The George Washington University Law School

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Founded in 1825, The George Washington University Law School, often referred to by locals as “GW Law”, is the ABA-accredited law school of The George Washington University. It is also the oldest law school in the District of Columbia. Due to financial difficulties the school closed its doors in 1826 and then reopened them 40 years later in 1865. The school was one of the original founders of the Association of American Law Schools and remains a member to this day.


The George Washington University Law School is accredited by the American Bar Association, which sets the academic standards for law schools in the United States. It is also a founding member of the Association of American Law Schools which its continues to support. With over 250 elective courses for students to choose from GW Law offers one of the most comprehensive legal educations in the nation. The curricula at GW Law covers just about every aspect of the study of law.

Total annual enrollment is roughly 2,000 (1,400 full-time Juris Doctorate students and 300 part-time). GW Law attracts students from across the United States and throughout the world. It students currently represent over 50 other foreign countries.

In addition to it general J.D. degree, the GW Law school offers a large variety of joint degrees, which include the following:

  • J.D./M.B.A. – a four-year dual degree program that allows students to earn their Juris Doctorate degree and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree. This degree is the most common of the dual degrees offered by most law schools. Graduates with a J.D./M.B.A. can pursue careers in law or business.
  • J.D./M.P.A. – this is a dual-degree program leading to a Juris Doctor (JD) and Masters of Public Administration (MPA). This program prepares students for leadership roles in public, nonprofit, health institutions and private companies that serve the public.
  • J.D./M.P.P. – this degree is dual-degree program leading to a Juris Doctor (JD) and Master of Pubic Policy (MPP). As law is a major instrument of public policy, this dual-degree is useful for those interested in shaping public policy as advocates for their clients or public officials.
  • J.D./M.A. in History – dual-degree program in law and history that focuses on U.S. Legal History, Public Policy, Women’s studies and Public Policy.
  • J.D./M.A. in International Affairs – dual-degree program in law and international affairs that covers Security Policy Studies; Science, Technology, and Public Policy; Asian Studies; International Development Studies; Latin American Studies; European and Eurasian Studies; and International Trade and Investment Policy.
  • J.D./M.P.H. – joint degree program that seeks to help students develop an interdisciplinary knowledge and skill set in the fields of law and public health in preparation for careers in public health policy, health law and related fields.

In addition to the Juris Doctor (JD) and dual-degrees listed above, GW Law also offers the following advanced law degrees:

  • Master of Laws (LL.M.) – this advanced legal degree offers concentrations in various fields of legal study including Intellectual Property Law, Environmental Law, International Environmental Law, Government Procurement Law, Business and Finance Law, Government Procurement and Environmental Law, International and Comparative Law, National Security and U.S. Foreign Relations Law, and Litigation and Dispute Resolution.
  • Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) – also known as the Doctor of the Science of Law or Doctor of Laws, this degree program focuses on doctoral level legal research. It is the equivalent of a Ph.D. The degree is oriented towards aspiring professors, legal scholars and scientists. Only a select number of GW Law students pursue this degree track.

Students at GW Law with exemplary academic performance do not receive an individual class ranking, instead the are honored by receiving one of two scholar designations. Students who rank academically in the top 1%-15% of their class are designated at George Washington Scholars and those that place in the top 16%-35% of their class are designated as Thurgood Marshall Scholars. Students that don’t place in the top third of their class do not receive any honorary designation.


The average GPA and LSAT score for entering law students is about 3.6 and 167, respectively. In 2012, the law school received about 7,500 applications accepted j0ust under 4. GW Law is considered a fairly selective law school.

Students at the law school come from across the United States and over 50 countries, the Virgin Islands and the Marshall Islands. Most international students enroll in the school’s Master of Laws and Doctor of Juridical Science programs.

Rankings and Reputation

The U.S. News & World Report recently ranked the GW Law school No.20 on its list of top U.S. Law Schools. It was also ranke No.3 in intellectual property law and No. 5 in international law by U.S. News during the same period. While the school’s full-time program ranked 20th in the nation, its part-time (evening) program was ranked 3rd in the nation in 2012 and its Government Procurement Law program is considered by most to be one of the best programs of its kind in the world.

Between 2000 and 2008, the GW Law Supreme Court Clerkship Placement ranked 12th in the nation. During the same time period, the school ranked 19th in the nation based on student numerical quality, this according to Brian Leiter’s law schools rankings survey.

The National Law Journal has recognized The George Washington University Law School for its exceptional student placement rate. In 2007, the school was ranked No.20 in the nation based on its placement of graduates in America’s top law firms.

In 2008, GW Law was ranked 20th on‘s list of top 25 top law schools in the nation. The Vault ranking is determined by a number of criteria relating to the preparedness and employability of law school graduates as reported by recruiters for the largest law firms in the United States.

Campus and Facilities

GW law is located on the main campus of George Washington University in the center of the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. It is located next to the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and within walking distance of the White House and State Department.

Law school students have access to many of the same facilities and resources as other GW students as well as the Jacob Burns Law Library which houses over 600,000 scholarly and research related documents and collections.

The law school campus includes 9 buildings, among them several newly renovated and modern learning facilities. The school’s main complex comprises 5 structures which are interconnected by a series of internal passageways. Together these five buidings function as one large complex.

*We do not guarantee the accuracy of information on this page. All information is subject to change. You should confirm all information with a college admissions officer.

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