Since opening its doors in 1933, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s (AJMLS) mission has been to provide a legal education to traditionally underserved student populations including non-traditional and adult students. In 2005–over 70 years after its founding–the law school was fully accredited by the American Bar Association. In 2011, the law school completed a major renovation to its campus which added classrooms, offices, and additional spaces for students to study and meet. AJMLS has graduated over 2,000 alumni its history including multiple Georgia state representatives as well as Neal Boortz, the former conservative talk show host.
The Juris Doctor degree at AJMLS may be pursued either through a full or part-time program. The part-time program has options for either day or evening classes. While the full-time program generally takes three years, the part-time program may be completed in four years with required summer courses. Both the full and part-time programs require 88 hours of coursework for completion. The first-year program requires 31 hours of mandatory courses including foundational courses in civil procedure, contracts, criminal law, torts, and property. All students complete a two-semester study of the fundamental skills of legal writing, research, and analysis. In order to ensure students succeed in their academic and professional careers, all AJMLS students also complete skill-based courses covering strategies to succeed in law school as well as methodologies for successfully studying the law.
The second-year curriculum is also mandatory and comprised of 24 additional required credit hours. Students are able to select some electives during their second-year. Required courses include an additional semester of property as well as courses covering constitutional law, business organizations, criminal procedure, and evidence. Students also complete two additional semesters covering legal writing, research, and analysis. Continuing with the school’s academic achievement program, students take a three-hour course covering legal principles. Before graduation, students must complete a course in professional responsibility and remedies. The final year of AJMLS’s J.D. program also introduces students to additional fundamental legal skills as well as skills specific to practicing law in the state of Georiga.
Students at AJMLS may pursue an optional certification in criminal justice during the elective period of the program. The certification requires a slate of mandatory coursework that is completed after students have completed their courses in criminal law and procedure. The certifications additional course requirements ground students in the fundamental concepts of criminal justice as well as the core skills needed to succeed in the practice area. Students in the certification also complete 300 hours of fieldwork to help build the skills necessary for their success in the field.
AJMLS also offers a completely online Master of Laws (LL.M) program in the area of employment law. The program requires 24 hours of online coursework that is completed based on the student’s schedule. Students may take up to five semesters to complete the program. The LL.M covers the substantive area of employment law through several required courses as well as electives.
Career and Career Placement
Based on the most recent employment outcome data, over 63% of all AJMLS graduates were employed within 10 month of graduation. Of those employed, 92% found long-term, full-time careers although only 85% of those employed found careers that either required a law license or preferred a Juris Doctor degree. Over 12% of employed graduates pursued professional careers outside the legal industry. For those employed, over half of graduates opted for careers in small law firms with 25 or fewer attorneys (most in law firms with less than 10 attorneys). Over 17% of graduates chose careers in the business sector while a similar percentage opted for careers in government legal offices. Most graduates of AJMLS–over 87%–remained in Georgia to begin their professional careers.
At AJMLS, the school’s Career Development Office (CDO) partners with students to help each one successfully navigate the challenges of securing a long-term, meaningful career. Each student at AJMLS is partnered with an career counselor who advises their students on a range of issues from alternative careers to skill assessment. The CDO maintains library of career resources available to all students. Throughout the year, CDO participates in a variety of career fairs and recruiting events to help secure jobs for AJMLS students. The CDO also hosts networking and speaker events to introduce students to the larger legal community.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
AJMLS’s experiential learning program is grounded in an externship program that places students into legal offices where they learn to practice law alongside other attorneys. AJMLS offers a wide variety of external field placement throughout Atlanta’s vibrant legal community. The program also provides students with robust academic support as they learn to practice law in real-world settings.
AJMLS provides all students with counseling and financial support services to help ensure students graduate with the mental and financial health necessary to practice law successfully. The school also hosts several student organizations that allow like-minded students to share their common ethnic background, faiths, or passions. AJMLS students may also find housing and part-time job options through a dedicated classified section for students only.
AJMLS is located in the Atlanta neighborhood of Ansley Park which is well known for its many restaurants and its thriving art scene. The school is conveniently located in walking distance to Piedmont Park, the city’s largest downtown park. The school’s proximity to the interstate also affords students ample commuting options. While at AJMLS, students can live in one of the country’s most vibrant towns where professional sports, a thriving movie industry, and the sights and sounds of history infuse the city.