History & Mission

Founded in 1929 as Boston College’s first graduate program, Boston College Law School held its opening classes in the 11-story Lawyer’s Building on Beacon Street in downtown Boston. It began with an enrollment of 54 ambitious students selected from an applicant pool of nearly 700. Despite the onset of the Great Depression that coincided with its early years, BC Law managed to thrive. In 1932, just three years after its founding, the school received American Bar Association accreditation, joining Harvard, Yale, and Boston University as the only law schools in New England to attain that distinction. By the fall of 1937, the school’s enrollment had grown to 350 students. By 1940 its ranks included women.

With its reputation and enrollment soaring, BC Law moved to Chestnut Hill in 1954, occupying the newly constructed St. Thomas More Hall on the edge of the BC campus. It was not until the University’s acquisition of the Newton College of the Sacred Heart in the early 1970s—creating what is now known as the Newton Campus—that the Law School found its permanent home.

Today BC Law is situated on an idyllic 40-acre campus with new and expanded classrooms, conference space, a state-of-the-art law library, and 700 students taught by 60 of the nation’s best full-time law faculty.

Throughout its history, BC Law School has provided a top-quality legal education grounded in Boston College’s Jesuit, Catholic tradition. With an impressive record of education, scholarship, and activity in social justice and public service—through its work aiding immigrants and refugees and groundbreaking research in areas such as environmental law and juvenile justice—BC Law continues to prepare students not only to be good lawyers, but to lead good lives.

With a reputation for excellence solidified through nearly nine decades of service, BC Law has earned its rightful place among the nation’s preeminent law schools.

Boston College Law School is committed to the highest quality integrated graduate and professional education, recognizing its obligations as a national law school both to the academic and professional worlds. Our commitment is to foster new insights through research and scholarship, to impart knowledge and analytical skills through instruction of the highest caliber, and to critically evaluate the role of law and legal institutions. We are also committed to developing those qualities and skills that our students will need to become successful practitioners; toward this end, we search for ways to combine theory and practice in our instruction, and for opportunities to instill in our students the moral and ethical values that underlie a rational and just application of law.

Boston College and its law school are rooted in the Jesuit tradition of service to God and others. In that tradition, we believe that the purpose of higher education is both the search for knowledge and the preparation of women and men who are moved to a constructive, responsible, and loving use of their knowledge. The Law School recognizes its commitment to social and economic justice, and strives to advance this commitment both through its curricular offerings and in the extracurricular projects that it supports.

We encourage our students to develop their own individual commitment to others and to explore those themes that are central to the Jesuit tradition: the dignity of the human person, the advancement of the common good, and compassion for the poor. We seek to train a diverse student body not merely to be good lawyers, but to be lawyers who lead good lives, and who will be prepared to seek and to find meaningful work in service to others that will enrich their communities.

We stand out nationally among other law schools because we respect and are concerned for each individual. We strive to reflect the world’s rich diversity and work together to create a community of growth and learning. We believe that such a diverse, supportive community provides the best possible environment for instruction and learning. Just as importantly, it represents the model for the types of intellectual and professional interaction that we hope to instill in our alumni who are engaged in the practice of law.

Upon graduation from Boston College Law School graduates have acquired competency in the following:

  • Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law;
  • Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context;
  • Exercise of proper professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and the legal system;
  • Other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession; and
  • A readiness for intellectual and professional engagement, whether in local, national, or global settings, that incorporates respect for knowledge and for the dignity of the human person.