Fast Facts on the School of Law

  • Founded in 1867, the Washington University School of Law is the oldest, continuously operating law school west of the Mississippi River.

  • Long committed to equal access to all qualified students regardless of race, gender or ethnic heritage, the School of Law admitted its first women students in 1869 and graduated its first African-American in 1889.

  • Walter Moran Farmer, the law school's first African-American graduate, received his LL.B. degree cum laude in 1889. He was the first African-American lawyer to argue before the Supreme Court of Missouri (1893) and one of the first to argue a case (Duncan v. Missouri 1894) before the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • The School of Law's first female graduate, Phoebe Wilson Couzins, received her law degree in 1871. She was admitted to the Missouri Bar soon after graduation, giving her the distinction of being only the third or fourth woman licensed to practice in the United States. Couzins later helped found the National Woman Suffrage Association and was the first woman U.S. marshal in 1887.

  • The law school's faculty has 39 full-time professors, four full-time legal research and writing instructors, and four visiting faculty members. The faculty is comprised of nationally recognized scholars dedicated to teaching. With a faculty-student ratio of 13:1, one of the school's strengths is faculty accessibility.

  • Eight law professors have been elected to the prestigious American Law Institute in the last decade. One of these also was elected to the Council of the American Law Institute.

  • The Washington University School of Law faculty has an array of foreign and international legal expertise that spans the globe, including specialists on international relations, intellectual property, human rights and immigration, as well as on the laws of China, Cuba, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, Eastern Europe, the European Community and Islam.

  • In the past 10 years, faculty members have published many books, including law school casebooks and more than 225 professional and scholarly articles. Faculty members perform a broad range of legal activities, from working with United Nations organizations to testifying before Congress. Faculty also have taught or lectured in a variety of countries, including Australia, Austria, China, the Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Holland, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Switzerland.

  • Enrollment is currently 612 J.D. students, including student leaders and scholars from 43 states, the District of Columbia and three foreign countries. More than 230 undergraduate institutions are represented and approximately two-thirds of the students come from out-of-state. Twenty-one percent of the student body are minority students and 46 percent are women.

  • The School of Law publishes two national journals: the Washington University Law Quarterly and the Washington University Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law. The school's Law Library is the largest in Missouri and considered among the nation's top academic law libraries.

  • The law school offers numerous joint degree programs, including: Law and Engineering, Law and East Asian Studies, Law and Business, Law and European Studies and Law and Social Work.