Mission and History

The mission of RWU Law is to prepare students for success in the public and private sectors and to promote social justice and the rule of law through engaged teaching, learning, and scholarship. In support of that mission, we strive to:

  1. Provide an excellent legal education that is focused on the development of students’ analytical, ethical, and other practice skills through the exploration of legal doctrine, policy, history and theory, including the relationship between law and social inequality.
  1. Provide students guided opportunities to provide pro bono legal assistance to unrepresented individuals and organizations. 
  1. Attract and retain a student body, faculty, and staff with diverse backgrounds and experiences, especially those historically underrepresented in the legal profession.
  1. Produce meaningful legal scholarship that provides analysis, insights, or information to lawyers, judges, legislators, policy-makers, scholars, journalists, and the public-at-large.
  1. Provide service to the legal profession and the wider community.

History

A quarter century ago, the Honorable Joseph Weisberger, then an associate justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, crystalized decades of sporadic debate among state opinion leaders by announcing, “There is almost a universal belief that Rhode Island is badly served by the lack of a law school.” 

In response, Natale Sicuro, president of the institution then known as Roger Williams College, appointed a blue-ribbon exploratory committee, which in 1991 officially recommended the establishment of Roger Williams University School of Law. Its first students – the Class of 1996 – convened in Fall of 1993.

Today, RWU Law has become a vital regional institution. The school and the bench and bar enjoy “a symbiotic, mutually complementary relationship that helps to attract talented adjuncts, opens doors to internships and jobs, and gets so many of our wonderful judges involved,” notes Mark Mandell, Esq., immediate past chair of the school’s Board of Directors. “Students would never have the opportunity to gain that wisdom in any other state – not at the level they do at Roger Williams.” 

“All of a sudden, it’s like RWU Law has always been here,” adds Peter Kilmartin ’98, Attorney General of the State of Rhode Island. “It’s the resource people naturally go to when seeking input on issues in the legal community.”

Timeline

Close Course Type Descriptions

Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.

Elective

After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.

Seminar

Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.

Clinics/Externships

Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.