‘Race & the Foundations of American Law’ Course

In 2021, RWU Law became one of just a handful of law schools nationwide to add a new required course on race and the law to its core legal curriculum.

RWU Law made national headlines in 2021 when it became one of just a handful of law schools nationwide to introduce a new required course on race and the law to its core legal curriculum. It was also one of the first to pilot its course as a spring elective.

After three years of strategic planning and a year of national reckoning, RWU Law designed the course to improve critical thinking about the law by offering important and often overlooked perspectives on race, and to prepare students for the fast-evolving legal landscape in which they will soon be practicing.

“Offering this course aligns perfectly with our institution’s larger social justice mission,” said RWU Law Dean Gregory W. Bowman in announcing the course. “It is something we needed to do, something transformative, something that will better equip our graduates to work within the legal system to create a world that is more equitable for all.”

“Our students are going to be lawyers; leaders in their profession and their communities,” Bowman added in an interview with the Boston Globe. “They need a broad and rich perspective on the law, how it has evolved, and how we will all work in our own ways to make the world a better place.”

Speaking with Reuters, Professor Jared Goldstein said, “Within a few years, I expect it will seem as normal and necessary as other required law school courses, like contracts.”

In a Q&A with Westlaw Today, Professor Diana Hassel said the course enables students “to bring a more critical and skeptical approach to all aspects of legal doctrine.”

Student response has also been overwhelmingly positive.

“I’m fully onboard,” said 2L Julyssa Tavares. “The law school is helping us become well-rounded lawyers. This class takes you out of the regular, doctrinal approach and makes you step back and think about law in a bigger way; how to actually apply it in today’s world. These are conversations we need to have.”

Download the Current Syllabus

Close Course Type Descriptions

Course Types

We have classified RWU Law classes under the following headers. One of the following course types will be attached to each course which will allow students to narrow down their search while looking for classes.

Core Course

Students in the first and second year are required to take classes covering the following aspects of the law—contracts, torts, property, criminal law, civil procedure, and constitutional law, evidence, and professional responsibility.  Along with these aspects, the core curriculum will develop legal reasoning skills.


After finishing the core curriculum the remaining coursework toward the degree is completed through upper level elective courses.  Students can choose courses that peak their interests or courses that go along with the track they are following.


Seminars are classes where teachers and small groups of students focus on a specific topic and the students complete a substantial research paper.


Inhouse Clinics and Clinical Externships legal education is law school training in which students participate in client representation under the supervision of a practicing attorney or law professor.  RWU Law's Clinical Programs offer unique and effective learning opportunities and the opportunity for practical experience while still in law school.