Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Table Of U.S. Law School Mission Statements (2019 & 2021); 58 Schools Lack Explicit Mission Statements

Frances Tung (American Bar Foundation) & Elizabeth Mertz (Wisconsin; Google Scholar), Table of U.S. Law School Mission Statements, 2019 & 2021:

This Table continues a data-sharing effort begun by Irene Scharf and Vanessa Merton in 2016, as part of their research on U.S. law schools’ mission statements. They had been inspired, in part, by Jerome Organ’s earlier work on this topic in 2010. Scharf and Merton made their 2016 data publicly available on the University of Massachusetts website; we are following in their footsteps by sharing the results of our own efforts, undertaken in 2019 and 2021, on SSRN and on the American Bar Foundation webpage. In the spirit of open access and collegial cooperation within our scholarly community, we invite readers to send corrections to us c/o This is part of a larger project on law school education funded by the American Bar Foundation and directed by Elizabeth Mertz. 

For this part of the project, we were guided by the methods described by Organ (2010) – and, following Organ, by Scharf and Merton (2016). According to Organ: “While many law schools have a ‘mission’ that is clearly defined as a ‘mission’ or ‘vision,’ others were less explicit, but nonetheless described the school’s ‘aims’ or ‘purpose’ or ‘commitment,’ which we deemed sufficient to qualify as a mission statement. A mere description of the law school or what the law school does or is or what the law school provides students was deemed insufficient to constitute a mission.” However, we expanded the scope of data collection to include publicly available statements that would not qualify as mission statements, but which nonetheless indicated institutional priorities.

To search for a law school's mission statement, we checked each school's webpage for a link for "Mission" or "About". Also searched were "Dean's message" or "Dean's welcome" as well as "Academics" or "Admissions" pages. The school's webpage search feature was used to look for "mission" or "strategic plan."

The information below was collected in January and February 2019. We built upon Scharf and Merton’s publicly available data table in constructing ours. We also drew on an unpublished manuscript dealing with law school mission statements authored by Jerome M. Organ and Emily Lawrence several years ago, a copy of which is on file with the authors.

2021 Update: Mission statements were re-checked and updated. ...

Schools without explicit mission statements — 2021
1. American University
2. Arizona State University
3. Cardozo School of Law- Yeshiva University
4. Campbell University (only has vision plan)
5. Case Western Reserve University
6. DePaul University
7. Duke University
8. Florida State University
9. Fordham University
10. George Washington University
11. Georgetown University
12. Glendale University
13. Harvard
14. Massachusetts School of Law
15. Mercer University
16. New York University
17. Northwestern University
18. Oklahoma University
19. Pace University
20. Pacific Coast University
21. Penn State Law
22. People’s College of Law
23. Quinnipiac University
24. Rutgers University, Camden
25. Rutgers University, Newark
26. Santa Clara University
27. Seattle University
28. Seton Hall
29. Silicon Valley (website under construction)
30. Southern Methodist University
31. Stanford Law
32. SUNY Buffalo
33. Syracuse University
34. Texas Wesleyan/Texas A&M
35. University of Alabama
36. University of Arizona
37. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
38. University of California, Irvine
39. University of California, Los Angeles
40. University of Connecticut
41. University of Denver (includes only vision and values)
42. University of Detroit Mercy
43. University of Georgia
44. University of Miami
45. University of Michigan
46. University of Missouri- Kansas City
47. University of Oregon
48. University of Pennsylvania
49. University of San Diego
50. University of Southern California (only includes vision)
51. University of Virginia
52. University of Washington
53. Villanova University
54. Wayne State University
55. Widener University Commonwealth
56. Widener University Delaware
57. Willamette University
58. Yale Law

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