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Roger Williams University (Ralph R. Papitto School of Law)

At Roger Williams, you will be immersed in complex legal theory while developing practical lawyering skills that will serve you in the profession.

As the only law school in Rhode Island, the school holds a virtual franchise throughout the school year on student clerkship opportunities with federal and state judges, state offices, and agencies.

Our clinical offerings in Community Justice and Legal Assitance, Criminal Defense, and Disability Law afford our students valuable experience working with real clients on real cases.

We offer many unique programs that will enhance your educational experience. Our Feinstein Institute for Legal Service immerses students in an enriching public interest experience.

Our Marine Affairs Institute, a joint venture with the University of Rhode Island, gives students an opportunity to explore the legal, economic, and policy aspects of the development of the oceans and coastal zones.

Our distinctive study abroad programs in London and Lisbon, as well as our Portuguese-American Comparative Law Center allow students to place their legal education in a global perspective.

Our joint degree programs in Criminal Justice, Labor Relations and Human Resources, Marine Affairs, and Community Planning offer the opportunity for cross disciplinary study.

Roger Williams University School of Law is a close-knit community where student voices are heard. Two hundred students enroll in our first year class each August. Students come from 40 states - as far away as Alaska and Hawaii - to join our community of scholars.

Our law students build close friendships inside and outside the classroom that last long beyond law school graduation. Fellow classmates serve as the foundation of a strong support system that includes our faculty, administration, and staff. Competition exists at any law school; ours is a friendly competition that only serves to strengthen the academic environment. At Roger Williams students strive to do their personal best.

Students engage in a number of fraternal and legal organizations. These organizations provide a mixture of settings for students, faculty, and professionals from the bench and bar to interact in small group settings.

The law school hosts a number of social occasions throughout the year. Some, like the annual Barrister's Ball, provide an outlet to unwind before the stress of finals. Others, like our annual public interest auction, give students an enjoyable evening while raising money to help students finance summers jobs in the public interest field.

The law school plays host to a number of guest speakers throughout the year. Some of our recent speakers have included Mrs.Thurgood Marshall, renowned civil rights attorney Morris Dees, Patrick Guerrero, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans, and Donald A. Migliori, Motley Rice LLP, one of the lead attorneys for the families of the victims of 9/11 who are suing the Saudi investors in Al Qaeda.

Roger Williams University School of Law is located in the historic seaport town of Bristol, Rhode Island.

The campus is only minutes from Providence and Newport, and an hour from Boston, all easily accessible for recreation, dining, sports, and other activities.

T.F.Green Airport is located 25 miles from campus. Amtrak trains are available to Providence and regular service is provided along the eastern seaboard. There are motels and bed and breakfast inns located nearby.

Designed exclusively for the study of law, the $14 million School of Law is a modern, complete 120,000 square foot facility located in the heart of the University’s waterfront campus.
The four-level building centralizes all academic and administrative activities, enabling law students to learn, study, and socialize in a comfortable, professional environment specifically suited to their needs. The first floor houses the Law Library, computer labs, the Dean’s suite, and the Office of Admissions. The second floor includes trial and appellate moot courtrooms, three large classrooms, a skills training center, three seminar classrooms, an academic support center, registrar and business office suite, special events and alumni relations offices, lounge areas, and faculty offices. The a Career Services Office, Financial Aid Office, bookstore, cafeteria, lockers, mailroom, copy center, and additional classrooms are located on the lower level.
The latest educational technology and tools are
available to faculty and students in the library,
classrooms, moot courtrooms, and seminar rooms.
Students using laptop computers have access to a
wireless internet connection in all common areas of the building. Each educational room in the building is equipped with unobtrusive microphones, while many have recessed cameras to support video playback
instruction, providing the opportunity for student
technique enhancement and for the constructive
critique of skills by the faculty. Students can develop
and refine litigation and counseling skills through the use of videotaping of simulation exercises and presentations. All large classrooms are equipped with
televisions and VCR’s to support instruction.

Open more than 100 hours per week and with online databases accessible 24 hours a day, the Law Library is a comprehensive facility supporting the research
needs of students, faculty, bench, and bar.
Housed within 35,000 square feet, the modern, naturally lit library can accommodate nearly 400 students in fourteen group study rooms, audio-visual rooms, computer labs, individual carrels, worktables, and lounge seating in an open, comfortable environment.
The library offers the largest legal collection in
Rhode Island, comprising 275,000 volumes and
more than 3,600 serial subscriptions. The book
collection emphasizes Anglo-American primary and
secondary sources of legal authority, including
federal and state court reports, federal statutes and
session laws, statutes and session laws for all fifty
states, U.S. Supreme Court records and briefs,
treatises, loose-leaf publications, legal periodicals,
and government documents.

Because an increasing number of legal publications are produced in electronic format and because computers are used in many aspects of modern law practice, the library integrates technology into its collections and services.

Three computer labs contain more than forty-five
student workstations, each with access to online
research systems, the Internet, word processing,
email, and computer-assisted legal instruction. These
laboratories are invaluable to students in preparation
of legal briefs, memoranda, articles, and other lawrelated assignments. Additional computer stations are located throughout the library. The library is
equipped with wireless internet connections allowing easy access to web based technologies.
The library’s web site (
provides patrons with access, either in the library or
from home, to an increasing number of subscriptions to web-based resources. All first-year law students are
trained to use LEXIS and WESTLAW online/web legal
research systems, in addition to the use of print legal
information sources. Each student receives a personal
password, allowing access to the research systems at the law school and from home.

The first-year core curriculum consists of an array of required courses designed to instill in students fundamental lawyering knowledge and skills required to become problem solvers and to “think like lawyers.” These courses prepare students to comprehend, analyze, and synthesize complex material and to communicate solutions effectively. Beginning in 2006, first-year section sizes will typically be 65 students, smaller than the national average.

In the second and third years of law school, students are permitted to take elective courses. Selection of electives may satisfy intellectual curiosity or may be influenced by a desire to practice in a particular area of the law.
Almost all classes use some form of Socraticdialog, a method of argument and proof by means of question and answer. Learning is facilitated through lectures, small section seminars, student study groups, and simulation courses.
The School of Law offers a full-time program Monday through Friday during the day, in which all course work must be completed in three years. Students are encouraged not to work during the academic year. The Extended Division was phased out in 2004.

A significant aspect of the study of law at Roger Williams is its comprehensive training program in
lawyering skills. To satisfy the needs of a complex
society and an ever-changing legal profession,
practitioners must master not only traditional legal
analysis but also the ability to elicit and convey
information. The School of Law has carefully planned a program that is designed to give the student, in a small group setting, intensive training in the practical skills critical to lawyering through a series of courses generally referred to as Legal Methods.

Over the entire course of study, the Legal Methods program enables the evolution of the analytical, communicative, and other lawyering skills that facilitate effective legal problem solving.
The required courses of this program range from
basic legal research and writing in the first semester
of the first year to the simulation courses of the
second and subsequent semesters. The simulation
courses provide practical training in trial advocacy,
client interviewing, counseling, appellate advocacy,
negotiation, and alternative dispute resolution.
Frequent and varied legal writing projects are essential components in the Legal Methods sequence.

The fundamental goal of the Academic Support
Program is to empower students to learn, so they may
begin and continue their law studies as informed,
confident students from the first day of class.
Throughout the year all students are encouraged to attend workshops and presentations to help them achieve their personal academic best Subjects covered in group and one-to-one sessions include: class preparation, case briefing, reading comprehension, legal writing, classroom note taking, study skills, time management, course outlining, exam answering, and bar examination preparation.

All students must successfully complete 90-semester
hours of course work including all required courses and
maintain a cumulative grade point average of C (2.00)
or better. Students are not permitted to work more than
20 hours per week and, in fact, are encouraged not to
work at all during the academic year.
The residency requirements of the School of Law and of the American Bar Association combine to mandate that students distribute their course load over three years. While advanced standing may be granted to transfer students, awarding of the Juris Doctor degree from Roger Williams University School of Law requires at least 60 credits in residence. In very rare cases, a student may be permitted to accelerate his or her program of study by one semester or delay it by up to one year.
Regular and punctual class attendance is required
both by the rules of the School of Law and of the
American Bar Association. Students who are excessively absent will be administratively withdrawn from courses.

All incoming students to the law school are assigned
a faculty advisor during orientation. The advisor serves as the student’s personal counselor for information and guidance regarding law school academic life and course selection.
Students may attend special sessions on study habits, examination taking, outlining, note-taking and stress management. They may also obtain legal writing assistance through the Academic Support Program, overseen by the Dean of Students.

Individualized attention, personal concern and a spirit of camaraderie characterize the relationship among faculty and students within the law school community.
The School of Law enrolls approximately 600 students each year. They are taught by an outstanding faculty of distinguished instructors, noted scholars, and accomplished lawyers. With a full-time faculty of 35, the School of Law encourages easy access and open communication between students and faculty, be it in our modern classrooms, in the law library, or in the open air of the school’s scenic campus. Many classes have fewer than 20 students.

Members of the faculty have practiced law with large firms in major cities, small firms in rural county seats, federal and state governmental agencies, legal aid societies, the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and
the U.S. Department of Justice. They have debated
legal issues on national television, testified before
Congress, and argued cases before the U.S. Supreme
Court. Their wide-ranging scholarship and law review articles, published by major presses, have been cited
by other scholars and courts at all levels. The school’s
talented adjunct faculty offers expertise in such fields
of specialization as patent law, trial advocacy, land
use planning, maritime law, international law, and sports and entertainment law.

Roger Williams University School of Law is strongly committed to the value of clinical experience as part of the upper level law students’ comprehensive education. The School believes that clinics enable students to see
beyond the classroom, allowing them to test their legal knowledge and skills under the stress of advising real clients and arguing real cases in real courtrooms. Clinical experience enhances and extends classroom learning while preparing students for the intellectual rigors of the legal profession.
After completing the Legal Methods skills training and other required courses, students have the opportunity to participate in a live client clinic representing low income clients in a range of matters before various courts and agencies.
Operating at the Roger Williams University Metropolitan Center for Education and Law in Providence, RI, these clinics provide a service to the community while offering students excellent practical experience for academic credit.
The clinics, which are supervised by full-time members of the tenure-track faculty, provide ample opportunity for all interested students to participate in these invaluable experiences.

The Criminal Defense Clinic is broken into two
components, one involving the direct representation
of actual clients and the other featuring simulation
exercises during weekly class meetings.
In the direct representation component, students appear on behalf of indigent criminal defendants in the District Court and Traffic Tribunal of the State of Rhode Island. The caseloads consist of misdemeanor and traffic offenses, including allegations of drug possession, petty theft, assault, domestic violence, disorderly conduct, and drunk driving. Students handle every stage of representation in each of their cases, including motion practice, discovery and investigation, negotiations, pre-trial litigation and, when the case demands it, trial work.
To ensure that each student benefits from the collective experiences of the group, one two-hour class session each week is devoted to group discussions of active cases. The bulk of direct supervision of each case
takes place in individual meetings between the student
assigned to the case and Associate Professor Andrew
Horwitz, Director of the Criminal Defense Clinic.
Another two-hour class session each week is devoted to the simulation component of the clinic, in which students handle each important stage of a criminal matter through the use of assigned problems.
Often these problems are drawn from current clinic
cases and are timed to help serve as preparation for an
actual activity.

The Community Justice and Legal Assistance Clinic (CJLA) offers students the opportunity to work in partnership with existing service providers that have no lawyers on staff. These partnerships allow students to approach problems from multidisciplinary perspectives, expose them to litigation as only one of many problem solving strategies, and engage them in systemic issues as well as in individual client representation. The CJLA Clinic is conceptually unique; nationwide, only a handful of law school clinical programs are providing a broad spectrum of legal services in the context of community partnerships.

The Community Justice and Legal Assistance Clinic has three components and is designed to provide students with multiple levels of legal experience.
The first component consists of representing clients, most of whom are youths and/or their families. Each student works with at least two individual clients during the semester, handling all stages of representation, such as interviewing, counseling, investigation, document drafting, courtroom advocacy, and negotiation. Types of cases vary, but may include: foster care and adoption; parole and probation; child custody, visitation, and support; housing; consumer education; or abuse and neglect. Students appear in state district and family courts. Regular individual and group supervision meetings are required, and all aspects of representation are supervised by clinical faculty.

The second component of the CJLA Clinic consists of interdisciplinary and community partnerships. Working with other professionals and community residents, students engage in an assessment of needs and in creative problem-solving strategies to address the needs. CJLA Clinic participants share legal knowledge and expertise to help identify systemic issues and possible solutions. Collaborative efforts are made to achieve shared goals. Among those in partnership with the CJLA Clinic in these efforts are social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, outreach workers, lawyers, faith ministers, educators, and corrections officials. Students may also work with residents groups and non-profit organizations. Some of this work takes place at community-based sites.

The classroom is the third component of the CJLA Clinic. Classes meet twice weekly for two hours. One class each week is devoted primarily to developing lawyering skills and understanding the lawyer’s role; the other focuses more heavily on substantive, policy and ethical issues. Some classes are enriched by the presence of graduate students and professionals from other disciplines. Some utilize student cases or projects as the basis for discussion. Teaching methods include simulation, problem solving exercises, discussion, panel
presentations and site visits.

School name:Roger Williams UniversityRalph R. Papitto School of Law
Address:Ten Metacom Avenue
Zip & city:R.I. 02809 Rhode Island

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Ralph R. Papitto School of Law Law School Location