Dean Dooley's Law School
founded in 1929
Boston College Law School is among the top few law schools in the country in the number of applications it receives, and has an overall applicant-to-acceptance ratio that is among the most selective in the nation. We are viewed, in short, as doing something right.
That something lies in the history and tradition of legal education at Boston College Law School, which holds that lawyers should be neither hired guns unconcerned with moral questions, nor pure theorists hovering above the fray. The 250 men and women who earn the degree of Juris Doctor here each year are as well-versed in courtroom procedure as they are in legal history, as well-prepared to practice law as they are to discuss its theoretical underpinnings. Many have already had extensive experience researching and arguing cases through programs such as the Criminal Process, Attorney General or other clinical programs, and in advocacy competitions and classroom simulations. But for them, neither zealous advocacy nor the exercise of legal scholarship is an end in itself.
When Boston College Law School was founded in 1929 at 11 Beacon Street in downtown Boston, the first dean, Dennis Dooley, envisioned a law school with a social conscience as well as an analytical mind. From its earliest days, Boston College Law School had a reputation for toughness and high standards. It won accreditation from the American Bar Association in 1932, just three years after its founding, joining the Harvard, Yale, and Boston University law schools as the only ones in New England to attain such a distinction.* Academic standards were so high that in some years, as many as two-thirds of the first-year class would be excluded for poor scholarship. But the quest for academic excellence was also shaped by a desire to educate lawyers who worked for social justice and reform.
The decades that followed have seen much change in Dean Dooley's law school-it now spreads across a 40-acre campus in Newton, Massachusetts, and ranks among the nation's premier law schools-but we have held fast to Dean Dooley's vision. While we have always placed a great deal of emphasis on the practical professional skills which every good lawyer must possess, those skills are imparted within a framework of ideals-ideals such as justice and public service that have made the study and practice of law a calling for so many who come here.
This makes for students who are at once highly credentialed and highly collegial in their relationships with each other and with the faculty. That sense of community springs from a shared respect for the law as the cornerstone of a democratic society, and for one another as legal scholars. It manifests itself in dozens of ways. It is in the mentoring relationships that grow out of the easy accessibility students enjoy with faculty. It is found in student organizations that offer opportunities to wrestle with and affect basic issues touched by the law every day-from human reproductive rights and race relations to environmental justice and the ethical issues surrounding innovative technology. It is in the camaraderie of the Friday afternoon "bar review" sessions in the student lounge and the more formal social activities that pull together this diverse community. Perhaps most intensely, it is in the small, informal and self-forming groups in which students push one another in a shared passion for the power, elegance and dynamism of the law.
This passion is a sustaining influence in the professional lives of the law school's more than 10,000 alumni. It is a passion that hard work does not dim. It propels our graduates to the United States Senate and House of Representatives, to federal and state courthouses, board rooms, law firms, government agencies and public interest organizations, as well as to distinguished places on law school faculties. If you possess that passion, if you share our ideals, please join us.
*Office of the Consultant on Legal Education /
Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar
American Bar Association
321 N. Clark Street, 21st Floor
Chicago, IL 60654