Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 15 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./M.M.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Marine Affairs), J.D./M.S. (Juris Doctor/Master of Science in labor relations and human resources), and J.D./M.S.C.J. (Juris Doctor/Master of Science in Criminal Justice).
The School of Law offers concentrations in public interest law and disability law. In addition, third-year students participate in the Criminal Defense Clinic; the Mediation Clinic, or the Community Justice and Legal Assistance Clinic, for 6 credits. Seminars, available to second- and third-year students, span the breath of the curriculum. They are worth 2 credits each. Special legal perspectives courses are worth 1 credit. Internships for third-year students consist of judicial and public interest clerkships worth 5 credits. There is faculty-supervised directed research for 1 or 2 credits. Students are required to perform 20 hours of public service prior to graduation. A special lecture series includes topics on Marine Affairs and Public Interest Law. Study abroad is available through the London Summer Program and the Lisbon Summer Program. There are workshops on studying, case briefing, course outlining, and exam taking. The school has a rigorous Academic Support Program. The school’s Office of Diversity and Outreach sponsors a variety of programs designed to address the needs of a diverse student body. The school has a wide range of special interest student groups. The most widely taken electives are Wills and Trusts, Business Organizations, and Sales.
To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 90 total credits, of which 48 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure I and II, Contracts I and II, Criminal Law, Legal Methods I and II, Property, and Torts I and II. Required upper-level courses consist of Constitutional Law I and II, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, Professional Responsibility, and Upper Level Legal Methods. The required orientation program for first-year students is held 3 days prior to the first day of classes and includes an introduction to the judicial system and the study of law, case briefing, exam-taking techniques, professionalism, student services introductions, social events, and a public service day.
In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0, have completed the upper-division writing requirement, and a public service requirement.
In the fall 2007 first-year class, 1391 applied, 798 were accepted, and 192 enrolled. The median GPA of the most recent first-year class was 3.31.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. Minimum acceptable GPA is 2.0 on a scale of 4.0. The most important admission factors include LSAT results, GPA, academic achievement and personal statement. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.
The application deadline for fall entry is March 15. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a personal statement, the TOEFL for students who are citizens of a foreign country and have earned a degree in the United States, a nonrefundable application fee of $60, and 1 letters of recommendation. Notification of the admissions decision is on a rolling basis. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is June. The law school uses the LSDAS.
About 91% of current law students receive some form of aid. The average annual amount of aid from all sources combined, including scholarships, loans, and work contracts, is $43,799; maximum, $50,814. Awards are based on merit along with leadership activities and public interest background. Required financial statement is the FAFSA. The aid application deadline for fall entry is March 15. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application once they are accepted and the necessary financial aid paperwork has been completed.
About 48% of the student body are women; 12%, minorities; 3%, African American; 4%, Asian American; 4%, Hispanic; and 15%, unknown/other. The majority of students come from the Northeast (61%). The average age of entering students is 26; age range is 20 to 55.
Students edit the Roger Williams University Law Review and the newspaper The Docket. The primary internal competition is the Esther Clark Moot Court Competition. Students also participate in the National Moot Court Competition and the John R. Brown Admiralty Moot Court Competition. Other competitions include Mock Trial; Mediation, Negotiation, and Client Counseling; and Multicultural Law. Law student organizations include the Maritime Law Society, Multicultural Law Students Association, and Sports and Entertainment Law Society. Local chapters of national associations include the American Trial Lawyers Association, ABA, and National Association of Public Interest Lawyers. Other campus organizations include Women’s Law Caucus, LGBT Alliance, and Christian Law Students Association.
The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered both day and evening. Day students are required to take at least 12 day credits unless they have permission to do otherwise, and must be completed within 3 years. There is no part-time program. New students are admitted in the fall. There is a 7-week summer session. Transferable summer courses are offered.