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Boston College Law School, Newton, MA

published April 12, 2007

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Founded in 1929, Boston College Law School has grown into an internationally known leader in legal education. Its beautiful 40-acre campus is located in Newton, Massachusetts.

The law school places a great deal of emphasis on the practical professional skills every good lawyer must possess. Those skills are imparted within a framework of ideals, such as justice and public service, that have made the study and practice of law a calling for so many. The school’s curriculum provides thorough knowledge of the foundations of law through an extensive array of required and elective courses and encourages students to think creatively in real-world situations through its advocacy programs, clinical programs, and student publications.

Boston College Law School also has designed an academic support program to help students adopt learning strategies in their first year of law school that will lead to academic success and to reduce the sense of academic isolation law students may experience in their first year of law school.

Student-Faculty Ratio


Admission Criteria




25th-75th Percentile






The above LSAT and GPA data pertain to the fall 2011 entering class.

*Medians have been calculated by averaging the 25th- and 75th-percentile values released by the law schools and have been rounded up to the nearest whole number for LSAT scores and to the nearest one-hundredth for GPAs.

Admission Statistics

Approximate number of applications


Number accepted


Percentage accepted


The above admission details are based on fall 2011 data.

Class Ranking and Grades

Boston College Law School awards the traditional letter grades of A through F. Official class rankings are not computed, but the Office of Career Services can provide a statistical chart of approximate percentile ranges (e.g., top 10%, top 50%) based on grade point average.

Boston College Law School assigns grade point values to letter grades along with explanation as follows:



Exceptional Work





Good Work







Competent Work





Unsatisfactory Work





Failing Work







Pass/Fail option

Starting with the fall 2011 term, upper-level law students may elect to take up to two of their elective courses (for up to 6 credits) as Pass/Fail in lieu of a letter grade. Faculty may designate which classes are eligible for Pass/Fail status and a list of such courses will be available to students before the end of each registration cycle.

Grade normalization (Curve)

For all classes in which students are evaluated by examination, the mean grade should be approximately 3.2, and the distribution of grades should be approximately as follows:











C+ and below


A law student must maintain a cumulative average of at least 2.0, measured at the end of each academic year, as well as receive a 2.0 average for each year’s work to remain in good academic standing.


Honors offered to Class of 2011


GPA Required 

Order of the Coif

3.607 and above

summa cum laude

3.764 and above

magna cum laude

3.609 – 3.759

cum laude

3.469 – 3.608


Name of Award


James W. Smith Award

Awarded to the student with the highest academic rank

Susan Grant Desmarais Award

Awarded for public service achievement and leadership

William J. O’Keefe Award

Awarded for outstanding contribution to the law school

St. Thomas More Award

Awarded based on intellectual and moral qualities

Cornelius J. Moynihan Award

Awarded for scholarship and co-curricular leadership

Richard S. Sullivan Award

Awarded for overall contribution to the law school community

John O’Reilly Award

Awarded for contribution to the life of the law school

Law School Alumni Association Award

Awarded for scholarship and service to the law school and the profession

Philip Privitera Family Award

Awarded for commitment to service

Aviam Soifer Award

Awarded for public service achievement and leadership

Dean Dennis A. Dooley Award

Awarded based on scholarship average

Lewis S. Gurwitz Award

Awarded for commitment to the underprivileged

Frederick N. Halstrom Award

Awarded for outstanding advocacy competition

McGrath & Kane Award

Awarded for academic excellence and community contribution

Sheila McGovern Award

Awarded for the achievement of personal goal

Richard G. Huber Award

Awarded for leadership and  co-curriculum

Kimberly Baker Irvin Award

Awarded for exceptional leadership


The Boston College Law Review is the oldest scholarly publication at Boston College Law School. Published five times per year, it features articles concerning legal issues of national interest. Articles from academic symposia are organized, sponsored, and published. The review gives third-year students an opportunity to edit the work of other writers.

First published in 1971, the Boston College environmental Affairs Law Review is one of the nation’s two-oldest law reviews dedicated to environmental law. In recent years, its articles have addressed such diverse topics as affordable housing, kosher food laws, economic analysis of environmental regulation, and animal rights. In recent years, it also has cultivated a reputation for hosting novel legal symposia on current environmental and land use issues. It is published two times per year.

The Boston College International and Comparative Law Review focuses on international legal issues and publishes an annual survey of European Union law. It publishes two issues annually—one in the spring and one in the winter. The spring issue pursues articles that address a variety of international and comparative law issues, such as human rights, cross-border environmental disputes, arms control, covert action, international investment, International Court of Justice jurisdiction, and terrorism, to name only a few. The winter issue contains articles (written by outside and student authors) focusing on the rapid evolution of the European Union, particularly on areas of vital concern to US practitioners advising clients who conduct business in Europe and to the academic community which is closely monitoring these developments.

The Third World Law Journal is a legal periodical that fills the need for a progressive, alternative legal perspective on issues both within the United States and in the developing world. The journal features articles discussing a complex matrix of social, economic, and political crises confronting minority groups, indigenous cultures, and under-industrialized nations. Published twice annually, its scope includes issues affecting underrepresented populations, human and civil rights, immigration, and women and children, as well as issues of disproportionate economic impact.

The Uniform Commercial Code Reporter-Digest is a research tool used by practitioners to find cases decided by all federal, state, and bankruptcy courts addressing issues related to the Uniform Commercial Code. Commercial law issues often arise in the context of contract disputes, tort claims, and bankruptcy proceedings. These issues typically relate to secured transactions, transactions in goods, banking, and investment securities. Second-year students write for the Uniform Commercial Code Reporter-Digest, and the publication is edited by third-year students.

Moot Court

The students at Boston College Law School are encouraged to be involved in a variety of internal and inter-school competitions to build the persuasive legal skills and self-confidence needed in the boardroom and the courtroom. These include proficiency in written advocacy as well as the ability to mold facts into a persuasive presentation, develop intellectual flexibility, anticipate and respond effectively to questions, and function well under pressure.

Students are able to build advocacy skills throughout their three years. First-year students may participate in negotiation and client counseling competitions sponsored in conjunction with the American Bar Association. In the second year, the intramural moot court competition focuses on appellate advocacy. In the third year of law school, the internal mock trial competition is held, and opportunities are available to compete with students from other law schools in various national advocacy competitions.

The Wendell F. Grimes Moot Court Competition in the second semester is essential for students aspiring to enter interscholastic competition and others who simply want to build their advocacy skills.

The National Moot Court Competition team participates in one of the oldest and most prestigious moot court competitions in the country, sponsored by the American College of Trial Lawyers.

The Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition team aims to participate in regional, national, and international competitions as they prepare and argue briefs regarding an appeal that could go before the International Court of Justice.

The national environmental Law Moot Court Competition team prepares an appellate brief and competes in mock oral argument regarding an important environmental issue.

The J. Braxton Craven Memorial Moot Court Competition team briefs and argues issues of constitutional law arising in mock civil or criminal cases.

The National Criminal Procedure Moot Court Competition team enters a national competition regarding a criminal procedure problem.

The Frederick Douglass Moot Court Competition team engages in an inter-school competition that focuses on significant minority issues and is sponsored by the National Black Law Students Association.

The Saul Lefkowitz Intellectual Property (Trademark) Moot Court Competition team prepares and presents cases related to trademark law.

The European Union Law Moot Court Competition is a recent addition to the school’s moot court programs. It requires the students to write briefs in English and French. If a team is invited to the oral rounds, it must argue in both languages.

Students also participate in the following moot courts:

Religious Freedom Moot Court
First Amendment Moot Court
Immigration Moot Court

Clinical Programs

Boston College Law School is widely regarded as having one of the best clinical curricula in the country in a wide range of practice areas.

There is no general rule governing how many clinical courses a student should take or the best time to enroll in them. There is also no general rule about the sequence in which clinical courses may or should be taken. However, some students prefer to wait until the third year because they want to use clinical courses as a way to transition to professional life or because the clinics in which they were interested were open only to third-year students.

The Civil Litigation Clinic is a civil clinical course that gives students the opportunity to work as practicing lawyers representing actual clients at the Boston College Legal Assistance Bureau. Students are responsible for their own cases and advise and represent clients with a variety of legal problems, including landlord-tenant disputes, Social Security appeals, employment discrimination suits, and consumer complaints.

The Criminal Justice Clinic examines the criminal justice system from the perspective of both defense attorneys and prosecutors and is made up of two programs: the BC Law Prosecution Program and the BC Defenders. The BC Defenders represent indigent clients in district court, while student prosecutors prosecute cases under the auspices of a district attorney’s office.

The Housing Law Clinic introduces students to the pervasive problem of homelessness in cities. Students litigate cases on behalf of poor individuals who are homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless if they lose their current housing. The course includes fieldwork and a weekly seminar.

The Immigration and Asylum Clinic provides students with the opportunity to apply their substantive learning in a hands-on, real-world setting. Students advise or represent clients in a wide range of immigration matters, including asylum, criminal waivers, adjustment of status, bond, appellate litigation, and amicus briefing.

In the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Clinic, students work for juvenile justice and child advocacy as well as in problem areas of juvenile representation and policy. They primarily represent girls in the Massachusetts justice system across the full range of their legal needs, including those pertaining to delinquency, post-disposition administrative advocacy, special education, personal injury, status offenses, child abuse and neglect, and public benefits.

The Women and the Law Clinic is a clinical and theoretical course that is a part of the Legal Assistance Bureau. Students will also be assigned two to three domestic cases involving matters such as divorce, custody, child support, spousal support, visitation, and restraining orders.

The Community enterprise Clinic introduces students to transactional legal work on behalf of low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations. It includes fieldwork and a weekly seminar.

Placement Facts

Starting Salaries (2010 Graduates employed Full-Time)

Private sector (25th-75th percentile)


Median in the private sector


Median in public service


Employment Details

Graduates known to be employed at graduation


Graduates known to be employed nine months after graduation


Areas of Legal Practice

Graduates employed In


Law Firms


Business and Industry




Judicial Clerkships


Public Interest Organizations








Through Boston College Law School’s externship programs, students are placed in settings outside of the law school under the supervision of practicing lawyers.

The Attorney General Program provides an intensive full-year clinical experience in civil litigation in the Government Bureau of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General. Students work directly with Bureau attorneys in the representation of state agencies and officials in state and federal courts.

Through Immigration and Asylum externship Program, students hone their immigration lawyering skills and get exposed to the realities of immigration practice. Students work either off campus at a firm or non-profit, or on campus with the Post-Deportation Human Rights Project.

The London Program is held each spring semester at King’s College London. It seeks to supplement the educational process at Boston College Law School by exposing students firsthand to a different legal culture. The program is designed to provide students with critical insight into comparative legal institutions and prepare them for international law practice, with special emphasis on international regulatory process, whether in environmental or securities regulation, antitrust, intellectual property, or human rights. Students work with a number of nonprofit environmental organizations and London law firms.

The Semester in Practice Program is designed to maximize students’ ability to improve their lawyering skills while observing experienced local lawyers and judges.

Semester in Practice: International Human Rights is a new course. It offers a unique opportunity to work on-site during the spring semester at an international human rights organization. The course is designed to provide students with real-world experience and critical insight into international legal institutions, and to prepare them for international legal practice, with special emphasis on human rights and other public interest-oriented arenas.


Through Boston College Law School’s Internships, students do not perform actual legal work, but observe legal and judicial practice. The courses include:

The Judge and the Community Court examines the functioning of the judicial process in lower-level trial courts. Students undertake this study of lower court judicial performance through clerkship-like, fieldwork placements with individual Justices of the District Court, Boston Municipal Court, Juvenile Court, and Housing Court Departments of the Massachusetts Trial Court.

The Judicial Process allows a student to sit as an intern one day per week with a series of Massachusetts Superior Court Judges (Trial Court). The student is in court as an observer, not as a law clerk.

Student organizations

American Constitution Society
Amnesty International
Art Law Group
Asian Pacific American Law Students Association
Black Law Students Association
BC Law and Asia Society
BC Law Democrats
BC Law Republicans
Business and Law Society
Children’s Rights Group
Christian Legal Society
Community Economic Development Group
Criminal Justice Law Project
Environmental Law Society
Federalist Society
Gag Order A Capella Group
Gender Violence Awareness Coalition
Gulf Coast Recovery Group
Health Law Society
Holocaust Human Rights Project
Immigration Law Group
Intellectual Property and Technology Forum
International Law Society
Jewish Law Student Association
Latin American Law Students Association
Law and Religion Program
Litigation and Advocacy Society
Muslim Law Students Association
National Lawyers Guild
Native American Law Student Association
Phi Alpha Detla
Public Interest Law Foundation
South Asian Law Students Association
Sports and Entertainment Law Society
Students for Animal Legal Defense Group
Students for Reproductive Justice
Students With Kids
St. Thomas More Society
Veterans Association
Women’s Law Center

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