George Washington University Law School

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The George Washington University Law School
Established 1865
Type Private
Dean Gregory Maggs (interim)
Students approximately 2,000
Location Washington, DC, USA
Campus Urban

The George Washington University Law School, commonly referred to as GW Law, is the law school of The George Washington University. It was originally founded in 1826 and is the oldest law school in Washington, D.C.[1] The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools. It is located on the main campus of The George Washington University at the corner of 20th and H Streets in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood.

According to GW Law's 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 77.8% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[2]


Though it would be decades before The George Washington University would be established by an Act of Congress, the George Washington University Law School—founded in 1826, closed in 1827 due to financial difficulty, and then reorganized in 1865—was the first law school in the District of Columbia.[1]

In 1865, the president of Columbian College (now The George Washington University) facilitated the purchase of a building owned by Trinity Church for the purpose of holding law classes. In 1867, the school graduated its first class, who represented twenty two of the then thirty seven states. The Master of Laws degree program was adopted by the school in 1877. In 1900, the school was one of the founding members of the Association of American Law Schools. In 1954, it merged with National University School of Law of Washington.

Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas, William Strong, David J. Brewer, Willis Van Devanter and John Marshall Harlan were among those who served on its faculty.[3][4] Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Samuel Alito, Justice Antonin Scalia, and Justice Elena Kagan presided over its moot court in 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2012 respectively.[5][6] [7]


In 2012, the median GPA for incoming GW Law students was 3.6, and the median LSAT score was 167.[8] The law school received approximately 7,227 applications for fall 2012 admissions.[9]

Students enrolled in the J.D. program come from 42 states, the District of Columbia, the Marshall Islands, the Virgin Islands, and nine other countries.[10] The Law School also enrolls students from approximately 45 countries each year in its Master of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Science degree programs.[11]


GW Law sign.jpg

The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools. GW Law has one of the largest curricula of any law school in the nation with more than 250 elective courses covering every aspect of legal study.[12]

The school currently has about 2,000 degree candidates: 1,400 full-time JD students, 300 part-time students, and 300 post-J.D. candidates from the United States and approximately 55 other countries.[13]

In addition to the juris doctor degree, GW Law offers the following joint degrees:

  • J.D./M.B.A.
  • J.D./M.P.A.
  • J.D./M.P.P.
  • J.D./M.A. in History with a concentration in U.S. Legal History, Women’s Studies, Public Policy with a concentration in Women’s Studies, and Master of Public Policy
  • J.D./M.A. in International Affairs: Science, Technology, and Public Policy; Security Policy Studies; Asian Studies; Latin American Studies; European and Eurasian Studies; International Development Studies; and International Trade and Investment Policy
  • J.D/M.P.H.

The following advanced degrees are offered:

Academic reputation[edit]

GW Law is currently ranked twentieth in the 2014 Law School Rankings of U.S. News & World Report,[14] and its part-time J.D. program is ranked second.[15] Furthermore, the school is ranked third in intellectual property law[16] and sixth in international law.[17]

According to Brian Leiter's recent law school rankings (an alternative to the U.S. News survey), GW Law ranks 12th in the nation for Supreme Court Clerkship Placement (2000–2008), 19th for student numerical quality, and 18th for law faculties with the most “scholarly impact” as measured by citations during roughly the past five years.[18][19][20]

In 2007, the National Law Journal ranked GW Law among the top 20 law schools that place the highest percentage of graduates in top American law firms.[21]

Additionally, Vault ranked GW Law No. 20 in its 2008 Top 25 Law Schools Survey, which emphasized the employability and preparedness of graduates of U.S. law schools based on a survey of lawyers and legal recruiters from the nation's largest firms.[22]

Academic recognition for students[edit]

Students are not supplied with individual class rankings; instead, the school recognizes their relative academic performance with two scholar designations. [1] The top 1%-15% of the class is designated George Washington Scholars. The top 16%-35% of the class is designated Thurgood Marshall Scholars.

Location and facilities[edit]

Lerner Hall, Stockton Hall, and the Burns Law Library, with the IMF seen in the background.

GW Law is located in the heart of Washington's Foggy Bottom neighborhood, across the street from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund headquarters, and a few blocks away from the State Department and the White House.

The Jacob Burns Law Library holds a research collection of more than 600,000 volumes.[23]

In 2000, the law school began a major building and renovation scheme to create an integrated, modern learning facility. The school has expanded into buildings on the east side of the University Yard.

The Law School currently occupies nine buildings on the main campus of The George Washington University. The Law School's main complex comprises five buildings anchored by Stockton Hall (1924) located on the University Yard, the central open space of GW's urban campus. Renovated extensively between 2001 and 2003, these buildings adjoin one another, have internal passageways, and function as one consolidated complex. Three townhouses directly across from the main complex house the Community Legal Clinics, Student Bar Association, and student journal offices.


According to GW Law's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 77.8% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.[24] GW Law's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 8.6%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2013 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[25]


The total cost of full-time attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at GW Law for the 2014-2015 academic year is $78,040.[26] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $298,885.[27]

Notable alumni[edit]

Class of 1891

Notable alumni of The George Washington University Law School include:

Notable faculty[edit]



  1. ^ a b The GW and Foggy Bottom Historical Encyclopedia. "Law School". Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  2. ^ "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates". 
  3. ^ "Probing the Law School’s Past: 1821-1962". The George Washington University. Retrieved 2009-04-19. 
  4. ^ "Supreme Court justice joins faculty". The GW Hatchet. Retrieved 2011-10-01. 
  5. ^ "Roberts judges moot court competition". 1/15/2012. 
  6. ^ "Moot Court Competition". C-Span. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
  7. ^ "Kagan rules in annual moot court competition". 
  8. ^ "Welcome New Students". GW Law. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  9. ^ "GW Law Welcomes Incoming Class of New Students". Nota Bene. Retrieved 2009-09-22. 
  10. ^ "Welcome New Students". GW Law. Retrieved 2010-08-19. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Admissions and Financial Aid". GW Law. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  12. ^ Overview of Academics at GW Law
  13. ^ GW Law at a Glance
  14. ^ U.S. News & World Report: The George Washington University Law School Profile
  15. ^ U.S. News & World Report: Part-time Law Rankings
  16. ^ U.S. News & World Report: Intellectual Property Law Rankings
  17. ^ U.S. News & World Report: International Law Rankings
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "TOP 25 LAW FACULTIES IN SCHOLARLY IMPACT, 2005-2009". Brian Leiter's Law School Rankings. Retrieved 2010-04-15. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Top 25 Law School Rankings". Vault 2008 Top 25 Law Schools Survey. Undated. Retrieved 2009-06-08.  [dead link]
  23. ^ "Jacob Burns Law Library". The George Washington University. Retrieved 26 January 2012. 
  24. ^ "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates". 
  25. ^ "George Washington University Profile". 
  26. ^ "Financial Aid General Information 2014-2015". 
  27. ^ "George Washington University Profile". 
  28. ^ "Major General Vaughn A. Ary". Headquarters, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 14 Oct 2013. 
  29. ^ Biography at the University of Chicago
  30. ^ Brown, Emma (2011-03-21). "Frank Neuhauser, winner of first national spelling bee, dies at 97". Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-04-03. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°53′56″N 77°02′42″W / 38.8988°N 77.045°W / 38.8988; -77.045