William & Mary Law School Remains Top Choice for Practical Education

For the second straight year, National Jurist magazine has included William & Mary Law School in its honor roll of “Best Schools for Practical Training.”

Last year, the magazine ranked the Law School 19th in the honor roll's Top 20.

“At William & Mary, we place a strong emphasis on practical skills  training,” said Davison M. Douglas, Dean and Arthur B. Hanson Professor of Law. “We are pleased to see our efforts recognized by the National Jurist.”

These opportunities are largely made possible through:

  • The Clinical Program, which offers 177 positions for 2L and 3L students in eight clinics and one practicum. These include Appellate and Supreme Court, Domestic Violence, Elder Law, Family Law, Federal Tax, Innocence Project, Special Education Advocacy, Veterans Benefits, and Virginia Coastal Policy.
  • The Legal Practice Program, a three-semester program that increases experiential learning by focusing on the development of practical lawyering skills and professional responsibility.
  • The Summer Public Service Fellowship Program, which in 2015 allowed 131 students to assist 101 organizations in 23 states, Washington, D.C., and 13 countries.
  • The Program in Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, which facilitated summer international public service internships for 24 students.
  • The Externship Program, which allowed 137 students – 31.2 percent of the 2L and 3L classes – to extern during fall 2015. The Law School’s Washington, D.C., Semester Externship Program allows students to spend the fall semester in the Washington, D.C., area externing for credit at a federal, state, or local government agency; court; prosecutor’s or public defender’s office; legal aid office; or 501(c)(3) organization.
  • Courses that allow students to have numerous opportunities to continue to develop their skills through elective upper-level courses, including Advanced Applied International Research, Advanced Brief Writing, Applied Evidence in a TechnologicalAge, Drafting for Corporate and Finance Lawyers, Technology-Augmented Trial Practice, Trial Strategy and Persuasion, and many others

To provide a more spacious venue for its practical offerings, the Law School is constructing the James A. and Robin L. Hixon Center for Experiential Learning and Leadership. The two-story, 12,000-square-foot building will include offices and instructional space for clinics, the Legal Practice Program, and leadership activities. The Center’s courtroom will provide additional space for trial and appellate advocacy training.

About William & Mary Law School

Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the school as being on the Top 20 list in 2016.