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Boston University School of Law
Boston University School of Law
Established 1872
School type Private
Dean Maureen O'Rourke
Location Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Enrollment {{{students}}}
Faculty 126[1]
USNWR ranking 20[1]
Bar pass rate 92.92%[1]
Annual tuition $38,266[1]
ABA Profile Boston University School of Law Profile

Boston University School of Law (BU Law) is the law school affiliated with Boston University. The second-oldest law school in Massachusetts, it is a member of the Association of American Law Schools and a charter member of the American Bar Association. The U.S. News and World Reports currently ranks the school 20th. Located 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.

BU Law students come from 46 states, 14 countries and more than 238 colleges and universities around the world. The School receives more than 8,000 applications for its entering class of 265 students. Students' median LSAT score is 166. The median undergradate GPA is 3.70. More than half of the entering class have worked between college and law school.

The School has a highly ranked faculty (# 1 in faculty teaching quality,Letier Law School Rankings; #3 in Best Professors,Princeton Review.)

In 2010, BU Law was named one of the top 4 Public Service Law Schools in tne country by National Jurist ( National Jurist magazine, March 2010). The School offers public interest scholarships, public interst grants (for students taking non-paying public interest jobs in summer), pro bono program 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 ( seel below). BU Law also publishes the Public Interst Journal which discusses legal issues in the public interest.



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

Consequently, 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 one percent of the profession. [2] 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 BU Law Review).

BU Law's first homes were 36 Bromfield Street, 18–20 Beacon Street and 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 historic speech "The Path of the Law" was delivered in 1897. Isaac Rich Hall housed BU Law until 1964.

In 1964 BU Law occupied the bottom 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, but also shares the adjacent Mugar Memorial Library with the undergraduate students.


BU Law Tower

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

Joint Degree Programs

BU Law offers joint degrees with the following programs [3]:


The J.D. program offers certificates in the concentrations of [4]:

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

Students who concentrate receive a separate certificate from the Registrar's Office indicating that they completed a concentration.[5]

LL.M. Programs

In addition to J.D. and joint degree programs, Boston University School of Law offers LL.M. programs in [6]:

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

BU Law also offers J.D./LL.M. programs in [7]:

  • European Law
  • Banking and Financial Law
  • Taxation
Study Abroad

BU Law offers one of the widest selections of overseas study opportunities, in which students are fully immersed in their host country’s legal system and culture, living and working with international teachers, scholars and fellow students. Students can apply to participate in programs at the following foreign universities [8]:


Boston University School of Law offers several clinical programs, which allow 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 and 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, Famly and Disability Clinic (HEFD) - The average HEFD clinic caseload typically includes 4-5 cases in areas such as domestic relations, eviction 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 and Family Medical Leave Act cases.
Community Courts

Students explore 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 responsibility 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 understanding 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 supervision 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 examine 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 assist African parliaments draft and enact more effective legislation.
Legislative Internship Program

Students matched with senators and representatives 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 develop their own proposal for a full-time externship outside of Boston.

Centers and Institutes



Admission to Boston University School of Law is very competitive. For the class of 2012, BU Law received approximately 7,660 applications and admitted 23% [9] for an entering class enrollment of roughly 271.[10] The median GPA for incoming BU Law students was 3.70, and the median Law School Admission Test score was 166. [11] The 25th - 75th percentile GPA was 3.50 - 3.83 and the 25th - 75th percentile LSAT was 164 - 167. [12] Entering students for the class of 2012 came from 38 different states and graduated from over 140 different undergraduate colleges and universities.[13] Also, over 40 entering students already obtained at least one advanced degree. [14]


Boston University School of Law is ranked #20 among American law schools by the 2010 U.S. News & World Report.[15]

U.S. News & World Report's Specialty Rankings (2010 Rankings) place BU Law at: #6 in Tax Law [16] (#5 among law schools with a graduate tax program); #4 in Health Law [17]; and #11 in Intellectual Property Law. [18]

BU Law is also among the top 10 law schools in the nation in terms of career prospects according to the Princeton Review Law School Rankings. [19] In a 2008 [20] and 2009 [21] survey by the National Law Journal, BU Law was one of 20 law schools with the highest percentages of graduates hired by the nation's 250 largest law firms.

Notable alumni


External links



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