Washington University School of Law, or Washington University Law, was founded in 1867. With a slightly smaller population than other leading law schools, there are a little more than 700 students enrolled. Class sizes remain fairly small, with 82 full-time professors augmented by just over 100 part-time faculty members, and there are many opportunities for students to get involved on campus with extracurricular organizations or off campus with externships. Students looking for a vibrant city life will also benefit from being close to downtown St. Louis.
Some students enrolled in the traditional J.D. program choose to participate in one of the five joint degree programs that are usually completed within four years. The most popular programs include the J.D./M.B.A. with the Olin Business School, the J.D./M.A. in Economics with the WU School of Arts and Sciences, and the J.D./M.H.A. in Health Administration with the WU School of Medicine. There is a set curriculum for all students completing the J.D. degree.
The first year is spent taking contracts, property, and torts in the fall and civil procedure, criminal law, and constitutional law in the spring. All first years must also complete a legal research and writing course separated into legal practice and legal research methodologies. Each first-year Washington University Law class is segmented into six sections of about 45 students. Each section is combined with another to form a “super-section,” of about 90 students that will share three professors. Upper-level students can choose their courses; the only mandatory classes are ethics, applied lawyering or professional skills, and a writing or research class.
Washington University Law students can take advantage of the many clinics offered. In fact, the school’s clinical programs are consistently ranked very well. Students can take part in the following clinics: Appellate Advocacy (where their cases can be heard in the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit), Civil Justice, Civil Rights, and Community Justice, Criminal Justice, Congressional and Administrative Law (where students can work in Washington, D.C.), Government Lawyering, Interdisciplinary Environmental, Intellectual Property, and Nonprofit Organizations, and Judicial Clerkship. Along with several legal centers (like the Whitney Harris World Law Institute and the Center on Law, Innovation, and Economic Growth) students can gain hands-on experiences before entering the real world. Some students choose to participate in one of the oldest and largest moot court programs in the country. The Giles Rich Moot Court Competition and the Saul Lefkowitz Moot Court Competition are some of the most popular among students.
Many Washington University Law students choose to write for one of the four publications. After their first year, students can participate in a ‘write-on’ competition to be eligible for publication. The journals include “Washington University Law Review” and “Washington University Journal of Law and Policy.”
There are also 34 organizations on campus. Students who want a break from the law scene can partake in the Sidebar Wine Society or the Barely Legal Theater group. Individuals who want a rigorous academic program paired with opportunities to bond with classmates should look into Washington University Law.