Tulane University Law School

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Tulane University Law School
Tulane Law logo.png
Motto Non Sibi Sed Suis (Latin)
Motto in English
"Not for oneself, but for one's own"
Type Private
Established 1847
Dean David Meyer[1]
Students 650
Location New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Campus Urban
Website www.law.tulane.edu

Tulane University Law School is the law school of Tulane University. It is located on Tulane's Uptown campus in New Orleans, Louisiana. Established in 1847, it is the 12th oldest law school in the United States.[2]

In addition to the usual common law and federal subjects, Tulane offers electives in the civil law, giving students the opportunity to pursue comparative education of the world's two major legal systems (Louisiana is the only state to have a civil law system, rather than common law). Students are permitted to survey a broad range of subject areas or to concentrate in one or more.

Tulane Law School's environmental law and sports law programs are considered among the strongest nationwide, and its maritime law program is among the most well-regarded in the world.[3] For more than 20 years, the school has hosted the Tulane Corporate Law Institute, a preeminent mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and corporate law forum.[4][5]

According to Tulane Law School's 2015 ABA-required disclosures, 60% of the Class of 2015 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation, excluding solo practitioners.[6]


John Giffen Weinmann Hall, Tulane University Law School's main building.

The law school's 160,000-square-foot (15,000 m2) building, John Giffen Weinmann Hall, was completed in 1995. Designed to integrate classrooms, a student lounge, a computer lab, faculty offices, and a law library that contains both national and international collections, the building is centrally located on Tulane’s Uptown campus. The law school has been on the Uptown campus since 1906, and has been housed in several buildings since then, until the completion of Weinmann Hall. The law school was located in Jones Hall from 1969 until 1995, where scenes for The Pelican Brief were filmed.

Next to Weinmann Hall on the 6200 block of Freret Street is the Law Annex, a light gray cobblestone building that houses the Career Development Office (CDO). The Law Annex was a faculty residence before being converted for its current use.[7] Nearby is the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane's main library; the Lavin-Bernick Center, which houses university dining facilities and the university bookstore; the Reily Student Recreation Center (a gym with indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and basketball, squash, and tennis courts); the Freeman School of Business; the Newcomb Art Gallery; and various other buildings.

The Uptown campus is marked by many large live oak trees and historically significant buildings. Architectural styles include Richardsonian Romanesque, Elizabethan, Renaissance, Brutalist, and Modern architecture. The front-of-campus buildings use white Indiana Limestone or orange brick for exteriors, while the middle-of-campus buildings are mostly adorned in red St. Joe brick. In all, Tulane's Uptown campus occupies more than 110 acres (0.4 km²), facing St. Charles Avenue directly opposite Audubon Park, which features the Audubon Zoo, and a 1.8-mile (2.9 km) pedestrian trail around a public golf course. The campus is also a short bicycle ride from the Mississippi River and a 25+ mile bicycling/jogging trail that runs along it. The St. Charles Avenue Streetcar Line makes the campus accessible via public transit. Loyola University is directly adjacent to Tulane, on the downriver side.

Planned improvements[edit]

In late November 2008, the university announced a donor-funded project to eliminate the street (McAlister Drive) between the law school and the cafeteria/bookstore, to transform the center of campus "into a vibrant, pedestrian environment."[8] The street has been replaced with a landscaped pedestrian walkway .[8] The project was completed in January 2010.[8] Coincidentally, in late November 2008 the City of New Orleans announced plans to add bicycle lanes to the St. Charles Avenue corridor that runs in front of Gibson Hall.[9] That work started in August 2009 and should be completed in 2010.

Academic program[edit]

Jones Hall, where the law school was located from 1969 until 1995 and where scenes for The Pelican Brief were filmed.

The U.S. News & World Report[10] rankings for 2015, released in March 2014, placed Tulane University School of Law as the 46th best law school in the nation, up from a ranking of 48th the previous year. And the school's environmental law program has been ranked 6th in the United States for 2014 and 2015.[11] "The Law School 100" for 2009-2010 ranks Tulane as 34th, relying on a qualitative (rather than quantitative) assessment.[12] The Hylton law-school rankings, conducted in 2006, put Tulane at 39th.[13] The 2010 Leiter law-school rankings put Tulane at 38th, based on student quality, using LSAT and GPA data.[14] The global financial crisis of 2007-2009 reportedly led to an increase in student selectivity for the class of 2012, as applications to law schools across the nation were estimated to have risen by 5% between 2008 and 2009, including a 15% increase at Tulane Law alone.[15]

To complete the Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree program, a student must finish six semesters in residence, 88 credit hours, an upper-level writing requirement, and a 30-hour community-service obligation. The first-year curriculum comprises eight required courses. The first-year legal-research-and-writing program is taught by instructors with significant experience as lawyers and writers, each assisted by senior fellows.

After the first year, all courses are electives, except for a required legal-profession course. All first-year and many upper-class courses are taught in multiple sections to allow for smaller classes. The upper-class curriculum includes introductory as well as advanced courses in a broad range of subject areas, including international and comparative law, business law, corporate law, environmental law, maritime law, criminal law, intellectual property, taxation, litigation, and civil procedure, among others.

Tulane Law offers six optional concentration programs for J.D. students who wish to receive one certificate of completion in an area. The six are European legal studies, environmental law, international and comparative law, maritime law, sports law, or civil law.

Tulane’s Eason Weinmann Center for Comparative Law,[16] its Maritime Law Center,[17] and its Institute on Water Policy & Law,[18] promote scholarship in comparative, maritime, and environmental law.

Tulane conducts an annual summer school in New Orleans and offers summer-study programs abroad. Tulane also offers semester-long exchange programs with select law schools in a number of countries throughout the world.

In addition to the J.D., the school offers two graduate degrees in law: The Master of Laws (LL.M.) the Doctor of Laws (S.J.D.) program. The five specialized LL.M. programs are in: maritime law, energy and environmental law, American business law, American law, and international and comparative law.[19] LL.M. students may also pursue a general LL.M., which does not concentrate in any one area.[19]

The law school offers six live-client clinical programs, in the areas of: civil litigation, criminal defense, juvenile litigation, legislative and administrative advocacy, domestic violence (the Tulane Law School Domestic Violence Clinic), and environmental law (the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic). In addition, there is a trial-advocacy program, and third-year students may engage in externships with federal and state judges, with a local death-penalty project, or with certain administrative agencies. The judicial externships are possible because of Tulane's close proximity to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, and the Louisiana Supreme Court, all of which are in New Orleans. The school was the first in the country to institute a pro bono program requiring that each student complete legally related community service prior to graduation.[20]

Every summer, BarBri, a national bar exam-preparation company, offers New York Bar Exam and Louisiana Bar Exam preparation courses at the Tulane Law School. Additionally, a California Bar Exam preparation course is offered when demand warrants it, as it did in 2010.

Strategic plan[edit]

In May 2007, Tulane Law announced a Strategic Plan[21] to improve its academic mission.[21] Most notably, the school decided to increase student selectivity by gradually reducing the incoming JD class size from a historical average of 350 students per year to a target of 250 students per year, over a period of several years.[21]

Summer study abroad[edit]

Tulane Law School was one of the first five schools in the United States to offer a foreign summer law program.[22] As of 2008, over 4,000 law students from approximately 140 U.S. law schools attended Tulane Law's summer abroad programs, taught by faculty from Tulane, other U.S. law schools, and universities abroad.[23] Through the years, prominent scholars and federal judges have highlighted Tulane's summer faculty, including Supreme Court justices Harry Blackmun, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and William Rehnquist.[23] In the past, the law school's summer programs have taken place in Amsterdam in the Netherlands; Berlin in Germany; Cambridge and London in England; Paris and Grenoble in France; Rhodes and Spetses in Greece; and Siena in Italy.

JD/MBA program[edit]

Photo taken on 2009 New Orleans port tour for Tulane JD/MBA students.

Tulane benefits from having a top law school and a top business school located immediately next to one another, both of which consistently rank among the top 50 in the nation, according to the U.S. News & World Report and the Financial Times[24] (the Finance department in particular has been ranked among the top 10 in the world on several occasions).[25][26] This close proximity has facilitated the growth of Tulane's JD/MBA program. In the '06-'07 school year, Tulane boasted of having 25 joint JD/MBA candidates.[27] In March 2007, Tulane announced that it had hired a new business law professor, whose objectives would include "maximiz[ing]...the growth of the Law School's JD/MBA joint degree," and strengthening ties between the law school and Freeman School of Business.[28] In January 2008, the Tulane JD/MBA Club held a networking event in New York City with the creator of jdmba.com, an interschool JD/MBA networking website.

Recent JD/MBA graduates have gone on to work for law firms, management consulting firms, investment banks, and in-house legal departments in New York, Houston, New Orleans, Los Angeles, and other cities. The program does not require highly qualified applicants to have significant full-time work experience.

In March 2009, the University announced the designation of a $1.5 million donation to support in perpetuity a JD/MBA professor of national stature at Tulane.[29]

JD/MHA program[edit]

The joint Juris Doctor/Master of Health Administration program with the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (TUSPH&TM) permits students to earn both degrees in 4 years, whereas normally the JD would take 3 years and the MHA, 2 years. Students take 79 units in the law school (rather than the normally-required 88 units) and 46 units in TUSPH&TM.[30] Students are permitted to skip the course Social and Behavioral Aspects of Global Health which is normally required for the Public Health Core.[30] Students take Health Care Law in the law school instead of the TUSPH&TM version of the course, and the course counts for both JD and MHA.

In recent years, the program has enrolled 0-2 students per year, and graduating students have gone into health care law practice and health care management in approximately equal numbers.

JD/MA in Latin American Studies[edit]

Enriched by Tulane's position of hosting one of the top Latin American Studies programs in the United States, the joint degree in law and Latin American Studies meets the need for "lawyer-statesmen" who know the law and who understand the societies of Latin America. The program employs a multi-disciplinary approach intended to enhance appreciation of the economic, social, political, and other forces in Latin America that influence the development of law and legal institutions. In addition to law school requirements, students pursuing the joint JD/MA in Latin American Studies must complete 24 semester hours of coursework in graduate courses approved by the Stone Center for Latin American Studies. Demonstrated competence in either Spanish or Portuguese is required, and competence in both is encouraged.

Degrees in international development[edit]

The Payson Center for International Development, which became part of the Law School in 2008, confers Master of Science, Joint Juris Doctor and Master of Science, Master of Laws (LLM) in Development, and Doctoral degrees.[31]


According to Tulane Law School's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 52% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, bar passage-required employment nine months after graduation.[6] Tulane Law School's full-time long-term bar passage-required employment rate for 2013 graduates was below the national average of 57% for ABA-approved law schools.[32]

The school ranked 125th among ABA-approved law schools in terms of the percentage of 2013 graduates with non-school-funded, full-time, long-term, bar passage required jobs nine months after graduation.[33]

Tulane Law School's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 29.5%, 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.[34] 87.3% of the Class of 2013 was employed in some capacity while 1.6% were pursuing graduate degrees and 10.7% were unemployed nine months graduation.[6]

According to U.S. News & World Report, the median starting salary for Tulane Law School graduates working in the private sector is $90,000 while the median salary of graduates working the public sector is $50,000, although the publication does not note the percentage of graduates who reported their starting salaries.[35]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Tulane Law School for the 2014-2015 academic year is $70,596.[36]

The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $262,545.[37]

Student activities[edit]

Student organizations sponsor educational programs and social events throughout the academic year. The law school also periodically hosts social events with the Tulane University School of Medicine and the Freeman School of Business.

An active moot court program holds trial and appellate competitions within the school and fields teams for a variety of interschool competitions.[38] The Law School has a chapter of the Order of the Coif.[39] The Student Bar Association functions as the student government and recommends students for appointment to faculty committees.[40] Over 40 student organizations are active at Tulane, including The Federalist Society, American Constitution Society, Maritime Law Society, Sports Law Society, Tulane Law Women, Black Law Students Association, La Alianza, Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, Environmental Law Society, and several legal fraternities.[41] The Tulane Public Interest Law Foundation raises funds, matched by the Law School, to support as many as 30 students each summer in public interest fellowships with a variety of organizations.[42]

Journals published or edited at Tulane Law School include:

Notable professors[edit]



Notable alumni[edit]



Francis T. Nicholls, served as Governor of Louisiana from 1876-1880 and elected again from 1888-1892.
Newton Crain Blanchard, was governor of Louisiana from 1904-1908.


U.S. Senators[edit]

U.S. Representatives[edit]



Other political figures[edit]



Popular culture references[edit]


  • In the Oliver Stone film JFK (1991), Kevin Costner plays Tulane Law School graduate Jim Garrison.
  • In The Pelican Brief (1993), Julia Roberts plays the role of a precocious 24-year-old Tulane Law student.
  • The documentary Green (2000) features the TELC's work.[129]
  • In the Lifetime TV movie drama about a TELC case Taking Back Our Town (2001), Myndy Crist plays Tulane Environmental Law Clinic (TELC) supervising attorney Lisa LaVie (Jordan).[130]
  • The documentary Abode (2009) features footage of a TELC student's oral argument before the Louisiana Public Service Commission.[131][132]


  • In the sitcom Frank's Place, Bubba Weisberger (played by Robert Harper) is a Tulane Law School graduate.
  • CBS 60 Minutes II features TELC’s work in the episode “Justice for Sale?” (March 24, 2000)[133]
  • PBS Frontline features TELC’s work in the episode, "Justice for Sale" (November 23, 1999)[134]
  • NOW on PBS features TELC’s work in the episode, “Formula for Disaster" (July 15, 2005).[135]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°56′07″N 90°07′22″W / 29.935344°N 90.122687°W / 29.935344; -90.122687