Washington and Lee University School of Law, or W&L Law, is located in Lexington, Virginia and was founded in 1849. The school has a smaller population than other law schools with only about 350 students. W&L Law is often ranked very highly for the quality of its professors and many alumni cite the small class size as the primary reason why these same faculty members are also praised for their accessibility. The school also benefits from its proximity to Washington D.C., a popular destination for its graduates.
Although there are no specific tracks or concentrations, Washington and Lee University School of Law students can choose classes of interest. In the first year, students are required to take contract law, tort law, civil procedure, criminal law, property law, professional responsibility, administrative law, and international law. They are also assigned a small section where they complete a legal writing course with about 20 classmates. Each student is paired up with an upper-level classmate for mentoring on legal research and Bluebook techniques.
Second-years take evidence law and constitutional law, as well as a mandatory writing requirement. (Although this can be satisfied by writing for one of the law journals.) There are also plenty of electives and most choose to focus on corporate law or tax law. Third-year students take more electives, but are also involved in courses where they can learn from hands-on experiences. At W&L Law, every semester begins with a two-week immersion course. The fall semester focuses on litigation and alternative dispute resolution, and the spring semester focuses on transactional practice. Also, Washington and Lee University School of Law students must participate in a clinic or externship program in order to graduate.
The clinics are integral to the Washington and Lee University School of Law because they provide real-life experience. There are six legal clinics to choose from: Black Lung Clinic, Community Legal Practice Clinic, Tax Clinic, Criminal Justice, and Immigrant Rights Clinic. Students can also become involved with the centers on campus including the Center for Law and History and the Transnational Law Institute. W&L Law students can also participate in five moot court programs, including the John W. Davis Appellate Advocacy Competition and the Mock Trial Competition.
W&L Law students can choose to write for one of the three academic journals. Writers for the quarterly law review are chosen through a write-on competition at the end of their first year. Outside of academics, students can choose from more than 30 organizations on campus, including chapters of the Black Law Students Association, the Tax Law Society, and the Public Law Interest Students Association. Most students belong to two or three groups during their three years. The school also has a substantial intramural sports program. Students interested in rigorous academics paired with lots of hands-on experiences should look into Washington and Lee University School of Law.