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Washburn University School of Law

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Washburn University School of Law

Washburn University School of Law
Established 1903
School type Public
Endowment US$ 80.4 million[1]
Parent endowment US$ 130.5 million[2]
Dean Thomas J. Romig (Dean)
Location Topeka, Kansas, USA
Enrollment 445
Faculty 79
USNWR ranking 129[3]
Bar pass rate 93.8%[4]
ABA profile Washburn Law profile

The Washburn University School of Law, commonly referred to as Washburn Law, is a public law school located on the main campus of Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. Washburn Law was founded in 1903.


  • History 1
  • Facts about Washburn University School of Law 2
  • Dual degree programs 3
  • Certificate programs 4
  • Centers and programs 5
  • Publications 6
  • Curriculum 7
  • Employment 8
  • Costs 9
  • Notable alumni 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


The School of Law was founded in 1903 when Washburn College President Norman Plass asked a prominent Topeka lawyer, Robert Stone, to head a committee for the formation of a law school. In September 1903, Washburn Law School officially opened under the direction of Dean Ernest B. Conant, a Harvard Law graduate. He was the only full-time professor, with 23 practicing lawyers serving as part-time faculty.[5]

In 1905, the Association of American Law Schools admitted Washburn Law into its ranks. Continued enrollment growth and development of a substantial library prompted several relocations into larger quarters in downtown Topeka. The law school moved to the Washburn campus in 1918. In 1923, the American Bar Association included Washburn on its first list of fully accredited law schools.[5]

On June 8, 1966, a tornado devastated the law school and other campus buildings. Strong alumni, corporate, and public support facilitated the construction of a new law school building. United States Supreme Court Justice Byron White delivered the dedicatory address in September 1969. The centerpiece of the building is the Robinson Courtroom. In 2001, it was equipped with the latest in courtroom technology and renamed the Robinson Courtroom and Bianchino Technology Center.[5]

As early as 1968, Washburn Law recognized that the practice of law was becoming increasingly global and responded with a summer study abroad program. And, when the Kansas Supreme Court authorized senior law students to practice law under supervision, Washburn responded by establishing the Law Clinic in 1970. The clinical program, operating as a student law firm supervised by full-time faculty members, became a model for other law schools in the nation. Under the leadership of Dean Raymond Spring, a separate building was constructed to house the Law Clinic, adjacent to the law school building.[5]

In 1978, Dean Spring returned to teaching as a distinguished professor of law, and Carl Monk, a member of the faculty, became dean. Dean Monk aggressively pursued further improvement of the law school by instituting a planned reduction in the size of the entering class, giving Washburn one of the best student/faculty ratios in the nation. Dean Monk's leadership role in legal education nationally was recognized when he was selected as the fifth executive director of the Association of American Law Schools. Professor Jim Concannon succeeded Carl Monk as dean in 1988. He guided the law school through a $5.2 million expansion of the law library to accommodate the growing collection and technological innovation. Increased alumni support of the school permitted scholarship awards to double in only five years. Three times in four years, the U.S. Department of Education recognized Washburn Law's success in diversifying its student body by awarding Patricia Roberts Harris fellowships.[5]

WashLaw, initiated in 1991 by the Washburn Law Library, is a legal research portal that provides users with links to significant sites of law-related materials on the Internet. It is one of the premier legal Internet research services available to a worldwide audience of practicing and academic legal experts. WashLaw also hosts a large number of law-related discussion groups.[5]

In 1992, the law school established certificate programs allowing students to select an area of concentration within the traditional law school curriculum. Students now may achieve certification in Advocacy; Business and Transactional Law; Estate Planning; Family Law; International and Comparative Law; Law and Government; Natural Resources Law; and Tax Law. Washburn was selected to edit the Family Law Quarterly for the American Bar Association's Family Law Section in 1992, providing a second law journal editing opportunity for students. In addition, the law school expanded its commitment of significant resources to its legal research and writing program.[5]

Washburn University School of Law welcomed Dean Dennis R. Honabach in July 2001. During the 2002-2003 academic year, the law school launched three signature programs: the Business and Transactional Law Center, the Center for Excellence in Advocacy, and the Children and Family Law Center. During the summer of 2004, all of the law school classrooms underwent a major renovation that included desktop Internet access, new furnishings, improved acoustics, new carpeting, and state-of-the-art teaching tools incorporated into a Sympodium presentation system.[5]

During the 2006-2007 academic year, Professor William J. Rich served as interim dean.[5]

Thomas J. Romig, formerly the Judge Advocate General of the Army, began his tenure as dean in July 2007. Washburn Law's regional and national reputation is built upon a solid foundation of excellence in legal education, commitment of the law school at every level to the success of students, and the diverse educational and professional backgrounds of its faculty members. The Centers for Excellence and widely recognized Washburn Law Clinic are leaders on the national level. In 2008, Washburn Law launched its newest Center for Excellence, the Center for Law and Government, with a national symposium on "The Rule of Law and the Global War on Terrorism: Detainees, Interrogations, and Military Commissions."[5]

Nearly a quarter of a century (1989) after Washburn Law's oil and gas program was developed to meet the ongoing and ever-changes demands of the industry, the Oil and Gas Law Center was established in 2013.[5]

Washburn Law continues to demonstrate its excellence and innovation in numerous areas. The dual JD/MBA program with the School of Business and the dual JD/MSW program with the Department of Social Work enhance opportunities for our students. Washburn Law has one of the best student-to-faculty ratios (10.7-1) among all law schools. The Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing Program was recognized as 11th in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's 2014 edition of America's Best Law Schools. Washburn University School of Law is one of only 20 law schools recognized as "Top Law Schools for Government Jobs" in the January 2012 issue of the National Jurist. In that same issue, Washburn Law was named one of the top 20 law schools for jobs as prosecutors and public defenders. Washburn Law was named a "Best Value" by National Jurist's sister publication preLaw magazine. preLaw recognized 60 schools that offer an affordable education with great job prospects and bar pass rates (fall 2011). Washburn Law Library is among the top 20 law school libraries in the nation, according to the National Jurist (November 2012).[5]

Since opening its doors in 1903, Washburn Law has graduated some the of the finest law professionals in the country. The law school's 7,065 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and several foreign countries.[5]

Washburn Law played an important role in shaping the nation's history with its pioneering efforts from the school's beginning in the quest for equality. The first African-American graduated from Washburn Law in 1910, and the first woman graduated from Washburn Law in 1912. In 1951, Washburn Law alumni found themselves on both sides of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark civil rights case that would forever change the nation.[5]

Facts about Washburn University School of Law

  • The school has 79 faculty members and 445 students.
  • The school has been accredited by the American Bar Association since 1923 and has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1905.[6]
  • The 2010 edition of U.S. News & World Report's Best Law Schools ranked its Legal Writing program 17th among all law schools in the country.[7]
  • In the 2010 edition of the National Jurist Best value law schools Washburn Law was ranked 31st overall.[8]
  • Washburn Law was also listed under the outstanding category in the 2010 edition of the Princeton Review's best law schools release.[9]
  • The SSRN ranks Washburn Law's tax program as #19 overall and its tax faculty as #9 overall.[10]
  • Washburn's Law Review was also ranked #75 overall according to the 2010 ranking by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS).[11]
  • The IRLG ranked Washburn Law #58 overall in its 2009 ranking of law schools.[12]
  • Law & Politics 2010 ranking of law schools ranked Washburn law #105 overall among ABA approved law schools.[13]
  • In 2012, U.S. News & World Report ranked Washburn at #129 in the nation.[14]

The Washburn Law Library is the largest law library in the state of Kansas with over 385,000 volumes.[15] It has been ranked as one of the top 20 law school libraries in the country.[16] The law library maintains Washlaw, one of the nation's leading Internet legal research portals.[17]

Dual degree programs

  • Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration
  • Juris Doctor/Master of Social Work

Certificate programs

  • Advocacy Certificate
  • Business and Transactional Law Certificate
  • Estate Planning Certificate
  • Family Law Certificate
  • International and Comparative Law Certificate
  • Natural Resources Law Certificate
  • Tax Law Certificate

Centers and programs

  • Business and Transactional Law Center
  • Children and Family Law Center
  • Center for Excellence in Advocacy
  • Center for Law and Government

The Washburn Law Clinic functions as an in-house general practice law firm, providing representation in practice concentration areas such as Children and Family Law, Criminal Defense, State Tribal Court Practice, Civil Litigation, Criminal Appellate Advocacy, and Small Business and Transactional Law. Regardless of the subject matter of the clinic cases, the skills that students acquire through their clinical experience are transferable to future practice.[18]


  • The Washburn Law Journal[19]
  • Family Law Quarterly (edited by faculty and students at Washburn Law; published by the American Bar Association Section of Family Law.[20]


The first-year curriculum includes Legal Writing, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Torts, Constitution and Property. In addition, all entering students participate in the law school's academic support program, Ex-L (Expert Learning). Ex-L consists of an elaborate and rigorous First-Week Program designed to teach law students the law school learning strategies they need to succeed. It includes a structured study group component in which groups of four to six students meet twice per week to apply cooperative learning strategies to their law school learning under the supervision of carefully trained upper-division students.


According to Washburns's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 62.9% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[21] Washburns's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 15.9%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[22]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Wasbhurn for the 2014-2015 academic year is $34,393 for residents of Kansas/Colorado/Missouri/Texas/Oklahoma/Nebraska and $45,065 for residents of other states not previously mentioned.[23] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $128,755 for residents of Kansas/Colorado/Missouri/Texas/Oklahoma/Nebraska and $170,417 for residents of other states not previously mentioned.[24]

Notable alumni


  1. ^ Law School Almanac - 2008 Endowments,, retrieved on 6-6-2009.
  2. ^ Washburn University Annual Report,, retrieved on 2-3-2010
  3. ^
  4. ^ Bar exam results retrieved on 12-10-2010
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Washburn University SChool of Law History
  6. ^ AALS memberschools,, retrieved on 2-3-2010
  7. ^, retrieved 3/22/2009
  8. ^ Washburn Law, National Jurist Ranking,, retrieved on 2/3/2010
  9. ^ Princeton Review best law schools,, retrieved on 2-3-2010.
  10. ^ Tax law/faculty rankings,, retrieved on 2-3-2010.
  11. ^ Aallnet Ranking,, retrieved on 2-8-2010.
  12. ^ Ranking of Law schools - Raw data "2009 Raw Data ranking"., retrieved on 2-8-2010.
  13. ^ Superlawyers ranking @ Law and Politics Law and Politics . retrieved on 2-14-2010
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ US News law library size retrieved on 2-3-2010
  16. ^ Top law library rankings,, retrieved on 1-27-2010
  17. ^ Washlaw,, retrieved on 2-3-2010.
  18. ^ Clinic,
  19. ^
  20. ^ Family law quarterly,
  21. ^ 
  22. ^ 
  23. ^ "Tuition and Expenses". 
  24. ^ "Wasbhurn University Profile". 

External links

  • Official website
  • Official website

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