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william and mary law school
William and Mary law school

William And Mary Law School – Short History

The Marshall-Wythe Law School at college of William and Mary law school, generally known as the William and Mary school, is the oldest of its kind in the United States. Based in Williamsburg, Virginia, it happens to be the United States’ second-oldest institution and first university.

The Law School has an attendance of 645 full-time (2018–19) students pursuing a Juris Doctor (J.D.) or an LL.M. A two or three-semester curriculum for lawyers educated outside the United States, in the American Legal System. The William & Mary Law School was established in 1779 at the behest of Virginia Governor Thomas Jefferson, a university alumnus.

How it all started?

William and Mary law school was transformed into the first University in the United States after the reorganization of the previously royal institution. This was done at the urging of Jefferson, who set up a chair of law William & Mary’s governing board of visitors and named it after George Wythe.

Wythe was the signatory of the Declaration of Independence, as a delegate to the Philadelphia Convention, and as its first occupant, the Supreme Court of Virginia. (Older professorships in the English-speaking world include the Chair at Oxford University, which was first held by William Blackstone, the Chair at the William and Mary law school at Edinburgh University (1709) and the Regius Chair of Law at Glasgow University.

Wythe educated numerous students in the subject. among them were Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, before filling the Chair of Law at William & Mary. John Marshall, who in 1801 became United States Chief Justice, obtained his first formal legal education when he attended Wythe’s lectures at William & Mary in 1780.

Only one of Wythe’s pupils was St. George Tucker who succeeded Wythe as Professor of Law and edited the influential early American edition of Blackstone’s Commentaries. William and Mary law school’s rise had been suddenly stopped by the outbreak of the American Civil War. The launch of military campaigns on the Virginia Peninsula was forcing William & Mary to close their doors.

It’d be another sixty years until a modern program, which is now nearly ninety years old can revive the historical priority in law. Following the reopening of the William and Mary law school early in the twentieth century, it was successively moved around the university’s main campus to several different buildings.

William and Mary law school reputation and beginning

In 1980, on the outskirts of Colonial Williamsburg, a short distance from the main campus, the school relocated to its new site. Since 1980, the building has been updated many times with the addition of a new wing of classrooms and the renovation of older classrooms in 2000, the opening of the Henry C. Wolf Law Library, the construction of the Experiential Learning and Leadership Center.

W. Taylor Reveley III, formerly managing partner of Hunton & Williams law firm, is a former Law School director. Between September 5, 2008, to June 30, 2018, he served as William & Mary’s 27th President, after serving as acting president since February 2008. A nationally known legal scholar, Davison M. Douglas served as dean from July 2009 through June 30, 2020.

On 1 July 2020, Benjamin Spencer, a globally recognized civil procedure specialist and former professor of law at the University of Virginia, became dean and chancellor professor at the William & Mary Law School. He is the first African-American Dean of any university school, including William and Mary law school.

William and Mary school’s former Chancellor, Sandra Day O’Connor, gave the Law School graduation class beginning remarks in 2006, 2008 and 2010. So, as we have come to know about william and mary law school reputation.. Now keep reading for more details.

William and Mary law school admissions
William and Mary law school admissions

William and Mary law school admissions and fees details

Tuition for the academic year 2019-20 was $35,000 for residents of Virginia, and $44,000 for non-residents. Around 88 percent of students received financial assistance (2017).

William and Mary law school tuition cost in 2020-2021 for Virginia Residents 

  • Tuition & Fees: $35,000
  • Living Allowance: $18,972
  • Books: $1,750
  • Total Cost of Attendance: $55,722

William and Mary law school rules of Attendance in 2020-2021for Non-Residents

  • Tuition & Fee: $44,000
  • Living Allowance: $18,972
  • Books $1,750
  • Total Cost of Attendance: $64,722

It is estimated debt-funded attendance costs at William and Mary law school for three years, drawing on the school stats from the academic year 2018-2019, are $197,520 for residents; the projected value to non-residents is $229,557.

William and Mary school of law – Employment record

According to the official 2019 ABA-required disclosures from William and Mary law school, 95 percent of the 2019 Class obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required, or JD-advantaged, non-school-funded jobs nine months after graduation.

William and Mary school of law Transparency Underemployment score is 10 points, reflecting the 2018 unemployed class rate, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time position nine months after graduation, with 0 percent of the school-funded job class.

William and Mary Law School Ranking

A.S. News ranked W&M Law in its latest 2021 rankings of law schools around the nation as tied for 31st place. The median undergraduate GPA for the 2022 class (registered as of 19 August 2019) was 3,76 and the average LSAT score was 163.

Studying law at the william and mary law school

The school maintains that we are better at training students for ethical law practice than any other program in the world. It all begins with our Citizen Lawyer philosophy, the Jeffersonian lawyer’s ideal as a qualified advocate and dedicated public servant. If we talk about William and Mary law school ranking in 2019, W&M Law placed 24th in the Over the Law list.

This definition translates into an academic curriculum emphasizing experiential learning and the “human dimension” of the law — compassion, integrity, and public service. In the J.D. First-year classes do more than cover the fundamentals of the curriculum.

In addition to the requisite courses in civil proceedings, constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, property and torture, every 1L passes the leading legal Practice Program of W&M

You’ll be reading and writing memos and briefs, learning how to meet clients, and negotiate with them. 

You will be putting ethical lawyer skills to practice in a supportive academic setting from the very first day, taught by both full-time legal writing professors as well as practitioners in the field.

The professional practice extends into the second year of law school, where you will have the opportunity to specialize in a particular field while you begin to develop your ability to write and lobby.

You’ll also pick from about 100 different elective course offerings beginning in the second year. From intellectual property to national security to business and corporate, every element of modern law practice is protected.

Their eight clinics and one practicum would enable you to train for legal practice and professional membership. Students in their clinics provide over 14,000 hours of service annually to underserved clients including the elderly, special needs children, and veterans.

While, through the more than 40 student groups and five student-edited journals at the Law School, you will be participating in learning experiences outside the classroom. Participation in each of these activities is liable for credit, such as the National Trial Team and the papers.

Studying Law in America

American law school rankings are by far the most reliable ones, which have shifted rarely over the last 20 years. The only difference, very often, is the order of the ranking of each university, which is slightly different each year.

While some of you might require following your family tradition and admit to a specific college, it is important that you really feel one with the institution.

Yet one thing is sure: American law schools and colleges have a long and outstanding tradition of excellent academic instruction.

How to get into law school in the USA 

You must know that law schools across the country have different standards as opposed to Europe. These are the measures you should take during admission:

  • Complete a Bachelor’s degree – it could be linked to law education but it is not mandatory. Law schools accept all students who have earned a Bachelor’s degree.
  • Complete the LSAT – an official exam evaluating the practical and analytical skills – required to pursue a law degree further.

Types of American law degrees 

Here are the different types of legal degrees that you can get hold of in the United States of America, irrespective of the University of your Choice.

Juris Doctor

All US law schools, public as well as private, award the J.D. (Juris Doctor) degree required for the practice of law in that country. Three years of study for full-time law students and four years for part-time students are included in a JD program.

Master of Laws (L.L.M.) 

A Master of Laws degree is a one-year full-time course of study following completion of a JD. Technology. An L.L.M. is reserved for those students who want to further develop their knowledge of a specific field of law or for international students who need to adapt additionally to the U.S. legal system.

Ph.D. in Judicial Science (S.J.D.) 

The degree of Doctor of Judicial Science is identical to that of a normal Ph.D. program and is the highest degree in the legal field. An S.J.D. lasts three years and is followed most frequently by students interested in teaching law. Many law schools in the states have a limited number of S.J.D. programs.

College of william and mary law school

College of william and mary law school

College of William and Mary law schoolCriteria for getting admitted for Juris Doctor Degree

It is a full-time legal education program. As such, the American Bar Association specifies that a degree-seeking first-year law student must complete the program in no less than 24 months and no more than 84 months from the date of matriculation.


  • 86 total credit hours
  • Out of the 86 credits, 65 must be equivalent to the standard letter grade set by the college itself.

The American Bar Association states that in any one semester, no more than 20 percent of the credit hours required can be taken. This means students at William & Mary may not take more than 17 credits in any single semester.

Required Courses      

Here are the courses you are required to undertake during the first year:

  • Law 101 – Criminal Law
  • Law 102 – Civil Procedure
  • Law 107 – Torts
  • Law 108 – Property
  • Law 109 – Constitutional Law
  • Law 110 – Contracts
  • Law 130- Legal Research & Writing I
  • Law 131 – Lawyering Skills I
  • Law 132 – Writing II  and Legal Research 
  • Law 133 – Lawyering Skills II

Courses you are required to undertake during the second and third year:

  • Law 115 or 117 – Professional Responsibility or The Legal Profession
  • Law 140 – Advanced Writing & Practice

Program Requirements   

  • Experiential Learning
  • Writing with Legal Research and
  • Advanced Writing and Practice

Graduate Employment Survey

You won’t be certified by the college to graduate without completing and updating the particular Survey. Additionally, as a law student, the schools expect you to maintain good academic standing as defined by the institutions. You may also visit for paralegal certificate online cost

Directed Reading in Advanced Legal Analysis & Doctrine

The Directed Reading in Advanced Legal Analysis & Doctrine is recommended for only those students listed, based on academic results, as likely to gain from additional studies in preparation for the bar test. The Dean’s Office shall be liable, on a case-by-case basis for a good cause, for finding and contacting these students and granting exceptions to the provision.

It’s worth noting that the criteria for the curriculum might be changed as per the will of the school authorities.

The teaching style and curriculum to expect

You will have courses during the three to four years of studying law that will cover subjects such as administrative law, legal theory, theoretical legal techniques, bankruptcy, corporate law and ethics, civil rights, constitutional law, and much more.

Most local and international students in the United States are engaged in an internship program between the 2nd and 3rd year, in order to gain practical experience that can sometimes lead to a future post-graduate job. Beginning with the 3rd year, you can select elective courses that will determine your future career, tailored to the specific specialty in law.

Law degree using the Socratic approach 

A common approach in terms of teaching and learning style is called the Socrates method in all law schools in the USA. This technique is derived from the assumptions of the ancient philosopher, who used to question and discuss various people about specific philosophical concepts.

Law teachers in the United States are known to encourage students to evaluate and present cases on different legal questions, similar to a court case. Though this is not a simple job for students, American teachers find it to be the best method for training potential law professionals to be serious, logical, and fast problem-solver.

You could also review online Bachelors and Masters in Law, and study a degree from the comfort of your home offered by an American university.

Passing the bar test to become a United States lawyer

Upon successfully completing law school, you need to take another step to help you become a real lawyer and pass the bar test. You can take the bar examination in every state, but you will select the specific state where you intend to practice law. 

Each of the states has its own bar membership rules and if you’re admitted to one state, you’ll most likely only be able to work in that state as a lawyer. There are a few exceptions, as some states have signed agreements in that way that grant law practitioners the freedom to practice without having to take another bar test.

The hub for intellectual prowess

The W&M Law School is a forum for academic discussion on some of American and international law’s hottest topics. At William & Mary Law School, our study centers, seminars and workshops, staff grants and student publications add exciting new facets to academic life.

Here’s where the leading minds and emerging voices propose groundbreaking new ideas about international human rights, national security, electoral law, civil liberties, post-conflict justice, and more. At Law School, our graduates play a crucial role in the development of intellectual life.

Not only are they invited to the annual Supreme Court Preview organized by the Bill of Rights Law Center, but they’re also required to support study and coordinate the two-day event attended by top journalists and scholars from around the world. The Legal and Courtroom Innovation Center is a renowned hub for the latest in legal software.

Government officials, judges, and attorneys from all over the world collaborate with the Center on the layout of their courtrooms and the incorporation of audio/video and Internet technology into their justice systems. A spacious, modern research facility with a professional, service-oriented staff, the Wolf Law Library is.

It contains 400,000 pages, primary source content ratings, rare books, and wireless links to Lexis/Nexis, Westlaw, and hundreds of other digital collections. The Wolf Law Library recently began a repository for a scholarship.

William and Mary law school cost
William and Mary law school cost

William and Mary law school cost is affordable

Although there is no doubt that law school is an expensive undertaking, William & Mary provides a very affordable price for a quality legal degree. Cost details are here in detail.

Eligibility for In-State Tuition 

The section 23-7.4 of the Virginia Code lays out the requirements for in-state tuition at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at William & Mary. The Code states that you must show your residence in Virginia for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the first day of classes and an obligation to live in Virginia forever. 

Applicants are expected to apply the Virginia In-State Tuition Privileges Request to the University Registrar for an assessment of their qualifications, irrespective of how long you have lived in Virginia.

Further information on the Virginia state domicile can be found on the website of the University Registrar. Students who receive in-state tuition on the basis of new tuition rates despite having been previously considered an out-of-state student will have their scholarship prorated.

Military Veteran Candidates 

For veterans and military students and dependants, William and Mary law school adhere to state and federal laws. Additional information about the status of domicile and assistance for these persons can be found on the website of the University Registrar.

Why become an attorney? 

You’ve definitely heard a thousand reasons why being an American lawyer is so fun and interesting. The US is a big country to start with and this eventually leads to multiple job opportunities. Second, the States’ legal system is by far the most open, complex, shocking, and straightforward – all at once.

Last but not least, from any standpoint, the lawyer’s career is immensely satisfying. Financially, a “new” lawyer’s annual income starts at about USD 160,000. Morally speaking, for many people you will become a regular hero, and hopefully, make a difference in their lives.

The average salary of lawyers in the USA

In 2018, lawyers made a total salary of $120,910. That year, the best-paid 25 percent made $182,490, while the lowest 25 percent made $79,160.

Best-Paying Cities in the US for Lawyers

Here we have listed the metropolitan areas that pay the highest amount of salary to professional lawyers.

  • San Jose, California: $207,950
  • San Francisco, California: $183,070
  • Washington, District of Columbia: $179,980
  • Los Angeles, California: $176,020
  • Houston, Texas: $175,380

What is a lawyer’s career prospect? 

According to the latest BLS projections, more than 50,100 new legal jobs will open up by the year 2028. Within 2028, the total number of working attorneys is expected to rise by approximately 6 percent.

We have tried to answer all your queries regarding William and Mary law school as well as the school admission process. We have also mentioned the  law school fees structure. We have also attempted to give you a fair idea of the type of courses you have the opportunity to enroll in.

Now, it’s your chance to build a successful legal career. In that regard, if you still want to know more about William and Mary law school, please feel free to reach out to us without delay. We are here to assist you in the most righteous manner. You may contact us at https://onlineschoolsnearme.com