Boston University School of Law

Established 1872
School type Private
Parent endowment $919.4 million
Dean Maureen O'Rourke
Location Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Enrollment 836
Faculty 126
USNWR ranking 22
Bar pass rate 92.92%
Annual tuition $38,266

Boston University School of Law (BU Law) is the law school associated with Boston University. It is the second-oldest law school in Massachusetts and one of the first law schools in the country to acknowledge students regardless of race or gender. It is also a member of the Association of American Law Schools and a charter member of the American Bar Association.

Situated in the heart of Boston University's campus on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts, BU Law is housed in the tallest law school building in the United States and the tallest academic building on campus. The U.S. News and World Reports presently rank the school 22nd.

In 2010, BU Law was named one of the top 4 Public Service Law Schools in the country by National Jurist. The School offers public interest scholarships, public interest grants (for students taking non-paying public interest jobs in summer), pro bono programs in Boston and pro bono trips to areas in need over spring break. The School offers a Semester in Practice Program in which students spend a semester working in public interest organizations in Geneva, in government positions in Washington, D.C. or in the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. Other clinical programs are offered in Boston


BU Law students come from 46 states, 14 countries and more than 238 colleges & universities around the world. The school receives more than 8,000 applications for its entering class of 265 students. More than 1/2 of the entering class has worked between college & law school.

Admission to Boston University School of Law is very spirited. For the class of 2013, BU Law received approximately 8,515 applications for an entering class enrollment of roughly 268. The median GPA for incoming BU Law students was 3.72, and the median Law School Admission Test score was 166. Entering students for the class of 2013 came from 40 different states & graduated from over 137 different undergraduate colleges & universities. Also, 22 entering students by now obtained at least one advanced degree.


Boston University School of Law is ranked #22 among American law schools by the 2010 U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. News & World Report's Specialty Rankings (2011 Rankings) place BU Law at: #6 in Tax Law (#5 among law schools with a graduate tax program); #4 in Health Law; & #4 in Intellectual Property Law.

BU Law is also between the top 10 law schools in the nation in terms of career prospects according to the Princeton Review Law School Rankings. In a 2008 and 2009 survey by the National Law Journal, BU Law was one of 20 law schools with the maximum percentages of graduates hired by the nation's 250 largest law firms.


The Boston University School of Law was founded in 1872 by a group of educators, lawyers, law professors & jurists united by 2 beliefs: first, that a legal education requires instruction in the theory, analysis and practice of law; and second, that educational opportunities should be obtainable to anyone, with merit as the only test.

As a result, it was one of the first law schools to admit women and minorities, at a time when most other law schools barred them. In 1881, Lelia Robinson became the first female BU Law graduate. Then, women lawyers were less than half of 1 percent of the profession. Upon graduation, she successfully lobbied the Massachusetts legislature to permit the admission of women to the state bar, and in 1882, became the first woman admitted to the Massachusetts bar. Her classmate, Nathan Abbott, would later become the founding dean of Stanford Law School. Another prominent female alum at the time, Alice Stone Blackwell, would go on to help found the League of Women Voters and edit the Woman's Journal. Takeo Kikuchi (1877), the School's first Japanese graduate, was co-founder and president of Tokyo's English Law School which grew into Chuo University. Clara Burrill Bruce (1926) was the first black woman elected editor-in-chief of a law review (the Boston University Law Review).

SBU Law's first homes were 36 Bromfield Street, 18–20 Beacon Street & 10 Ashburton Place. In 1895, the University Trustees acquired 11 Ashburton Place, which was refurbished and named Isaac Rich Hall in honor of the third founder of Boston University. The dedication speaker was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. whose momentous speech "The Path of the Law" was delivered in 1897. Isaac Rich Hall housed BU Law until 1964.

In 1964 BU Law occupied the base half of the current building, 765 Commonwealth Avenue on the Charles River Campus, colloquially known as the "Tower." BU Law shared the Tower with the School of Education for some years but now occupies the entire building. BU Law has a small library in the Tower and also shares the adjacent Mugar Memorial Library with the undergraduate students.


Boston University School of Law offers a broad selection of legal classes and seminars (approx. 150) with a student to faculty ratio of 12:1.

Joint Degree Programs

BU Law offers joint degrees with the following programs:

* Boston University Graduate School of Management (JD/MBA) - Law & Management or Law and Health Sector Management
* Boston University College of Communication (J.D./M.S.) - Law and Mass Communication
* Boston University School of Public Health (J.D./M.P.H.) - Law and Public Health
* Boston University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (J.D./M.A.) - Law and International Relations, Law and Philosophy, or Law and Preservation Studies


The J.D. program offers certificates in the following concentrations:

* Business Organizations and Finance Law
* Health Law
* Intellectual Property Law
* International Law
* Litigation and Dispute Resolution

LL.M. Programs

In addition to J.D. and joint degree programs, Boston University School of Law offers LL.M. programs in the following:

* American Law
* Banking and Financial Law
* Intellectual Property
* Taxation

BU Law also offers J.D./LL.M. programs in the following:

* European Law
* Banking and Financial Law
* Taxation

Study Abroad

BU Law offers one of the widest selections of abroad study opportunities, in which students are fully engrossed in their host country’s legal system and culture, living & working with international teachers, scholars and fellow students. Students can apply to contribute in programs at the following foreign universities:

* University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
* Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
* University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
* Harris Manchester College, Oxford University, Great Britain
* Jean Moulin University Lyon 3, Lyon, France
* Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II), Paris, France
* Bucerius Law School, Hamburg, Germany
* Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel
* University of Florence, Florence, Italy
* Leiden University, the Netherlands
* National University of Singapore, Republic of Singapore
* Pontifical University of Comillas (ICADE), Madrid, Spain
* Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland


Boston University School of Law offers several clinical programs, which permit students to apply legal theories learned in the classroom to real-life lawyering. BU Law staffs its clinical programs with full-time faculty, and most of the School's clinical professors have over 20 years of courtroom & teaching experience. Students may enroll in clinical courses in their second and third years of law school.

Civil Litigation Program

Students serve clients in civil litigation in the following areas:

* Housing, Employment, Family and Disability Clinic (HEFD) - The average HEFD clinic caseload typically includes 4–5 cases in areas such as domestic relations, expulsion defense, employment law and Social Security appeals.
* Asylum & Human Rights Clinic (AHR) - The average AHR clinic caseload typically includes two asylum or humanitarian/refugee related cases, and a significant research project.
* Employment Rights Clinic (ERC) - Students will represent clients in unemployment compensation cases, wage and hour disputes, discrimination/sexual harassment cases & Family Medical Leave Act cases.

Community Courts

Students discover the structure of state trial courts that are based in the community and how they have traditionally operated. Students also examine the evolution of “problem-solving” or “specialized courts” throughout the country. Further, Judges sitting in Massachusetts District, Probate, Juvenile and Housing Courts in Boston serve as mentors to students working on cases and court projects.

Criminal Law Clinics

Students enrolled in the Criminal Law clinics carry full liability for the prosecution or defense of criminal cases in several Boston courts.

Health Law Externship Program

Students will develop practical lawyering skills through live-client and real-life practice experiences in Boston's non-profit health care offices. Students also gain greater accepting of the doctrines, substantive laws and context of health care.

Legal Externship Program

Students are given the opportunity to gain valuable experience in a variety of legal settings in which they're exposed to the realities of law practice under the direction of well-respected practitioners. Students have expanded their experience through field-placements in the following areas: civil and criminal litigation, civil rights, health care, taxation, securities law, environmental law, banking, domestic violence, children's law and the judiciary.

Students have worked in the following offices as part of the Legal Externship Program:

* U.S. Attorney’s Office (Civil and Criminal Division)
* Trial Division of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office
* Clerkships on the Federal Court, Massachusetts Superior Court, Probate and Family Court
* Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
* Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office

Legislative Clinics

Students enjoy a variety of opportunities to inspect the legislative process through the following programs:

* Legislative Policy & Drafting Clinics - Students work with state senators and representatives, mayors, city councils, administrative agencies and public interest groups to create legislative solutions to problems.
* Legislative Counsel Clinic - Students work with legislators, state executive offices, nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups to advance a bill or project.
* Africa i-Parliaments Clinic - Students help African parliaments draft & enact more effective legislation.

Legislative Internship Program

Students matched with senators & legislature at the Massachusetts State House have the opportunity to, among other things, draft legislation, evaluate testimony and participate in planning meetings with legislators and staff.

Semester-in-Practice Program

Students may spend a semester working full-time for credit at an externship placement outside of Boston. The four options available are:

* Human Rights Externship (Geneva) - Students work in Geneva for a Non-Governmental Organization committed to the protection of human rights.
* Government Lawyering in Washington, D.C. - Students work in a government office in Washington. Examples include opportunities with the staff of a Congressional committee or subcommittee, in the legal office of an administrative agency, or with a federal board/commission.
* Death Penalty Externship - Students work at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia.
* Independent Proposal Externship - Students widen their own proposal for a full-time externship outside of Boston.

Centers and institutes

* American Society for Law, Medicine, and Ethics
* Institute for Business Law and Technology
* Institute of Jewish Law
* The International Distance (Internet) Legislative Drafting Program
* Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law
* N. Neal Pike Institute on Law and Disability


* Boston University Law Review
* American Journal of Law & Medicine
* Review of Banking & Financial Law
* Boston University International Law Journal
* Journal of Science & Technology Law
* Public Interest Law Journal

Notable alumni

* Lincoln C. Almond, JD 1961, Governor of Rhode Island
* Consuelo Northrup Bailey, LLB 1925, first woman elected as lieutenant governor in the United States
* Albert Brown, JD, Governor of New Hampshire
* Fred H. Brown, JD, Governor of New Hampshire, U.S. Congressman
* Edward W. Brooke, LLB 1948, LLM 1949, Attorney General of Massachusetts; first African American elected to the Senate by popular vote; one of only five African Americans to serve in the US Senate; awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
* William M. Butler, 1884, U.S. Senator (MA)
* Norman S. Case, LLB 1912, Governor of Rhode Island
* Martha M. Coakley, JD 1979, Democratic candidate for United States Senator, 2010, Massachusetts Attorney General (2007–Present), District Attorney for Middlesex County, Massachusetts
* William S. Cohen, LLB 1965, U.S. Secretary of Defense and US Senator from Maine
* Paul A. Dever, JD, Governor of Massachusetts
* Joshua Eric Dodge, 1877, Wisconsin Supreme Court
* Samuel Felker, JD, Governor of New Hampshire
* Michael F. Flaherty, JD 1994, President of the Boston City Council
* Richard W. Graber, JD 1981, the United States Ambassador to the Czech Republic
* Judd A. Gregg, JD 1972, LLM 1975, U.S. Senator, Governor of New Hampshire
* Jeff Jacoby, JD 1983, Boston Globe opinion/editorial columnist
* Dr. Barbara C. Jordan, LL.B. 1959, first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress from a southern state, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994, first woman to deliver a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in 1976
* David E. Kelley, JD 1983, Emmy winning television producer
* Gary F. Locke, JD 1975, United States Secretary of Commerce, Governor of Washington, and the first Asian-American governor in the mainland U.S.
* Maria Lopez, first Hispanic appointed a judge in the Massachusetts, current television jurist on the U.S. syndicated television show Judge Maria Lopez.
* Frederick William Mansfield, LLB 1902, 46th Mayor of Boston, Massachusetts, and 38th Treasurer and Receiver-General of Massachusetts
* Elizabeth (Sadie) Holloway Marston, LLB 1918 - co-creator of the comic book character, Wonder Woman
* J. Howard McGrath, LLB 1929, Sixtieth Attorney General, 1949-52 U.S. Senator, 1940-45Governor of Rhode Island
* Thomas McIntyre, JD, U.S. Senator (NH)
* F. Bradford Morse, LLB 1949, director of the United Nations Development Program
* Markos Moulitsas, JD 1999, founder of the popular blog, Daily Kos
* Shannon O'Brien, JD 1985, first woman to hold the office of treasurer and receiver general of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
* William Russell, JD, Governor of Massachusetts
* Sabita Singh, JD 1990, first judge of south Indian descent in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
* Robert T. Stafford, LLB 1938; HON 1959, U.S. Senator, father or the Robert T. Stafford Student Loan (Stafford Loan) program, the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) and co-sponsored the Wilderness Protection Act
* Niki Tsongas, JD, Congresswoman for Massachusetts's 5th congressional district
* Robert Upton, JD, U.S. Senator (NH)
* David I. Walsh, JD, U.S. Senator, Governor of Massachusetts
* Myrth York, JD 1972, Rhode Island State Senator, first female chair of the Senate Health, Education and Welfare Committee (RI)
* Owen D. Young, LLB 1896, founder of RCA, 1929 Time Magazine's Man of the Year Chairman and CEO of General Electric

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