george washington law school

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

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DC’s oldest law school, still ahead of its time.

For more than 150 years, GW Law students have studied law in the legal and policy center of the United States: Washington, DC. GW Law puts students at the center of the legal world and offers them the theoretical and hands-on expertise to succeed. With world-renowned faculty and a location only four blocks from the White House, GW Law offers students a dynamic, well-rounded legal education. Our students hold externships with the leading policymaking offices and institutions that surround GW Law. They compete in moot court competitions, arguing cases before eminent jurists such as Justice Elena Kagan of the US Supreme Court. Through the Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics, GW Law students represent actual clients before courts, such as the Maryland Court of Appeals.

Our students are instructed by faculty members who have affected decision making on global bodies, including the International Court of Justice and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; served in the Obama and Bush administrations; and held prestigious clerkships, including those with sitting members of the US Supreme Court. The faculty’s connections and expertise prove crucial for students as they map their career paths.

In short, the GW Law experience is rigorous, hands-on, and practical. Our students leave prepared to change the world.

A Law School for the 21st Century

GW Law students benefit from:

  • Personalized Education: GW Law offers more than 275 elective courses to help students build their expertise in numerous areas of the law. Students can combine coursework; unparalleled interaction with leading lawyers, judges, and policymakers in the field; high-level externships; and unique capstone experiences to develop an integrated series of theoretical skills, experiences, and contacts.
  • Engagement in the Real World: GW Law’s full-time faculty members routinely testify before Congress, litigate leading cases, collaborate with think tanks, serve on international courts and commissions, and work at the highest levels of government. Our adjunct faculty includes the leading lawyers in the legal capital of the world. Amid this vibrant environment, GW Law students interact with Supreme Court justices, World Bank officials, financial regulators, military leaders, and State Department lawyers, and work on public policy projects tackling the important challenges of our time.
  • Externships: Through GW Law’s Field Placement Program, more than 500 students each year earn academic credit while they participate in externships in government, public interest, and the judiciary. Students receive supervision from leading legal practitioners and gain practical experience that helps jump-start their careers.
  • Professional Development Training: GW Law offers students not only substantive knowledge of the law but also the practical skills needed by lawyers. Our integrated professional development training program gives students a sophisticated understanding of issues, such as how to work in teams to solve problems, how to understand the changing economics of law practice, how to develop clients, how to construct effective networks, and how to think creatively about building a lifetime of career options.
  • Clinics and Pro Bono Activities: GW Law was one of the first law schools in the nation to embrace clinical education, and our clinics continue to provide intensive practical training, as students work with actual clients under faculty supervision. In addition, our pro bono program—headed by Alan Morrison, one of the legendary public interest lawyers in US history—builds additional opportunities for engagement, with programs that allow students to help the wrongly convicted, write legal documents for cancer patients, and work with the Special Master in charge of assessing damages after the BP oil spill. In addition, the school awards nearly 100 summer public interest fellowships annually and provides loan repayment assistance to graduates embarking on public interest careers.
  • Mentoring, Counseling, and Networking for Careers: Because we have more than 27,000 alumni around the world and in every area of practice, GW Law’s Career Center can connect students with a vast network of mentors, advisors, and career contacts. The center focuses on one-to-one counseling beginning in each student’s first year to ensure that students effectively bridge the gap from law school to law practice.

Joint-Degree and Study-Abroad Programs

Joint degrees are offered in the areas of business, public administration, public health, public policy, international affairs, history/US legal history, and women’s studies. Summer study-abroad opportunities include the GW-Oxford Program in International Human Rights Law, the GW-Munich Intellectual Property Law Program, the GW-Augsburg (Germany) Student Exchange Program, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and Università-Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Milan, Italy. GW Law is a member of the North American Consortium on Legal Education, which allows students to study at member Canadian and Mexican law schools.

Student Activities

Membership is available on nine publications:

  1. George Washington Law Review
  2. George Washington International Law Review
  3. National Security Law Digest (new)
  4. Journal of Energy and Environmental Law
  5. Public Contract Law Journal (cosponsored by the ABA Section of Public Contract Law)
  6. Federal Circuit Bar Journal
  7. American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal (published by AIPLA and housed at GW)
  8. Federal Communications Law Journal (in collaboration with the Federal Communications Bar Association)
  9. International Law in Domestic Courts Journal

Three skills boards—the Moot Court Board, Mock Trial Board, and Alternative Dispute Resolution Board—provide numerous opportunities for participation in competitions around the world. In addition, approximately 60 student groups are active at the law school, sponsoring social, educational, career, and public interest-related programs.

More than 400 events take place on the law school campus each year, an average of three per day during the school year. Recent events have included a two-day summit meeting of the US Supreme Court justices and judges from the European Court of Human Rights; a cybersecurity working group featuring high-ranking officials from the US military’s Cyber Command; and public events with SEC commissioners, members of Congress, the State Department legal adviser, and leading scholars.

The Career Center

The Career Center assists students at every stage, from identifying summer job opportunities to helping graduates launch their careers. The Career Center’s counselors have extensive experience working in both the public and private sectors. Students benefit from the professional development and career planning opportunities offered by the Career Center, including seminars, alumni mentorship programs, externships, and job networking events. In addition, the Career Center hosts nearly 100 programs annually, including panels and networking opportunities, the fall recruitment program, the spring interviewing program, diversity events and programs, and the public sector recruitment program.

Financial Assistance

The GW Law Financial Aid Office counsels and assists applicants and current students in applying for various sources of financial aid, including loans at negotiated, competitive terms; need-based tuition grants; and outside scholarships. All applicants are considered for merit-based aid, including general merit awards, as well as public interest and environmental merit scholarships. Although the majority of students will obtain student loans while in attendance, GW Law has a deep commitment to helping students who have significant financial need through our need-based aid program.

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