Roger Williams University School of Law

The information on this page was provided by the law school.

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs


Introduction: Access and Affordability

As Rhode Island’s only law school, Roger Williams University School of Law offers students a level of access, connection, and experience that few institutions can rival. We have the undivided attention of our state bench and bar, exceptional clinical and externship programs, a world-class faculty, and a broad and accomplished alumni base—all combining to create an invaluable network of career entry points. Whether studying at our beautiful seaside campus in Bristol or getting real-world experience at our exciting new urban campus in the dynamic capital city of Providence, our students enjoy “insider access” to choices, experiences, and opportunities that give them the experiential edge in launching their legal careers.

Our goal at RWU Law is to deliver a rigorous yet personalized and, crucially, marketable legal education that positions our graduates to thrive in their early career, even in challenging legal employment markets—while avoiding the rising tuition costs and spiraling student debt. So in 2014, we took the unprecedented step of lowering our tuition by 18 percent. Today, the Affordable Excellence Tuition Guarantee remains in force, and the savings are significant. For the 2018–2019 academic year, RWU Law has fixed its tuition at $35,735, making us the best-priced ABA-accredited private law school in the Northeast—and one of the best legal education values on the entire East Coast. And tuition will remain frozen at this rate for up to three years, as long as the student remains continuously enrolled full time.

Traditional Main Campus, Experiential Urban Campus

RWU Law students enjoy the best of two worlds: the peaceful environs of our main campus in Bristol—a classic New England village nestled on the shores of Mount Hope Bay, offering 1Ls and others a perfect sanctuary for traditional study and reflection. Meanwhile, our exciting urban experiential campus offers 2Ls and 3Ls direct access to the dynamism and opportunity of Providence, Rhode Island’s capital and the hub of its legal, business, and cultural communities. For law students, the synergies can be truly transformative.

Top Educators and Connections

RWU Law students learn from full-time professors with national reputations, both in academia and in practice, as well as talented adjuncts at the pinnacle of their fields—all of them sharing a resolutely student-centered philosophy. Professors at RWU Law aren’t remote, aloof authority figures—they’re working lawyers, actively engaged in their areas of expertise, and an integral part of our student support system. They are friends, advisors, and mentors who help students navigate the mysteries and mastery of the legal profession.

In our hallways, RWU Law students meet and interact with US Senators and Representatives, federal and state judges, top statewide elected officials, mayors, partners from top law firms, and many more. Those individuals teach here as adjuncts, attend state and regional conferences and events, judge our moot court competition (with the full Rhode Island Supreme Court presiding over the finals), and simply chat with and get to know students, both in the classroom and at social gatherings.

Hands-On Experience Guaranteed

From its very inception, RWU Law has been a leader and innovator in experiential education. We offer a remarkable array of experiential opportunities through our clinics, our clinical externships, and our Semester-in-Practice program. We are one of only a handful of schools that guarantees every student at least one substantial clinical experience during their course of study here—and many of our students complete more. Our experiential campus in Providence serves as headquarters to our In-House Clinical Programs and a hub for our Clinical Externship Programs, while permitting students who take advantage of those opportunities to attend classes in Providence as well.

Clinics and Externships

At RWU Law, we believe that lawyers should use their legal skills to serve their communities—and that introducing law students to social justice ideals can set the stage for a lifetime of valuable societal contributions. With its roots in public interest law, our Feinstein Center for Pro Bono & Experiential Education guides this mission. Every RWU Law student is required to provide a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono legal service prior to graduation, helping to increase access to justice while gaining valuable legal experience.

In-House Clinical Programs

At our In-House Clinics, students in their last three semesters of law school handle their own clients and cases from start to finish under the supervision of faculty members. With a low case load, students learn to manage every aspect of a client’s case with the safety net of faculty oversight. Choose from the following programs:

  • Business Start-up Clinic
  • Criminal Defense Clinic
  • Immigration Clinic
  • Veterans Disability Appeals Field Clinic

Clinical and Externship Programs

Through our Clinical Externships, students train outside the law school under the supervision of attorneys or judges, focusing on assigned projects that deepen their substantive knowledge and skill base while helping build their professional network. Students earn academic credit while working under the supervision of legal services lawyers, public defenders, prosecutors, government attorneys, corporate counsel, or judges in the local community, while making important professional connections and learning invaluable lessons about real-world practice. Choose from the following programs:

  • Corporate Counsel Externship Program
  • Environmental and Land Use Law Externship Program
  • Judicial Externship Program
  • Prosecution Externship Program
  • Public Interest Externship Program

Experiential Opportunities

The Feinstein Center also coordinates a vast network of other experiential opportunities, including

  • The Semester-In-Practice, which enables students to earn a full semester of credit working in New England; New York; Washington, DC; or anywhere in the world.
  • Alternative Spring Break, which allows students, as early as their first year, to spend spring break fully immersed in a local or national public interest legal service project.
  • The Pro Bono Collaborative (PBC), which mobilizes Rhode Island law firms, law students, and community organizations in a unique three-way partnership that provides desperately needed legal assistance for low-income communities.
  • The Rhode Island Center for Justice, a nonprofit public interest law center which works to protect legal rights to ensure justice for vulnerable individuals, families, and communities in Rhode Island and offers postgraduate fellowships open exclusively to recent RWU Law alumni.

Student Activities

Beyond their academic and experiential pursuits, RWU Law students enjoy an engaging array of extracurricular groups and social activities. From Law Review to Moot Court to the Student Bar Association, and through dozens of student organizations, our students continually expand their network of friends, acquaintances, and legal associations.

There is plenty of fun to be had as well, whether stepping out in style for the annual Barrister’s Ball, playing softball with the Quahogs, or pitting wits against professors, alumni, and fellow students in our wildly popular intramural Jeopardy competition.

Curriculum

Our curriculum integrates intellectual theory, case analysis, and practical lawyering skills. The fundamental building blocks of effective lawyering constitute the first- and second-year curriculum. Students learn the skills of traditional legal analysis and the ability, which every lawyer must master, to elicit and convey information. Our Legal Practice program and other required courses prepare students to become problem solvers; to comprehend, analyze, and synthesize complex material; and to communicate their positions effectively. In the latter years of their education, students gain expertise in legal specialties through clustering elective courses in particular fields of interest.

Joint-Degree Programs

A joint degree can confer many benefits—deepening and broadening the graduate’s education, professional skill set, and earning power—while also saving time and money by enabling the earning of two degrees simultaneously rather than sequentially. RWU Law currently administers five joint-degree programs, each offering unique and exciting benefits as well as a significant reduction in the time required to complete each degree separately:

  • Juris Doctor/Master of Marine Affairs (JD/MMA)
  • Juris Doctor/Master of Science in Criminal Justice (JD/MSCJ)
  • Juris Doctor/Master of Science in Cyber Security (JD/MSCS)
  • Juris Doctor/Master of Science in Historic Preservation (JD/MSHP)
  • Juris Doctor/Master of Science in Labor Relations and Human Resources (JD/MSLRHR)

Marine Affairs

RWU Law’s Marine Affairs Institute (MAI) is home to some of North America’s top experts on marine law and policy. In addition, as home to Rhode Island’s Sea Grant Legal Program, the MAI hires exceptional law students as Sea Grant Law Fellows to conduct legal research and analysis for government agencies, industry, and nonprofit organizations, acquiring hands-on experience to supplement and deepen classroom knowledge.

Honors Program

The Honors Program is a three-year program of seminars, clinics, and externships for students who demonstrate exceptional ability and achievement before coming to law school. Substantial scholarships are awarded to incoming students who are selected for the Honors Program. The Admissions Committee selects students, evaluating them on their academic records, LSAT scores, and recommendations.

Diversity

At RWU Law, we believe a legal education is vitally enhanced by diverse classroom experiences in which concepts are challenged and considered from many different cultural and legal perspectives. That’s why we offer a rich, challenging educational experience that reflects the diversity we celebrate as part of our mission. In the 2017–2018 academic year, the diversity of our entering class reached 28 percent, while the school’s overall student body diversity stands at 26 percent.

Career Development

The Office of Career Services is dedicated to serving the needs of law students, alumni, and the legal community. The office features a welcoming suite for career research, on-campus interviews, and mock interviews. All of these tools help to prepare students to take advantage of the versatility of the Juris Doctor degree.

Study Abroad

The School of Law offers programs in Cape Town, South Africa; Granada, Spain; and The Hague, Netherlands, through a partnership with Stetson University College of Law.

Admission

Admission is competitive and is based on the undergraduate grade-point average (UGPA) and the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score, as well as other indicators of probable success in the study of law, such as a graduate degree, work experience, undergraduate extracurricular activities, and community service. Applicants must register with LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service. A personal statement and the $60 fee must accompany all applications. A résumé and one letter of recommendation are required.

Financial Aid

Merit-based scholarships of up to full tuition are available; no separate application is required. Federal and state governmental agencies, as well as private lenders, offer student loans at comparative rates and flexible repayment terms. Students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for federal loans.

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at Roger Williams:

2.91 to 3.56

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Roger Williams:

146 to 153

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Roger Williams:

2.91 to 3.56

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Roger Williams:

146 to 153

120
135
150
165
180

25-75% UGPA Range at Roger Williams:

2.91 to 3.56

2.00
2.58
3.16
3.74
4.33

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Roger Williams:

146 to 153

120
135
150
165
180

Contact Information

10 Metacom Avenue,
Bristol, RI 02809-5171,
United States