With its stellar reputation internationally and its unique location in the United States capital, Georgetown University Law Center (Georgetown Law) has been educating lawyers since 1870 and is widely considered to be one of the best law schools in the country. It was also the first law school in the U.S. established by the Jesuit order. As a result of its unique setting and reputation, Georgetown Law receives the most applications of any law school in the country, receiving roughly 10,000 applications each fall for its class of roughly 600 first year students. The Georgetown Law library is the second largest and one of the most important research libraries in the country. In its long history, the Georgetown Law Center has educated countless members of the judiciary, US Congress and even future President Lyndon Johnson (although he did not graduate). The law school is located blocks from the United States Capital and the Supreme Court making it an integral part of the rich history of Washington, D.C.
Georgetown Law offers two separate academic tracks for its first year students. Both track include 30 hours of course instruction. The first track (“Curriculum A”) mirrors the traditional law school first year curriculum and includes courses in civil procedure, constitution law, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. The second track (“Curriculum B”) is a novel approach to the first year curriculum. Students take courses in the following areas: Bargain, Exchange, and Liability; Democracy and Coercion; Government Processes; Legal Justice Seminar; Legal Process and Society; and Property in Time. Both tracks take a class in legal writing and analysis. All first year students are also offered one week, one credit seminars in January of their first year. The seminars cover practical skills and problems facing lawyers in today’s legal climate.
For second and third year students, Georgetown Law offers one of the most extensive course catalogs in the country with over 500 courses offered each year. The law school offers 21 designated areas of studies or students can choose their own areas of interests. Of note is Georgetown Law’s International and Comparative Law focus which is considered the best of its kind in the world–attracting students from all over the world.
To graduate, students must complete a total of 85 hours of credit including at least one course in professional responsibility, six credits of experiential education, and complete an upper level writing assignment.
The Georgetown University Law Center offers a wide range of graduate programs including its renowned Masters of Law (LL.M) in International studies. For students graduating from foreign law schools, Georgetown Law offers a one-year LL.M with a focus in international law or a two-year program that includes an additional training in English fluency. For all law students, Georgetown Law offers LL.M concentrations in eight different practice areas including two that can be completed online through their executive program. The school also recently launched a Masters of Law and Technology (M.L.T.) degree designed for non-lawyers who need a solid grounding in the legal structures surrounding technology development.
The law school also offers a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) degree for students pursuing the highest level of legal scholarships. Students are admitted in conjunction with a supervising faculty member who directs their dissertation and coursework.
To promote the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of the practice of law, Georgetown Law offers over 15 dual or joint degrees for both its graduate and J.D. students. The dual degrees combine the legal education with programs from universities in Paris, Beijing and John Hopkins renowned public health school. The joint degree programs allows students to pair their juris doctor with masters in a wide range of studies from taxation to energy policy.
Career and Career Placement
Graduates of Georgetown Law are some of the most sought after in the country with almost 98% of their graduates finding long term employment within 10 months of graduation. The majority of students–roughly 90%–find careers requiring a law license or preferring a juris doctor. Over 50% of those careers were in law firms with over 500 attorneys. Almost 20% accepted positions in smaller or medium sized firms while over 10% of the graduates accepted clerkships in the Federal or State court systems. Graduates also accepted roles in public interest (11%) and government (11%) roles. While the District of Columbia was the most common location for employment, a substantial portion of graduates accepted positions in New York and California.
Georgetown Law has a robust career services offices with focused teams for general careers, public interest careers, and an office dedicated to its LL.M graduates. Between all three offices, Georgetown Law has one of the largest career service staffs in the country and organizes a number of networking and recruiting events throughout the year. In addition, Georgetown Law’s close proximity to the nation’s capital allows it to leverage its wide alumni base to benefit its graduates.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
At Georgetown Law, students have ample opportunity to practice real world legal skills at the largest legal clinic in the country. Georgetown Law’s clinical program pairs students with practicing faculty members to allow students to work with real people in real legal situations. The time demands of the clinic require upwards of 30 hours per week as students master the practical skills of lawyering. The clinic offers a complete slate of practice areas including the acclaimed “DC Street Law” clinic which teaches law to high school students in the D.C. community.
In addition to the clinical program, the law school offers a number of programs to allow students the opportunity to build practical skills including practicums, externships, and four day simulations where students work closely with faculty to tackle complex legal issues. Georgetown Law also has a full time staff member to help organize pro bono work throughout the city.
While the juris doctor degree requires students to attend classes in residence, Georgetown Law does offer two graduate programs that can be completed online.
The experience at Georgetown Law is notable for its deep commitment to diversity and its roots as a Jesuit institution. Over 20% of the law school student body are minorities and Georgetown Law has a dedicated program to assist traditionally underrepresented communities succeed in law school. As a Jesuit school Georgetown Law has a rich spiritual life that celebrates all faiths with a staff of chaplains from many faith backgrounds. The law school features numerous spaces for worship including a chapel, a kosher kitchen, and a Mulsim prayer room. The law schools holds daily mass as well as weekly Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim services. Throughout the school, the study of law and the practice of one’s faith is often intertwined.
Georgetown Law also promotes a healthy lifestyle with its pioneering “Lawyers in Balance” program. Along with access to the Georgetown University health center, students also have access to a dedicated wellness program at the law school. The law school also provides on-campus and off-campus support for mental health services.
Life around the campus of Georgetown Law school immerses students in the robust and bustling community of Washington, D.C. Students enjoy the myriad of museums, galleries, theatre, and restaurants that make up one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Housing is available in one of the many neighborhoods in the District or in the surrounding communities with easy access using the public transportation system. Union Station is walking distance from Campus.