William and Mary Law School

Law School Launches Dean Search

After 10 years under the leadership of Dean W. Taylor Reveley III, William & Mary Law School has initiated a search for a new dean.  Earlier this month, Dean Reveley was appointed to a three-year term as President of the College of William & Mary.  Lynda L. Butler will be serving as Interim Dean during academic year 2008-2009. Please read our position description.

William & Mary Law: First and Foremost

Founded in 1779, William & Mary is the oldest academic law school in the United States.  Today, it is home to distinguished national programs including the award-winning Legal Skills Program, the Institute of Bill of Rights Law, the Human Rights and National Security Law Program, and the Center for Legal and Court Technology and the Election Law Program, both of which are jointly sponsored with the National Center for State Courts.

The Law School currently ranks 30th (tied) in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. 

Marshall and Wythe statuesThe Law School's Historic Origins

Legal education at the College began with the establishment of the first Chair in Law in 1779.  The thinker/activist behind this initiative was Thomas Jefferson, then-Governor of Virginia. 

The first holder of the Chair in Law was George Wythe, a patriot and signer of the Declaration of Independence.   Wythe had taught law in his chambers to Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, James Monroe, and Henry Clay.

Our Students

The Law School's admission program is highly competitive.   Last year, applications were up 7.2%, in contrast to a 0.4% decline nationwide.

Applicants for this year's entering class totaled 4545; final enrollment totaled 220 students.   Their median LSAT score was 164 (90th percentile) and their median GPA was 3.64.  More than half of our students come from outside of Virginia.   They represent 242 undergraduate institutions.  Twenty one percent identify themselves as students of color; the male/female ratio is 51/49 percent.

The Law School offers joint degree programs leading to a J.D./M.B.A., a J.D./Master of Public Policy, J.D./Master of Arts in American Studies.  We also offer an LL.M. program in the American Legal Systems for international students. 

Student activities include the William and Mary Law Review (ranked 20th in impact among all student-edited law journals); the William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal (ranked 38th among specialty law journals); the William and Mary Journal of Women and the Law (ranked 3rd among gender-focused law journals); and the William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review (ranked 7th (tied) among environmental law journals).

Our Faculty

The Law School faculty includes 34 tenured and tenure-track professors, including several nationally-recognized casebook authors, "impact players" and leaders in international academic discourse.  The faculty continually renews itself - we currently have seven scholar/teachers in the pre-tenure phase of their careers.   During the past year, William & Mary faculty members have been invited to present their work before such groups as the American Law & Economics Association, the Conference on Empirical Legal Studies, and the Law & Society Association.  In recent months, our faculty have also spoken at the University of Pennsylvania, Fordham Law School, Washington & Lee University, the University of Virginia, the University of Iowa, Tulane University, University of Melbourne (Australia), the University of Uppsala (Sweden), the Birmingham Business School (U.K.), and Hong Kong University.

The faculty is known for its strong commitment to teaching as well as to scholarship.  Several members of the faculty are also leaders in national professional organizations.

Wolf Law LibraryOur Facilities

The current Law School building opened in 1980; we substantially expanded the classroom and office space in 2001.  The new 57,000 square foot Wolf Law Library opened in 2007.  The McGlothlin Courtroom is one of the most technologically advanced courtroom teaching facilities in the world.

Our Alumni

The Law School currently has 6800 alumni, over 50% of who have graduated since 1990.  They actively support the Law School through our mentorship program (the Co-Counsel Program), participation in Career Services events, leadership in the William and Mary Law School Alumni Association, and contributions to the Marshall-Wythe School of Law Foundation.  The Law School's endowment currently stands at approximately $40 million.

More About Our Programs

     The Legal Skills Programstudents argue cases
     The Law School's distinctive Legal Skills program combines instruction in practical lawyering skills as well as professional responsibility.  The required four-semester program is delivered in a simulated law firm environment.  Each law firm has about 16 students, a senior and junior partner, and a professional librarian to support their work.  Subjects include legal research and writing, contract drafting, client and witness interviewing, negotiating, courtroom advocacy, transactional structuring, and appellate advocacy.  This program is a recipient of the ABA's prestigious Gambrell Professionalism Award.

       The Institute of Bill of Rights Law
       The IBRL addresses constitutional issues through a variety of media:  lecture series, the annual Supreme Court Preview, several high-profile conferences each year; task forces on important policy issues; and student-generated programs on topics ranging from the role of property rights in economic development to First Amendment issues in higher education.

      The Human Rights and National Security Program
       The Human Rights and National Security Program was initiated in 2005 to introduce students to the complex interplay between national security issues and the preservation of civil rights.  The program includes a distinguished lecture series, special classes and short courses by educators and practitioners from around the world, and externship opportunities with government and human rights organizations.
      
       The Center for Legal and Court Technology
      The CLCT is a joint program with the National Center for State Courts.  The Center sponsors research on the use of technology in all sectors of the legal profession and assists governments and service providers with technical and legal expertise in designing their delivery systems.  The goal of these activities is to enhance the administration of justice throughout the world.

       The Election Law Program
       Created in 2005, the Election Law Program is a joint venture with the National Center for State Courts.  It provides practical assistance to state court judges in the United States who are called upon to resolve difficult election law disputes.

Wren Building

The College of William & Mary

The College of William & Mary was chartered on February 8, 1693 by King William III and Queen Mary II of England.  It is the second oldest college in America.

It is currently ranked 32nd among all American universities and 6th among public universities. 

It is the site of the founding of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's first academic honor society (1776) and the home of the first university Honor Code (1736).

The campus is located in historic Williamsburg and is situated on a lush 1,200 acre campus including scenic Lake Matoaka and College Woods.  Its historic campus features 18th century buildings and the iconic Sir Christopher Wren Building, the oldest academic building in the United States in continuous use.  Construction of the Wren Building was completed in 1700.  Three American presidents studied in it: Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, and John Tyler.

The College includes the undergraduate departments and five graduate schools:  Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Law, and Marine Science.  The faculties of philosophy, economics, marine science, public policy, sociology, and American Studies, all have strong ties to the Law School.

Williamsburg and Surrounding Communities

Located in Tidewater Virginia, Williamsburg is located midway between Richmond and Norfolk on Interstate 64; each is an hour away.  The town and surrounding counties offer national-class restaurants and shopping facilities, the resources of Colonial Williamsburg, and such attractions as Busch Gardens, Water Country U.S.A., and national park sites at Yorktown and Jamestown.