Before the Civil War, most Missouri lawyers qualified for admission to the bar through the usual means available in the 19th Century: self-study, apprenticeship or instruction given by a lawyer in his office. In 1872 the Curators of the University of Missouri established the University of Missouri Law Department, making it one of the oldest law schools in the country.
Students often describe the academic atmosphere at MU as challenging, but with an emphasis on learning rather than competition. Courses offer students a broad and balanced perspective on the law and legal institutions to prepare them for a wide range of career options in law, as well as alternative careers anywhere in the country.
During the 2014-2015 academic year, the law school has 40 full-time faculty and full-time administrators who teach, 14 emeritus and adjunct faculty and five non-faculty administrators.
The first-year class is divided into two sections with approximately 60 students in each section. Approximately 80 percent of the upper level classes have an average of fewer than 25 students.
The average age of student ranges from 24 to 26, with students starting law school from their 20s to their 50s.
The JD enrollment is 368 for the 2014-2015 academic year, with 39 percent women and about 16 percent minority students.
Between Oct. 5, 2013, and Oct. 5, 2014 (the reporting period for the ABA Annual Questionnaire), five first-year students and one second-year student discontinued their studies at the School of Law due to academic, transfer or personal reasons, and 135 students received JD degrees from the School of Law.
With a population of about 110,000, Columbia is located in central Missouri, midway between St. Louis and Kansas City and one half-hour from the state's capital, Jefferson City. Columbia is routinely rated as one of the best U.S. cities in which to reside.
The School of Law is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools.
The School of Law is fully accredited by the American Bar Association. Questions regarding ABA accreditation may be directed to the Office of the Consultant on Legal Education, American Bar Association, 321 N. Clark Street, 21st Floor, Chicago, IL 60654-7597, (312) 988-6738.
Basic information about the School of Law is published annually in the ABA Official Guide to Law Schools.
Student complaints implicating compliance with the standards imposed by the American Bar Association Section on Legal Education and Administration to the Bar shall be filed in writing with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, or if the complaint involves the person serving in that capacity, with the Dean of the Law School. The complaint shall include the date in which the complaint is being filed; the name and address of the complainant; and a description of the complaint. The description of the complaint shall include a description of the accreditation standard which the law school's action or inaction implicates. The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (or the Dean of the Law School) will investigate the complaint and respond to the complainant in writing within 30 calendar days from receiving the complaint. The response will indicate whether the Law School has taken any corrective action, or if not, the reasons for not taking any action.
The school's spacious and modern building, opened in 1988, is a magnificent laboratory for learning the law. Students rate MU's law school facility as one of the top in the country. The self contained facility houses the law school's classrooms, libraries, student offices, computer labs, lounges and dining areas.
Preeminent among Hulston Hall's many interesting features is its state-of-the-art courtroom. The room is equipped with all the usual accouterments of a courtroom, plus videotaping equipment to assist students in practicing and perfecting the skills of oral argument, advocacy and litigation. The MU Law Library has an excellent collection of legal materials consisting of more than 300,000 volumes and microfilm equivalents, as well as numerous computer-assisted research resources.