“There is almost a universal belief that Rhode Island is badly served by the lack of a law school. In addition to educating aspiring lawyers, [a law school would] enhance the delivery of legal services in the state by becoming the focal point for legal reform, legal research and continuing legal education of the bar.”

~ The Honorable Joseph Weisberger, 1990


Approval of Law SchoolRoger Williams College President Natale Sicuro appoints a blue-ribbon committee to explore the feasibility of establishing a law school at Roger Williams College.


Chief Justice Joseph WeisbergerRhode Island Chief Justice Joseph Weisberger, as chair of the exploratory committee, officially recommends that Roger Williams College establish a law school, based upon an intensive “Feasibility Study to Establish a Law School” prepared by Anthony Santoro, then Dean and Professor of Law at Widener University School of Law.


Professor Anthony SantoroAnthony J. Santoro is appointed as RWU Law’s founding dean. Construction of law building begins. Faculty recruiting begins. In May, Roger Williams College is renamed Roger Williams University, partially as a result of its decision to add a law school.


The School of Law opens. Its first class, the Class of 1996, consists of 110 full-time (Day Division) students, and 74 Extended Division students. The class breakdown is 56 percent Rhode Islanders, and 44 percent from out of state; they were chosen from among 600 applicants.

Dean Anthony Santoro is named the sixth President of Roger Williams University, effective August 23.

Dean John E. Ryan

John E. Ryan is appointed Dean, effective September 7. Ryan was former dean of McGeorge Law School in Sacramento, Calif., and a two-term chair of the American Bar Association’s accreditation committee.



RWU LawThe School of Law building is officially dedicated, May 1.






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.


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.


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


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.