|Boston College Law School|
|Motto||Αἰέν ἀριστεύειν |
Always be excellent
|Parent school||Boston College|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic (Jesuit)|
|Parent endowment||$2.220 billion (2015)|
|Dean||Diane Ring (interim)|
|Location||Newton, Massachusetts, USA|
|USNWR ranking||29th (2022)|
|Bar pass rate||94.0%|
Boston College Law School (BC Law) is the law school of Boston College. Boston College Law School is situated on a 40-acre (160,000 m2) wooded campus in Newton, Massachusetts, about 1.5 miles from the university's main campus in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
With approximately 800 students and 60 full-time faculty members distinguished for scholarly research, BC Law is consistently ranked in the top-tier of law schools in the United States. In 2021, U.S. News and World Report ranked BC Law as the #29 law school in the nation. The school's small size and prestige make admission highly selective. Reflecting its Roman Catholic (Jesuit) heritage, BC Law has established programs in human rights, social justice and public interest law, as well as programs in business law and innovation, law and public policy and criminal and civil litigation. Its faculty played a part in arguing for the repeal of the Solomon Amendment, presenting oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court in Rumsfeld v. FAIR.
According to BC Law's 2019 American Bar Association (ABA)-required disclosures, 85% of the Class of 2018 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required or advantage employment ten months after graduation. For 2020, the acceptance rate was 31.84%, with 15.35% of accepted students enrolling, with an average LSAT score of 164, and with an average GPA of 3.69.
Although provisions for a law school were included in Boston College's original charter, ratified by the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1863, Boston College Law School was formally organized later in 1929. Previously, promising Boston College graduates interested in a legal education were encouraged to seek admission to Harvard Law School, as attested by the law school's inaugural faculty of whom 11 out of 17 members held degrees from both universities. BC Law's founder, John B. Creeden, formerly president of Georgetown University, served as its first regent and alumnus Dennis A. Dooley as its first dean.
On September 26, 1929, BC Law opened its doors in the 11-story Lawyer’s Building on Beacon Street opposite the Massachusetts State House in downtown Boston. From a pool of nearly 700 applicants, 102 day and evening division students had been selected. So rigorous were the school's academic standards that 50% of the first class eventually dropped out or flunked out. However, just three years later, the school received American Bar Association accreditation, joining Harvard, Yale, and Boston University as the only law schools in New England to attain that distinction; accreditation by the Association of American Law Schools followed in 1937.
Women were admitted to the school by 1940, when enrollment had surpassed 350 students. In 1954, the school moved to St. Thomas More Hall on the edge of the main Chestnut Hill campus and to its present 40-acre (160,000 m2) Newton campus, the home of the former Newton College of the Sacred Heart, in 1975. Today, the law campus includes Stuart House, an administrative building; lecture halls; seminar spaces; a dining hall; conference space; and a law library that includes the Daniel R. Coquillette Rare Book Room.
BC Law offers a first-year law program that includes constitutional and criminal law, civil procedure, contracts, property, and torts, as well as a two-semester legal reasoning, research, and writing course called Law Practice, which provides three experiential learning credits and a foundation in critical thinking, analysis, and communication. There is also a 1L experiential-based elective in the spring semester. The School offers programs abroad through the Semester-in-Practice International Program primarily based in Dublin and exchange programs with Bucerius Law School, Paris HEAD Law School, and Renmin University in China. The law school also has exchange programs with Bucerius Law School, the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina, and numerous other law faculties throughout the world.
Boston College Law School has two main, student-run publications: Boston College Law Review (BCLR) and the Uniform Commercial Code Reporter-Digest (UCC Reporter-Digest). In Spring 2017, the Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review, Boston College International and Comparative Law Review, and the Journal of Law and Social Justice published their last issues and consolidated into the Boston College Law Review.
The Boston College Law Review is the Law School's main flagship journal and was ranked 20th in the 2019 Washington & Lee Law Review Rankings, the highest ranking in its history. Starting in Fall 2017, it publishes eight issues per year. It endeavors to publish high-quality pieces written by students and scholars on a wide variety of legal issues.
The Uniform Commercial Code Reporter-Digest is published by Matthew Bender & Company, a division of LexisNexis. It provides annotations on numerous cases relating to the Uniform Commercial Code, thereby serving as a helpful research tool.
BC Law also maintains an online publication, the Intellectual Property and Technology Forum, covering issues of copyright, trademark and patent law.
Opened in 1996 at a cost of $11.7 million, the 84,500-square-foot Law Library building was designed by the Boston firm of Earl R. Flansburgh & Associates and contains four levels organized in four wings around a unifying central atrium. It houses 500,000 print volumes covering all major areas of American law and primary legal materials from the federal government, Canada, United Kingdom, United Nations, and European Union. The library also features a substantial electronic volumes offering, treatise and periodical collection and a growing collection of international and comparative law material. The library's Coquillette Rare Book Room houses works from the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries, including works by and about Saint Thomas More. It also contains a marble fireplace mantel that once adorned the East Room of the White House.
Research centers and institutes
- Center for Human Rights and International Justice
- Business Institute, Boston College
- Center for Asset Management
- Center for Corporate Citizenship (CCC)
- Center for East Europe, Russia and Asia
- Center for Ignatian Spirituality
- Center for International Higher Education
- Center For Investment Research And Management
- Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture (ISPRC)
- International Study Center
- Irish Institute
- Jesuit Institute
- The Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy
- Small Business Development Center
- Urban Ecology Institute
- Winston Center for Leadership and Ethics
- Women's Resource Center
Ranking Summary: Above the Law 2020: 22nd; U.S. News & World Report 2022: 29th; National Law Journal Go-To Law Schools: 19th; Washington & Lee Law Review Rankings: 20th.
Due to BC Law faculty reputations as teachers and mentors among students, the Princeton Review law rankings placed BC Law in the #7 position for "Best Professors". BC Law is also ranked #10 for "Best Quality of Life." In 2019, Above The Law, a legal blog that focuses on BigLaw, ranked BC Law 22nd overall in the country.
Since 2007, the National Law Journal has ranked BC Law in the top 20 law schools due to the large number of graduates the school places in top American law firms. Harvard was the only other Boston area law school that placed in the top 20 for recruiting.
The U.S. News & World Report's 2021 law school rankings placed BC Law 29th in the country. The magazine ranked BC Law's tax program 14th in the nation, its environmental law program 27th, and its legal writing program 29th.
According to BC Law's 2019 ABA-required disclosures, 85% of the Class of 2018 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required or advantage employment ten months after graduation. BC Law's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 14.2%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2018 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.
For BC Law graduates, median private sector starting salary is $190,000, and the median public service starting salary is $60,000, based on self-reporting data.
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at BC Law for incoming students in the 2019-2020 academic year is $79,473. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $301,402.
In a nod towards the nickname of Boston College athletics teams, the term "Legal Eagle" is sometimes used to refer to students and alumni of Boston College Law School.
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- Debra Wong Yang, JD 1984, United States Attorney for the Central District of California
- Gerald T. Zerkin, JD 1976, Federal Public Defender for Zacarias Moussaoui
- Erik P. Kimball, JD 1990, Judge, United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida
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