Roger Williams University School of Law

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Roger Williams University School of Law
Motto Magna est veritas
Established 1993
School type Private
Endowment 114.6 Million USD[1]
Dean Michael Yelnosky
Location Bristol, Rhode Island, USA
Enrollment 550[2]
Faculty 73[3][4]
USNWR ranking Tier 4[5]
Bar pass rate 87%[6]
ABA profile Roger Williams Profile

Roger Williams University School of Law (Roger Williams) is the only law school in the American state of Rhode Island. It is located approximately 18 miles south east of Providence, Rhode Island, in the town of Bristol. It was the first program established by Roger Williams University in 1993. The School of Law has been accredited by the American Bar Association since 1997 and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 2006.

According to Roger Williams's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 40.6% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo-practitioners.[7]

Enrollment and Facilities[edit]

The school enrolls approximately 575 students and has a student to faculty ratio of 20:1. The law library contains approximately 280,000 volumes.


The school's philosophy is that lawyers should serve the communities that support them. Introducing students to volunteerism and public service as part of their legal education, they believe, sets the stage for a lifetime of commitment. Students are required to complete at least 50 hours of pro bono legal work before graduation.

Roger Williams University offers a JD/Master of Science in Criminal Justice. This program is designed to prepare graduates to formulate system policy and serve effectively as administrators to United States justice system agencies. The School of Law also offers two joint-degree programs in conjunction with the University of Rhode Island. The JD/Master of Marine Affairs program is geared toward students interested in maritime, admiralty, and environmental law. The JD/Master of Science in Labor Relations and Human Resources program is designed for students interested in issues relating to employment and labor relations.


According to Roger Williams's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 40.6% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo-practitioners.[8] Roger Williams's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 33.7%, 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.[9]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Roger Williams for the 2014-2015 academic year is $51,908.[10] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $188,210.[11]

Scholarships of half to full tuition are awarded to students selected for the Honors Program. The Admissions Committee selects students, evaluating them on their academic records, LSAT scores, and recommendations.

Clinics and Student Organizations[edit]

The Marine Affairs Institute explores the legal, economic, and policy issues raised by the development of the oceans and coastal zone. Students take elective courses in traditional admiralty law and practice, pollution and environmental regulation, coastal zoning, fisheries, and the international law of the sea. The Honors Program is a three-year program of seminars, clinics, and externships. The School of Law operates a Criminal Defense Clinic and a Community Justice and Legal Assistance Clinic in Providence. Students may also engage in a semester-long supervised clerkship in a judge's chambers or in a public interest or governmental law office for academic credit. The multicultural mentor program pairs students of color with members of the bench and bar.

Other student organizations include The Docket (student newspaper), Maritime Law Society, Women's Law Association, the Alliance (LGBT), the Association of Public Interest Law, and the American Trial Lawyers Association.

Ralph Papitto Controversy[edit]

In July 2007 the school made national headlines in the wake of a racist statement made by University trustee Ralph Papitto, for whom the law school was then named, at a Roger Williams board meeting. After students protested and submitted a petition to the administration, July 18, 2007, Papitto requested that his name be removed from the school.[1] Papitto resigned as Chairman from the board and was granted the title "Chairman Emeritus". He was succeeded as Chairman by Richard Bready, the CEO of Nortek Inc., the company Papitto founded. [2]


  1. ^ Wall Street Journal article on effect of student protest
  2. ^ Article about Papitto's racial slur
  3. ^ Providence Journal article about RWU board controversy
  4. ^ Princeton Review's Admissions Statistics
  5. ^ Vault ranks as one of Northeast's most underrated law schools
  6. ^ Memo recommending RWU for AALS membership
  1. ^ Law School Almanac - 2008 Endowments retrieved on 6-6-2009.
  2. ^ Princeton Review Student Body retrieved on 6-6-2009.
  3. ^ Adjunct Faculty retrieved on 6-6-2009.
  4. ^ Faculty retrieved on 6-6-2009.
  5. ^
  6. ^ at a glance Princeton Review. retrieved on 6-9-2009.
  7. ^ "Employment Outcomes". 
  8. ^ "Employment Outcomes". 
  9. ^ "Roger Williams University Profile". 
  10. ^ "Consumer Information". 
  11. ^ "Roger Williams University Profile". 

External links[edit]