William & Mary Law School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from William & Mary School of Law)
Jump to: navigation, search
Marshall–Wythe School of Law
William and Mary Law School seal.png
Seal of the school
Parent school College of William & Mary
Established 1779
School type Public
Dean Davison M. Douglas
Location Williamsburg, Virginia, USA
37°15′55″N 76°42′18″W / 37.26528°N 76.70500°W / 37.26528; -76.70500Coordinates: 37°15′55″N 76°42′18″W / 37.26528°N 76.70500°W / 37.26528; -76.70500
Enrollment 625
Website www.law.wm.edu
ABA profile ABA Profile
William and Mary Law School Logo.png

The Marshall–Wythe School of Law at the College of William & Mary, commonly referred to as William & Mary Law School, is the oldest law school in the United States. Located in Williamsburg, Virginia, it is a part of the College of William & Mary, the second oldest college and first university in the United States.[1] The Law School maintains an enrollment of about 650 students seeking the juris doctor, the fundamental legal degree in the United States today.


William & Mary Law School was founded in 1779 at the impetus of Governor of Virginia Thomas Jefferson, an alumnus of the College, during the reorganization of the originally royal institution, transforming the college of William and Mary into the first University in the United States. At Jefferson's urging, the governing board of visitors of the College established a chair of law and appointed George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, delegate to the Philadelphia Convention, and Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, its first holder. (In the English-speaking world, older law professorships include the chair at Oxford University, first held by William Blackstone, the chair at Edinburgh University's School of Law (1709), and the Regius Chair of Law at Glasgow University).

Statue of Marshall and Wythe at the entrance of the Law School

Before filling the chair of law at William & Mary, Wythe tutored numerous students in the subject, Henry Clay, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe among them. John Marshall, who became Chief Justice of the United States in 1801, received his only formal legal education when he attended Wythe's lectures at the College in 1780. St. George Tucker, who succeeded Wythe as Professor of Law and edited the seminal early American edition of Blackstone's Commentaries, also was one of Wythe's students.

The growth of the Law School was halted abruptly by the beginning of the American Civil War. The start of military campaigns on the Virginia Peninsula compelled the College to close its doors. It would be another sixty years before the historical priority in law could be revived in a modern program that is now nearly ninety years old.

After William & Mary Law School was reopened early in the twentieth century, it was moved around the main campus of the College to several different buildings in succession. In 1980, the School was moved to its current location on the outskirts of Colonial Williamsburg, a short distance from the main campus. The building has been renovated several times since 1980, with the addition of a new wing of classrooms and renovation of older classrooms in 2000, the overhaul of the Henry C. Wolf Law Library, and the construction of a new admission suite.

W. Taylor Reveley III, formerly managing partner of the law firm of Hunton & Williams, was dean of the Law School until he was promoted to President of the College itself in the spring of 2009. Davison Douglas (J.D., Ph.D., M.Phil., M.A., M.A.R.), a nationally renowned legal historian, is the current dean.[2]

The former chancellor of William & Mary, Sandra Day O'Connor, delivered commencement remarks to the graduating class of the Law School in 2006, 2008 and 2010.[3]

Cost of Attendance[edit]

The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at William & Mary for the 2016-17 academic year was $50,250 for Virginia residents and $59,250 for non-residents.[4] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years, based on data from the 2013-2014 academic year, is $181,746 for residents; the estimated cost for non-residents is $210,696.[5]


According to William & Mary's official 2015 ABA-required disclosures, 66.3% of the Class of 2015 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required, non-school funded employment nine months after graduation.[6]

William & Mary's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 14.6%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2015 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation, and an additional 4.5% of the class was in school-funded jobs.[7]


U.S. News ranked W&M Law as the 33rd overall (14th among publics) in their latest 2016 rankings of the nation's law schools.[8] For the Class of 2019, the median undergraduate GPA was 3.75 and the median LSAT score was 162.[9]


  • William & Mary Law School offers Institute of Bill of Rights Law, the Election Law Program, and the Legal Practice curriculum for first- and second-year students, amongst other programs.
  • The annual Supreme Court Preview of the Institute of Bill of Rights Law brings journalists and academics together for an analysis of key cases on the Court's docket for the new term.
  • Lewis Burwell Puller, Jr. Veteran's Benefit Clinic provides students (under the supervision of staff attorneys) with the opportunity to ensure that veterans of America's wars receive the benefits which they are entitled to as a matter of law and service. The program has since spread to 15 other colleges and universities throughout Virginia, and Senator Mark Warner is trying to extend it further.[10] Other clinics include Appellate and Supreme Court Clinic, Domestic Violence Clinic, Elder Law Clinic, Federal Tax Clinic, Innocence Project Clinic, Special Education Advocacy Clinic, and Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic.
  • Journals include the William & Mary Law Review, The Bill of Rights Journal, William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, Journal of Women and the Law, and Business Law Review.
  • The McGlothlin Courtroom at the School is home to the Center for Legal and Court Technology, a joint program of the School and the National Center for State Courts. The mission of the Project is to use technology to improve the administration of justice and the legal systems of the world.
  • Created in 2005 as a joint venture of the National Center for State Courts and the Law School, the Election Law Program was intended to provide practical assistance to state court judges in the United States who are called upon to resolve difficult election law disputes. It has since been expanded to include a student Election Law Program.
  • The George Wythe Society of Citizen Lawyers is a civic leadership program, formed in the fall of 2005, to recognize and encourage community service and civic participation by members of the student body.
  • The Human Rights and National Security Law Program focuses on the interplay between national defense and the protection of civil rights. The Program's Distinguished Lecture Series and co-sponsored symposia bring experts to campus each semester to foster discussion and debate about on-going and emerging issues.
  • The Program in Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding facilitates international internships for students in as many as 15 countries each summer.
  • The Institute of Bill of Rights Law engages in study of the Bill of Rights and sponsors a variety of lectures, conferences, and publications to examine Constitutional issues.
  • The William & Mary Property Rights Project encourages scholarly study of the role that property rights play in society. The Project's annual Brigham-Kanner Property Rights Conference explores recent developments in areas such as takings litigation and takings law.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty members[edit]

Law journals[edit]

  • William & Mary Law Review, nineteenth-ranked general law journal in the United States, based on citations.
  • William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, third-ranked Constitutional law journal in the United States, based on citations.
  • William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, first-ranked law journal in the United States in energy law, eleventh-ranked journal in the United States in environmental law, based on citations.
  • William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, fifth-ranked law journal in the United States among family, gender, women, and sexuality law journals.
  • William & Mary Business Law Review, eleventh-ranked law journal in the United States among corporate law journals.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "William & Mary - About". Wm.edu. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  2. ^ Whitson, Brian (2009-03-20). "William & Mary - Davison M. Douglas named Dean of William & Mary Law School". Wm.edu. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  3. ^ Peebles, Katie (2010-04-16). "William & Mary Law - O'Connor to Deliver Commencement Address; Will Also Receive Marshall-Wythe Medallion". Law.wm.edu. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  4. ^ "Cost of Law School". 
  5. ^ "William and Mary Profile". 
  6. ^ "Employment Summary for 2015 Graduates" (PDF). 
  7. ^ "William and Mary Profile". 
  8. ^ "Best Law School Rankings | Law Program Rankings | US News". Grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  9. ^ "William & Mary Law School - Class of 2019 Profile". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  10. ^ Daniel June (14 May 2013). "June, Daniel, "VA Disability Claims Back Log Could be Alleviated with Law School Pro Bono Clinics "". JD Journal. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Magistrate Judge Dennis L. Beck (DLB)". United States District Court. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  12. ^ "John L. Brownlee Partner". Holland & Knight. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  13. ^ "William H. Cabell". National Governors Association. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "Eric Cantor". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "Kilgore, Jerry W". Our Campaigns. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  16. ^ Virginia Lawyers Weekly, "FELA record of $12M Set In Portsmouth", March 17, 1997.
  17. ^ The Daily Record, Injured Railroad Wins $750,000, case in Railroad-Friendly Western Md. May Set Record, October 27, 1997
  18. ^ Richmond Times Dispatch, from trials to trial lawyer, tenacity helped him persevere, July 24, 2001
  19. ^ "James Murray Mason". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Haldane Robert Mayer". Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "John Thomas Miller Jr". Troutman Sanders. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 
  22. ^ "William & Mary Law - Lewis B. Puller, Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic". Law.wm.edu. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  23. ^ "Robert E. Scott". the University of Virginia. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  24. ^ "Henry St. George Tucker". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved 10 January 2013. 
  25. ^ "WEDDINGS; Jennifer Tosini, Andrew Wexton - New York Times". Nytimes.com. May 27, 2001. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Susan D. Wigenton". Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  27. ^ "Henry C. Wolf '64, J.D. '66 elected Rector of W&M". The College of William & MaryWilliamsburg, VA. Retrieved January 9, 2013. 

External links[edit]