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William & Mary Law School in Williamsburg, Virginia
by Rebecca E. Neely
The law school was founded in 1779, at Thomas Jefferson's urging. At the time, he was governor of Virginia, as well as a member of Board of Visitors for the College. The growth of the Law School was halted abruptly by the start of the American Civil War, and actually forced the College to close its doors for a time.
When it was reopened in the early part of the twentieth century, it changed locations on the main campus several times. In 1980, the School was moved to its current location near Colonial Williamsburg. The school boasts the McGlothlin Courtroom, which is the hub of the Center for Legal and Court Technology, and which is equipped with the most cutting edge technology in the nation.
Among its many award winning programs are the School's nationally known Institute of Bill of Rights Law, its Election Law Program, and its two-year Legal Skills Program, which enables students to gain hands-on legal experience from the beginning to the end of the legal process, and which has earned American Bar Association accolades.
Among the School's widely acclaimed journals are The Bill of Rights Journal, Environmental Law and Policy Review, and Journal of Women and the Law. They have been regularly ranked in the top ten within their respective areas.
Davison Douglas was named the dean of William & Mary Law School in March 2009. Douglas, who joined the William & Mary law faculty over two decades ago, has held a number of leadership positions at the Law School, including as Director of the Institute of Bill of Rights Law program, and as the founder and director of the School's Election Law Program. He holds his J.D. from Yale University, as well as a Ph.D. in history, and a master's in religion. Among his many accomplishments, Douglas is known as one of the nation's leading historians regarding the constitution; he has also authored and edited seven books.
Effective in 2006, Sandra Day O'Connor became the 23rd Chancellor of The College of William & Mary.
A notable policy in place at the School is the honor system, which dates back to the school's inception in 1779. The system, administered by students in each class via the Honor Council, mandates all students conduct themselves honestly, and permits students, for example, to take exams anywhere in the building, and even on their laptops.
The William & Mary Law School made headlines recently when students were asked to help pioneer research regarding the ownership of a meteorite that fell from the sky and into a Williamsburg doctor's office.
Arent Fox partner Keith R. Marino, a William & Mary alumnus, reached out to Associate Dean Ronald Rosenberg for student research assistance. He was quoted as saying in the July 15th www.wm.edu article, ''William & Mary Law School Students Learn about Property Law with an Asteroid Twist'': ''They were able to provide us with excellent background sources and strong case precedent for our position.''
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