University of Georgia School of Law

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University of Georgia
School of Law
UGA Law Logo.png
Motto Justitia
Established 1859; 157 years ago
School type Law school
Dean Peter B. Rutledge
Location Athens, Georgia, U.S.
Enrollment 576
Faculty 79
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, about an hour away from the Global city commercial and transportation hub that is Atlanta, Georgia, Georgia Law is the second oldest of the University's schools and colleges, is among the oldest law schools in the nation, and is a nationally ranked top-tier (first tier) law school.[1]

History, facilities, environment and degrees[edit]

The law school was created in December 1859. It was located in the Ivy Building (now the south wing of the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building) on the University of Georgia campus but, after growth, moved in 1919 into the former Athenaeum Club building. The school remained in this building until Harold Hirsch Hall was erected in 1932, providing additional classrooms and offices, as well as the Alexander Campbell King Law Library.[2]

Hirsch Hall was extensively expanded in 1967 with a large addition that had extensive floor to ceiling windows that provided a new home for the law school's Alexander Campbell King Law Library, new multiple classrooms, and additional common areas, offices and a large multi-use auditorium. In addition, Hirsch Hall was made to contain the Hatton Courtroom that provides a traditional, large, coved ceiling, appellate and trial courtroom for student use including use by invited appellate and trial judges who preside over student appellate and trial presentations.[3]

Subsequently, a new annex building was added that provided even more library space, Georgia Law faculty offices, and offices for student publications.[4]

Next, Dean Rusk Hall was constructed adjacent to the main University of Georgia library, named after Dean Rusk, the second-longest serving United States Secretary of State and longtime Georgia Law professor.[5][6]

The latest renovation to the law school's facilities included an enclosed modern courtyard for relaxed gathering by students and faculty..[7]

The now extensive law school complex is located on North Campus, a National Historic Landmark District, and is adjacent to a green space quadrangle covered with old-growth trees and surrounded by architecturally significant buildings. It is within walking distance of Victorian-era downtown Athens.[8]

Athens, Georgia has grown alongside the University of Georgia and its students for the past two centuries, the university predating the city. 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-10 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.[9][10] Nestled below the Blue Ridge Mountains, Athens is about an hour's drive from the commercial, government, entertainment, and transportation hub of Atlanta, a city with a metropolitan area that is the United States' eighth-largest economy, the world's 17th largest economy, the third-largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies, and which is a designated Global city.

The law school is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, has a chapter of the Order of the Coif, and is host to two advocacy inns: The Lumpkin Inn of Court, one of the earliest American inns of court, and E. Wycliffe Orr Sr. American Inn of Court, both modeled after the famed English inns of court.[11][12] Georgia Law also has a chapter of The Order of Barristers, an American honor society "whose purpose is the encouragement of oral advocacy and brief writing skills through effective law school appellate moot court and mock trial programs."[13]

Law students who wish to broaden their education beyond the Juris Doctor can do so in three ways: through elective courses, joint degrees, and concurrent enrollment in other departments at the University of Georgia. Joint degree programs include, for example, a J.D./M.B.A. through the Terry College of Business and a J.D./M.Ed. in Sports/ Entertainment Studies for future sports and entertainment lawyers offered through the College of Education. Concurrent enrollment options, which allow students to earn another degree in their second and third years of law school, are offered through the University of Georgia’s other 15 schools and colleges.[14] Beyond the J.D. degree and any extra associated degrees, since 1973 Georgia Law has offered the Master of Laws (LL.M.) Degree for Foreign-Trained Lawyers, over the years Georgia Law and its Dean Rusk International Law Center producing more than 450 LL.M. graduates, with ties to 75 countries and every continent in the world. LL.M. candidates may also seek to earn, on an expedited basis, both the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from Georgia Law and the Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) from Terry College.[15]Finally, the law school provides for a Master in the Study of Law (M.S.L.) for students who wish to complement their chosen fields of endeavor with an understanding of basic legal principles necessary across a wide range of careers to gain knowledge, reasoning, and analysis in the areas of law that directly impact their professional or academic interests but do not require a J.D. or LL.M. degree. Students for the M.S.L. have the opportunity to select among several areas of law for concentrated study during both full-time (one year) and part-time (up to three years) options.[16]


Admission to Georgia Law is highly competitive.[17] Although very many factors are taken into account when making admissions decisions, students from the Class of 2018 had an acceptance rate of 29.5%, and median LSAT and GPA of 162 and 3.71, respectively.[18][19]

The law school is well represented by students from around the country and the world. The 190 members of the Class of 2017 enrolled to obtain the J.D. degree come from 25 different states and 75 different undergraduate colleges and universities.[19]


Juris Doctor tuition for one year at Georgia Law is $17,218 for Georgia residents and $35,266 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. The total cost of attendance (including the cost of tuition, fees, and off campus living expenses) for the 2015-2016 academic year is estimated to be $35,914 for a Georgia resident and $54,486 for non-residents who don't become residents or don't qualify for tuition reductions.[20]

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.[21][22] Routinely, Georgia Law is named a "best value" law school by the media.[23]


Georgia Law faculty include nationally and internationally renowned scholars and teachers, recipients of awards like Fulbright fellowships and the American Law Institute Scholars Medal, consultants to institutions like the International Criminal Court, and leaders in professional legal education and service. Before coming to Georgia Law, many clerked on the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts, served as law review editors, and practiced law in diverse fields.[24] Georgia Law has a student to full time faculty ratio of 8 to 1.[25]

Dean Rusk International Law Center[edit]

Named after former United States Secretary of State and Georgia Law Professor Dean Rusk, the Dean Rusk International Law Center was founded, the Center serving as the international law and policy nucleus for education, scholarship, and other collaborations among faculty and students, the law school community, and diverse local and global partners.[26] Its initiatives include the Global Governance School, Global Externships, the Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree, Georgia Law at University of Oxford, and international trainings.[27]

Global practice preparation[edit]

Global opportunities are also a focus of the law school, including study abroad programs, work abroad programs, and global initiatives. Building on a four-decades-old tradition of summer study in Belgium, in 2016 the law school launched a partnership with the Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies at the University of Leuven, a three-week Global Governance Summer School,[28] open to students in law and related disciplines from around the world, after which U.S. law students may earn four academic credits. Students also may take part in the Georgia Law Summer Program in China, take part in Global Externships Overseas (GEOs), and enroll in Global Externships At-Home (GEAs).[29] Further, each spring semester, a group of Georgia Law students studies international and comparative law at the famed St Anne's College at the University of Oxford in England.[30] Providing close contact with world-class faculty from University of Oxford and the University of Georgia, it is one of the few semester-long study abroad programs offered by a U.S. law school. As such, Georgia Law students enjoy many opportunities for working and studying abroad.

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. Courts of Appeals. These journals have frequently been cited by federal and state courts, as well as textbooks and law reviews.[31] Membership on the journals is limited to students in their second and third years of law school.[31]

Lectures and Colloquia[edit]

Georgia Law welcomes eminent scholars to teach courses and 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; the John A. Sibley Lecture Series, which honors the leadership and public spirit of a 1911 Georgia Law graduate by bringing scholars and political leaders to campus each year as a means to promote the intellectual exchange of ideas; the Edith House Lecture Series, which features outstanding women legal scholars and practitioners; the International Law Colloquium Series, in which leading international law scholars present substantial works in progress as part of a for-credit class; the 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.

Recent lecturers and teachers include:[32]

• 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) • U.S. District Court Judge Steve C. Jones (J.D. 1987) • U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates (J.D. 1986) • U.S. Securities & Exchange Commissioner Luis Aguilar (J.D. 1979) • Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President & CEO Dennis Lockhart • 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 • Former U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss • United Nations World Food Programme Executive Director Ertharin Cousin (J.D. 1982) • 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

Advocacy and negotiation teams[edit]

Georgia Law students have extensive opportunities to participate in experiential learning through advocacy and negotiation teams. The law school's moot court and mock trial teams have won nine national titles and eight regional crowns in the past five years, including victory in 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,[33] 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[34]

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 (Georgia Law both recently earning first place), National First Amendment Moot Court Competition, the Dean Jerome Prince Memorial Evidence Moot Court Competition (presently first place), National Legal Ethics and Professionalism Moot Court Competition, and American Bar Association National Appellate Advocacy Competition.[35] Each year, a student team competes in the Willem C. Vis Moot on International Commercial Arbitration in Vienna, Austria.

Students also compete in nationally recognized mock trial tournaments. 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, other state's Trial Challenges, and the National Mock Trial Competition.[35]

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.[36]

Clinics and related initiatives[edit]

Georgia Law students have extensive opportunities to participate in experiential learning through the Appellate Litigation Clinic, the Business Law Clinic, Civil Externships, the Corporate Counsel Externship, the Environmental Practicum, the Washington D.C. Semester in Practice, the Atlanta Semester in Practice, the Family Violence Clinic, the Mediation Practicum, the Community Health Law Partnership (HeLP) Clinic, the Public Interest Practicum, the Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic, the Criminal Defense Clinic, the Prosecutorial Clinic, and the Capital Assistance Project.[37]

To enhance preparation for legal careers within the business world, Georgia Law created the Business Law and Ethics Program in 2009. It provides students opportunities to study business law as well as business concepts and ethical issues confronting today’s corporate leaders. The program includes practice-based courses 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.[36]

Law Library[edit]

The Alexander Campbell King Law Library provides access to more than 900,000 digital and print titles. Spectacular windows and hand-crafted cherry furniture by Thos. Moser make the library one of the most beautiful library facilities in the country. The Law Library has been designated a Federal Depository Library. The primary purpose of the Law Library's involvement in the Federal Depository Library Program is to support the U.S. government legal information needs of the faculty and students of the University of Georgia School of Law and of constituents of the community. The Library is also one of the nation's Specialized European Documentation Centres, houses the Faculty Writings Collection, the Phillips Nuremberg Trials Collection, the J. Alton Hosch Collection that includes Dean Hosch's extensive personal library (he served as dean of the Law School for 29 years (1935-1964)), the Rare Book Collection housing materials which need special protection because of rarity, value, or fragility, as well as an extensive archives. Further, the Library has the Louis B. Sohn Collection on International Relations. Louis B. Sohn held the Bemis Chair at Harvard Law School before taking the Woodruff Chair at Georgia Law, and donated to Georgia Law his extensive library on history, philosophy, religion, demographics, customs, economics, geography, language, and law. Finally, the Library contains the extensive collection of materials housed in the Dean Rusk Center for International and Comparative Law located in the Law School's Rusk Hall.[38]

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, the Asian Law Students Association, the Business Law Society, the Christian Legal Society, the Jewish Law Student Association, the Davenport-Benham Chapter of the Black Law Students Association, the Dean's Ambassadors, the Education Law Student Association, the Environmental Law Association, the Equal Justice Foundation Board, the Federalist Society, the Association of Law and Politics, the Georgia Society for International & Comparative Law, the Trial Lawyers Association Student Chapter, the Health Law Society, the Hispanic Law Students Association, the Intellectual Property Law Society, the Corsair Society, the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, the Labor & Employment Law Association, the Law Democrats, the Law Republicans, the Law Students for Reproductive Justice, the OUTLaws, the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity, the Public Interest Law Council, the Sports & Entertainment Law Society, the Street Law, the Student Bar Association, the Women Law Students Association, and the Working in the Public Interest organization.[39]

Career development[edit]

The Career Development Office at Georgia Law includes five counselors with J.D. degrees and varied practice experience, as well as an experienced full-time professional development director.[40]

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, résumés, 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 year round.[40]


According to Georgia Law's official 2015 ABA-required disclosures, 72.3% of 2015 graduates were employed in full time, long term jobs requiring a J.D. and bar passage.[41]

According to Georgia Law’s official 2014 ABA-required disclosures, 84.7% of the 2014 graduating class was employed within nine months after graduation, and 74.0% held full-time, long-term, JD-required positions at that point. These percentages do not include graduates who chose to open their own practices, those choosing not to practice, or those using their degrees for other purposes. Of the 235 students who graduated in 2014, 60 went to law firms of up to 50 attorneys, 38 to law firms of 51 to 501+ attorneys, 27 to business and industry, 44 to government and public interest organizations (this number does not include federal judicial clerkships that many graduates obtained), and 4 to academia.[40]

Georgia Law has had six alumni serve as judicial clerks at the U.S. Supreme Court since 2005. A Supreme Court clerkship is one of the most distinguished appointments a 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 (out of 204 ABA approved law schools), 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.[42] For the class of 2014, Georgia Law placed 26 graduates in federal and state court clerkships.[40]

Above The Law publishes the Above the Law Top 50 Law School Rankings that are the only rankings to incorporate the latest ABA employment data, and uses the following components of its rankings methodology: Employment score (30%), Quality jobs score (30%), Education cost (15%), and Active federal judges, U.S. Supreme Court clerks, ATL alumni rating, Debt per job, and Salary-to-job rating (5% each). Out of 204 ABA accredited law schools, Above The Law ranks the top 50 law schools based on its formula. For the 2016 Top 50 Law School Rankings, Georgia Law was ranked tied for number 23, up four places from the 2015 rankings.[43][44] While no rating system completely and accurately deals with all the factors to be taken into account in choosing a law school, or regarding graduate employment, the Above The Law Rankings are indicative of the strength of Georgia Law's standing and efforts of its Career Development Office.

Georgia Law alumni[edit]

There are approximately 10,000 living Georgia Law alumni and alumnae. They are employed in all 50 states as well as in approximately 60 countries. Georgia Law graduates include 11 governors, more than 100 U.S. and state senators and representatives, approximately 60 distinguished federal judges and state supreme court justices, and numerous prominent attorneys and corporate leaders.[45] UGA Law alumni and alumnae include the few following random examples, which examples do not include myriad other notable graduates:


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External links[edit]