Boston University School of Law

Boston University School of Law (BU Law) is the law school of Boston University, located on the university's campus on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts.[5]

Boston University School of Law
Boston University School of Law
School typePrivate
Parent endowment$2.179 billion[1]
DeanAngela Onwuachi-Willig
LocationBoston, Massachusetts, US
Enrollment769 FT-JD[2] 350 LLM
USNWR ranking20[2]
Bar pass rate87.91%[4]

U.S. News and World Report currently ranks the school as 20th in the country.[6] Two specialties are in the top 10: Health Law (#4), and Tax Law (#7). Princeton Review ranks it 10th place nationally in "Best Professors".[7] For the class of 2021, the median student LSAT score was 166 and median GPA was 3.74.[8]

BU Law was one of the first law schools in the country to admit students regardless of race or gender. It is the second-oldest law school in Massachusetts, and a charter member of the American Bar Association. More than 700 students are enrolled in the full-time J.D. degree program and about 350 in the School's five LLM degree programs. The School offers more than 200 classes and seminars, 21 study abroad opportunities, and 17 dual degree programs. Students learn critical legal theory and doctrine in classes that average a 6.8:1 student/faculty ratio,[9] while developing professional lawyering skills in the School's 1L Lawyering Lab, civil and criminal law clinics, national and international externships, pro bono placements, and transactional law program. BU Law also pioneered a clinic to represent victims of human trafficking in Boston.[10]


BU Law's most recent entering class comes from 39 states and the District of Columbia. These students represent 16 countries and 155 undergraduate institutions.[8]

Admission to Boston University School of Law is very competitive. There were 284 students who matriculated in the fall of 2018 out of a pool of 5,891 J.D. applicants. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2018 entering class were 160 and 167, respectively. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.49 and 3.84, respectively, with a median of 3.74.[11]


Boston University School of Law ranks 20th among American law schools in the 2021 list of best law schools compiled by U.S. News & World Report.[12] U.S. News also ranks the School's Health Law Program #4 and Tax Law #7.

The Journal of Legal Education ranks BU Law #12 for "Where Big Firm Partners Went to Law School," and the School ranks #16 in the National Law Journal's "Go-To Schools" Annual Survey for the number of graduates working in top U.S. law firms.

Sumner M. Redstone Building and Law TowerEdit

Boston University School of Law encompasses the Sumner M. Redstone Building and 17-story law tower.

On September 13, 2012, media executive and former BU Law lecturer Sumner Redstone donated $18 million[13] to expand the School's facilities. Opened in 2014 alongside the Law Tower, the 100,000-square-foot, five-story building houses most of the law school's classrooms, which are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The Redstone Building[14] welcomes visitors into the glass-enclosed Robert T. Butler Atrium on the first floor, and houses the Samuel M. Fineman Law Library and McCausland Commons on the second floor. It also provide new facilities to support clinical, transactional and professional training programs. Student locker facilities, lounges, a small dining facility, and other student function and informal meeting spaces are located throughout the new building. The materials, color and exterior detailing of the Redstone Building have been calibrated to respect and complement the architecture of the five original Josep Lluis Sert buildings (Law Tower, Central Boiler Plant, Pappas Law Library, Mugar Library and George Sherman Student Union) at BU.

As the new law school entry, the Redstone Building faces a paved entry forecourt off the main east–west pedestrian path, which has been re-graded, paved and landscaped with new trees and plantings. The open area to the north and east of the Law Tower has been restored and replanted to reinforce the existing character of the area and of the Alpert Mall to the east. The space between the Law Tower and Pappas Library has been redesigned to emphasize the visual connection between the original and the new entrances to the school. Plantings are native species and select ornamental species that maintain the existing planted character of the BU campus.

The School's 17-story tower underwent a complete renovation and reopened in 2015. Its design faithfully rehabilitated most of Sert's original tower while taking deliberate measures within the original architect's design vocabulary to make the existing building more acceptable to the 21st century needs of its inhabitants. All windows were replaced with thermally insulated units reflecting the pattern and profile of the original building. The exterior concrete panels that define the building's architectural aesthetic were totally refurbished. The tower was renovated with new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, larger bathrooms, and modern facilities to house the school's administrative departments, faculty offices, moot courtrooms and law journals. The spalled cast-in-place concrete of the building was repaired where needed, and care was taken to match existing color and texture as much as possible. Precast fins and other precast elements on the exterior were repaired or replaced as necessary, and some of the full-story precast panels were replaced with glass in a manner consistent with the original compositional intent of the building façade.


The Boston University School of Law was one of the first law schools to admit women and minorities, at a time when most other law schools barred them. In 1881, Lelia Robinson became the first female BU Law graduate. Then, women lawyers were less than half of one percent of the profession.[15] Upon graduation, she successfully lobbied the Massachusetts legislature to permit the admission of women to the state bar, and in 1882, became the first woman admitted to the Massachusetts bar. Her classmate, Nathan Abbott, would later become the founding dean of Stanford Law School. Another prominent female alum at the time, Alice Stone Blackwell, would go on to help found the League of Women Voters and edit the Woman's Journal. Takeo Kikuchi (1877), the School's first Japanese graduate, was co-founder and president of Tokyo's English Law School which grew into Chuo University. Clara Burrill Bruce (1926) was the first black woman elected editor-in-chief of a law review (the Boston University Law Review).

BU Law's first homes were 36 Bromfield Street, 18–20 Beacon Street and 10 Ashburton Place. In 1895, the University Trustees acquired 11 Ashburton Place, which was refurbished and named Isaac Rich Hall in honor of the third founder of Boston University. The dedication speaker was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. whose historic speech "The Path of the Law" was delivered in 1897. Former United States President William Howard Taft lectured on legal ethics from 1918 until his appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in 1921.[16]

Isaac Rich Hall housed BU Law until 1964. In 1964 BU Law occupied the bottom half of the current building, 765 Commonwealth Avenue on the Charles River Campus, colloquially known as the "Tower." BU Law shared the Tower with the School of Education for some years but now occupies the entire building. The School of Law's legal library, the Fineman & Pappas Law Libraries, occupies three floors in the Law Complex, spanning both the Law Tower and the Redstone Building. The Libraries also include two floors of closed stacks in the basement of the adjacent Mugar Memorial Library, BU's main library.[17]

In July 2016, the United States Department of Health and Human Services announced a new partnership allowing BU Law to serve as headquarters for a $350 million initiative researching and combating antibiotic-resistant diseases.[18] Professor Kevin Outterson, a health law specialist and researcher at BU Law, serves as executive director of the initiative, which is named CARB-X.[18]


According to BU Law's official 2017 ABA-required disclosures, 78.8% of the Class of 2017 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment ten months after graduation.[19] BU Law's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 14.3%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2017 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job ten months after graduation.[20]

For new graduates, the self-reported median starting salary for the class of 2017 was $160,000 in the private sector, and $54,000 in the public sector.[2] This ranked the school #9 on the US News list "Schools Where Salaries for Grads Most Outweigh the Debt."[21] BU placed 52 graduates from the class of 2015 at NLJ 100 firms, earning it the number 16 slot on the National Journal's law school rankings for large law firm employment.[22]


BU Law Tower

Boston University School of Law offers a broad selection of legal classes and seminars (approximately 200) with a student to faculty ratio of 12:1.

Dual degree programsEdit

BU Law offers dual degrees in the following programs:

  • J.D./LL.M. in Asian Legal Studies with National University of Singapore
  • J.D./LL.M. in Banking and Financial Law
  • J.D./LL.M. in Chinese Law with Tsinghua University
  • J.D./LL.M. in European Law with Panthéon-Assas University
  • J.D./LL.M. in Finance with Institute for Law and Finance
  • J.D./LL.M. in International and European Business Law with ICADE (Madrid)
  • J.D./M.A. in Law and English
  • J.D./M.A. in Law and History
  • J.D./M.A. in Law and International Relations
  • Accelerated 3-Year J.D./M.B.A. in Law and Management
  • J.D./M.B.A. in Law and Management
  • J.D./M.S. in Law and Mass Communication
  • J.D./M.D. in Law and Medicine
  • J.D./M.A. in Law and Philosophy
  • J.D./M.A. in Law and Preservation Studies
  • J.D./M.P.H. in Law and Public Health
  • J.D./LL.M. in Law and Taxation


The J.D. program offers certificates in the following concentrations:

  • Health Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • International Law
  • Litigation and Dispute Resolution
  • Risk Management and Compliance
  • Transactional Practice

LL.M. programsEdit

In addition to J.D. and joint degree programs, Boston University School of Law offers LL.M. programs in the following:

  • American Law (for Non-U.S. lawyers)
  • Banking and Financial Law
  • Executive LL.M. in International Business Law
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Taxation (Online option as well)

Study abroadEdit

English Language Semester Programs:

  • Bucerius Law School (Hamburg, Germany)
  • The Buchmann Faculty of Law (Tel Aviv, Israel)
  • École des Hautes Études Commerciales (HEC Paris)
  • Graduate Institute of International & Development Studies (Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Harris Manchester College (Oxford, UK)
  • Leiden University (Leiden, The Netherlands)
  • Tsinghua University (Beijing, China)
  • The National University of Singapore (The Republic of Singapore)
  • The University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong, China)
  • Université Jean Moulin, Lyon III (Lyon, France)
  • Universidad Pontificia Comillas (ICADE–Madrid, Spain)
  • Institute for Law & Finance (Frankfurt, Germany)

Foreign Language Semester Programs:

  • The University of Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
  • The University of Florence (Florence, Italy)
  • Université Jean Moulin, Lyon III (Lyon, France)
  • Panthéon-Assas University (Paris, France)
  • Universidad Pontificia Comillas (ICADE–Madrid, Spain)

Full-year Programs in English:

  • Universidad Pontificia Comillas (ICADE–Madrid, Spain)
  • Panthéon-Assas University (Paris, France)
  • The National University of Singapore (The Republic of Singapore)

Clinical programs and externshipsEdit


  • Africa iParliaments Clinic
  • American Legislative Practice
  • Access to Justice Clinic
  • Compliance Policy Clinic
  • Criminal Law: Prosecutor Program
  • Criminal Law: Public Defender Program (Adult)
  • Criminal Law: Public Defender Program (Juvenile)
  • Employment Rights Clinic
  • Housing, Employment, Family and Disability Clinic
  • Human Trafficking Clinic
  • Immigrants' Rights Clinic
  • International Human Rights Clinic
  • Technology Law Clinic
  • Startup Law Clinic
  • Wrongful Convictions Clinic
  • Environmental Law Practicum


  • Judicial Externship
  • Legal Externship
  • Government Lawyering Externship
  • Health Law Externship
  • Community Courts Externship
  • Affordable Housing Externship

Semester-in-practice programs:

  • Human Rights (United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Government Lawyering (Washington, DC)
  • Independent Proposal

Attorney Skills Accelerator Program

The Attorney Skills Accelerator Program (ASAP)[23] at Boston University School of Law offers summer classes, clinics, and externships for qualified J.D. students enrolled in accredited law schools. During Summer 2017, ASAP students will be able to enroll in Contract Drafting[24] and/or Negotiation[25] courses. ASAP students will also have the opportunity to take part in a legal externship, or one of three clinics:

  • Entrepreneurship & IP Clinic[26]
  • Legislative Policy & Drafting Clinic[27]
  • Criminal Law: Prosecutor Clinic[28]

Law journalsEdit

  • Boston University Law Review
  • American Journal of Law & Medicine
  • Review of Banking & Financial Law
  • Boston University International Law Journal
  • Journal of Science & Technology Law
  • Public Interest Law Journal


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at BU Law for the 2017–18 academic year was $74,689.[29] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $243,230.[30]

Notable alumniEdit


Former FacultyEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d Boston University | Best Law School | US News
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-08-13. Retrieved 2016-10-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "BOSTON UNIVERSITY - 2018 - First Time Bar Passage". American Bar Association. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  5. ^ "Boston University School of Law | Official Guide". Archived from the original on 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2014-06-05.
  6. ^ "Best Law School Rankings | Law Program Rankings | US News". Retrieved 2016-03-16.
  7. ^ Best Professors | The Princeton Review[1]
  8. ^ a b Class Profile | School of Law
  9. ^
  10. ^ BU Law's Human Trafficking Clinic
  11. ^ (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on July 1, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ Best Law School Rankings | Law Program Rankings | US News
  13. ^ Sumner Redstone Gives $18 Million to School of Law | BU Today | Boston University
  14. ^ Law School Complex | School of Law
  15. ^ Archived from the original on December 2, 2010. Retrieved March 15, 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "BU School of Law Timeline". Boston University. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  17. ^ "Law Libraries | School of Law". Retrieved 2016-12-12.
  18. ^ a b Division, News (2016-07-27). "HHS forges unprecedented partnership to combat antimicrobial resistance". Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  19. ^ "Class of 2015 Employment". Archived from the original on 2016-10-25.
  20. ^ "Boston University Profile".
  21. ^ 10 Law Schools that Pay Off
  22. ^ The National Jurist - Back to School 2015
  23. ^ "Attorney Skills Accelerator Program | School of Law". Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  24. ^ "Contract Drafting | School of Law". Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  25. ^ "Negotiation | School of Law". Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  26. ^ "Entrepreneurship & IP Clinic | School of Law". Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  27. ^ "Legislative Policy & Drafting Clinic | School of Law". Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  28. ^ "Criminal Law: Prosecutor Clinic | School of Law". Retrieved 2016-12-13.
  29. ^ "Tuition, Fees, and Expenses".
  30. ^ "Boston University Profile".
  31. ^ "Obituary, Frederic W. Allen". Burlington Free Press. Burlington, VT. April 13, 2016.

External linksEdit