Legal education began at William & Mary in 1779, at the urging of Thomas Jefferson. He was governor of Virginia at the time and a member of the College’s Board of Visitors. Jefferson believed that aspiring members of the profession should be trained to be citizen lawyers — passionate legal advocates and honorable human beings. John Marshall, the nation’s fourth chief justice, studied here. So have generations of human rights activists, community leaders and defenders of the wrongfully accused.
Our remarkable history is matched only by our commitment to building the legal skills of our students, equipping them to become excellent lawyers who will make a difference in the world.
Our faculty are experienced mentors who exemplify the citizen-lawyer ideal. In every course, they use their professional and personal insights to emphasize the human element of the practice of law. Our students arrive with sharp intellects and wildly diverse talents and dedicate their time to collaborating on projects of real worth. In our Legal Practice Program, and in our clinics and externship program, they learn how to practice skillfully and with integrity.
Our town, Williamsburg, is a perfect fit for the law school lifestyle. It’s a real college town with a thriving cultural, entertainment and outdoor scene. Come down for a visit and see what we mean by "colonial cool."
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