In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 6 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./M.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in American studies), J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration), and J.D./M.P.P. (Juris Doctor/Master of Public Policy).
In addition, clinics, worth 3 credits, combine a classroom component with supervised work in an office setting and include domestic violence, legal aid, and federal tax practice. Seminars, worth 2 to 3 credits, are open to both second- and third-year students (size limited to 15 to 25 students) and include civil rights, corporate drafting, and legal technology. Internships, worth 3 credits, include Attorney General Practice, Department of Employment Dispute Resolution, and Virginia Court of Appeals. Research programs, worth 1 to 2 credits, include independent research, advanced research, directed research, and tax research. They are open to second- and third-year students and must be completed with a supervising professor. Field work is offered through an externship program open to second- and third-year students for 1 to 3 credits. Externships require a minimum of 40 hours of work, a synopsis of work done, a journal, and an evaluation by the supervising attorney or judge. Placements may be made with a judge, nonprofit organization, Virginia Court of Appeals, Department of Employment Dispute Resolution, Attorney General’s Office, or Supreme Court of Virginia. Special lectures include the Institute of Bill of Rights Law, Cutler Lectures, and George Wythe Lectures. Study abroad is available in the summer in Madrid, Spain, with most classes worth 2 credits and open to any second- or third-year student who applies from an ABA accredited law school. In addition, semester abroad programs are available to second- and third-year students in Japan, New Zealand, and Spain. Tutorial programs are available to any first-year student under the direction of the Associate Dean for Programs. Minority programs are arranged by minority student organizations. Special interest group programs are arranged by individual student organizations. The most widely taken electives are Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and Corporations.
To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 86 total credits, of which 34 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 1.8 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts I and II, Criminal Law, Legal Skills I and II, Property I and II, and Torts. Required upper-level courses consist of Ethics and Legal Skills III and IV. The required orientation program for first-year students is a 1-week program designed to introduce legal analysis, legal vocabulary, legal teaching methods, legal writing, and the law firm structure of the Legal Skills Program.
In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0 and have completed the upper-division writing requirement.
In the fall 2007 first-year class, 4250 applied, 1151 were accepted, and 217 enrolled. Fourteen transfers enrolled. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 91; the median GPA was 3.68 on a scale of 4.0. The lowest LSAT percentile accepted was 30; the highest was 99.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. Minimum acceptable GPA is 2.0 on a scale of 4.0. All factors in a candidate’s background are considered important in the application process. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are interviewed.
The application deadline for fall entry is March 1. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a personal statement, a nonrefundable application fee of $50, and 2 letters of recommendation. Notification of the admissions decision is from November through April. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is February. The law school uses the LSDAS.
About 80% 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 $27,830; maximum, $42,136. Awards are based on need and merit. Required financial statement is the FAFSA. The aid application deadline for fall entry is February 15. Diversity is considered as a factor in the packaging of aid. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application from November through April.
About 49% of the student body are women; 17%, minorities; 11%, African American; 5%, Asian American; 1%, Hispanic; 1%, Native American; and 14%, unknown. The majority of students come from Virginia (32%). The average age of entering students is 24; age range is 19 to 57. About 53% of students enter directly from undergraduate school, 8% have a graduate degree, and 47% have worked full-time prior to entering law school. About 1% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 99% remain to receive a law degree.
Students edit the William and Mary Law Review, William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal, William and Mary Journal of Women in the Law, William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, and the newspaper The Advocate. Ten teams compete each year at competitions such as the National Tournament, ABA Tournament, and Vanderbilt University First Amendment Invitational Tournament. Each year the school sponsors the National Trial Team competitions and the Bushrod T. Washington Moot Court Tournament, which is open to first-year students with the top 32 students earning the right to compete on one of the moot court teams. The William B. Spong, Jr. Invitational Moot Court Tournament attracts 24 teams from throughout the nation annually. Law student organizations, local chapters of national associations, and campus organizations include the Institute of Bill of Rights Law-Student Division, Law Students Involved in the Community, Lesbian and Gay Law Student Association, Black Law Students Association, Christian Legal Society, Phi Alpha Delta, Sports and Entertainment Law Society, International Law Society, and Military Law Society.
The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered days only and must be completed within 3 years. There is no part-time program. New students are admitted in the fall. There is a 4-week summer session. Transferable summer courses are offered.