Legal education began at William and Mary in 1779, at the urging of Thomas Jefferson. He was Governor of Virginia at the time and a member of the College's Board of Visitors. Jefferson believed that aspiring members of the profession should be trained to be citizen lawyers -passionate legal advocates and honorable human beings. In every course, School of Law , use their professional and personal insights to emphasize the human element of the practice of law. Students arrive with sharp intellects and wildly diverse talents and dedicate their time to collaborating on projects of real worth. In 34 student organizations , students collaborate on service projects, edit law journals and compete on champion moot court, trial, and alternative dispute resolution teams. In pioneering Legal Skills Program, students are part of a working mock law firm that conducts research, prepares briefs and tries cases in the McGlothlin Courtroom, the most technologically advanced in the world. The Law School is dedicated to helping the graduates find jobs that they're passionate about. The Career Services staff uses huge alumni network and connections with thousands of worldwide law firms and non-profits to place students with the summer positions, clerkships and first jobs that lead to meaningful, rewarding careers. William and Mary graduates are leaders in law firms, counselors to businesses and higher education, public interest gadfly, judges, professors, prosecutors and public defenders.
The Honor System
A tradition since 1779, an honor system administered by students is among William and Mary's oldest and most important traditions dating back to 1779. At its core, the honor system requires that students conduct themselves honestly in all matters related to student life. At the Law School , the honor system is administered by the Honor Council, composed of students from each class. The existence of the honor system, and the student body's commitment to it, permits a community of trust and an atmosphere of freedom at the Law School .
LL.M. Program is designed for individuals who received their legal training outside the United States and would like to expand their knowledge of American and international legal systems. The LL.M. Program in the American Legal System begins in mid-August each year. The fall semester ends in mid-December and the spring semester begins in early January, culminating with graduation in mid-May. A series of classes on the American legal system is required of all LL.M. degree candidates and is held the week prior to the beginning of fall semester classes. LL.M. candidates usually complete the program in one academic year of full-time study.
The J.D. degree is the basic law degree. With a J.D. (and after passing a state Bar exam), students can be a lawyer, whether that involves practicing law, or working in business, or politics, or public service, or whatever you want. The Law School 's required courses like Torts, Contracts, Property, and others, give a solid foundation in law and the legal system. After that, the elective curriculum lets students build on that foundation by selecting courses from a wide range of legal specializations.
The Law Library's 3,80,000 volume collections, comfortable building, and service-oriented staff offer students and other users an excellent setting for study and research. The collection offers a strong combination of primary and secondary materials in Anglo-American law, including an extensive collection of reported decisions, statutes, and administrative materials from the U.S. and abroad. The considerable treatise collection is particularly strong in the areas of constitutional law, environmental law, public and private international law, jurisprudence, legal history, Roman law, and taxation. With two computer labs and a wireless network, the library provides wide access to electronic information sources.
William and Mary Law School offers many opportunities to practice the wide range of skills necessary to provide clients with competent representation of the highest calibre and be successful in the practice of law. In addition to being an Associate in Legal Skills firm for two-years, which offers a solid foundation in lawyering skills and professional ethics, students have many opportunities in second and third years to represent real clients in actual cases through clinical program.
- The Legal Aid Clinic in the Williamsburg office of the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia provides legal services to indigent people in a variety of civil matters.
- The Federal Tax Practice Clinic , assists in the representation of low -income Virginia taxpayers before the IRS, U.S. Tax Court, and U.S. District Court.
- The Domestic Violence Clinic enables to represent victims of domestic violence in obtaining protection, as well as in the legal issues that arise as a result of such violence.
All the while, students are engaged in learning opportunities outside the classroom through the Law School's 34 student organizations and four student-edited journals. Participation in some of these endeavours, such as the National Trial Team and journals, are eligible for credit.
Centre for Legal and Court Technology
Begun as the Courtroom 21 Project in 1993, the Centre for Legal and Court Technology (CLCT) is a joint project of William and Mary Law School and the National Centre for State Courts . CLCT is best known for the Law School's McGlothlin Courtroom, the hub of the Courtroom 21 Project, which is the world's most technologically advanced trial and appellate courtroom. CLCT's primary mission is "to improve the world's legal systems through the appropriate use of technology".
William & Mary School of Law
613 South Henry Street
Williamsburg, Virginia 23185
Ph: 757- 221-3800
Fax: 757- 221-3261