Georgetown University Law Center
|Georgetown University Law Center|
|Motto||Law is but the means — Justice is the end|
|Parent school||Georgetown University|
|Religious affiliation||Roman Catholic (Jesuit)|
|Parent endowment||$1.661 billion (includes the entire University)|
|Location||Washington, D.C., United States|
|Enrollment||1,982 JD, 441 LLM, 17 SJD|
|Faculty||126 (ft), 159 (pt)|
|Bar pass rate||90.96%|
|ABA profile||Georgetown Law Profile|
The Georgetown University Law Center is one of the professional graduate schools of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Established in 1870, it is the second largest law school in the United States by student body and receives more full-time applications than any other law school in the country.
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 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 2004 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.
Reputation and ranking
From 1996 to 2017, Georgetown Law held an average rank of 13.82 on the U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking, making it one of the 14 law schools that consistently place at the top since the magazine began the rankings in 1987. Georgetown's part-time J.D. program is consistently ranked #1. In the 2020 U.S. News & World Report' rankings of law schools by subject areas, Georgetown Law was ranked #1 in clinical training, #2 in tax law, #3 in international law, #5 in criminal law, #8 in corporate law, #9 in healthcare law, and #11 in environmental law.
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. In an exclusive study conducted by The National Jurist in 2011, Georgetown Law ranked #2 in terms of the total number of partners at the nation's largest law firms. In December 2014, Business Insider ranked Georgetown as the 7th best law school in the U.S.
In a recent law school ranking by law professor Brian Leiter, Georgetown Law ranked within the top ten law schools in selectivity, student quality, and Supreme Court clerkship placements respectively. Professor Leiter ranked Georgetown Law #9 among U.S. law schools with respect to the total number of students who secured clerkships with the United States Supreme Court between 2003–2013.
Georgetown Law receives the most J.D. applications of any law school in the United States. Georgetown Law was also ranked #15 in a 2019 revealed preferences ranking of law schools where students choose to matriculate.
In the 2020 Go-to Law School Rankings, Georgetown Law graduates were included among law firm favorites and the law school was ranked #13 in the country for the percentage of graduates who took on associate positions at the nation's 100 largest law firms. 
At a global level, the 2019 Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranked Georgetown Law as the #7 best law school in the world. According to the 2020 QS World University Rankings, Georgetown Law was ranked the 8th best law school in the U.S. and 18th best in the world. In the 2020 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Georgetown Law was ranked 13th in the U.S. and 26th in the world.
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. For the class entering in the fall of 2018, 2,143 out of 10,093 J.D. applicants (21%) were offered admission, with 581 matriculating. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2018 entering class were 163 and 168, respectively, with a median of 167. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.56 and 3.90, respectively, with a median of 3.80. In the 2018–19 academic year, Georgetown Law had 2,013 J.D. students, of which 24% were minorities and 54% were female.
Of the 650 J.D. graduates in the Georgetown Law class of 2018 (including both full- and part-time students), 532 (81.8%) 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. 620 graduates overall (95.4%) were employed, 8 graduates (1.2%) were pursuing a graduate degree, and 22 graduates (3.4%) were unemployed.
423 J.D. graduates (65.1%) were employed in the private sector, with 350 (53.8%) at law firms with over 250 attorneys. 177 graduates (27.2%) entered the public sector, with 58 (8.9%) employed in public interest positions, 60 (9.2%) employed by the government, 58 (8.9%) in federal or state clerkships, and 1 (0.2%) in academic positions. 43 graduates (6.6%) received funding from Georgetown Law for their positions.
The median reported starting salary for a 2017 J.D. graduate in the private sector was $180,000. The median reported starting salary for a 2017 graduate in the public sector (including government, public interest, and clerkship positions) was $55,000.
237 J.D. graduates (36.5%) in the class of 2018 were employed in Washington, DC, 150 (23.1%) in New York, and 45 (6.9%) in California. 16 (2.5%) were employed outside the United States.
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, where it is the largest law school and has produced the greatest number of NLJ 100 partners.
Georgetown Law was ranked #11 for placing the highest percentage of 2018 J.D. graduates into associate positions at the 100 largest law firms.
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Georgetown Law for the 2019–2020 academic year is $94,500. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $347,150.
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 apartment-style housing for 250–300 students as well as hosting offices for nine academic centers and institutes, the Law Center's Student Health clinic, the Center for Wellness Promotion, the Counseling and Psychiatric Service office, a dedicated prayer room for Muslim members of the Law Center community, a moot court room, and a ballroom event space commonly used for academic conferences. The four-level Scott K. Ginsburg Sport & Fitness Center (2004) includes a pool, fitness facilities, and cafe, and connects the Hotung Building to the 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 Law Library was ranked by The National Jurist as the 14th best law library in the nation in 2010.
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.
Georgetown Law's J.D. program can be completed over three years of full-time day study or three to 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 civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal justice, property, torts, 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 may participate in a week-long introduction to international law between the fall and spring semesters.
Clinics / programs
Georgetown has long been nationally recognized for its leadership in the field of clinical legal education. In 2018, U.S. News ranked Georgetown #1 in the nation for Clinical Training, followed by New York University (2nd), CUNY (3rd), American University (4th), and Yale University (5th). 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.
In the Winter 2017 edition of The National Jurist, Georgetown Law's Moot Court Program was ranked #4 in the country for 2015–16 and #5 among U.S. law schools that have had the best moot courts this past decade.
Appellate Litigation Clinic
Directed by Professor Erica Hashimoto (following 36 years of leadership 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. 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
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. The Center for Applied Legal Studies was founded in the 1980s by Philip Schrag. 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. 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. The group's work in human rights law has met praise from international organizations like the United Nations Human Rights Council. Under the direction of Schrag and Schoenholtz, the clinic has also focused on more prolonged displacement situations for political refugees.
Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy Clinic
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. Abbe Smith is the director of CDPAC. Former Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia lawyer Vida Johnson works with Smith in CDPAC and the Prettyman fellowship program.
DC Street Law Program
The DC Street Law Program, Directed by Professor Charisma X. Howell, provides legal education to the DC population through two projects: the Street Law High Schools Clinic and the Street Law Community Clinic. Professor Richard Roe directed the Street Law High Schools Clinic since 1983. Professor Howell became the director in 2018. 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.
Harrison Institute for Public Law
The Harrison Institute is one of the longest running public law clinics in the country, having begun as the Project for Community Legal Assistance in 1972. In 1980 it was renamed in honor of Anne Blaine Harrison, a philanthropist and early supporter of the institute. Over its history, the institute has been home to several clinical programs, including focuses on state and local legislation, administrative advocacy, housing and community development, and policy. In 2019, under the directorship of Robert Stumberg, the institute consists of four policy teams: Climate, Health, Human Rights, and Trade. Each of these teams involves students working to shape policy to achieve client goals.
Notable current faculty include:
- Charles F. Abernathy, Professor of civil rights and comparative law
- Lama Abu-Odeh, Palestinian-American scholar of Islamic law, family law, and feminism
- Randy Barnett, Libertarian constitutional law scholar, author of The Structure of Liberty and Restoring the Lost Constitution, 2008 Guggenheim Fellow
- Rosa Brooks, Professor of national security, military, and international law, columnist for Foreign Policy
- Paul Butler, Professor of criminal law and civil rights, expert on jury nullification
- Sheryll D. Cashin, Professor of civil rights and housing law
- Julie E. Cohen, Professor of copyright, intellectual property, and privacy law
- Anthony E. Cook, Professor of civil rights, discrimination, and social welfare law
- David D. Cole, Professor of first amendment and criminal procedure law
- Peter Edelman, former Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services
- Heidi Li Feldman, Professor of law
- Lawrence O. Gostin, Professor of public health law
- Shon Hopwood, Associate Professor, convicted bank robber turned jailhouse lawyer who represented matters before the Supreme Court
- Neal Katyal, Former Acting Solicitor General of the United States, Professor of national security law
- Donald Langevoort, Thomas Aquinas Reynolds Professor of Law, preeminent scholar in securities law and regulation
- Marty Lederman, Associate Professor, Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel
- Naomi Mezey, Professor of law and culture
- Eleanor Holmes Norton, Delegate representing Washington, DC in the U.S. House of Representatives
- Victoria F. Nourse, Chief Counsel to Vice President Joe Biden and principal author of the Violence Against Women Act
- Ladislas Orsy, canonical theologian
- Gary Peller, Prominent member of critical legal studies and critical race theory movements
- Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, former attorney-advisor at the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice
- Philip Schrag, Director of the Center for Applied Legal Studies, Delaney Family Professor of Public Interest Law
- Louis Michael Seidman, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Constitutional Law, significant proponent of the critical legal studies movement
- Howard Shelanski, Former Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs
- Abbe Smith, Criminal Defense Attorney and Director of the Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic
- Daniel K. Tarullo, Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
- Robert Thompson, Peter P. Weidenbruch, Jr. Professor of Business Law, one of the nation's foremost experts in corporate and securities law
- William M. Treanor, Dean of Georgetown University Law Center, former dean of Fordham University School of Law, noted constitutional law expert
- Rebecca Tushnet, Professor of copyright, trademark, intellectual property, and first amendment law, noted for her scholarship on fanfiction
- David Vladeck, Former Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission
- Robin West, Frederick J. Haas Professor of Law and Philosophy, proponent of feminist legal theory and the law and literature movement
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:
- American Criminal Law Review
- Food and Drug Law Journal
- Georgetown Environmental Law Review
- Georgetown Immigration Law Journal
- Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law
- Georgetown Journal of International Law
- Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives
- Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy
- Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics
- Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy
- Georgetown Law Journal
- Journal of National Security Law and Policy
- Georgetown Law Technology Review (exclusively online)
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