clinton said that students will have the advantage of having a distinct regional flavor. Students will have skills and knowledge surpassing students in the US and Europe, said Clinton.

“A JD holder from the HBKU law school will study specialized subjects not covered in other universities. Graduates will be as well credentialed as other lawyers around the world. They will even be better trained with equal credentials,” said Dr. Talal Abdulla Al- Emadi, a Qatar University law professor as well as a member of the board for the new HBKU law school.

While the law school will focus on producing lawyers for the region and specifically for Qatar, students will be able to practice law anywhere in the world. At the same time students from around the world, not only Qatar and the Middle East are also highly encouraged to apply.

“The curriculum and teaching will integrate transnational and unique knowledge of the Middle East,” said Al-Emadi.


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