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 26[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 26th in the country.[6] Three specialties are in the top 10, including Health Law (#5), Tax Law (#7), and Intellectual Property Law (#9). Princeton Review ranks it 2nd place nationally in "Best Professors"[7] and 7th place for "Best Classroom Experience."[8] For the class of 2017, the median student LSAT score was 163 and median GPA was 3.66.[9]

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. Nearly 700 students are enrolled in the full-time J.D. degree program and about 350 in the School's five LLM degree programs. The School offers more than 200 classes and seminars, 21 study abroad opportunities, and 18 dual degree programs. Students learn critical legal theory and doctrine in classes that average a 12:1[10] student/faculty ratio, while developing professional lawyering skills in the School’s 1L Lawyering Lab, 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.[11]


BU Law's most recent entering class comes from 25 states and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. These students represent 17 countries and 119 undergraduate institutions. [12]

Admission to Boston University School of Law is very competitive. There were 208 students who matriculated in the fall of 2014 out of a pool of 4,218 J.D. applicants. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2014 entering class were 160 and 165, respectively, with a median of 163. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.42 and 3.74, respectively, with a median of 3.65.[13]


Boston University School of Law ranks #26 among American law schools in the 2016 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 #7; and Intellectual Property Law #9.

The Journal of Legal Education ranks BU Law #12 for "Where Big Firm Partners Went to Law School," and the School ranks #19 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[edit]

Boston University School of Law encompasses the Sumner M. Redstone Building and 17-story law tower.

On September 13, 2012, media executive and former BU Law lecturer Sumner Redstone donated $18 million[15] to expand the School’s facilities. Opened in 2014 alongside the Law Tower, the 100,000-square-foot, five-story building houses most of the law school's classrooms, which are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The Redstone Building[16] welcomes visitors into the glass-enclosed Robert T. Butler Atrium on the first floor, and houses the Samuel M. Fineman Law Library and McCausland Commons on the second floor. It also provide new facilities to support clinical, transactional and professional training programs. Student locker facilities, lounges, a small dining facility, and other student function and informal meeting spaces are located throughout the new building. The materials, color and exterior detailing of the Redstone Building have been 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 faces a paved entry forecourt off the main east-west pedestrian path, which has been re-graded, paved and landscaped with new trees and plantings. The open area to the north and east of the Law Tower has been 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 has been redesigned to emphasize the visual connection between the original and the new entrances to the school. Plantings are native species and select ornamental species that maintain the existing planted character of the BU campus.

The School’s 17-story tower underwent a complete renovation and reopened in 2015. Its design faithfully rehabilitated most of Sert's original tower while taking deliberate measures within the original architect's design vocabulary to make the existing building more acceptable to the 21st century needs of its inhabitants. All windows were 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 were totally refurbished. The tower was renovated with new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, larger bathrooms, and modern facilities to house the school's administrative departments, faculty offices, moot courtrooms and law journals. The spalled cast-in-place concrete of the building was repaired where needed, and care was taken to match existing color and texture as much as possible. Precast fins and other precast elements on the exterior were repaired or replaced as necessary, and some of the full-story precast panels were 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.


According to BU Law's official 2014 ABA-required disclosures, 72.8% of the Class of 2014 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[19] BU Law's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 16.7%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2014 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 71 graduates from the class of 2014 at NLJ 250 firms, ranking it 19th on the National Law Journal "Go-To Schools" for large law firm employment.[23]


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:

  • J.D./LL.M. in Asian Legal Studies with National University of Singapore
  • J.D./LL.M. in Banking and Financial Law
  • J.D./LL.M. in Chinese Law with Tsinghua University
  • J.D./LL.M. in European Law with Panthéon-Assas University
  • J.D./LL.M. in Finance with Institute for Law and Finance
  • J.D./LL.M. in International and European Business Law with ICADE (Madrid)
  • J.D./M.A. in Law and English
  • J.D./M.B.A. in Law and Health Sector Management
  • J.D./M.A. in Law and History
  • J.D./M.A. in Law and International Relations
  • Accelerated 3-Year J.D./M.B.A. in Law and Management
  • J.D./M.B.A. in Law and Management
  • J.D./M.S. in Law and Mass Communication
  • J.D./M.D. in Law and Medicine
  • J.D./M.A. in Law and Philosophy
  • J.D./M.A. in Law and Preservation Studies
  • J.D./M.P.H. in Law and Public Health
  • J.D./LL.M. in Law and Taxation


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

  • Health Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • International Law
  • Litigation and Dispute Resolution
  • Transactional Law

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:

  • American Law (for Non-U.S. lawyers)
  • Banking and Financial Law
  • Executive LL.M. in International Business Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Taxation (Online option as well)

Study Abroad[edit]

English Language Semester Programs:

  • Bucerius Law School (Hamburg, Germany)
  • The Buchmann Faculty of Law (Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • École des Hautes Études Commerciales (HEC Paris)
  • Graduate Institute of International & Development Studies (Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Harris Manchester College (Oxford, UK)
  • Leiden University (Leiden, The Netherlands)
  • Tsinghua University (Beijing, China)
  • The National University of Singapore (The Republic of Singapore)
  • The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, China)
  • Université Jean Moulin, Lyon III (Lyon, France)
  • Universidad Pontificia Comillas (ICADE–Madrid, Spain)

Foreign Language Semester Programs:

  • The University of Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • The University of Florence (Florence, Italy)
  • Université Jean Moulin, Lyon III (Lyon, France)
  • Panthéon-Assas University (Paris, France)
  • Universidad Pontificia Comillas (ICADE–Madrid, Spain)

Full-year Programs in English:

  • Universidad Pontificia Comillas (ICADE–Madrid, Spain)
  • Panthéon-Assas University (Paris, France)
  • The National University of Singapore (The Republic of Singapore)

Clinical Programs & Externships[edit]


  • Africa iParliaments Clinic
  • American Legislative Practice
  • Criminal Law: Prosecutor Program
  • Criminal Law: Public Defender Program (Adult)
  • Criminal Law: Public Defender Program (Juvenile)
  • Employment Rights Clinic
  • Entrepreneurship & IP Law Clinic
  • Housing, Employment, Family and Disability Clinic
  • Human Trafficking Clinic
  • Immigrants' Rights Clinic
  • International Human Rights Clinic
  • Wrongful Convictions Clinic


  • Judicial Externship
  • Legal Externship
  • Government Lawyering Externship
  • Health Law Externship
  • Community Courts Externship
  • Affordable Housing Externship

Semester-In-Practice Programs:

  • Human Rights (United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Government Lawyering (Washington, DC)
  • Independent Proposal

Law Journals[edit]

  • Boston University Law Review
  • American Journal of Law & Medicine
  • Review of Banking & Financial Law
  • Boston University International Law Journal
  • Journal of Science & Technology Law
  • Public Interest Law Journal


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at BU Law for the 2015–16 academic year is $67,802.[24] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $243,230.[25]

Notable alumni[edit]


External links[edit]