University of Georgia School of Law

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University of Georgia
School of Law
UGA Law Logo.png
Motto Justitia
Established 1859
School type Public
Dean Peter B. "Bo" Rutledge
Location Athens, Georgia, USA
Enrollment 650 Avg.
Faculty 60
The University of Georgia School of Law in 2010
Georgia Law Library

The University of Georgia School of Law (also referred to as Georgia Law) is a graduate school of the University of Georgia. Founded in 1859 and located in Athens, Georgia, USA, about an hour away from the commercial and transportation hub that is Atlanta, Georgia, Georgia Law is the second oldest of the University's schools and colleges, second only to Franklin College.

Georgia Law offers three degrees – the Juris Doctor (traditional three-year law degree), the Master of Laws (one-year degree, post Juris Doctor) and the Master in the Study of Law (part-time and full-time, post undergraduate degree for those not wanting to practice law).[1]

History and Environment[edit]

The law school was created in December 1859 and was originally housed in the law offices of Lumpkin & Cobb, which were located on the corner of Prince Avenue and Pulaski Street in Athens. In 1861, the school closed due to the Civil War and was reopened in 1867. Two of its co-founders, Joseph Henry Lumpkin and T.R.R. Cobb, died during this period. (The law school's third co-founder was William Hope Hull, former U.S. Treasury Solicitor.) When the school reopened, it was located in the Ivy Building (now the south wing of the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building) on the University of Georgia campus.

After continuing to grow, the law school moved in 1919 into the former Athenaeum Club building on the northeast corner of Broad Street and Lumpkin Street. The school remained in this building until Harold Hirsch Hall was erected in 1932, providing additional class rooms, offices and the Alexander Campbell King Law Library.[2]

Hirsch Hall was greatly expanded in 1967 with a large addition that provided an expansion for the law school's Alexander Campbell King Law Library and added several classrooms, common areas, offices and a multi-use auditorium.

Subsequently, a new annex building was added that provided even more library space, Georgia Law faculty offices, and offices for student publications.

Next, Dean Rusk Hall was constructed adjacent to the main library, named after Georgia Law professor, and former U.S. Secretary of State, Dean Rusk.

Thus far the latest addition to the law school's facilities includes an enclosed courtyard for relaxed gathering by students and faculty.

The law school complex is located on "Old Campus" that is a registered historic area, is covered with old growth trees and historic buildings, and is within walking distance of historic Victorian-era downtown Athens and covered parking decks. Located in northeast Georgia, Athens has grown alongside the University of Georgia and its students for the past two centuries. The Classic City, as it is known, mixes small-town charm and comfort with a progressive atmosphere and a rich art, culinary, music and intellectual culture. Athens has been named the "Best College Music Town in the Country" by Rolling Stone, was also ranked a "Top Arts Destination" by AmericanStyle, has recognized restaurants including a top ten restaurant in the South selected by Southern Living, was chosen as one of "America's Greenest Cities" by Popular Science, and voted the nation's "Second Best College Town" by Sports Illustrated. Nestled below the Blue Ridge Mountains, Athens is only about an hour's drive from the commercial, government, entertainment, and transportation hub that is Atlanta, which city's economy ranks 15th among world cities and sixth in the nation, and which contains the country's third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies.


Admission to Georgia Law is highly competitive.[3] Although many factors are taken into account when making Juris Doctor admissions decisions, students from the class of 2017 boasted a median LSAT and GPA of 163 and 3.7, respectively.[4]

The law school is well represented by students from around the country and the world. For example, the 185 members of the class of 2017 enrolled to obtain the JD degree come from 23 different states and 70 different undergraduate colleges and universities.[5]


Juris Doctor tuition and fees for one year at Georgia Law is $19,140 for Georgia residents and $36,810 for non-residents, although it is possible for non-residents to pay tuition at the resident rate after becoming Georgia residents and Georgia Law offers tuition reduction scholarships that allow non-residents to pay the resident tuition rate for one or two semesters of the first year of law school. The total cost of attendance (including the cost of tuition, fees, and off campus living expenses) for the 2014-2015 academic year is estimated to be $38,908 for a Georgia resident and $56,578 for a non-resident.[4]

Non-residents are able to obtain residency after one year. In addition to the School of Law Scholarships, External Scholarships from private and nonprofit organizations are available, as well as the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, and Stafford and Graduate Plus loans.[6][7] Routinely, Georgia Law is named a "best value" law school by the media.[8]


Georgia Law faculty members are the authors of some of our country's leading legal scholarship. Included on the faculty are: 3 Meigs Award winners (UGA’s highest award for teaching excellence), 1 Distinguished Research Professor, 6 UGA Teaching Academy members (elite group of professors on campus recognized for their commitment to teaching), 1 University Professor (only one UGA professor is selected campus-wide each year for this prestigious title), 2 Fulbright Scholars, 5 former U.S. Supreme Court clerks, and former editors-in-chief of law reviews.[9]

Law Review and Journals[edit]

Georgia Law students publish three legal journals: Georgia Law Review, the Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law, and the Journal of Intellectual Property Law. In addition the students publish the Georgia Law Review Online, which features short, op-ed length essays by practitioners, judges and professors focused primarily on timely legal issues in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. These journals have frequently been cited by federal and state courts, as well as textbooks and other law reviews.[10] Membership on the journals is limited to the second and third years of law school.[10]

Lectures and Colloquia[edit]

Georgia Law sponsors eminent guest scholars to teach courses and to speak to students each year. Lectures and courses include the: Faculty Colloquium Series, through which some of the nation's top legal academics present substantial works in progress; John A. Sibley Lecture Series, which honors the leadership and public spirit of a 1911 Georgia Law graduate by bringing eminent scholars and political leaders to campus each year as a means to promote the intellectual exchange of ideas; Edith House Lecture Series, which brings outstanding female legal scholars and practitioners to Athens; International Law Colloquium Series, in which leading international law scholars to Athens present substantial works in progress; Carl E. Sanders Political Leadership Scholar/Lecturer appointments, created so law students can learn from individuals who have distinguished themselves as leaders in politics or other forms of public service; and multiple other lectures and mini-courses sponsored by various Georgia Law organizations.

Recent lecturers and teachers include:[11]

• Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens • U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas • U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Edith Jones • U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Beverly B. Martin (J.D. 1981) • U.S. Court of Appeals Judge David B. Sentelle • U.S. District Court Judge Richard W. Story (J.D. 1978) • Former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security and current University of California System President Janet Napolitano • Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Poland Lee A. Feinstein • International Court of Justice Judge Joan Donoghue • International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda • Former Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Marsha Ternus • Former Delaware Court of Chancery Chancellor William B. Chandler, III • PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi • Coca-Cola North America General Counsel Leslie M. Turner • Home Depot Executive Vice-President and General Counsel Teresa Wynn Roseborough • American Bar Association Executive Director Jack L. Rives (J.D. 1976) • Harvard Law School Professor John C.P. Goldberg • Georgetown University Law Center Professor Robin West • Columbia University Law School Professor John C. Coffee Jr.

Advocacy and Negotiation Teams[edit]

Georgia Law has extensive opportunities to participate in experiential learning through advocacy and negotiation teams. The advocacy program includes moot court and mock trial teams have won nine national titles and nine regional crowns in the past five years including recently winning the 64th Annual National Moot Court Competition, which included more than 190 teams from law schools across the nation and is the oldest and most prestigious moot court competition in the country,[12] winning the Kurth Moot Court National Championship, a tournament that invites only teams from the top 16 advocacy programs in the nation, winning the Dean Jerome Prince Memorial Evidence Competition, and winning the Third Annual South Texas Mock Trial Challenge.[13]

Moot Court participants prepare appellate briefs and orally argue cases competing in nationally recognized tournaments such as the National Moot Court Competition, Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, National First Amendment Moot Court Competition, Dean Jerome Prince Memorial Evidence Moot Court Competition, National Legal Ethics and Professionalism Moot Court Competition and American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition.[14] Each year, a student team competes in the Willem C. Vis Moot on International Commercial Arbitration in Vienna, Austria.

Students may also compete in nationally recognized mock trial tournaments, trying civil and criminal mock cases. Participants deliver opening statements, conduct witness examinations and present closing arguments in the presence of a judge and jury in national level competitions such as the National Trial Competition, the American Association for Justice National Student Trial Advocacy Competition, the South Texas Mock Trial Challenge and the Buffalo-Niagara National Mock Trial Competition.[14]

Negotiation competitions provide another avenue for students to develop essential and valuable skills they will need as lawyers. Key skills obtained through these contests include negotiation, critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Competitions routinely entered are the ABA National Negotiation Competition, the Robert R. Merhige, Jr. National Environmental Negotiation Competition and the Transactional LawMeet.[15]

Clinical and Other Programs[edit]

Georgia Law students also have extensive opportunities to participate in experiential learning through clinical and other programs. They include the Appellate Litigation Clinic, the Business Law Clinic, Civil Externships, the Corporate Counsel Externship, the Environmental Practicum, the D.C. Semester in Practice Program in Washington, the Family Violence Clinic, the Mediation Practicum, the Community Health Law Partnership Clinic, the Public Interest Practicum, the Criminal Defense Clinic, the Prosecutorial Clinic, and the Capital Assistance Project.[16]

Recognizing the need to better prepare students for legal careers within the business world, Georgia Law created the Business Law and Ethics Program in 2009. It provides students greatly expanded opportunities to study business law as well as business concepts and ethical issues confronting today’s corporate leaders. The program includes practice-based courses, which are designed to link legal theory to the practice of law, with a particular focus on transactional practice. Experiential learning, through participation in externships and clinical experiences and on the school’s negotiation competition team, is a key element of the program. Students have the opportunity, both in and out of the classroom, to practice essential skills such as negotiation, legal drafting, critical thinking, counseling, and creative problem-solving.[15]

Study and Work Abroad Opportunities[edit]

Georgia Law students enjoy many opportunities for working and studying abroad. Each spring semester, a group of Georgia Law students studies international and comparative law at the famed St Anne's College, Oxford, England. This popular program provides close contact with world-class faculty from Oxford and the University of Georgia. It is also one of the few semester-long study abroad programs offered by an American law school. The Georgia Law Summer Program in EU Business Law and WTO Trade Practice introduces law students and legal professionals from around the world to the institutions of the European Union and EU business law in Brussels, Belgium, and international trade law under the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland. The Global Internship Program offers opportunities at more than 70 organizations in over 35 countries on 5 continents. Participants report their global internship experiences to be among the most professionally and personally rewarding of their law school careers.[17]

Student Organizations[edit]

Georgia Law students may participate in a diverse group of student run organizations that are separate and independent of the law school. Each organization is responsible for, and manages, its own activities and affairs. Longstanding student organizations include the American Constitution Society, Asian Law Students Association, Business Law Society, Christian Legal Society, Davenport-Benham Chapter of the National Black Law Students Association, Dean's Ambassadors, Education Law Student Association, Environmental Law Association, Equal Justice Foundation Board, Federalist Society, Association of Law and Politics, Georgia Society for International & Comparative Law, Trial Lawyers Association Student Chapter, Health Law Society, Hispanic Law Students Association, Intellectual Property Law Society, Jewish Law Student Association, J. Reuben Clark Law Society, Labor & Employment Law Association, Law Democrats, Law Republicans, Law Students for Reproductive Justice, OUTLaws, Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, Public Interest Law Council, Sports & Entertainment Law Society, Street Law, Student Bar Association, Women Law Students Association, and the Working in the Public Interest organization.[18]

Dean Rusk International Law Center[edit]

The law school's Dean Rusk International Law Center was established in 1977 to expand the scope of research, teaching, and service in international law and policy in order to increase the understanding of international issues, provide a sound basis for foreign policy decision-making, and contribute solutions to global problems. Today the center serves as a nucleus for collaboration between Georgia Law faculty and students, the broader law school community, and diverse international partners on foreign and transnational legal and policy matters. In fulfillment of its mission to globalize legal education at the University of Georgia, the center invites scholars from abroad to engage in collaborative research with faculty and to teach short courses that enhance the law school's educational offerings. Every spring Georgia Law's international faculty hosts a colloquium series on timely topics in the field of international law. Through its public service and outreach programs, the Rusk Center influences policy on a global scale.[19]

Career Development[edit]

The Career Development Office at Georgia Law is a team with over 75 collective years of law practice experience and 30 years of experience in providing professional development guidance. Led by an executive director who practiced transactional law for more than 24 years with a major national law firm, the office also includes three additional counselors with J.D. degrees and varied practice experience, as well as an experienced full-time professional development director. Rounding out the staff is an interview coordinator who has been with Georgia Law for more than 30 years.[20]

The office works with students through every step of their journey, from first year through graduation and beyond. The staff provides individualized counseling on every aspect of finding a rewarding legal career, including job search strategies, resumes, cover letters, job applications and interview preparation. An extensive array of professional development programs is also offered. The counselors also invest heavily in employer outreach efforts, building relationships and identifying specific job opportunities. The office maintains a job bank exclusively for Georgia Law students and alumni, supervises on-campus interview programs throughout the spring and fall semesters, and facilitates participation by students in off-campus interview programs (job fairs) year round.[20]


The efforts of the Career Development Office have helped result in impressive employment statistics for students, particularly in a challenging legal employment market. According to Georgia Law’s official 2013 ABA-required disclosures, 85.5% of the 2013 graduating class was employed in some capacity nine months after graduation, and 68.8% held full-time, long-term, JD-required positions at that point. Of the 234 students who graduated in 2013, 69 went to law firms of up to 50 attorneys, 27 to law firms of 51 to 501+ attorneys, 33 to business and industry, 32 to government and public interest organizations (not including judicial clerkships), and 5 to academia.[20]

Georgia Law has had six alumni serve as judicial clerks at the U.S. Supreme Court since 2003. A Supreme Court clerkship is one of the most distinguished appointments law school graduate can obtain. This record gives Georgia Law a ranking of third among public law schools, and 11th among all law schools nationwide, for supplying such law clerks for the period 2005-2014. Based on the 2012 graduating class, Georgia Law was ranked 10th among all law schools in the country for the total number of federal court clerks.[21] For the class of 2013, Georgia Law placed 22 graduates in federal court clerkships and 11 in state court clerkships.[20]

Georgia Law Alumni[edit]

There are approximately 10,000 living Georgia Law alumni. They are employed in all 50 states as well as in approximately 60 countries. Georgia Law graduates include 11 governors, numerous U.S. and state senators and representatives as well as scores of distinguished federal and state judges, prominent attorneys and corporate leaders. Georgia Law alumni have simultaneously led all three branches of state government – executive, judicial and legislative – twice in Georgia’s history.[22] Noteworthy alumni include:

  • Chief Judge Maurice Neil Andrews (LL.B. 1916; d. 1967), U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, 1950; U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Georgia, 1942-1946; served U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson as a prosecution staff member during the Nuremberg Trials
  • Judge Thomas Alonzo Clark (LL.B. 1949; d. 2005) United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and for the Eleventh Circuit, 1979-1991
  • Judge Newell Edenfield (LL.B. 1938; d. 1981), United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
  • Chief Judge Duross Fitzpatrick (LL.B. 1966; d. 2008), U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
  • Edith House (LL.B. 1925; d. 1987), U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, 1963, following long career as federal prosecutor in Florida; co-valedictorian of Class of 1925 and among the first two women to graduate from Georgia Law, that year[28]
  • Peter Meldrim (LL.B. 1869; d. 1933), judge, state senator, President of the American Bar Association, Commissioner of the Uniform Law Commission
  • Judge Lewis Render Morgan (LL.B. 1935; d. 2001), U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit; formerly, state representative and federal district judge
  • Senator Richard B. Russell, Jr. (LL.B. 1918; d. 1971), who represented Georgia in the U.S. Senate for almost 40 years, serving as President pro tempore and Chairperson of both the Appropriations and the Armed Services Committees; candidate for U.S. President in the 1948 and 1952 Democratic National Conventions; namesake of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington
  • Carl Sanders (LL.B. 1947; d. 2014), Governor of Georgia, 1963-1967; former Chairman, Troutman Sanders LLP, Atlanta
  • Judge Samuel Hale Sibley (LL.B. 1893; d.1958), United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 1931-1958
  • Justice George T. Smith (LL.B. 1948; d. 2010), Supreme Court of Georgia, 1981-1991; other public service included Speaker of the Georgia House and lieutenant governor
  • Judge Sidney Oslin Smith Jr. (LL.B. 1949; d. 2012), U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, 1965-1974
  • Eugene Talmadge (d. 1946), elected Governor of Georgia four times between 1933 and 1946
  • Meldrim Thomson, Jr. (d. 2001), Governor of New Hampshire, 1973-1979


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