Boston University School of Law

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Boston University School of Law
Boston University School of Law
Established 1872
School type Private
Parent endowment $1.369 billion
Dean Maureen O'Rourke
Location Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Enrollment 676 FT; 1 PT[1]
Faculty 163[2]
USNWR ranking 27[3]
Bar pass rate 96.08%[4]

Boston University School of Law (BU Law) is a nationally-recognized law school located in the heart of Boston University's campus on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts.[5]

Consistently ranked in the top 30 law schools, "U.S. News and World Report" currently ranks it 27th in the country.[6] Three specialties are in the top 10, including Health Law (#5), Tax Law (#5), and Intellectual Property Law (#10). Princeton Review ranks it 1st place nationally in "Best Professors."[7] For the class of 2016, the median student LSAT score was 165 and median GPA was 3.67.[8]

BU was one of the first law schools in the country to admit students regardless of race or gender, the second-oldest law school in Massachusetts, and a charter member of the American Bar Association. Approximately 800 students are enrolled in the full-time J.D. degree program and about 200 in the School's five LLM degree programs. The School offers more than 200 classes and seminars, 17 study abroad opportunities, and 16 dual degree programs. Students learn critical legal theory and doctrine in classes that average a 12:1[9] student/faculty ratio, while developing professional lawyering skills in the School’s civil and criminal law clinics, national and international externships, pro bono placements, and transactional law program. BU also pioneered a clinic to represent victims of human trafficking in Boston.[10]

According to BU Law's 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 67.3% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[11]


BU Law's most recent entering class comes from 32 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These students represent 16 countries and 124 undergraduate institutions. [12]

Admission to Boston University School of Law is very competitive. For the class entering in the fall of 2013, 1,582 out of 4,584 J.D. applicants were offered admission (34.5%), with 220 matriculating. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2013 entering class were 161 and 166, respectively, with a median of 165. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.44 and 3.77, respectively, with a median of 3.67.[13]


Boston University School of Law ranks #27 among American law schools in the 2015 list of best law schools compiled by U.S. News & World Report.[14] U.S. News also ranks the School's Health Law Program #5; Tax Law #5; and Intellectual Property Law #10.

The Journal of Legal Education ranks BU Law #12 for "Where Big Firm Partners Went to Law School," and the School ranks #21 in the National Law Journal's "NLJ250" Annual Survey for the number of graduates working in top U.S. law firms.

Sumner M. Redstone Building and Law Tower Renovation[edit]

Construction of the Sumner M. Redstone Building at Boston University School of Law

On September 13, 2012, media executive and former BU Law lecturer Sumner Redstone donated $18 million[15] to expand the School’s facilities. Located to the west of the Law Tower, the 100,000-square-foot, five-story structure will house most of the law school's classrooms, which will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The Redstone Building[16] will expand the Pappas Law Library, increase study space, and provide new facilities to support clinical, transactional and professional training programs. An expansive new entrance will feature a glass-enclosed atrium that will welcome visitors and serve as the heart and social hub of the complex. Student locker facilities, lounges, a small dining facility, and other student function and informal meeting spaces will be located throughout the new building. The materials, color and exterior detailing of the new building are being calibrated to respect and complement the architecture of the five original Josep Lluis Sert buildings (Law Tower, Central Boiler Plant, Pappas Law Library, Mugar Library and George Sherman Student Union) at BU.

As the new law school entry, the Redstone Building will face a paved entry forecourt off the main east-west pedestrian path. Detailing and paving materials will identify it as part of the law school and help define the law school precinct. The pedestrian path will be re-graded, paved and landscaped with new trees and plantings. The open area to the north and east of the Law Tower will be restored and replanted to reinforce the existing character of the area and of the Alpert Mall to the east. The space between the Law Tower and Pappas Library will be redesigned to emphasize the visual connection between the original and the new entrances to the school. Plantings will be native species and select ornamental species that maintain the existing planted character of the BU campus.

Once the Redstone Building is completed (scheduled for Summer, 2014), the School’s 18-story tower will undergo a complete renovation and reopen in Fall 2015. The proposed design will faithfully rehabilitate most of Sert's original tower while taking deliberate measures within the original architect's design vocabulary to make the existing buildings more acceptable to the 21st century needs of its inhabitants. All windows will be replaced with thermally insulated units reflecting the pattern and profile of the original building. The exterior concrete panels that define the building's architectural aesthetic will be totally refurbished. The tower will be revamped with new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, larger bathrooms, and modern facilities to house the school's administrative departments, faculty offices, moot courtrooms and writing programs. The spalled cast-in-place concrete of the existing building will be repaired where needed, and care will be taken to match existing color and texture as much as possible. Precast fins and other precast elements on the exterior will be repaired or replaced as necessary. All exterior concrete will be cleaned. Some of the full-story precast panels will be replaced with glass in a manner consistent with the original compositional intent of the building façade.


The Boston University School of Law was one of the first law schools to admit women and minorities, at a time when most other law schools barred them. In 1881, Lelia Robinson became the first female BU Law graduate. Then, women lawyers were less than half of one percent of the profession.[17] Upon graduation, she successfully lobbied the Massachusetts legislature to permit the admission of women to the state bar, and in 1882, became the first woman admitted to the Massachusetts bar. Her classmate, Nathan Abbott, would later become the founding dean of Stanford Law School. Another prominent female alum at the time, Alice Stone Blackwell, would go on to help found the League of Women Voters and edit the Woman's Journal. Takeo Kikuchi (1877), the School's first Japanese graduate, was co-founder and president of Tokyo's English Law School which grew into Chuo University. Clara Burrill Bruce (1926) was the first black woman elected editor-in-chief of a law review (the Boston University Law Review).

BU Law's first homes were 36 Bromfield Street, 18–20 Beacon Street and 10 Ashburton Place. In 1895, the University Trustees acquired 11 Ashburton Place, which was refurbished and named Isaac Rich Hall in honor of the third founder of Boston University. The dedication speaker was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. whose historic speech "The Path of the Law" was delivered in 1897. Former United States President William Howard Taft lectured on legal ethics from 1918 until his appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1921.[18]

Isaac Rich Hall housed BU Law until 1964. In 1964 BU Law occupied the bottom half of the current building, 765 Commonwealth Avenue on the Charles River Campus, colloquially known as the "Tower." BU Law shared the Tower with the School of Education for some years but now occupies the entire building. BU Law's expansive legal library, Pappas Law Library, is attached to the Tower. Pappas Law Library also occupies two basement floors of the adjacent Mugar Memorial Library, BU's main library.


BU Law Tower

Boston University School of Law offers a broad selection of legal classes and seminars (approximately 200) with a student to faculty ratio of 12:1.

Dual Degree Programs[edit]

BU Law offers dual degrees in the following programs:


The J.D. program offers certificates in the following concentrations:

LL.M. Programs[edit]

In addition to J.D. and joint degree programs, Boston University School of Law offers LL.M. programs in the following:

Study Abroad[edit]

English Language Semester Programs:

Foreign Language Semester Programs:

Full-year Programs in English:

Clinical Programs & Externships[edit]



Semester-In-Practice Programs:

Law Journals[edit]


According to BU Law's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 67.3% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[19] BU Law's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 21.9%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[20]

For new graduates, the self-reported median starting salary for the class of 2013 was $160,000 in the private sector, and $57,000 in the public sector.[21] This ranked the school #4 on the US News list "Schools Where Salaries for Grads Most Outweigh the Debt."[22] BU placed 54 graduates from the class of 2013 at NLJ 350 firms, ranking it 24th on the National Law Journal "Go-To Schools" for large law firm employment.[23]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at BU Law for the 2014-2015 academic year is $65,330.[24] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $243,230.[25]

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]