Located just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., the law school at George Mason University was renamed the Antonin Scalia Law School in 2016 after the late, famously wry Supreme Court Justice who died in February of the same year. Founded in the early seventies, the Antonin Scalia Law has built a substantial reputation as one of the three best law schools in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The law school focus on economics and the law has produced a former Treasurer of the United States and the former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. As its namesake implies, the Antonin Scalia Law School has a reputation as having one of the more conservative student bodies in the country. Scalia Law has one of the smallest class sizes with the average graduating class around 140 students.
Scalia Law has a unique curriculum built around concentrations and track after completing a first-year curriculum that focuses largely on core courses of civil procedure, contracts, criminal law, property, and torts. First-year students also complete a 2 credit class in the legislative process, a semester course centered on the economy and the law, and two semesters of Scalia Law’s unique Legal Research, Writing and Analysis (LRWA) curriculum. In their first year of LRWA, students focused on building key research and writing skills as well as completing an oral advocacy project in their second semester.
After their first year, students are only required to take two additional courses: a semester in constitutional law and two additional semesters of LRWA. The second year of LRWA focuses on legal drafting and appellate briefs. Upper-level students can choose their course schedules or follow one of Scalia Law’s 18 concentrations or three “tracks.” The concentrations contain recommended electives to cover the basics of a practice area. Tracks, on the other hand, are more intense and allow students to demonstrate mastery in one of three practice areas.
All students are required to complete 88 hours of coursework including at least 6 hours of experiential education.
Antonin Scalia Law School offers a number of Master of Law (LL.M) degrees for a variety of both domestic and international students. For graduates of U.S. law schools, Scalia Law offers two LL.M programs focused on antitrust law and economics and the law. Both one-year programs ground students in the core concepts of the economies role in antitrust law and the legislative process. For students interested in patent law, the law school has an LL.M available to both lawyers and other professionals who need a solid background in intellectual property law and the patent process. Finally, for international students with English fluency, Scalia Law has an LL.M that focuses on the American Legal system.
George Washington University also offers two joint degree programs that allow students to complete both graduate programs in reduced time (and cost). The first combines a Juris Doctor from Scalia Law with a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) from the School of Business. The second combines the J.D. with a Masters of Public Policy from the Schar School of Policy and Government. The joint JD/MBA program can be completed in 3 to 4 years while the joint JD/MPP degree requires 4 to 5 years to complete both programs.
Career and Career Placement
Based on the most recent data, graduates of the Antonin Scalia Law School are overwhelmingly employed within 10 months of graduation. Over 94% of the class of 2018 found full-time employment after graduation with almost 90% accepting positions that either required a law license or preferred a Juris Doctor. The most common career path was law firm work although students preferred positions in small (2-50 attorney) sized firms more than large firms with 250 or more attorneys. Scalia Law graduates also excel at securing federal clerkships with over 15% of the graduating class accepting these coveted positions. As expected, Scalia Law graduates overwhelmingly work in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.
With a staff of 12 full time employees and one of the smallest student bodies in the country, the Scalia Law Career and Academic Services Offices provides personal, one-on-one directed career advice to all students. Counseling begins with a mandatory individual session during the first year of study. Advisors consult with students on their career goals and recommend both coursework and career choices that meet those goals. Throughout the year, the Career Office organizes both on-campus and off-campus interviews as well as a host of networking and resume events.
Experiential Learning/Distance Education
Scalia Law provides multiple opportunities for its students to learn practical legal skills while satisfying the requirement for six credits of experiential learning. The law school hosts a number of legal clinics including the unique Supreme Court Legal clinic which allows students to help represent clients in front of the United States Supreme Court. Other clinics focus on mental health issues, innovation, free speech, and immigration.
The law school also offers supervised externships in a variety areas associated with offices on Capital Hill. These externships not only build critical legal skills but also allow students to build their resumes and network in their potential career fields.
Students may also choose to participate in a legal practicum which builds hands-on legal skills by working through a real world legal problem in a classroom setting.
Students at the Antonin Scalia Law School enjoy both a law school campus that is active and engaged both professionally and culturally but also participate in the many benefits offered by the nearby main campus. Law students attend George Mason sporting events and a wealth of arts and entertainment activities. The Office of Career and Academic Services provides counseling and advice to all students on a range of issues. Professional counseling is available to all law students. Although on-campus housing is not available, the town of Arlington presents a wide range of housing options. Students can also live in the surrounding communities with access to the public rail system.
The town of Arlington offers law students close proximity to the nation’s capital as well as a quaint slice of suburban life full of fine dining, museums, cultural sites and quick access to the surrounding attractions.