Q&A with Assistant Dean Susie Spies Roth

graphic-SpiesRothSusan_v2011-01-13;010114Susan Spies Roth holds the position of Assistant Dean of Student Services and Academic Excellence, a position that is unique among top law schools. Assistant Dean Spies Roth sat down with our office to tell us more about the work that she does for our program in addition to her experiences as both an alumnus and dean.

So tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a double purple — I attended both college and law school at Northwestern. I graduated with a double major in French and psychology in 2001 from the Evanston campus and then taught French for two years. After that, I returned to Northwestern where I graduated from the Law School in 2006. It was the best three years of my life, and I would repeat it over again if I could!

Upon graduation, I clerked for Judge Kenneth Ripple of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and then worked in the general litigation group at Sidley Austin here in Chicago for two years. I then came back to Northwestern Law and now serve as the Assistant Dean of Student Services and Academic Excellence in addition to being a Clinical Assistant Professor of Law.

What role do you play as the Assistant Dean of Student Services and Academic Excellence?

One of my roles as Assistant Dean is to run the Academic and Professional Excellence Program (APEx) for our first year law students. This program is comprised of a series of workshops that take place during the fall and serve to demystify some of the more process-oriented aspects of the first year. This includes learning how to create and use outlines, how to prepare for law school exams and, of course, how to actually write exam answers. By making these aspects of school less complicated (and, frankly, mysterious!), our students can focus their energies on learning the substantive law.

What is your favorite part about being the Assistant Dean?

My favorite part about being the Assistant Dean is working directly with the students at the law school. I love helping the students in a way that allows them to enjoy their time at this institution as much as I did. It’s also really rewarding getting to watch our students achieve great things with the support of Northwestern Law behind them.

What is your favorite part about being an alumnus of the law school?

My favorite part about being an alumnus of Northwestern Law is experiencing how the “Northwestern Law Difference” still manifests itself years after I’ve graduated. The alumni of this program still care about each other, the current students, and the law school.

Why do you think prospective students should apply to Northwestern Law?

Northwestern Law is unique among top tier law schools. It has the largest Student Services office and we work to create a variety of support systems for our students. The overall law school experience here is so much more enjoyable while also giving our students a top-notch legal education. The students who graduate from Northwestern Law come out with both a JD and a smile!

Any parting advice for students applying to law school?

Be sure to really think about where you choose to go to law school. The school with the highest rank may not be the best fit for you. Understand that this is the institution that will not only appear on your resume and transcript… your law school will be a part of you and your professional identity forever. Not only will it be your home for three years, but it will be your home away from home for the rest of your life.

P.S. Come to Northwestern Law!

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