John Henry Wigmore Club


John Henry Wigmore’s impact on the Law School reached further than his most notable achievement as the law school’s first full-time dean.  His positive influence was felt as a celebrated scholar, a global-thinker, and an advocate for the public good.  In honor of his legacy, individuals who provide significant annual support to the Law School are inducted as members of the John Henry Wigmore Club, a giving society that was organized in 1962 to foster and stimulate the ideals of its namesake.

Currently comprised of almost 900 alumni and friends, Wigmore Club members appreciate special opportunities because of their great commitment to the Law School.  Members are invited to gather each year in Chicago for an exclusive recognition celebration, in addition to receiving other invitations, news, and access on a preferred basis throughout the year.  Wigmore Club members are recognized in the annual Honor Roll of Donors. In addition, Wigmore Club members enjoy mutual membership in the Northwestern University Leadership Circle (NULC).  Northwestern Law alumni who have graduated within the previous 14 years are encouraged to join the Young Wigmore Club at special giving levels.

Matching gifts count toward Wigmore Club participation. Check here to see if your employer (or your spouse's employer) will match your gift. You can also become a Wigmore Club member through a recurring gift of just $209 per month!  Learn more about supporting the Law School through recurring gifts here.

Membership Levels for the current fiscal year
(Fiscal Year 2017) 

$10,000 - $24,999
$5,000 - $9,999
$2,500 - $4,999
Young Wigmore
See new Young Wigmore levels for recent law alumni, effective in fiscal year 2017, here.

To learn more about the changes to the Wigmore Club in Fiscal Year 2017, please see our list of frequently asked questions.

John Henry Wigmore

John Henry Wigmore served as the Law School's dean from 1901 to 1929 and as a member of its faculty until his death in 1943. Wigmore was a prolific scholar who penned the seminal Treatise on Evidence.

Prior to his time at Northwestern, Wigmore spent three years in Japan helping establish a western-style law school. He learned to speak Japanese, became competent at fencing, and played shortstop on Tokyo's first baseball team. He returned to the U.S. to join the Northwestern Law faculty in 1893.

As dean emeritus, Wigmore helped establish Chicago's Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory to help city police fight organized crime in the wake of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. The lab offered practical forensic training on subjects such as fingerprints and firearms, detecting explosives, unraveling forgeries, polygraph testing and using photography to preserve evidence.

Wigmore also published a collection of songs entitled "Lyrics for a Lawyer's Leisure."

Wigmore's old chair from the faculty room of Levy Mayer Hall sits in the office of Ron Allen, Northwestern's John Henry Wigmore Professor of Law.