Social Justice

At RWU Law, Social Justice is core to our mission. Our public service opportunities set the stage for a lifetime of invaluable legal contributions to society.

Social Justice is embedded in RWU Law's DNA. It has been a central part of the school's mission from its inception. Some of our efforts include:

  • Our Feinstein Center for Pro Bono and Experiential Education—staffed by three full-time attorney/faculty members who set goals and provide guidance—ensures an exceptional educational experience, while also allowing students to address legal need in the community and support host organizations and agencies in their work.
  • Our Pro Bono Collaborative offers a unique national model for pro bono legal service based on a three-way partnership—between law school, law firm, and community organization—that identifies unmet legal needs and creates pro bono legal service projects to address those needs. 
  • Our groundbreaking "Race & the Foundations of American Law" was one of the first in the U.S. to teach critical thinking about the law through a mandatory course, offering important and often overlooked perspectives on race, preparing students for the fast-evolving legal landscape in which they will soon be practicing.
  • Our annual Diversity Symposium offers a compelling opportunity for students in high school, college, graduate school, law school, and beyond to connect with the Rhode Island bench and bar and discuss issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Through our Pro Bono Experiential Learning Requirement, students complete at least 50 hours of law-related public service in the community as a requirement for graduation. Most of our students do much more: over the past five years (2016-2021), graduates completed an average of 117 pro bono hours each.
  • Our innovative Semester-In-Practice Program is a capstone, full-immersion experience, in which students work full-time under the supervision of a practicing attorney for an entire semester. Past Semester-In-Practice students have worked in housing and eviction defense in Los Angeles, public defense in New Jersey, immigration in New York City, and human rights in Seoul, South Korea, among many other placements.
  • Each year, through our In-House Clinics, Clinical Externships in the public interest sphere, our Public Interest Summer Stipend Program, and other pro bono activities, RWU Law students provide an astounding volume of valuable legal services, both directly to clients and through public interest organizations and government agencies.
  • The pro bono and public interest contributions of the 150 graduates of RWU Law's Class of 2021 totaled 59,292 hours with an estimated value of $1,604,442.
  • Each year, many RWU Law students get intensive experience in the field through our Alternative Spring Break (ASB) Program. In the past four years, at least 50% of participants have been 1Ls—hitting the ground running.
  • Our annual Champions for Justice celebration is Rhode Island's premier public interest event, bringing together many of the state's top law firms, nonprofit legal service organizations, and other community partners, with RWU Law faculty, staff, students and alumni.
  • Each year, RWU Law awards Public Interest Scholarships to students seeking a career in public interest and social justice work after graduation.
  • Through the Public Interest Loan Repayment Assistance Program (PILRAP), RWU Law provides high levels of support for our graduates pursuing careers representing low-income clients in non-profit offices. In its dozen-plus years of participation, the law school has awarded nearly $500,000 to qualified graduates.




Recent News


February 8, 2022

National Housing Advocate to Lead Real Estate Initiatives

Richard Godfrey, national leader in community development and affordable housing, will launch University's interdisciplinary real estate programs.



February 7, 2022

Meet Our Interim Director of Diversity & Outreach

Ana W. Barraza aims to help future lawyers ‘achieve success through empowerment, advocacy, and collaboration.’



February 2, 2022

RWU Law's 'Stellar Faculty': Princeton Review

Influential blog uses data from 2022 edition of Princeton Review’s Best Law Schools to rank RWU Law among the nation's best for quality of teaching and faculty accessibility.


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.