Befitting the smallest state in the nation, Rhode Island only has one law school, Roger Williams University School of Law (RWU). The law school was founded in 1993 and named after the founder of Rhode Island. Williams supported religious tolerance, acceptance of others, and a firm "wall of separation" between church and state. The university has taken these principles to heart and seeks to uphold them.
Roger Williams University School of Law
Roger Williams University is located in the seaside town of Bristol. The university itself is located a little south of town on the tip of the peninsula where Mount Hope Bay and Narragansett Bay come together. Yes, it is an oceanside campus! That means you can walk on the beach on while contemplating the intricacies of civil procedure and the conundrums of constitutional law.
RWU School of Law is a private university with a total enrollment of about 550 in 2022. The school prides itself on hands-on pro bono work for its students. Students are encouraged to take part in their Alternative Spring Break program, where students spend a week doing public service work in a variety of settings. Further, all students must perform 50 hours of pro bono work in one of the school's many clinic opportunities.
RWU Law's Maritime Law and Marine Environmental Law programs present unique learning opportunities for law students. They have also partnered with the University of Rhode Island to create a Marine Affairs Institute in an effort to educate and prepare marine law professionals for today's challenges.
Tuition at RWU is around $43,000 a year, much lower than most private law schools on the east coast. The school also offers a discount for families where multiple siblings wish to attend Roger Williams University and/or the law school.
Graduates from RWU School of Law mainly take the Rhode Island and Massachusetts bar exams. The pass rate for first-time takers of these bar exams generally follows the national average, although in 2021 that number dipped to around 61%.
Tips for Law Schools and Beyond
Whether you choose to attend law school in Rhode Island, somewhere else in the United States, or abroad, this is just one of many important decisions you'll make on your journey to becoming a lawyer.
FindLaw for Law Students has numerous articles filled with tips and advice on adjusting to law school classes, studying for the bar exam, and more — all from legal professionals who have been through it.