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The George Washington University Law School

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Official Guide to ABA-Approved JD Programs

For more than 150 years, George Washington University Law School students have studied law in the center of the most dynamic legal and policy activity in the United States: Washington, D.C.  GW Law prepares students with theoretical and practical knowledge to view the law in an increasingly global context.  With an extensive curriculum, a faculty of renowned scholars and practitioners, high-quality externship opportunities in the nation's capital, robust mentorship programs, and an emphasis on professionalism and career development, students explore the law in depth and find their own place within it.

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The JD Program

GW Law offers one of the most extensive course catalogs among American law schools.  Students choose from more than 275 elective courses focused in 18 program areas, some of which offer more than 60 courses.  Areas of law with broad and deep coursework include: Administrative Law, Advanced Torts, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Business and Finance, Constitutional Law and Civil Rights, Criminal Law and Procedure, Environmental and Energy Law, Family Law and Estate Planning, Government Procurement, Health Law, Intellectual Property, International and Comparative Law, Labor and Employment, Litigation and the Judicial Process, National Security and Cybersecurity, Property, and Taxation.  The experience inside the classroom is richly complemented by academic and experiential learning through the Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics, the Field Placement Program, Public Interest and Pro Bono lawyering, and Moot Court and Mock Trial Competitions.  The student experience is further enhanced by nine law journals, joint degree programs, study abroad, and the GW in New York program.

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Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics

The Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics vary considerably in purpose, duration, requirements, and duties. Despite their diversity, all the clinics create an exciting and supportive educational environment in which law students are provided the opportunity to develop lawyering skills and gain insights into law and the legal profession while providing vital legal services to people who need them. In essence, GW Law's newly refurbished Clinics Building is a dynamic public interest law firm, where students represent clients in ways that can become among their most meaningful experiences as young lawyers.

Field Placement

The Field Placement Program provides GW Law students an opportunity to earn academic credit while working as student externs with government, judicial, and nonprofit organizations. In the fall, spring, and summer semesters, student externs work directly with judges or practicing lawyers. Field Placement enhances students’ educational experience through exposure to the actual practice of law. With more than 500 students participating in the program each year and the unique opportunities available to students as a result of our location in the nation’s capital, GW Law Field Placement is one of the most extensive legal externship programs in the country. The primary educational objectives of Field Placement are to provide students with the opportunity to gain experience in diverse substantive areas of law and legal process; to develop legal research, writing, interviewing, counseling, and investigative skills; to deal with issues of professional responsibility in an actual practice setting; and, to engage in reflective lawyering.

Law Journals

Students may apply for membership in one of nine student-run journals, some of which are produced in collaboration with national bar associations. In addition to GW Law's main journal, The George Washington Law Review, there are journals spanning a range of legal areas, including international law, intellectual property, environmental and energy law, and business and finance law, among others.

Study Abroad and Exchange Programs

GW Law offers five diverse programs for students to study in other parts of the world, including Oxford, Munich, Augsburg, Groningen, and Milan. Generally, participation in student abroad occurs during the summer, which leaves GW Law students fully free to take advantage of the vast experiential and academic opportunities in Washington during the fall and spring semesters.

Advocacy Competitions

GW Law students participate in numerous moot court, mock trial, alternative dispute resolution, and other competitions every semester. GW Law students have a sterling record of success in both internal (at GW Law) and external (held elsewhere, including internationally) events. The largest competition of the year is the Van Vleck Constitutional Law Moot Court Competition, the final round of which has, in some years, been presided over by a justice of the Supreme Court. Competitions are open to all students.

Student Life

Student Organizations

Students at GW Law are active and involved members of the law school and DC communities -- not just academically, but also socially and in terms of advocacy and service. Over the years, they have established over 60 organizations that reflect their diverse interests and concerns. These organizations play a vital role beyond that of fostering camaraderie. By sponsoring speakers, hosting panel discussions, and encouraging dialogue on a wide variety of legal issues, the activities of GW Law student organizations have become an important extension of the curriculum. Through these organizations, students also make significant contributions to the Washington, DC-area community. 

Career Placement and Bar Passage

GW Law's Career Center comprises one of the largest legal career counseling teams in the United States. Counselors collectively represent more than 80 years of legal experience in legal and counseling professions.  The counselors, who are all trained, licensed attorneys, are assigned to each of the six first-year student sections collectively called the Inns of Court. Each counselor follows that cohort of students throughout the three or four years of law school, although students are free to meet with any counselor in the Career Center.  The Class of 2020 recorded a 96% passage rate for first-time takers of the D.C. bar, and other top bar passage states include New York, California, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

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Tuition and Aid

GW Law works with students on an individual basis to ensure that each receives the most generous aid package available. All admitted applicants will be considered for merit-based scholarships. These awards, which vary in amount, are based on the strength of applications; no separate scholarship applications are required. Need-based grants are also awarded to admitted and continuing students based on financial need and availability of resources. More than 80% of GW Law students receive financial aid.

Two scholarship programs are noteworthy. First, applicants may choose to apply through the binding Presidential Merit Scholarship Program. Applicants admitted through this process receive a full-tuition scholarship covering three years (full-time) or four years (part-time) of study. Second, Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew recently created the Open Doors Scholarship Program to allow select extraordinary students with financial need to attend GW Law. Carmia Caesar, the Associate Dean for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, will serve as an advisor to recipients of the Open Doors Scholarship.

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Admission Decisions: Beyond the Numbers

GW Law employs a highly selective JD admissions process, given that historically the number of applicants has significantly exceeded the number of seats available in the entering class. The review process is comprehensive. We seek to enroll students with high academic qualifications whose personal characteristics demonstrate potential contributions to the Law School community. Factors considered in the admissions process include undergraduate performance, school attended and major; LSAT score(s); writing ability as demonstrated in the personal statement; extracurricular and professional experience as reflected in the resume; letters of recommendation; and any graduate work performed. There is no minimum GPA or LSAT score required. Applicants may also consider submission of a GRE score if they have not taken and do not intend to take the LSAT. Consistent with the goal of providing an educationally stimulating and diverse environment, the Law School seeks to enroll qualified members of all backgrounds.

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