Georgetown Law

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Georgetown University Law Center
Georgetown University seal.svg
Seal of Georgetown University
Motto Law is but the means — Justice is the end[1]
Parent school Georgetown University
Established 1870
School type Private
Parent endowment $1.529 billion[2]
Dean William Treanor
Location Washington, DC, United States
38°53′54″N 77°0′45″W / 38.89833°N 77.01250°W / 38.89833; -77.01250
Enrollment 1,860 JD, 441 LL.M, 17 SJD
Faculty 126 (ft), 159 (pt)
USNWR ranking 15[3]
Bar pass rate 90.96%[4]
ABA profile ABA Profile
The Hotung International Law Center and the GULC fitness center, seen across the south quad.

Georgetown University Law Center (commonly referred to as Georgetown Law School[5][6] or Georgetown Law) is one of the professional graduate schools of Georgetown University, a private research university located in Washington, D.C. Established in 1870, it is the second largest law school in the United States,[7] and receives more full-time applications than any other law school in the country.[8]

For many years, Georgetown Law was included in the so-called Top 14, a group of elite law schools[9] that have consistently placed at the top of the U.S. News rankings since the magazine began the rankings in 1987.[10] By average salary, Georgetown Law graduates have ranked 6th in the U.S.[11] The school is among the top feeder schools for big law firms in the U.S.[12]

Reputation and ranking[edit]

Georgetown Law has placed in U.S. News & World Report's top 14 (out of over 200) law schools every year since the inception of the magazine's law school rankings, until 2017 where it was ranked 15th.[13] In the 2014 edition, Georgetown was ranked the #13 law school in the nation overall and its part-time J.D. program was ranked #1. The school also ranked #1 in clinical programs, #3 in international law, #2 in tax law, #4 in trial advocacy, #7 in healthcare law, and #8 in environmental law.[14] The 2014 QS World University Rankings list Georgetown as the 17th-best law school in the world and 8th-best in the United States.[15] In its latest ranking, December 2014, Business Insider ranks Georgetown as the 7th best law school in the US.[16]

In law professor Brian Leiter's most recent law school ranking, Georgetown ranked within the top ten law schools in selectivity, student quality, and Supreme Court clerkship placements respectively.[17][18] Georgetown Law was ranked 5th in the 2010 Super Lawyers ranking, which measures the number of graduates from each law school who are voted Super Lawyers.[19]

Georgetown Law receives the most J.D. applications of any law school in the United States.[8]


The school's original sign, preserved on the north quad of the present-day campus.

Opened as Georgetown Law School in 1870, Georgetown Law was the first law school run by a Jesuit institution within the United States. Georgetown Law has been separate from the main Georgetown campus (in the neighborhood of Georgetown) since 1890, when it moved near what is now Chinatown. The Law Center campus is located on New Jersey Avenue, several blocks north of the Capitol, and a few blocks due west of Union Station. The school added the Edward Bennett Williams Law Library in 1989 and the Gewirz Student Center in 1993, providing on-campus living for the first time. The "Campus Completion Project" finished in 2005 with the addition of the Hotung International Building and the Sport and Fitness Center.

Georgetown Law's original wall (or sign) is preserved on the quad of the present-day campus.


In 2010, Georgetown Law was the tenth most selective law school in the United States, as measured by LSAT scores of the 2009 entering class.[20] For the class entering in the fall of 2016, 2,320 out of 9,862 J.D. applicants (24%) were offered admission, with 576 matriculating. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2016 entering class were 162 and 168, respectively, with a median of 167. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.52 and 3.86, respectively, with a median of 3.77.[21] In the 2016–17 academic year, Georgetown Law had 1,722 full-time J.D. students and 242 part-time J.D. students.[21]


ABA Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates[22]
Employment Status Percentage
Employed - Bar Passage Required (Full-Time, Long-Term)
Employed - Bar Passage Required (Part-Time and/or Short-Term)
Employed - J.D. Advantage
Employed - Professional Position
Employed - Non-Professional Position
Employed - Undeterminable
Pursuing Graduate Degree Full Time
Unemployed - Start Date Deferred
Unemployed - Not Seeking
Unemployed - Seeking
Employment Status Unknown
Total of 645 Graduates

Of the 645 graduates in the Georgetown Law class of 2013 (including both full- and part-time students), 467 (72.4%) held long-term, full-time positions that required bar exam passage (i.e., jobs as lawyers) and were not school-funded nine months after graduation.[23] 600 graduates overall (93%) were employed, 6 graduates (0.9%) were pursuing a graduate degree, and 38 graduates (5.9%) were unemployed.[23]

363 graduates (56.3%) were employed in the private sector, with 245 (38%) at law firms with over 250 attorneys.[23] 238 graduates (36.9%) entered the public sector, with 89 (13.8%) employed by the government, 81 (12.6%) employed in public interest positions, 57 (8.8%) in federal or state clerkships, and 10 (1.6%) in academic positions.[23] 83 graduates (12.9%) received funding from Georgetown Law for their positions.[23]

The median reported starting salary for a 2013 graduate in the private sector was $160,000. The median reported starting salary for a 2013 graduate in the public sector (including government, public interest, and clerkship positions) was $57,408.[23]

238 graduates (36.9%) in the class of 2013 were employed in Washington, DC, 144 (22.3%) in New York, and 45 (7%) in California. 12 (1.9%) were employed outside the United States.[23]

As of 2011, Georgetown Law alumni account for the second highest number of partners at NLJ 100 firms. It is among the top ten feeder schools in eight of the ten largest legal markets in the United States by law job openings (New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Houston, San Francisco, and San Diego), again giving it the second-widest reach of all law schools. The school performs especially strongly in its home market, producing the greatest number of NLJ 100 partners in Washington, DC.[24]

A January 2011 New York Times article cited Georgetown Law as an example for "a number of law schools [which] hire their own graduates, some in hourly temp jobs that, as it turns out, coincide with the magical date" (February 15) for the employment statistics nine months after graduation, which forms "the most competitive category" of the U.S. News rankings and one of several that "seem open to abuse."[25] It reported that Georgetown Law had created three temporary jobs in the admissions office for students "still seeking employment", to begin on February 1 and lasting six weeks. The school denied that it had created the jobs in order to count the unemployed graduates as employed within nine months of graduation. In what the NYT called "the oddest" of several different explanations offered by the school, the Assistant Dean of Career Services Gihan Fernando (now at American University) said the school had "lost track" of two of the three alums, even though they were still working at Georgetown.[25]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Georgetown Law for the 2016-17 academic year is $85,500.[26] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $319,629.[27]


The column identifying the Law Center campus

The Law Center is located in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, D.C. It is bounded by 2nd St. NW to the west, E St. NW to the south, 1st St. NW and New Jersey Avenue to the east, and Massachusetts Avenue to the north.

The campus consists of five buildings. Bernard P. McDonough Hall (1971, expanded in 1997) houses classrooms and Law Center offices and was designed by Edward Durell Stone. The Edward Bennett Williams Law Library building (1989) houses most of the school's library collection and is one of the largest law libraries in the United States. The Eric E. Hotung International Law Center (2004) includes two floors of library space housing the international collection, and also contains classrooms, offices, and meeting rooms. The Bernard S. and Sarah M. Gewirz Student Center (1993) provides housing mostly for 1Ls. A four-level Sport and Fitness Center (2004) includes a pool, fitness facilities, and cafe, and connects the Hotung Building to the Gewirz Student Center.


The Georgetown University Law Center campus, viewed across I-395 looking east. From left to right, the Edward Bennett Williams Law Library, McDonough Hall, and Gewirz Student Center.

The Georgetown Law Library supports the research and educational endeavors of the students and faculty of the Georgetown University Law Center. It is the second largest law school in the United States and as one of the premier research facilities for the study of law, the Law Library houses the nation's fourth largest law library collection and offers access to thousands of online publications.

The mission of the library is to support fully the research and educational endeavors of the students and faculty of the Georgetown University Law Center, by collecting, organizing, preserving, and disseminating legal and law related information in any form, by providing effective service and instructional programs, and by utilizing electronic information systems to provide access to new information products and services.

The collection is split into two buildings. The Edward Bennett Williams Law Library (1989) is named after Washington, D.C. lawyer Edward Bennett Williams, an alumnus of the Law Center and founder of the prestigious litigation firm Williams & Connolly. It houses the Law Center's United States law collection, the Law Center Archives, and the National Equal Justice Library. The Williams library building consists of five floors of collection and study space and provides office space for most of the Law Center's law journals on the Law Library's first level.

The John Wolff International and Comparative Law Library (2004) is named after John Wolff, a long-serving member of the adjunct faculty and supporter of the Law Center's international law programs. The library is located on two floors inside the Eric E. Hotung building. It houses the international, foreign, and comparative law collections of the Georgetown University Law Center. Wolff Library collects primary and secondary law materials from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, and South Africa. English translations of primary and secondary legal materials from other jurisdictions and compilations of foreign law on special topics are also included.

In addition to foreign law, the Wolff Library maintains an extensive collection of public and private international law, focusing on international trade, international environmental law, human rights, arbitration, tax and treaty law. The collection also includes documentation from many international organizations, including the International Court of Justice, the United Nations, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization.


McDonough Hall, the main classroom building, facing 2nd St. NW

Georgetown Law's J.D. program can be completed over three years of full-time day study or four years of part-time evening study. The school offers several LL.M. programs in specific areas, most notably tax law, as well as a general LL.M. curriculum for lawyers educated outside the United States. Georgetown launched a Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.) degree program for professional journalists in the 2007–08 academic year. It also offers the highest doctoral degree in law (J.S.D.).

Students are offered the choice of two tracks for their first year of study. "Curriculum A" is a traditional law curriculum similar to that taught at most schools, including courses in contracts, constitutional law, torts, property, criminal procedure, civil procedure, and legal research and writing. Four-fifths of the day students at Georgetown receive instruction under the standard program (sections 1, 2, 4, and 5).

"Curriculum B" is a more interdisciplinary, theoretical approach to legal study, covering an equal or wider scope of material but heavily influenced by the critical legal studies movement. The Curriculum B courses are Bargain, Exchange and Liability (contracts and torts), Democracy and Coercion (constitutional law and criminal procedure), Government Processes (administrative law), Legal Justice (jurisprudence), Legal Practice (legal research and writing), Legal Process and Society (civil procedure), and Property in Time (property). One-fifth of the full-time JD students receive instruction in the alternative Curriculum B program (Section 3).

Students in both curricula participate in a week-long introduction to international law between the fall and spring semesters.


Georgetown has long been nationally recognized for its leadership in the field of clinical legal education. In 2017, U.S. News ranked Georgetown #1 in the nation for Clinical Training, followed by American University (2nd), CUNY (3rd), New York University (4th), and Yale University (5th).[28] Over 300 students typically participate in the program.

Georgetown's clinics are: Appellate Litigation Clinic, Center for Applied Legal Studies, The Community Justice Project, Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic, Criminal Justice Clinic, D.C. Law Students in Court, D.C. Street Law Program, Domestic Violence Clinic, Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic, Harrison Institute for Housing & Community Development Clinic, Harrison Institute for Public Law, Institute for Public Representation, International Women's Human Rights Clinic, and Juvenile Justice Clinic.

Appellate Litigation Clinic[edit]

Directed by Professor Steven H. Goldblatt, the Appellate Litigation Clinic operates akin to a small appellate litigation firm. It has had four cases reach the United States Supreme Court on grants of writs of certiorari.[29] One such case was Wright v. West, 505 U.S. 277 (1992), considered in habeas corpus the question whether the de novo review standard for mixed questions of law and fact established in 1953 (the Brown v. Allen standard) should be overruled. Another was Smith v. Barry, 502 U.S. 244 (1992), which reversed a Fourth Circuit determination that the court did not have jurisdiction over an appeal because the defendant's pro se brief could not serve as a timely notice of appeal.

Center for Applied Legal Studies[edit]

CALS represents refugees seeking political asylum in the United States because of threatened persecution in their home countries. Students in CALS assume primary responsibility for the representation of these refugees, whose requests for asylum have already been rejected by the U.S. government.[30] The Center for Applied Legal Studies was founded in the 1980s by Philip Schrag.[31] Until 1995, the Clinic heard cases in the field of consumer protection. Under the direction of Schrag and Andrew Schoenholtz, the Clinic began specializing in asylum claims, for both detained and non-detained applicants.[32] In conjunction with their work for the Clinic, Schrag and Schoenholtz have written books about America's political asylum system, with the help of Clinic fellows and graduate students. The duo's most recent book, Lives in the Balance was published in 2014 and provides an empirical analysis of how Homeland Security decided asylum cases over a recent fourteen-year period.[33] The group's work in human rights law has met praise from international organizations like the United Nations Human Rights Council.[34] Under the direction of Schrag and Schoenholtz, the clinic has also focused on more prolonged displacement situations for political refugees.[35]

Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic[edit]

Students in CDPAC represent defendants facing misdemeanor charges in D.C. Superior Court, facing parole or supervised release revocation from the United States Parole Commission working with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and they also work on prisoner advocacy projects.[36] Abbe Smith is the director of CDPAC.[37] Former Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia lawyer Vida Johnson works with Smith in CDPAC and the Prettyman fellowship program.[38]

DC Street Law Program[edit]

The DC Street Law Program, Directed by Professor Richard Roe, provides legal education to the DC population through two projects: the Street Law High Schools Clinic and the Street Law Community Clinic. Roe has directed the Street Law High Schools Clinic since 1983. In the program, students introduce local high school students to the basic structure of the legal system, including the relationship among legislatures, courts, and agencies, and how citizens, especially in their world, relate to the lawmaking processes of each branch of government.[39][40]


Gewirz Student Center provides student housing for mostly first-year law students.

Notable current faculty include:


Edward Bennett Williams Law Library, viewed from the campus north quad.

Georgetown University Law Center publishes fourteen student-run law journals, two peer-reviewed law journals, and a weekly student-run newspaper, the Georgetown Law Weekly. The journals are:

In 2012 and 2013, the Georgetown Law Journal was ranked by both Google Scholar and the Washington and Lee School of Law Law Library as the sixth-most influential law review in the country.[44][45]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Expressed by Joseph A. Cantrel (Class of 1922), at the 50th Anniversary Celebration in December 1920. See official site
  2. ^ Byrne, Mariah (January 27, 2016). "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Endowment Market Value and Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY2014 to FY2015" (PDF). The Hoya. Retrieved July 9, 2016. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "School Detail Information". 
  5. ^ 3 Judges Trump May Nominate For The Supreme Court, NPR, 24 January 207
  6. ^ Thomas Hardiman, under consideration for Supreme Court, is a champion of gun rights, Los Angeles Times, 27 January 2017
  7. ^ 125th Anniversary - Georgetown Law Library, Georgetown University Law Center, Retrieved: 30 January 2017
  8. ^ a b 10 Law Schools With the Most Full-Time Applications, U.S. News & World Report, Published: 31 March 2016. Retrieved: 30 January 2017
  9. ^ Why Law School Rankings Matter More Than Any Other Education Rankings, Forbes, 14 August 2014
  10. ^ Where Are the US News Top 30 Law Schools of 1996 Now?, April 1, 2008, Law Librarian Blog (archived at the Internet Archive)
  11. ^ Law Schools Ranked by Their Graduates’ Salaries, Bloomberg Law: 25 January 2017
  12. ^ Law Blog’s Best Big Law Feeder Schools, Wall Street Journal, 20 June 2012
  13. ^ "Law School Rankings 1987 - present". Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  14. ^ "U.S. News & Word Report's Law School Rankings". Archived from the original on 2013-07-13. Retrieved 2014-05-18. 
  15. ^ "2014 QS World University Rankings - Law". Retrieved 2014-05-06. 
  16. ^ Retrieved 2014-06-06.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ "SUPREME COURT CLERKSHIP PLACEMENT, 2000 THROUGH 2010 TERMS". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  18. ^ "Ranking of Top 40 Law Schools by Student (Numerical) Quality 2010". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  19. ^ "2010 Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rankings". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  20. ^ "Brian Leiter Law School Faculty Moves, 1995-2004". 
  21. ^ a b "2016 Standard 509 Information Report" (PDF). American Bar Association. Retrieved 2017-03-11. 
  22. ^ "Employment Summary for 2013 Graduates" (PDF). 
  23. ^ a b c d e f g "American Bar Association 2013 Employment Summary - Georgetown Law" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  24. ^ "Where Do Partners Come From?". SSRN 1903934Freely accessible. 
  25. ^ a b David Segal (1/8/11) Is Law School a Losing Game? The New York Times. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  26. ^ "2016-17 Academic Year Budget" (PDF). 
  27. ^ "Georgetown University Profile". 
  28. ^ . Top Law Schools | US News Best Graduate Schools; Top Law Schools | US News Best Graduate Schools Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2017-03-29.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. ^ "Appellate Litigation Clinic — Georgetown Law". 2014-10-14. Retrieved 2015-12-03. 
  30. ^ "Center for Applied Legal Studies — Georgetown Law". 2014-10-14. Retrieved 2015-12-03. 
  31. ^ "Faculty Receive Prestigious Medals as Presidential Fellows at Convocation | Georgetown University". 2014-10-15. Retrieved 2015-12-03. 
  32. ^ Prof, Immigration. "ImmigrationProf Blog". Retrieved 2015-12-03. 
  33. ^ "Lives in the Balance | Asylum Adjudication by the Department of Homeland Security | Books". NYU Press. Retrieved 2015-12-03. 
  34. ^
  35. ^ Wong, Edward. ""The New Refugees and the Old Treaty: Persecutors and Persecuted in the Twenty-First Century" by Schoenholtz, Andrew I. - Chicago Journal of International Law, Vol. 16, Issue 1, Summer 2015 | Online Research Library". Questia. Retrieved 2015-12-03. 
  36. ^ "Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic (CDPAC)". 
  37. ^ "Profile Abbe Smith". 
  38. ^ "CDPAC Staff". 
  39. ^ "About Our Clinic — Georgetown Law". 2014-10-14. Retrieved 2015-12-03. 
  40. ^ "Street law schools in life skills - Video on". 2012-08-03. Retrieved 2015-12-03. 
  41. ^ "Food and Drug Law Journal". 
  42. ^ "Journal of National Security Law & Policy". 
  43. ^ "Georgetown Law Technology Review". 
  44. ^ "Google Scholar Metrics". 
  45. ^ "Law Journals: Submissions and Ranking". 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°53′54″N 77°0′45″W / 38.89833°N 77.01250°W / 38.89833; -77.01250