Walter F. George School of Law
The Walter F. George School of Law (also known as Mercer University School of Law or Mercer Law School), founded in 1873, is one of the oldest law schools in the United States and is the second oldest of Mercer's twelve colleges and schools. The School of Law has approximately 440 students and is located in Macon, Georgia on its own campus one mile (1.6 km) from Mercer's main campus. The law school building, one of Macon's most recognizable sites, is a three-story partial replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia and is located on Coleman Hill overlooking downtown Macon.
Dean of the School
Walter F. George
The School of Law is named for Walter F. George, Mercer Law class of 1901, who served as United States Senator from Georgia from 1922-57 and as President pro tempore from 1955-57. Before election to the Senate, he served as a Judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals in 1917 and as a Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court from 1917-22. Mercer named its law school the Walter F. George School of Law of Mercer University in 1947. Fred M. Vinson, Chief Justice of the United States, participated in the naming ceremony.
The Walter F. George Foundation, created when the school was named, continues to fund scholarships for Mercer law students who have a demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in public service. Walter F. George Foundation Public Service Scholarships cover full tuition for three years of law school along with community service grants for first-year and second-year summer public service internships.
The School of Law celebrated its centennial in 1973. The principal event occurred on November 18, 1973; participants included Richard Nixon, President of the United States and Jimmy Carter, Governor of Georgia and future President of the United States. In his speech, President Nixon announced the nation's third Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier would be named in honor of Carl Vinson, Mercer Law class of 1902. Vinson, who was present at the event, was the first member of the United States House of Representatives to serve for more than 50 years (he served 1914-65), and was the long-time chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Also present were Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and Secretary of the Navy John Warner.
Accreditation and rankings
In the 2013 edition of its law school rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranks Mercer 105th among the nation's top 145 law schools. The same edition ranks Mercer's legal writing program third in the nation. The legal writing program has been ranked in the top three since US News & World Report began the speciality ranking in 2006.
The School of Law enrolls approximately 440 students and has a faculty of approximately 30 full-time professors and 30 adjunct professors. The following degrees are offered: Juris Doctor (JD), a joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration (JD/MBA) in conjunction with Mercer's Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Federal Criminal Practice and Procedure, which is the nation's only LLM program with this subject matter focus. The school publishes the Mercer Law Review, the oldest law review in Georgia (founded in 1949), and the Journal of Southern Legal History.
The School of Law's model curriculum, the Woodruff Curriculum, named for philanthropist George W. Woodruff, is viewed as a model for law schools across the United States. The curriculum, based on small classes and a practice oriented approach, focuses on legal ethics, professional responsibility, and legal writing and has been honored with the prestigious Gambrell Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association.
The School of Law houses the Mercer Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism, established in 2000 and dedicated to fostering and teaching ethics and professionalism in the practice of law, and the National Criminal Defense College, a not-for-profit organization established in 1985 and devoted to improved trial advocacy and trial practice.
The School of Law also houses the Legal Writing Institute, the world's largest organization devoted to improved legal writing. The Institute's 1,800 members represent attorneys, judges, and legal writing professors in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
The Furman Smith Law Library, named for Furman Smith, Mercer Law class of 1932, is the school's center of legal research. A premier facility, the library is used by lawyers and judges from across the state and recognized for its superior resources and service. The library occupies over 30,000 square feet (3,000 m2) in a central location on the second and third floors of the law school building. Large windows in the library provide students with views of historic Macon from the law building's location on Coleman Hill.
G. Harrold Carswell '48, Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and unsuccessful nominee to the United States Supreme Court, 1970.
John Oxendine '87, Georgia Insurance Commissioner, 1995-11.
Mercer alumni head two of Georgia's three branches of government: Nathan Deal '66, is the Governor of Georgia, 2011-present; Hugh Thompson '69, is the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, 2013-present. In the Georgia General Assembly, Judson H. Hill, Sr. '86, serves as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; William T. Ligon, Jr. '86, serves as Chairman of the Senate State and Local Governmental Operations Committee. M. Yvette Miller '80, Sara L. Doyle '94, and Michael P. Boggs '90 are judges of the Georgia Court of Appeals.
- A. Harris Adams - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 2002-13
- Griffin B. Bell - Federal Appeals Court Judge, 1962-76; 72nd Attorney General of the United States, 1977-79
- Reason C. Bell - Chief Justice, Georgia Supreme Court, 1943-46; Associate Justice, 1932-43 and 1946-49; Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1922-32
- Michael P. Boggs - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 2012-present
- William Augustus Bootle - Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 1954-81; ordered admission of the first African-American to the University of Georgia, 1961; namesake of the William Augustus Bootle Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Macon
- G. Harrold Carswell - Judge, Federal District Court for the Northern District of Florida, 1958-69; Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 1969-70; unsuccessful nominee to the United States Supreme Court, 1970
- Abraham Benjamin Conger - Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 1949-53
- Bascom Sine Deaver - Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 1928-44
- Sara L. Doyle - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 2009-present
- Walter Homer Drake - Bankruptcy Judge, Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, 1979-present; Chairman, Mercer University Board of Trustees, 2008-10; namesake of the Homer and Ruth Drake Field House at Mercer University Stadium
- Homer C. Eberhardt - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1961-74;
- Jule Wimberly Felton - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1937-69; Chief Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1954-69; Georgia Supreme Court Justice, 1969-71
- Hardy Gregory - Georgia Supreme Court Justice, 1981-89
- John B. Guerry - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1933-40
- Albert John Henderson - Federal Appeals Court Judge, 1979-99; Judge, Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, 1968-79
- Robert F. Hershner - Chief Bankruptcy Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 2001-08
- Claude W. Hicks, Jr. - Federal Magistrate Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 1983-10
- John T. Laney, III - Chief Bankruptcy Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 2008-present; Bankruptcy Judge, 1986-08
- William Leroy McMurray - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1976-00
- M. Yvette Miller - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1999-present; the first African-American woman to serve on the court
- Richard Henry Mills - Judge, Federal District Court for the Central District of Illinois, 1985-present
- Carlton Mobley - Chief Justice, Georgia Supreme Court, 1972-74; Associate Justice, 1954-72; United States Representative, Georgia's 6th Congressional District, 1932-33
- David M. Parker - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1944-49
- Willie Louis Sands - Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 1994-present; the first African-American to serve on the court
- Hugh Thompson - Chief Justice, Georgia Supreme Court, 2013-present; Associate Justice, 1994-13
- Marc Treadwell - Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 2010-present
- Julian Webb - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1974-79
- Charles W. Worrill - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1949-53; Georgia Supreme Court Justice, 1953-54
- Elizabeth P. Archer - Georgia Inspector General, 2006-11
- Doug Barnard - United States Representative, Georgia's 10th Congressional district, 1977-93
- Dan J. Bradley - President, Legal Services Corporation, 1979-82
- J. Eugene Cook - Georgia Attorney General, 1945-65, the longest serving Attorney General in Georgia history; Georgia Supreme Court Justice, 1965-67
- Cathy Cox - Georgia Secretary of State, 1999-07, the first woman elected to this position; President, Young Harris College, 2007-present
- Edward E. Cox - United States Representative, Georgia's 2nd Congressional district, 1925-52
- Nathan Deal - United States Representative, Georgia's 9th Congressional district, 1993-10; Governor of Georgia, 2011-present
- Julia C. Dudley - United States Attorney, Federal District Court for the Western District of Virginia, 2008-09
- Peter Zack Geer - Georgia Lieutenant Governor, 1963-67
- Walter F. George - United States Senator from Georgia, 1922-57, served as President pro tempore, 1955-57; namesake of Mercer's Law School
- Deron R. Hicks - Georgia Inspector General, 2011-13
- Anthony J. Jenkins - United States Attorney, Federal District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands, 2005-08
- Buckner F. Melton - Mayor of Macon, 1975-79
- Michael Meyer von Bremen - Georgia State Senator, 1999-09; served as the Democratic Party Senate Minority Leader, 2002-09
- Michael J. Moore - United States Attorney, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 2010-present
- John Oxendine - Georgia Insurance Commissioner, 1995-11
- G. F. Peterman - United States Attorney (acting), Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 2000-01 and 2009
- Robert Reichert - Mayor of Macon and former member of the Georgia House of Representatives, 2007-present
- Dwight L. Rogers - United States Representative, Florida's 6th Congressional district, 1945-54
- Christopher N. Smith - Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Denmark
- Malcolm C. Tarver - United States Representative, Georgia's 7th Congressional district, 1927-47
- Richard S. Thompson - United States Attorney, Federal District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, 2001-04
- Carl Vinson - United States Representative for over 50 years, 1914-65; long-time Chairman, House Armed Services Committee; has been called the "patriarch of the armed services" and the "father of the two-ocean navy"; namesake of the USS Carl Vinson
- William S. West - United States Senator from Georgia, 1914-14
- J. Mark Wilcox - United States Representative, Florida's 4th Congressional district, 1933-39
- John S. Wood - United States Representative, Georgia's 9th Congressional district, 1931-35 and 1945-53; Chairman, House Un-American Activities Committee, 1949-53
Arts, media, and non-government public service
- Charles R. Adams III - adjunct law professor; author of Georgia Law of Torts
- Glen Ashman - author of the Georgia Municipal Court Judges Benchbook
- Steve Berry - author of six novels including several New York Times bestsellers
- Brainerd Currie - law professor; noted conflict of laws scholar who developed the characterisation concept of governmental interest analysis
- Deryl Dantzler - law professor; Dean of the National Criminal Defense College; recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Gerald M. Edenfield - President, State Bar of Georgia, 2007-08
- Nancy Grace - anchor for Court TV, legal commentator, and host of Nancy Grace on the Headline News television network
- Frank C. Jones - President, State Bar of Georgia, 1969-70
- Rudolph N. Patterson - President, State Bar of Georgia, 1999-00
- James C. Rehberg - law professor; recognized as an expert in Georgia real estate law
- Jay Sekulow - Chief Counsel, American Center for Law and Justice
- Evett L. Simmons - President, National Bar Association, 2000-01
- Neil Skene - career journalist; President and Publisher, Congressional Quarterly, 1990-97
- Kent W. Spence - noted trial attorney; son and law firm partner of noted trial attorney Gerry Spence
- Robert L. Steed - senior partner, King & Spalding; noted author and humorist
- L. Lin Wood - high profile trial attorney; has represented Richard Jewell, the parents of JonBenét Ramsey, Gary Condit, Kobe Bryant, and Herman Cain
William Augustus Bootle Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Macon. Judge "Gus" Bootle '25, served as Judge of the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia from 1954-81 and ordered desegregation of the University of Georgia in 1961. The building was named in his honor in 1998.
Homer and Ruth Drake Field House at Mercer University Stadium. Judge Drake '56, is a Senior Bankruptcy Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, 1979-present. He was chairman of the Mercer University Board of Trustees, 2008-10. The building was named in honor of Judge Drake and his spouse in 2012.
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