The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law

The information on this page was provided by the law school.

Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs


The decision to attend law school remains a sound, smart, and fulfilling investment in yourself and your future. In a complex world facing many serious challenges, the need for competent, ethical, and compassionate legal practitioners is stronger than ever.

Located near the heart of Washington, DC, a city like no other and the center of our nation’s legal system, The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law (CUA Law) is among the best choices you can make if your goal is to graduate with the skills—such as critical legal analysis, legal writing, and effective oral advocacy—that are essential to successful legal practice in the 21st century.

At every turn, our approach to legal education can be summarized with three words: practical, focused, and connected. Practical means you will learn by doing; focused offers the chance to choose among many different areas of legal study for academic emphasis; connected describes professors who take a personal interest in you, students who treat each other like family, and a supportive alumni network.

The school welcomes students of all religious, racial, and ethnic backgrounds to a program that is renowned for its consistently high number of graduates entering public and community service. The Columbus School of Law has been a member of the AALS since 1921 and was approved by the ABA in 1925.

Enrollment and Student Body

The total enrollment is approximately 350 students, with law students coming from 30 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 3 foreign countries. Nearly 35 percent of the school’s enrollment is part time, making its evening program one of the most flexible and accommodating available anywhere. First-year classes are typically anywhere from 15 to 80 students. Upper-class courses range from 5 to 60 students. Faculty members keep posted office hours and are accessible for informal sessions, making for a more personalized education.


The 40 full-time faculty members bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the classroom. The majority have practiced in the private sector. Adjunct faculty members are primarily active legal practitioners and complement the real-world flavor of course offerings. Classroom instruction is supplemented by many distinguished guest speakers, such as federal appellate judges, justices of the US Supreme Court, and leading academicians and theologians from around the world.

Library and Physical Facilities

The Law School building and law library, which opened in 1994, offer state-of-the-art facilities for law students. The library’s ample study spaces provide a mixture of carrels, tables, and group study rooms for student research. The law collection totals more than 440,000 volumes, and numerous online databases are available from both inside and outside of the law building. Students receive legal instruction in any one of nine major classrooms and numerous seminar rooms. Trial and appellate level courtrooms are used for litigation training. Government libraries, such as the Library of Congress, are easily accessible. Catholic University’s campus is the largest in the District of Columbia and includes a 40-acre athletic complex. The campus has easy access to the Metro system with an on-campus station (CUA/Brookland-Red line).


The prescribed first-year curriculum and method of teaching are designed to develop the analytical skills that characterize the able lawyer and to give the student familiarity with the major substantive areas of law. They are also designed as an introduction to the larger questions of social justice. While lawyers traditionally have been heavily involved with the commercial interests of private or corporate clients, law is becoming increasingly responsive to problems that affect the public interest. CUA Law’s curriculum is designed to provide students with the basic knowledge to become effective lawyers in a changing legal environment.

Special Programs

CUA Law’s Institutes and Special Programs offer certification of a student’s developed expertise in his or her chosen legal specialty. Each program provides invaluable externship opportunities, offering for-credit placements available only in Washington, DC, the legislative, judicial, and administrative center of the United States and headquarters to major international organizations.

The Law and Technology Institute offers an enhanced curriculum to students interested in exploring the many important legal questions and policy debates surrounding evolving technologies. The curriculum equips students with a well-rounded foundation while also allowing them to pursue a particular area of interest, including communications law, intellectual property law, and information privacy law. LTI students gain valuable practical experience through externships in government, industry, public interest organizations, and law firms.

The Comparative and International Law Institute provides students with substantive knowledge and experiential learning in international business and trade, comparative legal systems, and international human rights law. Summer-abroad programs include the International Human Rights Program in Rome, Italy, and the International Business and Trade Program in Cracow, Poland.

The Law and Public Policy Program is designed for students who desire to make a difference through legislative change. The program combines classroom study in legislative and administrative processes with externships available in government agencies and advocacy organizations that affect national public policy.

The Securities Law Program provides students with the foundation to practice law in the securities industry. Students develop substantive expertise in the area of securities regulation and the advocacy skills needed in public or private sector securities law practice. Coveted externships include placements at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Commodities Futures Trading Commission, and private firms.

Clinical Programs

A pioneer in clinical education with programs dating back over 45 years, CUA’s well-established clinical programs draw on a rich history, while preparing students for law practice in the twenty-first century. The law school offers eight clinical programs, including five that emphasize client representation, case planning, and trial and administrative advocacy. Through the law school’s premier in-house legal clinic, Columbus Community Legal Services, students have the opportunity to practice in a law-firm setting while representing low-income clients on a range of legal matters. Nine simulation courses are also offered that closely approximate real-life lawyering through simulated courtroom, mediation, and arbitration exercises. Other clinical offerings include the SEC Observer Program, the Innocence Project Clinic, and the Legal Externship Program.


CUA Law seeks the widest possible diversity in its student body and solicits applicants from all parts of the country and from all professional, religious, and racial/ethnic backgrounds. While considerable weight is given to an applicant’s grade-point average and LSAT score, admission decisions are also influenced by such factors as leadership potential, class rank, substantial involvement in volunteer community service activities, potential for contributing to the law school community, and relevant work experience. Close attention is also paid to a candidate’s personal statement and reasons for wanting to study at CUA.

Student Activities

The Catholic University Law Review and Catholic University Journal of Law and Technology are scholarly law journals staffed and published by outstanding students.

The Moot Court Board organizes two major competitions hosted by CUA Law: the Immigration Moot Court Competition and the Sutherland Cup. In addition, the board manages intraschool competitions each year and sends teams to nine national competitions. The award-winning National Trial Program competes in major National Trial Competitions around the country. In addition to journals and the Moot Court Board, there are 31 student organizations at the Columbus School of Law, encompassing a broad range of professional interests, ethnic and racial affiliations, political and religious perspectives, and recreational activities.

Financial Aid

At the time of admission, all prospective students are evaluated for merit-based scholarships. The Law School currently has full and partial merit-based scholarships available. The Catholic University of America is a full participant in all federal aid programs and all veterans’ benefit programs, including the Yellow Ribbon program. The Office of Financial Aid is committed to providing all students with timely information, guidance, and personal assistance with respect to financial aid opportunities, application procedures, and loan repayment options.

Career Services

The Office of Career and Professional Development actively supports students and graduates in their search for employment by providing counseling as well as workshops, panel discussions, and access to a national alumni network. A comprehensive on-campus interviewing program is conducted annually. The school’s small size makes it possible for all students to secure guidance with individualized career strategy and planning.


The Office of Housing Services and Residence Life work collaboratively to provide residential facilities that meet student developmental needs, support the formation of community, and encourage the creation of seamless learning environments. The Washington, DC, metropolitan area boasts many off-campus housing opportunities for prospective law students and the law school is convenient to public transportation, including Washington’s Metrorail system.

Admitted Applicant Profile

25-75% UGPA Range at Catholic:

3.41 to 3.75

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Catholic:

155 to 160

25-75% UGPA Range at Catholic:

3.41 to 3.75

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Catholic:

155 to 160

25-75% UGPA Range at Catholic:

3.41 to 3.75

25-75% LSAT Score Range at Catholic:

155 to 160

Contact Information

Cardinal Station,
Washington, DC 20064,
United States