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The Boston University School of Law

published October 18, 2004

( 334 votes, average: 4.7 out of 5)
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Boston University School of Law was founded in 1872 by a group of educators, lawyers, law teachers, and jurists. The faculty uses the Socratic teaching method; instead of lecturing to students, the school’s professors encourage interactive dialogue during class.

BU Law’s curriculum offers more than 150 courses, five concentrations, and 16 semester-abroad programs. The school’s clinical programs teach real-world skills under the close supervision of experienced professors and practitioners. Students can cross-register in other BU graduate schools, pursue dual degrees by combining law study with other BU graduate programs, or pursue combined JD/LLM degrees in either tax or banking and financial law on an accelerated basis.

BU Law offers one of the widest selections of overseas study opportunities, in which students study the host country’s legal system and culture. They live and work with international teachers, scholars, and fellow students.

The school’s career development office offers resources to law students and gives them advice to help them reach their career goals.

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

The Registrar provides only the following information concerning class ranks.

The Registrar informs the top five students who have completed the first year in each section of their section ranks and provides cutoffs for the top 10% ,top 25%, and top 33.3% of each section.

For each class, and with respect to both average earned during the most recent year and cumulative average, effective May 2011, the Registrar will inform the top 15 students, who have completed the second or third year, of their ranks and provide cutoffs for the top 10% , top 25%, and top 33.3% of the class.

Boston University has a letter grading system. The numerical equivalents for letter grades are as follows:























The minimum passing grade is D. Final grades are released to students by the registrar and not by the instructor; however, an instructor may change final grades to rectify arithmetical or mathematical errors. A faculty vote is required to change final grades.

Grade normalization (Curve)

For all courses and seminars with enrollments of 26 or more, the following grade distribution is mandatory:



A+, A, A-

20-25% (A+ subject to 5% limitation above)

B+ and above

40-60% (subject to limitations on A range above)


10-50% (subject to limitations above and below)

B- and below

10-30% (subject to limitations below on ranges C+ and below)

C+ and above


D, F


For seminars and courses with enrollment of 25 or fewer students, the above distributions are not mandatory, but a median of B+ is recommended.



Percentage of Class Receiving

summa cum laude

Top 1%

magna cum laude

Top 10%

cum laude

Top one-third

Edward F. Hennessey

Distinguished Scholars 
(Third-Year Students)

Top 15 Students

Edward F. Hennessey

Scholars  (Third-Year Students)

Top 10% 

Paul J. Liacos

Distinguished Scholars
(Second-Year Students)

Top 15 Students

Paul J. Liacos

Scholars (Second-Year Students)

Top 10%

G. Joseph Tauro Distinguished Scholars (First-Year Students)

Top 5 Students

G. Joseph Tauro Scholars
(First-Year Students)

Top 10%


The Boston University Law Review, established in 1921, provides analysis and commentary on all areas of the law. Published five times per year, it contains articles contributed by law professors and practicing attorneys from all over the world, along with notes written by student members.

The American Journal of Law & Medicine, published quarterly, is an interdisciplinary periodical containing professional articles, student notes and case comments, summaries of recent legislative and judicial developments, and book reviews in the area of health law and policy. It specializes in medical and legal topics, exploring both traditional health law issues and less conventional issues such as bioethics. The journal is published jointly with the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics.

The Review of Banking & Financial Law, founded in 1982, is a scholarly journal of banking and financial law. It contains professional articles by academics and practicing lawyers, as well as student notes and comments on topics ranging from banking law and regulation to commercial law, bankruptcy, and administrative and constitutional law.

The Boston University International Law Journal was established in 1980 to provide a forum for student interests and scholarship in the field of international law. It strives to publish groundbreaking and even controversial professional articles and student-written notes analyzing the most current issues of public and private international law, foreign and comparative law, and trade law. The journal is published twice per year.

The Journal of Science & Technology Law carries on BU Law’s long-standing tradition as a leader in offering intellectual property law programs. A biannual journal, it provides practical scholarship regarding the intersection of science, technology, and the law. Its subject matter encompasses biotechnology, computers, communications, intellectual property, the Internet, technology transfer, and business for science and technology-based companies.

The Public Interest Law Journal, founded in 1990, is a nonpartisan publication dedicated to the academic discussion of legal issues in the public interest. It focuses on constitutional law, criminal law, family law, legal ethics, environmental issues, education law, and civil rights law and is particularly interested in submissions that combine theory and practical application. Notes written by students on public issues are also published.

Moot Court

Boston University School of Law’s commitment to practical legal education is reflected in its moot court programs, which have been an integral part of its offerings since the late 1870s. Every year, teams of students represent BU Law at moot court and other competitions around the country. All first-year students begin honing their advocacy skills by participating in the J. Newton Esdaile Appellate Moot Court Program, a required component of the first-year curriculum.

Second-year students may pursue more rigorous advocacy training through the law school’s two intramural competitions: the Edward C. Stone Appellate Competition and the Homer Albers Prize Moot Court Competition. These are open to all second-year students. Final arguments for the Albers Competition have been held before eminent jurists. Third-year students who participated in Stone during their second year are eligible for membership on BU Law-sponsored intermural moot court teams.

BU Law sponsors several intramural moot court teams, including the national moot court team, national Appellate Advocacy team, National First Amendment moot court team, Jessup international Law moot court team, Oxford International Intellectual Property moot, the Sutherland Cup Competition, and John J. Gibbons Criminal Law moot court team.

Clinical Programs

Boston University School of Law’s clinical programs let students apply the legal theories they have learned in the classroom to real-life legal practice. Representing actual clients in real cases from initial interview to final courtroom summation, students have the rare opportunity to practice law while receiving close supervision and support from highly qualified faculty. Students at BU Law may choose from clinical programs in criminal law, civil litigation, and legislative services.

In the Criminal Clinical Program (full-year program), students conduct investigations, participate in plea bargaining, try cases and make sentencing arguments, all under faculty supervision. After a semester of training and supporting senior members of the clinic, students lead their own cases during their second semester of participation. During this semester, students choose to act as prosecutor, an adult defender, or a juvenile defender.

Students in the Wrongful Convictions Clinic screen applications from prisoners claiming innocence. Students scrutinize transcripts, forensic evidence, motions and appeals, and report to the New England Innocent Project.

In Civil Rights of non-Citizens in the Immigration Process, students have the opportunity to work on real cases challenging the violation of non-citizens’ civil rights in the current environment of increased immigration enforcement.

The Immigration Detention Clinic covers issues of detention in the immigration context. Students visit local detention centers to provide intake and assistance to individuals in immigration custody.

In the Civil Litigation Program, students acquire legal skills while representing indigent clients in civil matters. Working out of the offices of Greater Boston Legal Services in downtown Boston, students are assigned cases concerning such issues as housing, employment, family and disability, asylum & human rights, and employment rights. These programs are either full-year or semester-long. Students represent low-income clients in all phases of litigation under the supervision of full-time clinical faculty. Students participate in one of three program areas:

The Housing, Employment, Family & Disability Clinic (full-year program)
The Asylum & Human Rights Clinic (full-year program)
The Employment Rights Clinic (semester-long program)

The Legislative Clinics, which include the Policy & Drafting Clinic, Legislative Counsel Clinic, and Africa
i-Parliaments Clinic, offer students a variety of opportunities to examine the legislative process. Students work with state senators and representatives, mayors, city councils, administrative agencies, and public interest groups to create legislative solutions to problems.

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








Externship program consists of a weekly seminar and a field experience at a non-profit, public interest, or government organization. The majority of its programs are part-time: students work 12-20 hrs/wk (earning 3-5 credits) at the field placement. BU Law also offers one full-time program, the Semester-in-Practice Program, for out-of-area placements.

The Semester-in-Practice Program offers four options:

Human Rights externship (Geneva) - Through the Human Rights Externship, students may spend a semester working in Geneva at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Government Lawyering in Washington, DC - Students in the Government Lawyering Externship may spend a semester working at a government office in Washington.

Death Penalty externship - Students participating in the Death Penalty Externship may work at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia.

Independent Proposal externship (local and away placements) - Under this fourth option, students may develop their own proposal for a full-time externship.

BU Law also offers five part-time externship programs. Each program accommodates 10-16 students. Each program is offered fall and spring, unless otherwise noted. These are

Legal Externship Program
Health Law Externship Program
Judicial Externship Program
Government Lawyering Externship Program - (fall only)
Community Courts - (spring only)
Independent Proposal Externship


Legislative Internship Program

Interns with senators and representatives at the Massachusetts State House, have the opportunity to draft legislation, evaluate testimony and participate in planning meetings with legislators and staff. They also observe legislative strategy sessions and negotiations, research questions of law and fact for proposed legislation and attend floor debates and committee meetings.

Student organizations

American Constitution Society
Art Law Society
Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA)
Black Law Student Association
BU Law Foodies
China Law Society
Communication, Entertainment, and Sports Law Association
Education and School Law Association
Environmental and Energy Law Association
Federalist Society
Health Law Association
Human Rights Law Society
Immigration Law and Policy Society
Intellectual Property Law Society
International Law Society
J. Reuben Clark Law Society
Jewish Law Student Association
Latin American Law Student Association
Law Christian Fellowship
Law Students for Reproductive Justice
Legal Follies
Muslim Law Students Association
National Lawyers Guild
National Security Law Society
Native American Law Students Association
OWLS (Older Wiser Law Students)
Phi Alpha Delta
Public Interest Project
Running Club
Scotch Club
Shelter Legal Services
South Asian Law Students Association
Student Government Association
Women’s Law Association

( 334 votes, average: 4.7 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.