About Maryland Carey Law

Our History and Mission

The University of Maryland School of Law was authorized by the Maryland legislature in 1813 and began regular instruction in 1824. It is one of the oldest law schools in the nation, but its innovative programs make it one of the liveliest and most dynamic today. Maryland Law stands among five other professional schools on the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus. It has taken advantage of this location to become an integral part of the Baltimore-Washington legal and business community.

Early History

At the beginning of the 19th century, an aspiring lawyer would master the profession through an apprenticeship with an experienced member of the Bar. In Maryland, a prolific legal writer and commentator named David Hoffman helped to formalize legal instruction by persuading the state legislature to found the Law Institute at the University of Maryland. 

Hoffman's contribution to legal instruction included a comprehensive Course of Legal Study, whose influence extended well beyond Maryland. The Hoffman program was quickly adopted by other law school professors around the country. Hoffman was also an early advocate of promoting ethical behavior among lawyers, giving rise to his enduring reputation as the father of American legal ethics. 

Through Hoffman's influence, instruction at Maryland's first law school began in 1824. After a hiatus, it resumed in earnest in 1868 and has continued to grow in breadth and recognition to the present day. 

Maryland Carey Law Today

The School of Law's experiential programs are among the most extensive in the country. Through our nationally recognized Clinical Law Program, students can enroll in an array of courses to represent a criminal defendant, an emerging business owner, someone with HIV/AIDS, an environmental group, a disabled person, or perhaps a scientist wanting to patent a new drug. Students meet regularly with their professors to review the professional, ethical, and practical issues raised by their work. They also explore the connections between what is taught in the classroom and the practice of law as they are experiencing it.

Maryland offers specialty certificates in Environmental Law and Law and Health Care. Other programs include Advocacy,  Alternative Dispute Resolution, Business Law, Clinical Law, Intellectual Property Law, and International and Comparative Law. Because these programs are interdisciplinary, students can work with lawyers and professionals in related fields to resolve problems that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. For example, a student in the Law and Health Care Program could supplement a diverse curriculum of classroom courses with clinical opportunities, internships with organizations such as the National Institute of Health, and an editorial position on the school's Journal of Health Care Law and Policy.

The law school community is both diverse and congenial. About half of our students come from other states or the District of Columbia, as well as many foreign countries. They represent more than 100 undergraduate schools, and about one-third identify themselves as persons of color. Maryland Law's vibrant student organizations present many opportunities for participating in the social, cultural, and political life of the school and the historic city of Baltimore.

Students interested in writing can compete for positions on five student-run legal journals. The school also has an extensive moot court program and opportunities to participate in trial advocacy, counseling and negotiation competitions. The school's Thurgood Marshall Library is the largest law library in the state.

The curriculum combines traditional offerings with cutting-edge programs and a full-time menu of elective courses. Our adjunct faculty including leading lawyers, judges, and academics in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Fifty-eight full-time faculty members teach the 678 full-time and 154 part-time students. The 6.11:1 student-faculty ratio promotes close contact between professors and students. 

The law school is housed in the Nathan Patz Law Center, a state-of-the-art building that opened in 2002. In this new facility, simulation and clinical courses make extensive use of advanced audio-visual technology. Students use the school's many computers for research, writing, clinical work, and computer-assisted learning. Our professional staff in the offices of Admissions, Academic Achievement, Career Development, and elsewhere are committed to helping students make the most of their law school experience. Our devoted alumni mirror that commitment through their mentoring, adjunct teaching, annual giving, and service to the community.

Our Mission

The University of Maryland Carey School of Law strives to develop outstanding professionals educated in the law.  Through excellent teaching in both classroom and clinical settings, the school seeks to prepare our students for productive leadership and professional roles in the law, public service, business, and government, in Maryland, the nation, and beyond. In their capacity as scholars, members of the faculty contribute to the development of law-related knowledge and enhanced understanding of the functioning of law and justice. We underscore our public responsibilities as lawyers and our connection to the broader community by enhancing access to justice, by providing pro bono legal services, and by serving as a resource for members of the profession and others who work to achieve justice and a better-functioning society.

To achieve our mission, we are dedicated to the following core commitments:

  • Excellence in classroom and experiential teaching that facilitates student understanding of the knowledge, skills, ethics, and values they need to achieve success as lawyers, as leaders, and in other professional roles;
  • The creation, synthesis, and dissemination of law-related knowledge that assists lawyers, judges, scholars, and other professionals and leaders in society in understanding how law and justice shape our world;
  • The pursuit of justice through improving legal-delivery systems, contributing expertise to public discourse, and serving those, particularly in our city and state, who suffer historic, systemic or other disadvantage and face challenges in effectively accessing the legal system;
  • Interdisciplinary education and scholarship designed to promote comprehensive understanding of complex social and policy issues and to develop interdisciplinary approaches to address them;
  • The pursuit of diversity among our students, our faculty, and the legal profession as a whole;
  • A commitment to collaboration, engagement, and professionalism in our interactions with our students, our colleagues in the law and in other disciplines, and the greater community.

UMB Non-Discrimination Statement

Our Commitment to Intellectual & Cultural Diversity

For the legal system to function effectively, the profession must reflect the intellectual and cultural diversity that characterizes this nation. It is the School of Law's institutional conviction that diversity of perspectives - shaped by economic or cultural background, by race, by gender, by sexual orientation, by disability and by philosophical outlook -- is an essential ingredient of the educational process. If the ideals of justice and the rule of law are to retain their power, then legal education must attract people who can challenge each other's ideas and perceptions and who can draw upon each other's strengths in resolving disputes and building consensus within a plurality of perspectives.

This commitment to diversity is manifest in a variety of ways. Each year approximately 30 percent of our entering class is comprised of people of color. Hailing from on average more than 25 states and several foreign countries, the class typically represents more than 130 undergraduate institutions and ranges in age from 20 to 50. The same diversity is reflected in our faculty and deans. Of our 58 full-time faculty members, half are women and 12 are people of color.

From this diversity, the School of Law works to build a true sense of community.