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Learn About Law Where Laws are Launched: Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC

published December 18, 2006

Devon Pryor
( 10 votes, average: 5 out of 5)
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<<Georgetown University Law Center was founded in 1870 and, according to the university's website, was the first law school in the nation to be established by a Jesuit higher education facility. The law program at Georgetown University was originally founded as an evening program, and its genesis was closely associated with the strong government presence in the area. When the first catalog for the law center was published in 1870, standards were set for serving the higher education needs of local professionals. As the university's website records, this first catalog announced that classes would "be held in the evening in order to facilitate the attendance of gentlemen who are engaged in the service of the government."

The close ties the university's law program shares with the history of our nation's government and judicial system have made it one of the most highly respected and well-developed legal education programs in the country. The variety of degree options and focus areas at Georgetown is extremely impressive. No matter what academic cravings law students might possess, at the Georgetown University Law Center, they are sure to find programs that fit their desired paths.


The list of degree programs at Georgetown University Law Center includes Juris Doctor programs, graduate programs, graduate certificate programs, international and transitional programs, clinical programs, joint degree programs, and public interest programs. In accordance with the founding principles of Georgetown University Law Center, the J.D. program is available to students enrolled either full-time or part-time. The full-time program offers courses in more than 25 traditional legal fields of study, as well as a number of clinics for specialization. This track is six semesters in length, which equates to three academic years. During the first year, students must complete 30 credit hours of core requisite courses, followed by 12 to 18 credit hours per semester during the second and third years.

The part-time J.D. program is stretched out in order to lighten the per-semester course load and allow ample time for working students to succeed. This program requires only 23 credit hours of core requisite courses during the first year, followed by eight to 11 credit hours per semester in the following years. This track is usually completed in eight semesters and an additional summer session. The part-time program continues Georgetown University Law Center's tradition of serving the educational needs of working students and is attended by full-time employees working in federal government positions, law firms, trade associations, and various other organizations. As noted by the university's website, former Senator George Mitchell is a graduate of the part-time J.D. program at Georgetown University Law Center.

Graduate programs are also offered by the university and cover a variety of focus areas. The list of available graduate law degrees includes an LL.M. in Taxation, an LL.M. in Securities and Financial Regulation, a Doctor of Juridical Science, and programs catering to international students and individualized study. In the fall of 2007, these programs will be accompanied by a program offering an LL.M. in Global Health Law and a program offering a Master of Studies in Law for Journalists (M.S.L.), which will offer journalists who report on legal issues a means of gaining valuable and solid legal backgrounds in order to augment their reporting skills and their familiarity with legal subject matter.

In addition to the aforementioned graduate law degree programs, Georgetown University Law Center also offers graduate certificate programs. These revolve around specialty subjects such as employee benefits, estate planning, the World Trade Organization, international human rights, national security, and refugee/humanitarian emergencies. A number of clinical programs, international and transitional programs, public interest programs, and joint degree programs are also available at the university. The many options, as well as specifics on these and other degree programs, can be explored via the school's website.

In addition to its extensive and well-established repertoire of degree programs, Georgetown University Law Center has the third-largest law library in the country. The five-story Edward Bennett Williams Law Library holds more than 1 million volumes. Inside the Eric E. Hotung International Law Building, dedicated in 2004, another law library—the John Wolff International and Comparative Law Library—holds more than 100,000 volumes of private and public international law within its two-story quarters. The Hotung building also houses a moot court auditorium modeled on the U.S. Supreme Court.

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