It’s an honor to step into the role of Dean of this great law school, with its unparalleled tradition of academic excellence, innovative teaching, world-class scholarship, and commitment to equal justice. I’m new to UW Law School in the 2020-21 academic year. But my admiration for this institution and the values it embodies goes back decades.
This website will give you some idea of what makes UW Law School such a special place. If you’ll allow me, I’d like to share why I am so excited to be part of this community – and why I hope you’ll join us too.
Let me start with our outstanding teaching and learning opportunities. UW Law School is renowned throughout the country for its law-in-action approach to legal education. Any law school can teach you the laws set forth in statutes and judicial opinions. We do that, of course, but also much more. At UW Law, you will learn how the rules evolved to address real-world problems – and how they might be improved to make our society more just.
Our law-in-action approach is also embodied in our first-rate clinical programs, which are astounding in the breadth and depth of experiential learning opportunities they offer. We have 17 clinics and externship programs, offering hands-on instruction in everything from entrepreneurial business law, consumer law, criminal law, family law, health law, immigration law, and beyond. And we provide this unmatched practical education at an exceptionally reasonable price, consistently ranking as one of the best value law schools in the United States.
UW Law is located in the heart of Madison, Wisconsin, a gorgeous and affordable city surrounded by lakes, which offers an abundance of outdoor activities year round. Madison has it all, combining the thrill of a Big College Town with a thriving music, arts, and food scene, along with a culture of environmental sustainability.
Our location offers great educational advantages. Located within walking distance of the state capitol, students can avail themselves of opportunities in all three branches of state government, as well as private firms, companies, and nonprofits nearby. UW Law’s ever-growing cadre of loyal alumni, not just in Wisconsin but across the country, helps ensure that many doors will be open to our students and graduates. And our dedicated careers development professionals will help guide you toward the opportunities that are best suited to your interests and skills.
UW Law is also home to many of the finest legal scholars in the country. If you choose to study here, you’ll have the privilege of learning from nationally and internationally acclaimed experts in a wide variety of fields. We’re especially strong when it comes to multi-disciplinary studies, with faculty holding advanced degrees in fields like biotechnology, history, finance, international affairs, political science, and sociology. Many faculty also have in-the-trenches experience as prosecutors, public defenders, business lawyers, civil rights advocates, and in many other fields.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents great challenges for legal education. But at UW Law, we know that every challenge presents opportunities. Our faculty and staff are committed to building upon our long tradition of curricular innovation. We will continue to provide the law-in-action instruction for which UW Law is justifiably famous, while doing all we can to keep students, staff, and faculty safe and healthy.
We’re also seizing the moment to redouble our efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion. Events of recent months reveal the painful reality that we as a country have a long way to go if we are to make equal justice for all a reality. At UW Law, we have a strong tradition of living our commitment to racial and gender equality. These values are at the core of our mission. We welcome diversity in all dimensions, including race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, military service, geography, experience, background, and viewpoint. Our Hastie Fellowship Program has been a national model for decades, offering a diverse group of promising young lawyers the opportunity to become leaders in legal education.
This website will give you a taste of what UW Law has to offer, as well as the values that animate our commitment to outstanding teaching, scholarship, and public service. Please enjoy your virtual visit. And of course, we’d be delighted to have you visit in person, so you can see firsthand all that UW Law has to offer. We hope to see you soon!
Daniel P. Tokaji
Fred W. & Vi Miller Dean & Professor of Law