Georgia State University College of Law

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Georgia State University College of Law
GSU Law Logo.jpg
Parent school Georgia State University
Established 1982[1]
School type Public
Dean Steven Kaminshine
Location Atlanta, Georgia, US
Enrollment 461 (Full Time)[1]
Faculty 52 (Full- and part-time)[1]
USNWR ranking 54[1]
Bar pass rate 95% (ABA profile)
Website [1]
ABA profile GSU College of Law

The Georgia State University College of Law is an urban law school located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1982, it is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools.

The Georgia State University College of Law is housed in the Urban Life Building, shown in the background

In addition to the Juris Doctor degree, the college offers joint degree programs with other colleges at Georgia State University, including Master of Business Administration, Master of Public Administration, Master of Arts in Philosophy, Master of City and Regional Planning, and Master of Science in Health Administration. The college's educational programs are enhanced through externships[2] and pro bono programs[3] facilitated through the proximity to the Georgia State Capitol, major law firms and corporate offices. In addition, the College of Law has clinics such as the HeLP and Tax Clinic that allow students to get hands-on practice experience while also contributing to the community.

The college offers flexible full-time and part-time programs to accommodate a varied spectrum of students.

History[edit]

As far back as the early 1970s, Georgia legislators and academic leaders debated establishing a new law school. The Georgia State University College of Law finally was sanctioned by the state’s Board of Regents in 1981.

The college enrolled 200 students in its inaugural year, taught by six professors. Most students were part-time, and many took classes at night, because they had full-time jobs during the day. The college’s first seven graduates were hooded in December 1984.

By the end of its first decade, full-time faculty had grown to 31, nearly half of whom were women.

Rankings[edit]

Georgia State College of Law is ranked as the 64th best law school by U.S. News & World Report,[4] an improvement from 65th in 2009. The College of Law also boasts a strong Health Law program (ranked 8th nationally) and a large part-time program (ranked 14th nationally). Additionally, GSU has been named by Princeton Review as a top national law school.[5]

Best Value[edit]

Known for its low tuition ($15,154 per year for Georgia residents) and strong academic reputation, Georgia State University College of Law has been honored multiple times as one of the best values in the nation. National Jurist magazine has placed GSU law in the top five best value law schools for five consecutive years from 2008-2012, including naming Georgia State as the Best Value in the County in 2010 and 2011.[6][7][8]

Admissions[edit]

A very selective program, the College of Law accepted fewer than 17% of applicants to the juris doctor program in the fall of 2012. Admitted students had an average undergraduate GPA of 3.19-3.60 and an average LSAT of 156-161. The admitted class of 2012 featured 191 students, 107 men and 84 women. 92% of the entering class of 2012 hails from the State of Georgia and includes representatives from the University of Georgia, Auburn University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Vanderbilt University, Mercer University, and the University of North Carolina, among others.

Academics[edit]

Georgia State's College of Law offers a location where classrooms, courtrooms, business and government are concentrated and convenient. A flexible curriculum integrates theory and practice, giving you hands-on experience while allowing you to meet other obligations during law school.[9]

There are currently 650 students, 465 of which are full-time. The college has a better than 11:1 student-faculty ratio with 52 full-time faculty members. More than half of the full-time faculty are women, and students are exposed to a diverse atmosphere with almost one-third minority enrollment.[9]

Since 2011, GSU has a nearly 95% bar passage rate, well above the state-wide average of 84%.[9]

Clinical Programs[edit]

GSU offers numerous clinical programs for its students, with an aim to provide the student body with as much experience as possible upon graduation.

Capital Defender Clinic[edit]

Second- and third-year students assist Office of Georgia Capital Defender attorneys in all aspects of preparing their indigent clients’ death penalty cases for trial, including conducting investigations, interviewing clients and potential witnesses, compiling forensic evidence, seeking documents, research, drafting pleadings, formulating a theory of defense and making strategic decisions for each phase of the case

Fundamentals of Law Practice[edit]

Students learn practice skills and ethical decision-making through simulating the work of a small, general practice law firm. Course work includes simulation exercises and actual client representation.

HeLP Legal Services Clinic[edit]

The HeLP Legal Services Clinic offers professional skills and training to law students in a variety of legal areas by representing the legal needs of low-income children receiving health care services through Atlanta’s children's hospitals.

Health Legislation and Advocacy[edit]

This two-semester clinic focuses on the development of legislative advocacy skills by examining the process by which legislation is enacted into state law, including drafting, legislative organization and procedure, ethics and lobbying, and the appropriations process. Students may work with a community partner (nonprofit health advocacy group, health-related government agency or nonprofit health-related enterprise) on a written project that relates to upcoming proposed health-related legislation in the Georgia General Assembly or that involves other legislation-related health policy or advocacy issues.

Investor Advocacy Clinic[edit]

The new clinic will offer professional skills and arbitration, negotiation and mediation training to law students who will represent and educate small investors who have suffered losses resulting from broker misconduct but cannot afford or find private legal representation because of the size of their claim. The clinic is expected to open in summer 2013.

Phillip C. Cook Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic[edit]

The tax clinic provides professional skills and training to law students and legal representation to low-income persons during the post-audit stage of their disputes with the Internal Revenue Service.[10]

Urban Fellows Program[edit]

The Urban Fellows Program is an interdisciplinary initiative of the Center for the Comparative Study of Metropolitan Growth in the College of Law. Top graduate students are selected from across Georgia State University and Georgia Tech's School of City and Regional Planning to study and discuss issues related to urban growth with top decision makers.

Students in the Urban Fellows Program participate in a speaker series that includes monthly afternoon lectures and brown bag lunches; the speaker series focuses on a variety of topics related to urban and environmental issues. Students also participate in community outreach projects, field trips, and conferences and symposia. All students are required to write a research paper of publishable quality.[11]

Study Abroad[edit]

In addition to the numerous programs and opportunities offered to GSU law students in and around Atlanta, there are also many study abroad programs from which to choose.

Summer Academy in International Commercial Arbitration[12][edit]

The Summer Academy is a six-credit hour study abroad program based in Linz, Austria. Part of the program will be held in Vienna; Salzburg, Austria; Budapest, Hungary; Venice, Italy; Prague, Czech Republic; and Passau, Germany. The program lasts roughly five weeks and typically enrolls 35 to 40 students each year.

The academy offers two specialized seminars in international commercial arbitration, which is the predominate method of dispute resolution in international trade transactions. The program's outstanding faculty members are drawn from Europe and the United States, and include senior officers of important arbitration courts in central Europe.

The Buenos Aires Summer Program[edit]

The summer abroad program takes advantage of this unique site to offer an intensive experience in both U.S. and Argentine law. The program is designed to go beyond simply an extended visit abroad. The courses, faculty, student body and site visits are selected to provide a real understanding of Argentine legal culture. Sponsored by Florida International University College of Law and Georgia State University College of Law.

Summer Legal and Policy Study in Rio de Janeiro[13][edit]

Summer Legal and Policy Study in Rio de Janeiro is an interdisciplinary program offering courses in international and comparative environmental and environment health law and policy, in international trade and in cross-cultural conflict resolution

Trial Advocacy[edit]

GSU is home to one of the most successful trial advocacy programs in the nation. The Student Trial Lawyers Association (STLA) is led by Professor Tom Jones and has won numerous national and regional awards and competitions. In the 20 years since its inception in 1992, the STLA has won 11 national championships, competed in 7 national finals and won 15 regional championships. Additionally, 23 GSU students have been named "Best Advocate" at the various competitions. For a full list of competition results, visit the GSU STLA competition results page.

New Facility[edit]

Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law Tuesday, May 7, a state budget that includes $58.8 million in bonds allocated to constructing a new building for Georgia State University College of Law.

The law building was included in Deal's original fiscal year 2014 budget proposal and maintained support throughout the budget's negotiations during the 2013 General Assembly, which ended March 28.

"Scores of people have supported this building project for many years, which makes it rewarding to have reached this important benchmark in the process," said Steven J. Kaminshine, dean of the College of Law. "Bolstered by this critical state funding, our new building will have transformative implications for the college, from providing state-of-the-art learning spaces to collaborative gathering space for Atlanta's legal community."

The state bond issue, coupled with a recent Robert W. Woodruff Foundation grant of $5 million and other gifts, allows Georgia State to begin construction on the building at the corner of John Wesley Dobbs Avenue and Park Place. The remaining funding needed for the $82.5 million project — for furnishings, technology and interior finishing — will come from private contributions.

The Urban Life Building, current home of the College of Law, was never designed to be a legal education facility and has been retrofitted over the years to serve the needs of the growing school. The new building will be the first dedicated to the law school at Georgia State and will nearly double the square footage for instruction, collaboration and meeting space.

Approved designs include flat floor, tiered and seminar classrooms, a 230-seat auditorium and courtroom with judge and jury boxes and three smaller moot courtrooms for practical skills training. The lower level will feature a conference center with breakout rooms, while the top two floors will showcase a collaborative library space. The library designs showcase a learning area with café and lounge area, a formal reading room, media classrooms and enclosed study rooms.

With this funding in place, groundbreaking for the building could begin as early as this fall. The building could open to students in 2015. Project partners include architects from SmithGroup and Stevens & Wilkinson, construction management from McCarthy and program management by Jones Lang LaSalle.

Notable People[edit]

References[edit]

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