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The George Washington University Law School: Wikis


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The George Washington University Law School
Established 1865
Type Private
Dean Frederick M. Lawrence
Students 1,919
Location Washington, DC, USA
Campus Urban

The George Washington University Law School, commonly referred to as GW Law, is the law school of The George Washington University. It was founded in 1865 and is the oldest law school in Washington, D.C. The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools. It is located on the main campus of The George Washington University at the corner of 20th and H Streets in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood. From 1959 to the mid-1990s, the law school was officially named the National Law Center (as a result of the 1954 merger with the National University School of Law). The name was changed to emphasize its position as The George Washington University's law school.



Though it would be decades before George Washington’s namesake university would be established by an Act of Congress, the George Washington University Law School—founded in 1825, closed in 1826 due to financial difficulty, and then reorganized in 1865—was the first law school in the District of Columbia.

In 1865, the president of Columbian College (now The George Washington University) facilitated the purchase of a building owned by Trinity Church for the purpose of holding law classes. In 1867, the school graduated its first class, who represented twenty two of the then thirty seven states. The Master of Laws degree program was adopted by the school in 1877. In 1900, the school was one of the founding members of the Association of American Law Schools.

Supreme Court Justices William Strong, David J. Brewer, Willis Van Devanter and John Marshall Harlan were among those who served on its faculty.[1]


In 2009 the median GPA for incoming GW Law students was 3.76, and the median LSAT score was 167. The law school received approximately 9,700 applications for fall 2009 admissions, making it one of the most competitive law schools in the country. [2]

Students enrolled in the J.D. program come from 41 states and 7 foreign countries (including South Korea, China and Canada). The Law School also enrolls highly-qualified students from approximately 45 countries each year in its Master of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Science degree programs. [3]


GW Law sign.jpg

The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools. GW Law has one of the largest curricula of any law school in the nation—more than 250 courses covering every aspect of legal study.

The school currently has about 1,860 degree candidates: 1,260 full-time, 290 part-time, and over 300 post-J.D. candidates.

In addition to the juris doctor degree, GW Law offers the following joint degrees:

  • J.D./M.B.A.
  • J.D./M.P.A.
  • J.D./M.P.P.
  • J.D./M.A. in History with a concentration in U.S. Legal History, Women’s Studies, Public Policy with a concentration in Women’s Studies, and Master of Public Policy
  • J.D./M.A. in International Affairs: Science, Technology, and Public Policy; Security Policy Studies; Asian Studies; Latin American Studies; European and Eurasian Studies; International Development Studies; and International Trade and Investment Policy
  • J.D/M.P.H.

The following advanced degrees are offered:

Academic reputation

GW Law is currently ranked 28th in the 2009 Law School Rankings of U.S. News & World Report, [4] having dropped 8 places from its previous ranking of 20 in that publication's 2007 and 2008 issues. In its specialties categories, U.S. News ranked GW Law 3rd in intellectual property law, 8th in international law, 12th in environmental law, and 23rd in clinical training in its 2009 rankings. The law school‘s Government Procurement Law program is widely considered to be the preeminent program of its kind, and GW Law's part-time J.D. program is ranked 2nd best in the country.[5]

In 2007, the National Law Journal ranked GW Law among the top 20 law schools that place the highest percentage of graduates in top American law firms. [6]

Additionally, Vault ranked GW Law No. 20 in its 2008 Top 25 Law Schools Survey, which emphasized the employability and preparedness of graduates of U.S. law schools based on a survey of lawyers and legal recruiters from the nation's largest firms.[7]

Academic Recognition for Students

Students are not supplied with individual class rankings; instead, the school recognizes their relative academic performance with two scholar designations. [2] The top 1%-15% of the class is designated George Washington Scholars. The top 16%-35% of the class is designated Thurgood Marshall Scholars.

Location and facilities

Lerner Hall, Stockton Hall, and the Burns Law Library, with the IMF seen in the background.

GW Law is located in the heart of Washington's Foggy Bottom neighborhood, across the street from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund headquarters, and a few blocks away from the State Department and the White House.

The Jacob Burns Law Library holds a research collection of more than 500,000 volumes.

In 2000, the law school began a major building and renovation scheme to create an integrated, modern learning facility. The school has expanded into buildings on the east side of the University Yard.

The Law School currently occupies nine buildings on the main campus of The George Washington University. The Law School's main complex comprises five buildings anchored by Stockton Hall (1924) located on the University Yard, the central open space of GW's urban campus. Renovated extensively between 2001 and 2003, these buildings adjoin one another, have internal passageways, and function as one consolidated complex. Three townhouses directly across from the main complex house the Community Legal Clinics, Student Bar Association, and student journal offices.

Notable alumni

Class of 1891

Notable alumni of The George Washington University Law School include:

Notable faculty



External links



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