Washington College of Law
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|American University Washington College of Law|
|Motto||"Champion What Matters"|
|Parent school||American University|
|Established||1896 (as independent institution) and 1949 (merger with American University)|
|Location||Washington, D.C., United States
|Enrollment||1,678 (1503 JD, 160 LLM, 15 SJD)|
|Bar pass rate||81%|
American University Washington College of Law (WCL) is the law school of American University. It is located on Massachusetts Avenue in the American University Park section of Northwest Washington, D.C. The school is fully accredited by the American Bar Association, and a member of the AALS.
WCL is ranked 72nd in the nation in the Best Law Schools by U.S. News & World Report. Begun in 1896, it is the first law school to be founded by women, the first with a female dean, and the first to graduate an all-female class.
According to WCL's 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 45.6% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation.
- 1 History
- 2 Academic reputation
- 3 Costs and student debt
- 4 Employment outcomes
- 5 Enrollment
- 6 Clinical program
- 7 Study abroad programs
- 8 Campus & facilities
- 9 Programs and centers
- 10 Publications
- 11 Notable current and former faculty
- 12 Notable alumni
- 13 References
- 14 External links
Mussey herself learned the law by apprenticeship at her husband's law offices. She was rejected by several schools in the area, including the National University School of Law, and Columbian College, later the George Washington University Law School. Gillette however, found admission at Howard University School of Law, and graduated in 1882 with an LL.B and in 1883 with an LL.M. She passed the bar in the District of Columbia the same year. Additionally, President James A. Garfield appointed her to be the first female notary public in the United States.
Mussey and Gillett began teaching in Mussey's law offices in 1898 after they were approached by three women who wished to study with them. Not originally intending to create a full-fledged law school, they requested the law school of Columbian College to accept the six women for their final year. When Columbian refused the request on the ground that "women did not have the mentality for law", the two women determined to complete the students' education themselves and to found a co-educational law school that was specifically open to women.
With its first graduating class, the Washington College of Law became the first law school to be founded by women, the first with a female dean, and the first law school to graduate an all-female class. A year later, Mussey's male law clerk enrolled in 1897, making the school officially coeducational.
Washington D.C. incorporated WCL in 1898. After several temporary locations, the school moved to the Le Droit Building on 8th & F Streets in 1900. Enrollment rose to 55 students by 1908 and doubled in 5 years to 128 students. Dean Mussey secured a lease in 1909 in the Chesley Building on New York Ave, until the school outgrew the six-classroom lease. The school moved to its first permanent home in 1920; the former residence of Robert G. Ingersoll on K Street. Continually growing, WCL moved in 1924 to the former home of Oscar Underwood, and former residence of Archibald Butt. WCL merged with American University in 1949  and graduated its first African American student in 1953.
The Women & the Law Program was launched in 1948, to promote the integration of women's rights and gender studies into legal education, practice and doctrine.
After years of work by Dean Myers, a John Sherman Myers Law School building was constructed on the American University main campus and dedicated in 1963 by Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren. In the same year, Senator Robert Byrd graduated from WCL after ten years of night study classes, the first time a sitting member of Congress had begun and completed a law degree while serving.
Move to current location
By 1988, WCL had grown to over 1,000 students. Dean Milstein pushed for a new building, and in 1996 WCL moved less than a mile to The John Sherman Myers and Alvina Reckman Myers Law Center. The building was two and a half times larger than the previous Myers building, and included the new Pence Law Library.
National Jurist ranked WCL the 5th best Law School for Hispanic students in 2008.
U.S. News & World Report ranks WCL 72nd in the nation among the 145 ranked schools. WCL is also well known for its Clinical Training, International Law, Intellectual Property, Part-Time programs, which are ranked 3rd, 5th, 7th, 12th in the nation respectively.
National Jurist ranked WCL the 4th Best Public Interest Law School in the nation.
The school is well known for its strong programs in both human rights and public interest law. WCL's Equal Justice Foundation (EJF) provides scholarships to students who obtain unpaid summer internships with public interest organizations.
Costs and student debt
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at WCL for the 2014-2015 academic year is $73,002. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $272,373.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the average indebtedness of 2013 graduates who incurred law school debt was $158,636 (not including undergraduate debt), and 88% of 2013 graduates took on debt.
According to WCL's official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 45.6% of the Class of 2013 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation. WCL's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 28.6%, 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.
WCL receives over 5,000 applications annually for its full-time program. For the 2013 admissions cycle, WCL received 5264 applications. It enrolls 1,646 students, 55 percent of whom are female.
There was 31% minority representation in the 2011 entering class with representation from 42 States.
Additionally, students can enroll in one of several dual degree programs:
- J.D./M.A. program with the School of International Service
- J.D./M.B.A. and LL.M/M.B.A programs with the Kogod School of Business
- J.D/M.P.P and LL.M./M.P.P. with the School of Public Affairs,
- J.D./J.D. with the University of Ottawa in Canada
- J.D/J.D.(Master of Laws) with the Monash University Faculty of Law in Australia
- J.D./Master I/Master II with the Paris West University Nanterre La Défense in France
- J.D./LL.M. with the Universidad Carlos III in Spain 
WCL's Clinical Program is one of the most comprehensive in the nation. The school was one of the first law schools to develop a modern clinical legal education program. With over 200 students participating in the 11 clinics every year, the program is one of the largest in the country.
The clinic serves a variety of clients including immigrants and refugees, victims/survivors of domestic violence, juveniles, criminal defendants, low-income taxpayers, individuals seeking help with family law, consumer, disability, and intellectual property issues, community groups and nonprofit organizations.
Clinics include the General Practice Clinic, Community and Economic Development Law Clinic, Criminal Justice Clinic, DC Law Students in Court Clinic, Disability Rights Law Clinic, Domestic Violence Law Clinic, Janet R. Spragens Federal Tax Clinic, Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic, Immigrant Justice Clinic, International Human Rights Law Clinic, and Women and the Law Clinic.
Study abroad programs
WCL's study abroad program is considered to be among the best in the country, with 30% of the student body studying abroad every year. In 2012, the National Jurist recognized it as one of the "most robust study abroad programs out of the 200 U.S. Law Schools." 
Students are able to study law for a semester in over 18 countries. WCL also contains five summer abroad programs in Chile, Europe (London, Paris, Geneva and The Hague), Turkey, and Israel.
Campus & facilities
The John Sherman Myers and Alvina Reckman Myers Law Center is located at 4801 Massachusetts Avenue, with another set of offices located at 4910 Massachusetts Avenue, in the northwest edge of Washington, D.C., near the Maryland state line. The facility was completed in 1996 and lies within the boundaries of the American University Park residential neighborhood. The law school building is less than a mile from the main American University campus, however a shuttle system is available for students and staff to travel between the two locations. The building is accessible to students and faculty 24/7 with the use of an AU ID card.
The Pence Law Library
The Pence Law Library is 54,000 square feet, with more than 600,000 volumes, access to multiple databases, 14 group-study rooms and seating for over 600. The library is open 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week to students and faculty with the use of an AU ID card.
The library collection includes European Community and US government depositories and the Baxter Collection in International Law. Students and faculty also have access to the university's library, the Library of Congress, specialized agency libraries, and other area law libraries electronically.
The National Jurist placed WCL's Library 41st out of 199 in its Best Law Libraries ranking.
In April 2012, the D.C. Zoning Commission approved the plans for American University Washington College of Law to relocate from Spring Valley to American University's Tenley Campus. The approval of plans for further processing and zoning variances for the law school was handed down after American University's full campus plan was approved in March. Moving forward, the law school's Space Committee will be working with offices, departments, programs, faculty, and staff to move to the design phase. Construction began in the summer of 2013, with relocation of the law school to the new campus projected for 2015.
Programs and centers
- Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
- Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian law
- Clinical Program
- Externship Program
- Health Law Project
- Humphrey Fellowship Program (Fulbright Exchange)
- Center on International Commercial Arbitration
- International Legal Studies Program (ILSP)
- International Visiting Scholars Program
- Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project
- National Institute of Military Justice
- National Institute of Corrections/WCL Project on Addressing Prison Rape
- Office of Public Interest
- Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property
- Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law
- Program on Law & Government
- Special Events & Continuing Legal Education
- Trial Advocacy Program
- UNROW Human Rights Impact Litigation Clinic
- War Crimes Research Office
- Women & International Law Program
- Women & the Law Program
WCL participates in several popular study abroad and student exchange programs with universities around the world, including a semester-long program with the School of Law at City University of Hong Kong.
In 2002, the Jessup Moot Court Team was the top ranked team in the United States and Third in the World.
- Administrative Law Review
- The Alternative Dispute Resolution Newsletter
- The American Jurist
- The American University International Law Review (which publishes ASIL's annual Grotius Lecture).
- The American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law
- The American University Law Review
- The American University Business Law Review
- The Criminal Law Brief
- The Human Rights Brief
- The Intellectual Property Brief
- The Modern American
- National Security Law Brief
- Sustainable Development Law & Policy
- Health Law & Policy Brief
- Legislation & Policy Brief
- International Commercial Arbitration Brief
Notes and recognitions
- The National Jurist in its 100 Best Law Review rankings placed the American University Law Review 47th and the International Law Review 84th.
- Administrative Law Review is the official publication of the American Bar Association Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice.
- In 2005, the ABA recognized "The Business Law Brief" (since renamed to The American University Business Law Review) as the "Magazine of the Year."
- On several occasions, the ABA has recognized The American Jurist as the "Best Law Student Magazine."
Notable current and former faculty
- Kristine Huskey
- Paul Williams
- Michael Tigar
- Jamie Raskin
- Judith A. Winston
- Gregory Stanton
- Michael W. Carroll
- Claudio Grossman
- Ralph Nader
- Toney Anaya, former Governor of New Mexico
- Ilan Berman, Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council
- Juan Mari Brás, Puerto Rico political leader
- Robert Byrd, former United States Senator (D-WV).
- Thomas Downey, former Congressman (D-NY) and head of Downey McGrath Group.
- Tom Goldstein, co-founder of the firm Goldstein and Howe, and co-founder of Scotusblog.
- Kim Guadagno (class of 1983), first female sheriff of Monmouth County, New Jersey and first ever Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey
- Gregory D. Hague, Serial Entrepreneur, Lawyer, Author
- Henry E. Hudson, judge on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the first judge to rule against the Obama administration's health care reform law
- Manjaagiin Ichinnorov, Mongolian human rights activist
- Joe Johns, CNN correspondent based in the Washington, D.C. Bureau.
- Joseph T. Kelliher, an American energy executive and former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
- Juliane Kokott, German Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Communities (EJC) and Professor at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland.
- Rick Lazio, former Congressman (R-NY) and lawyer.
- Stephen Latchford, America's earliest expert on aviation law.
- Gerald Bruce Lee, Federal district judge.
- Roy Lee, film producer (The Departed and The Ring)
- M. Peter McPherson, special assistant to President Gerald Ford, head of USAID under President Ronald Reagan, president of Michigan State University from 1993 to 2004, and Chairman of Dow Jones beginning in 2007.
- Sophia A. Nelson, Attorney and Political Commentator.
- Alice Paul, notable suffragist.
- Kirill Reznik, State Delegate, Maryland House of Delegates (D).
- Judith Sheindlin, TV judge of "Judge Judy" fame (although she later transferred to the New York Law School)
- Benhard Paul Sibarani, Indonesian lawyer for intellectual property law, President of BMW Car Clubs Indonesia
- Dan Slater, Vice Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party.
- Judy A. Smith, American crisis manager.
- Ed Tapscott, Head coach of the Washington Wizards NBA team.
- Hugo Teufel III, Former Chief Privacy Officer of the Department of Homeland Security.
- Reggie Walton, Federal district judge.
- :: AU : Board of Trustees
- 2015 Best Law Schools - U.S. News and World Report
- "LSAC American University Bar Passage Rate". Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- "US News WCL Page". Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates".
- "WCL Timeline". Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "Locations History". Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "AUAP Rankings". Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- "Brian Leiter Law Rankings".
- "National Jurist February 2008 Issue". Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "AU WCL US New Rankings".
- "National Jurist WCL Page". Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "WCL Equal Justice Foundation". Retrieved 5 March 2013.
- "Tuition & Fees".
- "American University Profile".
- "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates".
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- "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates".
- "U.S News Education". Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- "LSAC Official ABA Data". Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- American University-Washington College of Law, "Admissions", http://www.wcl.american.edu/admissions.cfm (last visited July 16, 2008).
- "International JD Dual Degree Programs". American University, Washington College of Law. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
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- "National Jurist Magazine". Retrieved 3 March 2013.
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- "LSAC Official Description". Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "Pence Law Library FAQ". Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "National Jurist Best Law Libraries". Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "American University 2011 Campus Plan (pg. 33)". Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- Stile, Charles. "Christie announces lieutenant governor pick", The Record (Bergen County), July 20, 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.
- O'Dell, Larry (2010-12-13) Federal judge in Va. strikes down health care law, Associated Press
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- , Merdeka.com, October 15, 2013.