Howard University School of Law

Coordinates: 38°56′37″N 77°03′30″W / 38.9437°N 77.0584°W / 38.9437; -77.0584
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Howard University School of Law
MottoVeritas et Utilitas
Parent schoolHoward University
Established1869[1]
School typePrivate law school
DeanDanielle R. Holley-Walker[2]
LocationWashington, D.C., U.S.
Enrollment464[3]
Faculty37 full-time, 63 part-time[3]
USNWR ranking125th (2024)[4]
Bar pass rate93.1% (2020)[5]
Websitewww.law.howard.edu

Howard University School of Law (Howard Law or HUSL) is the law school of Howard University, a private, federally chartered historically black research university in Washington, D.C. It is one of the oldest law schools in the country and the oldest historically black law school in the United States.[6]

Howard University School of Law confers about 185 Juris Doctor and Master of Law degrees annually to students from the United States and countries in South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia.[1] The school was accredited by the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools in 1931.[1]

History[edit]

Howard University opened its legal department, led by John Mercer Langston, on January 6, 1869.[1] The founders of Howard Law recognized "a great need to train lawyers who would have a strong commitment to helping black Americans secure and protect their newly established rights" during the country's tumultuous Reconstruction era.[1]

The first class consisted of six students who met three evenings a week in the homes and offices of the department's four teachers.[1] Classes were held in various locations throughout the years before the law school settled into its current location at 2900 Van Ness Street N.W. in 1974.[1] At the time, the LL.B program required only two years of study. Ten students were awarded degrees at the first commencement ceremony, which was held on February 3, 1871.[1]

The school was accredited by the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools in 1931.[1]

Women at Howard Law[edit]

Howard Law was the first school in the nation to have a non-discriminatory admissions policy. From its founding, it admitted white male and female students along with black students.[7] It was a progressive policy at the time to admit women, but only eight women graduated from Howard Law during the first 30 years of its existence.[8]

An 1890 review of women lawyers in the United States published in The Green Bag, found that many women had difficulty being admitted to law school, or gaining admission to the bar, and practice, even at Howard.[9]

Charlotte E. Ray was admitted to Howard's law program in 1869 and graduated in 1872, becoming its first black female lawyer.[10] It is reported that Ray applied for admission to the bar using initials for her given and middle names, in order to disguise her gender, because she was "[a]ware of the school's reluctant commitment to the principle of sexual equality."[8][page needed]

Mary Ann Shadd Cary was among four women enrolled in the law school in 1880. She said in 1890 that she had actually been admitted to Howard's law program in September 1869, prior to Ray.[9] However, Cary claims she was barred from graduating on time because of her gender and did not graduate until 1883.[9]

Eliza A. Chambers, an early white female graduate of Howard's law program, was admitted in 1885 and successfully completed the three-year course of study, earning two diplomas.[9] But, "the Law School faculty refused to hand in [Eliza's] name to the examiners, for admission to practice, omitting her from the list of her male classmates whom they recommended, simply because she was a woman." After that, she succeeded in entering practice.[9]

Ties to the civil rights movement[edit]

Howard University School of Law has significant ties to the civil rights movement. Former HUSL Dean Charles Hamilton Houston's work for the NAACP earned him the title of "The Man Who Killed Jim Crow."[11] Thurgood Marshall, a 1933 graduate of Howard Law, successfully argued the landmark Brown v. Board of Education case before the U.S. Supreme Court and in 1967 became the first African-American Supreme Court Justice.[12] In 1950, Howard law graduate Pauli Murray published States' Laws on Race and Color, an examination and critique of state segregation laws throughout the nation. Thurgood Marshall called the book the "bible" of the civil rights movement.[13] In 1952 and again in 1953, two HUSL professors, James Nabrit Jr. and George E. C. Hayes, successfully argued the landmark Supreme Court case Bolling v. Sharpe, a companion case to Brown v. Board of Education.[14][15][16][17][18]

Academics[edit]

Curriculum[edit]

First year students at Howard Law are required to take courses on civil procedure; constitutional law; contracts; criminal law; legislation and regulation; legal reasoning, research, and writing; real property; and torts.[19] Students must also take courses on evidence and professional responsibility and fulfill the school's scholarly writing requirement.[19]

The school offered 126 courses beyond the first year curriculum in the 2021-22 academic year.[3]

Degrees offered[edit]

Howard University School of Law offers the Juris Doctor (J.D.)[20] and the Master of Laws (LL.M.).[21] Additionally, students can enroll in the four-year J.D./M.B.A. dual degree program with the Howard University School of Business.[22]

HUSL students can also earn a certificate in family law.[23]

Faculty[edit]

As of 2022, Howard Law employed 37 full-time faculty and 63 non-full-time faculty.[3] The school's student-faculty ratio accounting for full-time faculty was 12.5 to 1.[3] Over 80 percent of faculty members are people of color.

Programs and clinics[edit]

Howard Law boasts three institutes and centers: the Education Rights Center, the Institute of Intellectual Property and Social Justice, and the World Food Law Institute.[24]

The school's Clinical Law Center also offers eight in-house legal clinics that provide students with first-hand legal experience as well as an Externship and Equal Justice Program.[25] These clinics are:

Publications[edit]

Howard Law has published the student-managed Howard Law Journal since 1955.[26] The school also publishes the Howard Human & Civil Rights Law Review, formerly known as the Human Rights & Globalization Law Review and the successor to the Howard Scroll: Social Justice Law Review.[27]

The Barrister is the HUSL student-edited newspaper.[28]

The school publishes a news journal, The Jurist,[29] and the Howard Docket newsletter.[30] For the school's 140th anniversary, the school published A Legacy of Defending the Constitution: A Pictorial History Book of Howard University School of Law (1869-2009).[31]

Student life[edit]

Howard Law enrolled 464 J.D. students for the 2021-2022 academic year, 100% of whom were enrolled full-time.[3] The student body is two-thirds women, and just over three-fourths of J.D. students identify as Black or African-American. About 15% identify as multiracial, with small numbers of students who are Hispanic, Asian, White, or another group.[3] As of 2022, the law school admitted 31 percent of applicants. HUSL students may participate in 26 extra-curricular groups, including the moot court team, associations focused on specific areas of law, law fraternities, and political, ethnic, and religious affiliation groups.[32]

Campus[edit]

The campus

The campus is located at 2900 Van Ness St NW, Washington, DC 20008 in the upper Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., in the Forest Hills area of the city. It is a few blocks from the University of the District of Columbia and the headquarters of Intelsat. The law school is located on its own 22-acre (89,000 m2) campus approximately five miles from the main campus.[33]

The campus was built by Dunbarton College of the Holy Cross, which occupied it until the school closed in 1973.[34] The school's main building, Houston Hall, is named after Charles Hamilton Houston.[33] The library was named after Vernon Jordan after his death in March 2021.[35]

Admissions[edit]

Howard Law had a 31% acceptance rate in 2022 with the school receiving 1,813 applications.[3] The school's matriculation rate was 28% with 160 of the 565 admits enrolling.[3] The median LSAT score for students enrolling in HUSL in 2022 was 154 (60th percentile)[36] and the median GPA was 3.49.[3]

Employment[edit]

According to Howard Law's official 2022 ABA-required disclosures, 78% of the Class of 2022 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation.[37] HUSL's full-time long-term bar passage-required employment rate for 2022 graduates was similar to the national average of 77% for ABA-approved law schools, estimated ten months after graduation.[38]

According to the National Directory of Legal Employers, 128 firms conduct on-campus interviews at Howard Law and includes elite firms like Debevoise & Plimpton, which only conducts interviews at 25 law schools.[39] In terms of elite placement as of 2013, while more than 60% students who graduated from Yale Law School and Cornell Law School in 2013 were hired for federal clerkships or at law firms with more than 250 employees,[40][41] only 13% of 2013 Howard Law graduates secured such positions.[42]

Howard Law's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 10%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2022 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[43] Of the 160 graduates of the Class of 2022, 84.4% had some full time job, and 77.5% had a full-time job requiring a JD.[43]

Howard Law placed 45th on the 2014 National Law Journal "Top 50 Go-To" list, climbed to No. 22 on the 2015 list, fell to 37th for the 2016 list, and climbed back to 32nd for the 2017 list. The list ranks the top 50 schools by the percentage of JDs who accept first-year associate positions at the 100 largest firms.[44][45]

Costs[edit]

The cost of tuition and fees at Howard Law for the 2022-2023 academic year is $37,160, and estimated cost of attendance is $68,620 when estimated living expenses are included.[3] The $68,620 total cost of attendance at Howard Law is lower than some schools in the D.C. area — for example George Washington University Law School's total cost of attendance was $100,000 for the 2023-2024 academic year[46] — but higher than others, such as the University of the District of Columbia's David A. Clarke School of Law where the total cost of attendance for D.C. residents for the 2023-2024 school year was $45,731 (and $58,665 for non-residents).[47]

The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $248,300 as of 2022.[48]

Rankings[edit]

U.S. News & World Report ranked Howard Law 98th out of 192 schools in its 2023 rankings.[49] Its ranking fell to 125th in the 2024 rankings, as the ranking methodology changed dramatically from the prior year.[50]

Notable alumni[edit]

Civil rights activism[edit]

Judges[edit]

Politicians[edit]

Other[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "History". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 5 October 2015. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  2. ^ "Howard University Press Release". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 27 August 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Howard University School of Law 2022 Standard 509 Information Report" (PDF). Howard University School of Law. Retrieved 23 June 2023.
  4. ^ "Howard University". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 13 May 2023.
  5. ^ "2020 Raw Data Law School Rankings". Public Legal. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  6. ^ "Text of Recognizing and honoring Howard University School of Law's 140-year legacy of social justice and its continued commitment to the training..." GovTrak.us. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  7. ^ Smith, Jr., J. Clay (1999). The Making of the Black Lawyer 1844–1944. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  8. ^ a b Drachman, Virginia (1998). Sisters in Law: Women Lawyers in Modern American History. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674809918.
  9. ^ a b c d e Robinson, Lelia J (1890). "Women Lawyers in the United States" (PDF). The Green Bag. II: 28. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  10. ^ "Ray, Charlotte E. (1850-1911)". BlackPast.org. 16 November 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  11. ^ "Charles Hamilton Houston: The Man Who Killed Jim Crow". IIP Digital. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  12. ^ "Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court Justice". Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Archived from the original on 14 August 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  13. ^ Schulz, Kathryn (April 17, 2017). "The Civil-Rights Luminary You've Never Heard Of". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
  14. ^ Pace, Eric (30 December 1997). "James M. Nabrit Jr. Dies at 97; Led Howard University". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  15. ^ "JAMES M. NABRIT JR. BIOGRAPHY". Howard University. February 10, 2015. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015.
  16. ^ Bolling v. Sharpe, 347 U.S. 497 (1954)
  17. ^ "Washington, D.C.: A Challenge to Jim Crow in the Nation's Capital". Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  18. ^ "Bolling v. Sharpe". The Catholic University of America, Judge Kathryn J. Dufour Law Library. Retrieved 2020-07-13.
  19. ^ a b "Law School Required Curriculum". Howard University School of Law. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  20. ^ "JD Application and Information". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  21. ^ "Master of Law (LLM) Application and Brochure". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  22. ^ "J.D./MBA Program". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 23 February 2009. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  23. ^ "Family Law Certificate Program". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  24. ^ "Institutes and Centers". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  25. ^ "Clinical Education at Howard". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  26. ^ "Howard Law Journal". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  27. ^ "Howard Human & Civil Rights Law Review". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 11 August 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  28. ^ "The Barrister". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  29. ^ "The Jurist". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  30. ^ "The Howard Docket". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  31. ^ "A Legacy of Defending the Constitution". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 17 July 2014.
  32. ^ "Extra-Curricular Activities". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  33. ^ a b "Our Campus". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  34. ^ "HUSL 140th Anniversary". Howard University School of Law. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  35. ^ Alonda, Thomas (March 8, 2021). "Howard University Names Law Library in Honor of Civil Rights Activist Vernon Jordan". Howard University. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  36. ^ "LSAT Percentiles Table". Cambridge LSAT. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  37. ^ American Bar Association. "Employment Summary for 2022 Graduates". Howard University School of Law. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  38. ^ Caron, Paul. "Employment Outcomes as of March 15, 2023 (Class of 2022 Graduates)" (PDF). American Bar Association. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  39. ^ "Debevoise & Plimpton LLP". The National Association for Law Placement. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  40. ^ "Class of 2013 Employment". Yale Law School. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  41. ^ "Statistics". Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  42. ^ "Employment Summary for 2016 Graduates" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-08-14. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  43. ^ a b "Howard University Profile". Law School Transparency. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  44. ^ "Howard Law grads get major law firm attention". ABA Journal. Liane Jackson. Retrieved 2018-01-25.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  45. ^ "The Top 50 Go-To Law Schools | National Law Journal". National Law Journal. Retrieved 2018-01-25.
  46. ^ "Cost of Attendance". GW Law. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  47. ^ "Full Time First Year Cost of Attendance". University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  48. ^ "Howard University Profile, Cost". Law School Transparency. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  49. ^ "Howard University Law School". US News & World Report. Retrieved 2023-04-10.
  50. ^ Karen Sloan (11 May 2023). "Revamped US News law school rankings yield major shifts". Reuters. Retrieved 24 June 2023.
  51. ^ "Danielle M. Conway - Howard University School of Law". law.howard.edu. Archived from the original on 18 April 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  52. ^ Ryan Schwier and Ravay Smith (February 23, 2015). "'Thirst For Justice': Indiana's Pioneering Black Lawyers". Indiana Legal Archive. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  53. ^ "Dovey Johnson Roundtree, Barrier-Breaking Lawyer, Dies at 104". The New York Times. 2018-05-21. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-24.

External links[edit]

38°56′37″N 77°03′30″W / 38.9437°N 77.0584°W / 38.9437; -77.0584