Antonin Scalia Law School

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Antonin Scalia Law School
George Mason University, Hazel Hall.jpg
Hazel Hall, Antonin Scalia Law School
Parent schoolGeorge Mason University
School typePublic
DeanHenry N. Butler
LocationArlington, Virginia, USA
38°53′06″N 77°06′01″W / 38.88500°N 77.10028°W / 38.88500; -77.10028Coordinates: 38°53′06″N 77°06′01″W / 38.88500°N 77.10028°W / 38.88500; -77.10028
USNWR ranking45th (2020)[1]
ABA profileABA Profile
GMU Antonin Scalia Law School logo.png

Antonin Scalia Law School (previously George Mason University School of Law[2]) is the law school of George Mason University, a state university in Virginia, United States. The law school is located in Arlington, roughly fifteen miles east-northeast of the university's main campus in Fairfax.

U.S. News & World Report ranks the school 45th among American law schools, and it is the 3rd-highest-ranked law school in the Washington metropolitan area, behind Georgetown University Law Center and George Washington University Law School.[3] As of 2017, the school had 525 students in its J.D., LL.M., JD/MBA, and JD/MPP programs. The median LSAT score among incoming J.D. students in 2018 was 163 and the median GPA was 3.76.[4] The passage rate for first-time takers of the Virginia bar exam in July 2017 was 80.33%, fifth among Virginia's eight law schools.[5]

On March 31, 2016, the Board of Visitors approved renaming the school after the late United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The name change followed gifts of $20 million from an anonymous donor,[6] and an additional $10 million from the Charles Koch Foundation conditioned on the renaming, and was announced as requiring approval by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.[7] The initial name, the Antonin Scalia School of Law, was changed to the current name after controversy over the acronym.[8] The name change became effective on May 17, 2016.[9]



George Mason University School of Law was authorized by the Virginia General Assembly in March 1979 and was founded on July 1, 1979. The school had started as the "International School of Law" (ISL), which opened in 1972 in a classroom at the Federal Bar Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC.[15][16] In 1973, it moved into the home of former United States Chief Justice Edward Douglass White on Rhode Island Avenue, and in 1975 purchased the old Kann's Department Store in Arlington. Despite growth, ISL could never obtain accreditation. In 1976, it discussed a merger with George Mason University, which was interested in setting up a law school.[17] In 1978, the Virginia State Council of Education denied GMU's proposal to start a law school and encouraged a merger with ISL instead.[18] Later that year, the Council advised against allowing that merger, but the Virginia state legislature nonetheless approved the merger in early March 1979.[19][20]

The school became fully accredited by the American Bar Association in 1986, but was still not widely known during the late 1980s.[21] Since then, however, its rankings have risen rapidly.[22]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) for the 2017-18 academic year at Mason Law is $49,219 for in-state students attending full-time; the total cost of attendance for non-resident students attending full-time is $64,605.[23] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $179,567 for residents, and $234,586 for non-residents.[24] To combat the high cost of law school, George Mason's Board of Visitors voted in 2013 to freeze tuition through the 2016-2017 academic year.[25]


Mason Law is somewhat distinctive in offering a wide variety of intense law tracks, each of which requires that approximately one-third of the credits for graduation be completed in the track, and law concentrations, which are elective specializations and have a less restrictive credit requirement as compared to the track program.[26] The law tracks include Litigation Law, Patent Law, and Regulatory Law.[27]

The law concentrations include Antitrust Law, Communications Law, Corporate and Securities Law, Criminal Law, Homeland & National Security Law, Immigration Law, Intellectual Property Law, International Business Law, Legal and Economic Theory, Litigation Law, Personal Law, Regulatory Law, Tax Law, and Technology Law.[28]

Also, the school has a Legal Research, Writing and Analysis (LRWA) curriculum. Mason Law requires its students to complete four semesters (two years) of LRWA coursework. Students acquire the necessary skills for trial and appellate practice. The first-year LRWA curriculum is taught by third-year (and fourth-year evening) law students under the guidance of full-time faculty. During the first semester, students learn how to conduct legal research and write a predictive memorandum, while during the second semester, students compete in intramural oral arguments while producing both predictive and persuasive memoranda. The second year of LRWA is taught by legal practitioners, and consists of Appellate Writing and Legal Drafting. Student transcripts bear a separate grade-point average (GPA) for LRWA and writing-intensive coursework in addition to the overall GPA. Students must successfully complete 89 credits to graduate.

First-year curriculum[edit]

In addition to two semesters (5 credits total) of LRWA, the first-year curriculum is filled with foundation courses. First-year day students cover the following legal foundation courses: Torts (4 credits), Contracts (5 credits), Property (4 credits), Civil Procedure (4 credits), Legislation and Statutory Interpretation (2 credits), and Criminal Law (3 credits). In addition, every student is required to complete one semester of "Economic Foundations of Legal Studies," a basic economics course taught by distinguished economists. First-year students may not take any electives.

The first-year students are graded according to a mandatory 3.25 curve.

Second-year curriculum[edit]

In their second year of study, day students must complete a 4-credit Constitutional Law course and complete an additional 4 credits of LRWA. Students may select from a variety of upper-level electives in addition to these requirements.


According to George Mason's official ABA-required disclosures, 56% of the Class of 2014 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation. Ten months after graduation, 84% of the Class of 2014 was employed in or about to begin full-time jobs requiring bar passage or jobs for which a J.D. provides an advantage.[29] George Mason's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 16.8%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2014 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.[30]

Law library[edit]

The George Mason Law Library has a collection of electronic and print materials providing access to legal treatises, journals, and databases. Non-legal materials are available through the GMU University Libraries. It is a selective depository for U.S. Government documents, and it provides interlibrary lending services with other academic libraries,[31] which enables students and faculty to borrow materials from major academic libraries. The library occupies four levels of the law school building. It has 14 study rooms, 70 carrel seats, and 196 table seats wired with electrical and network connections, and a wireless network is available. The library also operates 2 computer labs with a variety of software.[32] The library employs 16 full-time staff members, including 6 librarians with degrees in law and library science and 3 technology specialists.[33]

Notable people[edit]


  • David Jolly, member of the United States House of Representative
  • Ken Cuccinelli, Acting United States Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, 46th Attorney General of Virginia, former Member of the Virginia Senate from the 37th district
  • Liam O'Grady, United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
  • Richard L. Young, United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
  • Anna Escobedo Cabral, Treasurer of the United States under President George W. Bush
  • Kathleen L. Casey, Commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission


  • Ginsburg, Douglas H., Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • Joshua D. Wright, Executive Director of the Global Antitrust Institute, former member of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)


Student Edited[edit]

  • George Mason Law Review [34](ISSN 1088-5625)
  • George Mason Civil Rights Law Journal[35] (ISSN 1049-4766)
  • Journal of International Commercial Law [36]
  • National Security Law Journal [37] (ISSN 2373-8464)
  • The Journal of Law, Economics & Policy[38] (ISSN 1553-4367)


Clinics and externships[edit]

  • Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Clinic
  • Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic (MVETS)[40]
  • Domestic Relations Supervised Externship & Legal Clinic
  • Law and Mental Illness Legal Clinic
  • Practical Preparation of Patent Applications
  • Supreme Court Clinic
  • Supervised Externship - Fall, Spring, Summer
  • Capitol Hill Supervised Externship
  • Virginia Practice Supervised Externship
  • Regulatory Comments Legal Practicum

Student organizations[edit]

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Society
  • American Constitution Society
  • American Inn of Court
  • Black Law Students Association
  • Business Law Society
  • Christian Legal Society
  • Communications Law Association
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Federalist Society
  • Honor Committee
  • Immigration Law Society
  • Intellectual Property Law Society
  • International Law Society
  • J. Reuben Clark Law Society
  • Jewish Law Students Association
  • Latino/a Law Student Association
  • Law Students for Reproductive Justice
  • Mason Law Democrats
  • Mason Law Sports and Entertainment Association
  • Military Law Society
  • Moot Court Board
  • Muslim Law Student Association
  • Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International
  • Phi Delta Phi (Lewis F. Powell Inn)
  • Running Along the Potomac
  • Student Bar Association
  • The Docket[41]
  • Thomas More Society
  • Trial Advocacy Association
  • VBA Pro Bono Society
  • Women's Law Association


  1. ^ "George Mason University". Best Law Schools. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  2. ^ Name change to Antonin Scalia School of Law: Name change to Antonin Scalia Law School:
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^
  5. ^ "VBBE - Exam - Statistics".
  6. ^ Stripling, Jack; Gluckman, Nell (December 18, 2019). "To Court a Secretive Donor, Law Deans at George Mason Blasted Climate Scientists and Their Own Accreditor". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982. Retrieved December 27, 2019.
  7. ^ Svrluga, Susan (March 31, 2016). "George Mason law school to be renamed the Antonin Scalia School of Law". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved April 1, 2016.
  8. ^ Chappell, Bill (April 6, 2016). "Plan For Antonin Scalia School Of Law Is Tweaked Over Unfortunate Acronym" – via
  9. ^ Svrluga, Susan (May 17, 2016). "It's official: George Mason's law school is named in honor of Antonin Scalia" – via
  10. ^ [2]
  11. ^ Sisk, Gregory; Aggerbeck, Valerie; Farris, Nick; McNevin, Megan; Pitner, Maria (December 4, 2017). "Scholarly Impact of Law School Faculties in 2015: Updating the Leiter Score Ranking for the Top Third" – via
  12. ^ "Best Law Schools 2016".
  13. ^ "World University Rankings 2020 by subject: law".
  14. ^ "Shanghai Ranking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019 - Law".
  15. ^ "Board Backs School Merger". The Evening Star. January 9, 1979.
  16. ^ "Antioch a new law approach". The Evening Star. November 6, 1972.
  17. ^ "Before We Became Part of the Mason Family: The Story of the International School of Law". Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  18. ^ "Las School Affiliation". The Evening Star. March 1, 1978.
  19. ^ Beck, Jody; Smith, Rodney (March 3, 1979). "Dalton Expected to Avoid Veto Battle With Legislature". The Evening Star.
  20. ^ Evans, Ross (November 8, 1978). "Council Denies George Mason a Law School". The Evening Star.
  21. ^ Kohn, D'Vera (November 4, 1984). "New Dean Brings Upheaval to Mason Law School". Washington Post. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  22. ^ Adams, William H., III (1999). "The George Mason Experience". Case Western Reserve Law Review. 50 (2): 431–43.
  23. ^ School, Scalia Law. "Tuition and Costs - Scalia Law School".
  24. ^ "George Mason University, Finances".
  25. ^ "Visitors Freeze George Mason Law Tuition". Archived from the original on January 6, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  26. ^ School, Scalia Law. "JD Tracks and Concentrations - Scalia Law School".
  27. ^ School, Scalia Law. "Tracks - Scalia Law School".
  28. ^ School, Scalia Law. "Concentrations (Elective Specializations) - Scalia Law School".
  29. ^ "Employment Summary for 2014 Graduates" (PDF).
  30. ^ "George Mason University".
  31. ^ School, Scalia Law. "Borrowing from Other Libraries - Scalia Law School".
  32. ^ School, Scalia Law. "About the Library - Scalia Law School".
  33. ^ School, Scalia Law. "Staff Directory - Scalia Law School".
  34. ^ "George Mason Law Review - Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University". George Mason Law Review.
  35. ^ "Civil Rights Law Journal".
  36. ^ "(no title)".
  37. ^ "National Security Law Journal – Insightful scholarship advancing the exciting, evolving field of national security law".
  38. ^ "The Journal of Law, Economics & Policy – The online home of the Journal of Law, Economics & Policy".
  39. ^ School, Scalia Law. "Faculty Working Papers - Scalia Law School".
  40. ^ "Mason Veterans and Servicemembers Legal Clinic".
  41. ^ "The Docket". The Docket.

External links[edit]