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George Washington University Law School

published May 23, 2009

By CEO and Founder - BCG Attorney Search left

( 316 votes, average: 4 out of 5)

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Established in 1865, The George Washington University Law School is the oldest law school in the District of Columbia.
George Washington University Law School

The George Washington University Law School offers students the opportunity to sample a broad array of areas of the law and to design a program of study that fits their individual interests and career plans. It offers more than 250 different elective courses, seminars, and clinics. In addition to introductory-level and more advanced courses in a variety of fields, there are some highly specialized areas of the curriculum that allow students to gain considerable expertise in a field. In addition to traditionally taught classes, there are a number of simulation courses that teach skills such as drafting, trial and appellate advocacy, negotiations, and mediation, as well as more than a dozen different clinical programs in which students learn skills while working directly with clients.

The George Washington University Law School offers full- and part-time JD programs. The curriculum consists of a first-year required curriculum for JD candidates and different elective courses including numerous live-client clinics. Some highly specialized areas of the curriculum allow students to gain considerable expertise. These specialized areas include international law, environmental law, intellectual property law, government regulation and constitutional law. The school also organizes summer study abroad and exchange programs.There are research centers at the law school.

The Jacob Burns Law Library offers a research collection rich in the historic and contemporary legal materials of the US, as well as international and comparative materials. Library collections total more than 600,000 volumes and its wide range of electronic resources provide researchers with a wealth of legal information

Student-Faculty Ratio


Admission Criteria




25th –75th Percentile






The above LSAT and GPA data pertain to the fall 2011 entering class.

*Medians have been calculated by averaging the 25th- and 75th-percentile values released by the law schools and have been rounded up to the nearest whole number for LSAT scores and to the nearest one-hundredth for GPAs.

Admission Statistics

Approximate number of applications


Number accepted


Percentage accepted


The above admission details are based on fall 2011 data.

Class Ranking and Grades

Grades awarded by the law school and their corresponding grade point values are:























Credit toward the JD degree is given for all grades between D and A+ (inclusive). A student’s cumulative average includes all grades earned in courses evaluated on a letter-grade basis.

The majority of courses are graded on a letter-grade basis, but for a small number of courses, primarily those that are clinical or skills-oriented, the grade of CR (Credit) or NC (No Credit) is given, or the following grading scale is used: H (Honors), P (Pass), LP (Low Pass), and NC (No Credit). For Honors, a student has done work of excellent quality, and no more than 25% of the class may earn this grade. For courses graded on a Credit/No Credit or Honors, Pass, Low Pass, or No Credit basis, no credit is given for work that would receive a grade below C- were evaluation to be made using the letter-grade scale.

Once a student has been evaluated in a course using the method indicated in the course description, the instructor may raise or lower the student’s grade on the basis of class participation. A student’s grade may be raised or lowered by only one grade step for class participation (e.g., from B to B+ or from B to B-).

Courses that require the preparation of a major research paper in lieu of an examination are marked “research paper.” The satisfactory completion of such a paper by a student individually satisfies the legal writing curriculum requirement for the JD degree.

Skills courses are usually graded on the basis of simulation, role-playing, and/or some form of written assignment and may be marked, for example, “drafting assignments” or “simulation and paper.” In clinical courses no method of evaluation is indicated. In such courses it is the student’s performance in carrying out his or her clinical responsibilities that forms the basis for the grade.

Grade normalization (Curve)

Minimum GPAs Required (Based on May 2010 graduation class)

Minimum GPA required to fall within the top 10% of the class


Minimum GPA required to fall within the top 25% of the class


Minimum GPA required to fall within the top 33% of the class


Minimum GPA required for graduation





Order of the Coif

Top 10%

Highest Honors

Students who obtain the highest cumulative averages of at least 3.67 (but not exceeding 3% of the class)

High Honors

Students who obtain the highest cumulative averages of at least 3.33 or better (but not exceeding 10% of the class)


Students with the highest cumulative averages of 3.0 or better (but not exceeding 40% of the class)

George Washington Scholar 

Students whose cumulative GPA at the end of any semester places them among the top 1% to 15% of their class

Thurgood Marshall Scholar

Students whose cumulative GPA at the end of the semester places them among the top 16% to 35% of their class


Name of Award


Excellence in a Field of Study

American Bankruptcy Institute Medal

Awarded for excellence in the field of debtor and creditor law

American Bar Association/Bureau of National Affairs Award

Awarded for excellence in health law

American Bar Association/Bureau of National Affairs Award

Awarded for excellence in intellectual property law

American Bar Association/Bureau of National Affairs Award

Awarded for excellence in labor and employment law

Chris Bartok Memorial Award in Patent Law

Awarded for excellence in patent law

Henry R. Berger Award

Awarded for excellence in tort law

Ogden W. Fields Labor Law Award

Awarded for the highest overall proficiency in labor law

Finnegan Prize in Intellectual Property Law

Awarded to a Juris Doctor or Master of Laws student for the best publishable article on an aspect of intellectual property law

Phi Delta Phi Award

Awarded for excellence in the school’s courses on professional responsibility, ethics, and jurisprudence

Peter D. Rosenberg Award

Awarded for  excellence in  the patent and intellectual property law

Joel B. Rosenthal Commercial Law Award

Awarded for excellence in commercial law

Laurence E. Seibel Memorial Award in Labor and Employment Law

Awarded for excellence in the school’s courses on labor and employment law

Richard L. Teberg Award

Awarded for the highest overall proficiency demonstrated in the school’s courses on securities law

Patricia A. Tobin Government Contracts Award

Awarded to a member of the graduating Juris Doctor or Master of Laws class who has demonstrated excellence in government contracts law

Jennie Hassler Walburn Award

Awarded to a member of the graduating Juris Doctor class for outstanding performance in civil procedure

Imogen Williford Constitutional Law Award

Awarded to an outstanding JD student in the field of constitutional law

excellence in oral Advocacy

Michael J. Avenatti Award for Excellence in Pre-Trial and Trial Advocacy

Awarded for excellence in the school’s courses on pre-trial and trial advocacy

Jacob Burns Award

Awarded at graduation to the two members of the winning team in the Van Vleck Moot Court Competition

Judge Albert H. Grenadier Award

Awarded to students who represented the law school in the Mid-Atlantic regional Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition

Cohen & Cohen Mock Trial Award

Awarded to the two members of the winning team in the Cohen & Cohen Mock Trial Competition

Excellence in Clinical Practice

Manuel and Ana María Benítez Award for Clinical Excellence in Immigration Law

Awarded to a student who demonstrates extraordinary ability in his or her work in the Immigration Clinic and who possesses the personal qualities that distinguish Manuel and Ana María Benítez—both immigrants to the United States from Mexico—including initiative, creativity, zeal, loyalty, and integrity

John F. Evans Award

Awarded for outstanding achievement in the criminal division of the Law Students in Court Program

Richard C. Lewis Jr. Memorial Award

Awarded for extraordinary dedication to work in the Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics and unusual compassion and humanity toward clients and colleagues

West Publishing Awards

Awarded for clinical achievement in consumer law and in family law

Community Legal Clinics Volunteer Service Award

Awarded to a student who excelled in volunteering his or her time and energy to promote goals and ideals in the public interest by contributing to the efforts of the Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics

Distinguished Accomplishment

ALI–ABA Scholarship and Leadership Award

Awarded to the member of the graduating Juris Doctor or Master of Laws class who best represents a combination of scholarship and leadership, the qualities embodied by the American Law Institute (ALI) and the American Bar Association (ABA)

Michael D. Cooley Memorial Award

Awarded to the most successful student who was able to maintain his or her compassion, vitality, and humanity during law school

The George Washington Alumni Association Award

Awarded for extraordinary leadership and commitment to the university and its community

Justice Thurgood Marshall Civil Liberties Award

Awarded in honor of the late Supreme Court Associate Justice to a member of the graduating Juris Doctor class who has demonstrated outstanding performance in and dedication to the field of civil rights and civil liberties

National Association of Women Lawyers Outstanding Law Graduate Award

Awarded to a member of the graduating Juris Doctor or Master of Laws class who has contributed to the advancement of women in society, promoted issues and concerns of women in the legal profession, achieved academic success, and earned the respect of the law school’s faculty and administration

Thelma Weaver Memorial Award

Awarded to the foreign graduate student who has contributed the most to the intellectual and professional life of the law school, its students, and its faculty

overall Academic excellence

Anne Wells Branscomb Award

Awarded for the highest grade point average in the entire course of the evening division for the Juris Doctor degree

Willard Waddington Gatchell Award

Awarded to the three graduating members who attained the highest grade point averages in their entire JD course of study

Charles Glover Award

Awarded for the highest grade point average in the third-year, full-time Juris Doctor course of study

Kappa Beta Pi Award

Awarded by the Eta Alumnae Chapter of Kappa Beta Pi to the female members of the graduating class in the full- and part-time divisions who attained the highest grade point averages in the first-year course of study for the Juris Doctor degree

John Bell Larner Award

Awarded for the highest grade point average in the entire course of study for the Juris Doctor degree

John Ordronaux Awards

Awarded for the highest grade point averages in the first year and second year


The George Washington Law Review is a student-published scholarly journal that examines legal issues of national significance. It publishes six times per year. Each issue covers scholarly articles, essays, and student notes. The law review also devotes a double issue to the annual Law Review Symposium, and one issue to the Annual Review of Administrative Law.

The George Washington International Law Review is edited and managed by students. In four annual issues, it presents articles and essays on public and private international financial development, comparative law, and public international law. Additionally, the review publishes the Guide to International Legal Research annually.

The American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal is a publication of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, one of the largest private bars of intellectual property attorneys in the world. The journal is housed at The George Washington University Law School and is edited and managed by law students under the direction of its editor-in-chief, Professor Joan Schaffner. The journal is dedicated to presenting materials relating to intellectual property matters.

The Public Contract Law Journal, which is produced jointly by the George Washington University Law School and the Public Contract Law Section of the American Bar Association, is a premier journal read by practitioners in the field of government procurement law. The journal is published quarterly and is edited and managed by JD and LLM students.

The International Law in Domestic Courts is an online subscription service founded in 2007 by the Oxford University Press. Its rapporteurs identify, propose, and then write commentary on cases from around the world which involve international law issues. The law school is the rapporteur for the US. Students are selected for membership on the basis of their writing skills and interest in international law.

The Federal Circuit Bar Journal is a national quarterly publication and is the official journal for the Federal Circuit Bar Association and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The primary emphasis of the journal is patent and trademark jurisprudence, but it also covers certain specialized areas which include vaccination disputes, veterans’ appeals and environmental and natural resources litigation.

The Journal of energy and environmental Law is produced in association with the Environmental Law Institute. It is published twice each year. The journal focuses on legal issues related to next-generation energy production and distribution and on environmental and climate law issues related to the production of energy. Selection procedure for JD students is like to those used by the law review. LLM students can also apply for membership.

Learn the 10 Factors That Matter to Big Firms More Than Where You Went to Law School

Moot Court

The George Washington University Law School Moot Court Board is a student-run, honorary society that plays a vital role at the law school by promoting the development of oral and written advocacy skills. Particular attention is given to fostering excellence in appellate oral advocacy. Membership on the board is offered to first-year law students who achieve exceptional performance in the first-year moot court competition and to upper-class students who achieve distinguished performance in one of the intra-scholastic competitions in which the school competes.

Each year, the Moot Court Board hosts various competitions for GW Law students, including the Van Vleck Constitutional Law Competition, the Giles S. Rich Intellectual Property Competition, the Grenadier International Law Competition, the McKenna Long & Aldridge “Gilbert A. Cuneo” Government Contracts Competition and the First Year Competition.

In addition, the Moot Court Board hosts the National Security Law Competition in which schools from across the country are invited to compete.

Clinical Programs

Despite their diversity, all of the clinics at the George Washington University Law School share a common goal: to provide members of the community with critically needed legal services while giving motivated law students the opportunity to experience the practical application of law and to develop skills as negotiators, advocates, and litigators within an exciting and supportive educational environment.

The Neighborhood Law & Policy Clinic takes a community-based approach to serving the civil legal needs of the indigent population of DC, keeping abreast of local trends in order to maintain a caseload responsive to community needs. Students interview clients, develop factual and legal theories, conduct research, prepare witnesses, negotiate with opposing parties, engage in discovery, write briefs and motions, present oral arguments, and conduct hearings and trials.

In the Small Business & Community economic Development Clinic, students provide legal assistance to selected small businesses and nonprofit organizations that cannot afford to pay a lawyer. Students deal with a wide variety of legal issues including drafting incorporation and partnership papers (such as articles of incorporation and bylaws), compliance with local licensing requirements, reviewing and drafting contracts and leases, and advising on tax problems and related matters.

In the Public Justice Advocacy Clinic, students represent clients both in large class action lawsuits and in individual matters. The clinic also handles administrative hearings and other matters for individual clients. Students serve the community by advancing and protecting the legal rights of low-income clients of the metropolitan area.

The Family Justice Litigation Clinic represents clients in DC Superior Court cases involving custody, child support, divorce, and protection from abuse. Participating students represent a range of clients and help respond to the dearth of pro bono legal services in cases that concern critical needs and legal issues for the indigent population.

In the Federal, Criminal, and Appellate Clinic, second- and third-year students work under the supervision of faculty to represent indigent clients in proceedings following criminal convictions.

In the Vaccine Injury Clinic, students represent individuals who have suffered serious vaccine-related injuries and who are seeking damages in trial and appellate proceedings before the US Court of Federal Claims.

In the Immigration Clinic, students handle a range of immigration law matters including determining what benefits or forms of relief, if any, are available to their clients and, in appropriate circumstances, representing their clients in removal proceedings. The clinic mainly represents clients who are out of status, unfamiliar with the legal culture in the US, and, very often, not conversant in English.

In the Health Rights Law Clinic, second- and third-year students provide advice and information and assist in providing legal representation to older DC residents who are having difficulty with medical bills, Medicare, Medicaid, and other health insurance problems. The clinic also serves the Washington, DC, community as the Health Insurance Counseling Project (HICP). The clinic serves more than 4,000 members of the community through direct legal services, counseling, and information sessions on health care and health insurance matters.

In the International Human Rights Clinic, students work in partnership with experienced attorneys and specialized institutions engaged in human rights activism on case projects drawn from international human rights tribunals and treaty bodies, primarily in the Inter-American and United Nations human rights systems, or human rights litigation and advocacy in the United States, especially in relation to the Alien Tort Claims Act and other federal statutes.

The Law Students in Court offers students opportunities to develop skills as trial lawyers while representing indigent persons in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. It is a joint project of five Washington, DC, law schools.

Through the Domestic Violence Project, second- and third-year students get the opportunity to intensively investigate the legal issues of battered women. The project combines a seminar with field placements with attorneys and organizations involved in domestic violence policy and advocacy matters.

Placement Facts

Starting Salaries (2010 Graduates employed Full-Time)

Private sector (25th-75th percentile)


Median in the private sector


Median in public service


Employment Details

Graduates known to be employed at graduation


Graduates known to be employed nine months after graduation


Areas of Legal Practice

Graduates employed In


Law Firms


Business and Industry 




Judicial Clerkships


Public Interest Organizations








The George washington university Law School outside placement program provides students with opportunities to work closely with judges or practicing lawyers as legal externs in governmental, public interest, and private nonprofit organizations for academic credit. The program is designed to enhance the student’s educational experience at the law school by allowing him or her to apply substantive knowledge in legal settings while gaining exposure to the actual practice of law.

The primary educational objectives of the Outside Placement Program are to provide students with the opportunity to gain invaluable experience in different substantive areas of law and legal process; to develop additional legal research and writing, interviewing, counseling, and investigative skills; to deal with issues of professional responsibility in a real practice setting; and to reflect upon what they are learning.


The law school provides summer judicial internships with either state or federal judges.

Student organizations

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
American Constitution Society
Anarchist Collective (GWLAC)
Arab Student Law Association
Art and Cultural Heritage Law Society (ACHLS)
Asian/Pacific American Law Student Association (APALSA)
Black Law Student Association (BLSA)
Corporate and Business Law Society (CBLS)
Criminal Law Society
Cyberlaw Students Association (CYLSA)
East Asian Law Society (EALS)
Election Law Society (ELS)
Entertainment and Sports Law Association (ESPLA)
Environmental Law Association (ELA)
Equal Justice Foundation (EJF)
Evening Law Student Association (ELSA)
The Federalist Society
The Feminist Forum
GW Law Christian Fellowship
GW Law Democrats
GW Law Softball Club
Hispanic Law Student Association (HLSA)
Human Rights Law Society (HRLS)
Immigration Law Association (ILA)
International Law Society (ILS)
Jewish Law Student Association (JLSA)
J. Reuben Clark Law Society
Lambda Law
Law Association for Women (LAW)
Law Revue
Law Students for Reproductive Justice
Military Law Society
Muslim Law Students Association (MLSA)
National Lawyers Guild
The National Security Law Association (NSLA)
Native American Law Student Association (NALSA)
Nota Bene
Phi Alpha Delta (PAD)
Phi Delta Phi (PDP)
Republican National Lawyers Association
South Asian Law Student Association (SALSA)
Street Law
Student Animal Legal Defense Fund (SALDF)
Student Bar Association (SBA)
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)
Student Health Law Association (SHLA)
Student Intellectual Property Law Association (SIPLA)


Alternative Summary

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