The Georgetown University Law Center is one of the professional graduate schools of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Established in 1870, it is the second largest law school in the United States by student body[5] and receives more full-time applications than any other law school in the country.[6]

Georgetown University Law Center
Georgetown University seal.svg
MottoLaw is but the means — Justice is the end[1]
Parent schoolGeorgetown University
Religious affiliationRoman Catholic (Jesuit)
School typePrivate
Parent endowment$1.661 billion (includes the entire University)[2]
DeanWilliam Treanor
LocationWashington, D.C., United States
38°53′54″N 77°0′45″W / 38.89833°N 77.01250°W / 38.89833; -77.01250
Enrollment1,982 JD, 441 LLM, 17 SJD
Faculty126 (ft), 159 (pt)
USNWR ranking14th[3]
Bar pass rate90.96%[4]
ABA profileGeorgetown Law Profile

Georgetown consistently ranks among the top law schools in the United States and the world. For 2019, the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranked Georgetown Law as the 7th-best law school in the world[7] (and 6th-best in the world for 2018 and 2017[8][9]). According to the 2019 QS World University Rankings, Georgetown Law is the 8th-best law school in the U.S. and 17th best in the world.[10] In the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Georgetown Law was ranked 12th in the U.S. and 26th in the world.[11]

From 1996 to 2017, Georgetown has held an average rank of 13.82 on the U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of best law schools.[12][13] According to the 2019 USNWR's rankings by sub-category, Georgetown is #1 in the country for clinical programs, #2 in tax law, #3 in international law, and #5 in trial advocacy.[14] In 2017, Georgetown ranked 6th in the U.S. in terms of graduates with the highest salaries.[15] Georgetown has been recognized as a "feeder school" to large law firms in the U.S.[16]


The school's original sign, preserved on the north quad of the present-day campus.

Opened as Georgetown Law School in 1870, Georgetown Law was the first law school run by a Jesuit institution within the United States. Georgetown Law has been separate from the main Georgetown campus (in the neighborhood of Georgetown) since 1890, when it moved near what is now Chinatown. The Law Center campus is located on New Jersey Avenue, several blocks north of the Capitol, and a few blocks west of Union Station. The school added the Edward Bennett Williams Law Library in 1989 and the Gewirz Student Center in 1993, providing on-campus living for the first time. The "Campus Completion Project" finished in 2005 with the addition of the Hotung International Building and the Sport and Fitness Center.

Georgetown Law's original wall (or sign) is preserved on the quad of the present-day campus.

Reputation and rankingEdit

From 1996 to 2017, Georgetown Law held an average rank of 13.82 on the U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking, making it one of the 14 law schools that consistently place at the top[12] since the magazine began the rankings in 1987.[13] Georgetown's part-time J.D. program is consistently ranked #1. The school is also ranked #1 in clinical programs, #2 in tax law, #3 in international law, #5 in trial advocacy, #8 in legal writing, #9 in healthcare law, and #11 in environmental law.[17] Georgetown Law was ranked 5th in the 2010 Super Lawyers ranking, which measures the number of graduates from each law school who are voted Super Lawyers.[18] In an exclusive study conducted by The National Jurist in 2011, Georgetown Law ranked #2 in terms of the total number of partners at the nation's largest law firms.[19] In December 2014, Business Insider ranked Georgetown as the 7th best law school in the U.S.[20]

In a recent law school ranking by law professor Brian Leiter, Georgetown Law ranked within the top ten law schools in selectivity, student quality, and Supreme Court clerkship placements respectively.[21][22] Professor Leiter ranked Georgetown Law #9 among U.S. law schools with respect to the total number of students who secured clerkships with the United States Supreme Court between 2003–2013.[23]

The Hotung International Law Building and fitness center at the Georgetown Law campus.

The 2018 Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranked Georgetown Law as the #6 best law school in the world.[9] According to the 2019 QS World University Rankings, Georgetown Law is the 8th best law school in the U.S. and 17th best in the world.[10] In the 2019 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Georgetown Law was ranked 12th in the U.S. and 26th in the world.[11]

Georgetown Law receives the most J.D. applications of any law school in the United States.[24] Georgetown Law was also ranked #1 in a 2019 revealed preferences ranking of law schools where students choose to matriculate.[25]


In 2010, Georgetown Law was the tenth most selective law school in the United States, as measured by LSAT scores of the 2009 entering class.[26] For the class entering in the fall of 2018, 2,143 out of 10,093 J.D. applicants (21%) were offered admission, with 581 matriculating. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2018 entering class were 163 and 168, respectively, with a median of 167. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.56 and 3.90, respectively, with a median of 3.80.[27] In the 2018–19 academic year, Georgetown Law had 2,013 J.D. students, of which 24% were minorities and 54% were female.[27]


ABA Employment Summary for 2018 Graduates[28]
Employment Status Percentage
Employed – Bar Passage Required (Full-Time, Long-Term)
Employed – Bar Passage Required (Part-Time and/or Short-Term)
Employed – J.D. Advantage
Employed – Professional Position
Employed – Non-Professional Position
Employed – Law School/University Funded
Employed – Undeterminable
Pursuing Graduate Degree Full Time
Unemployed – Start Date Deferred
Unemployed – Not Seeking
Unemployed – Seeking
Employment Status Unknown
Total of 650 Graduates

Of the 650 graduates in the Georgetown Law class of 2018 (including both full- and part-time students), 532 (81.8%) held long-term, full-time positions that required bar exam passage (i.e., jobs as lawyers) and were not school-funded nine months after graduation.[29] 620 graduates overall (95.4%) were employed, 8 graduates (1.2%) were pursuing a graduate degree, and 22 graduates (3.4%) were unemployed.[29]

423 graduates (65.1%) were employed in the private sector, with 350 (53.8%) at law firms with over 250 attorneys.[29] 177 graduates (27.2%) entered the public sector, with 58 (8.9%) employed in public interest positions, 60 (9.2%) employed by the government, 58 (8.9%) in federal or state clerkships, and 1 (0.2%) in academic positions.[29] 43 graduates (6.6%) received funding from Georgetown Law for their positions.[29]

The median reported starting salary for a 2017 graduate in the private sector was $180,000. The median reported starting salary for a 2017 graduate in the public sector (including government, public interest, and clerkship positions) was $55,000.[30]

237 graduates (36.5%) in the class of 2018 were employed in Washington, DC, 150 (23.1%) in New York, and 45 (6.9%) in California. 16 (2.5%) were employed outside the United States.[29]

As of 2011, Georgetown Law alumni account for the second highest number of partners at NLJ 100 firms. It is among the top ten feeder schools in eight of the ten largest legal markets in the United States by law job openings (New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Houston, San Francisco, and San Diego), again giving it the second-widest reach of all law schools. The school performs especially strongly in its home market, where it is the largest law school and has produced the greatest number of NLJ 100 partners.[31]

Georgetown Law was ranked #11 for placing the highest percentage of 2018 graduates into associate positions at the 100 largest law firms.[32]


The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) at Georgetown Law for the 2019–2020 academic year is $94,500.[33] The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $347,150.[34]


The column identifying the Law Center campus

The Law Center is located in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, D.C. It is bounded by 2nd St. NW to the west, E St. NW to the south, 1st St. NW and New Jersey Avenue to the east, and Massachusetts Avenue to the north.

The campus consists of five buildings. Bernard P. McDonough Hall (1971, expanded in 1997) houses classrooms and Law Center offices and was designed by Edward Durell Stone. The Edward Bennett Williams Law Library building (1989) houses most of the school's library collection and is one of the largest law libraries in the United States. The Eric E. Hotung International Law Center (2004) includes two floors of library space housing the international collection, and also contains classrooms, offices, and meeting rooms. The Bernard S. and Sarah M. Gewirz Student Center (1993) provides apartment-style housing for 250–300 students as well as hosting offices for nine academic centers and institutes, the Law Center's Student Health clinic, the Center for Wellness Promotion, the Counseling and Psychiatric Service office, a dedicated prayer room for Muslim members of the Law Center community, a moot court room, and a ballroom event space commonly used for academic conferences. The four-level Scott K. Ginsburg Sport & Fitness Center (2004) includes a pool, fitness facilities, and cafe, and connects the Hotung Building to the Gewirz Student Center.


The Georgetown University Law Center campus, viewed across I-395 looking east. From left to right, the Edward Bennett Williams Law Library, McDonough Hall, and Gewirz Student Center.

The Georgetown Law Library supports the research and educational endeavors of the students and faculty of the Georgetown University Law Center. It is the second largest law school in the United States, and as one of the premier research facilities for the study of law, the Law Library houses the nation's fourth largest law library collection and offers access to thousands of online publications. The Law Library was ranked by The National Jurist as the 14th best law library in the nation in 2010.[35]

The mission of the library is to support fully the research and educational endeavors of the students and faculty of the Georgetown University Law Center, by collecting, organizing, preserving, and disseminating legal and law related information in any form, by providing effective service and instructional programs, and by utilizing electronic information systems to provide access to new information products and services.

The collection is split into two buildings. The Edward Bennett Williams Law Library (1989) is named after Washington, D.C. lawyer Edward Bennett Williams, an alumnus of the Law Center and founder of the prestigious litigation firm Williams & Connolly. It houses the Law Center's United States law collection, the Law Center Archives, and the National Equal Justice Library. The Williams library building consists of five floors of collection and study space and provides office space for most of the Law Center's law journals on the Law Library's first level.

The John Wolff International and Comparative Law Library (2004) is named after John Wolff, a long-serving member of the adjunct faculty and supporter of the Law Center's international law programs. The library is located on two floors inside the Eric E. Hotung building. It houses the international, foreign, and comparative law collections of the Georgetown University Law Center. Wolff Library collects primary and secondary law materials from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, and South Africa. English translations of primary and secondary legal materials from other jurisdictions and compilations of foreign law on special topics are also included.

In addition to foreign law, the Wolff Library maintains an extensive collection of public and private international law, focusing on international trade, international environmental law, human rights, arbitration, tax and treaty law. The collection also includes documentation from many international organizations, including the International Court of Justice, the United Nations, the European Union, and the World Trade Organization.


McDonough Hall, the main classroom building, facing 2nd St. NW

Georgetown Law's J.D. program can be completed over three years of full-time day study or three to four years of part-time evening study. The school offers several LL.M. programs in specific areas, most notably tax law, as well as a general LL.M. curriculum for lawyers educated outside the United States. Georgetown launched a Master of Studies in Law (M.S.L.) degree program for professional journalists in the 2007–08 academic year. It also offers the highest doctoral degree in law (J.S.D.).

Students are offered the choice of two tracks for their first year of study. "Curriculum A" is a traditional law curriculum similar to that taught at most schools, including courses in civil procedure, constitutional law, contracts, criminal justice, property, torts, and legal research and writing. Four-fifths of the day students at Georgetown receive instruction under the standard program (sections 1, 2, 4, and 5).

"Curriculum B" is a more interdisciplinary, theoretical approach to legal study, covering an equal or wider scope of material but heavily influenced by the critical legal studies movement. The Curriculum B courses are Bargain, Exchange and Liability (contracts and torts), Democracy and Coercion (constitutional law and criminal procedure), Government Processes (administrative law), Legal Justice (jurisprudence), Legal Practice (legal research and writing), Legal Process and Society (civil procedure), and Property in Time (property). One-fifth of the full-time JD students receive instruction in the alternative Curriculum B program (Section 3).

Students in both curricula may participate in a week-long introduction to international law between the fall and spring semesters.

Clinics / programsEdit

Georgetown has long been nationally recognized for its leadership in the field of clinical legal education. In 2018, U.S. News ranked Georgetown #1 in the nation for Clinical Training, followed by New York University (2nd), CUNY (3rd), American University (4th), and Yale University (5th).[36] Over 300 students typically participate in the program.

Georgetown's clinics are: Appellate Litigation Clinic, Center for Applied Legal Studies, The Community Justice Project, Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic, Criminal Justice Clinic, D.C. Law Students in Court, D.C. Street Law Program, Domestic Violence Clinic, Federal Legislation and Administrative Clinic, Harrison Institute for Housing & Community Development Clinic, Harrison Institute for Public Law, Institute for Public Representation, International Women's Human Rights Clinic, and Juvenile Justice Clinic.

In the Winter 2017 edition of The National Jurist, Georgetown Law's Moot Court Program was ranked #4 in the country for 2015–16 and #5 among U.S. law schools that have had the best moot courts this past decade.[37]

Appellate Litigation ClinicEdit

Directed by Professor Erica Hashimoto (following 36 years of leadership by Professor Steven H. Goldblatt), the Appellate Litigation Clinic operates akin to a small appellate litigation firm. It has had four cases reach the United States Supreme Court on grants of writs of certiorari.[38] One such case was Wright v. West, 505 U.S. 277 (1992), considered in habeas corpus the question whether the de novo review standard for mixed questions of law and fact established in 1953 (the Brown v. Allen standard) should be overruled. Another was Smith v. Barry, 502 U.S. 244 (1992), which reversed a Fourth Circuit determination that the court did not have jurisdiction over an appeal because the defendant's pro se brief could not serve as a timely notice of appeal.

Center for Applied Legal StudiesEdit

CALS represents refugees seeking political asylum in the United States because of threatened persecution in their home countries. Students in CALS assume primary responsibility for the representation of these refugees, whose requests for asylum have already been rejected by the U.S. government.[39] The Center for Applied Legal Studies was founded in the 1980s by Philip Schrag.[40] Until 1995, the Clinic heard cases in the field of consumer protection. Under the direction of Schrag and Andrew Schoenholtz, the Clinic began specializing in asylum claims, for both detained and non-detained applicants.[41] In conjunction with their work for the Clinic, Schrag and Schoenholtz have written books about America's political asylum system, with the help of Clinic fellows and graduate students. The duo's most recent book, Lives in the Balance, was published in 2014 and provides an empirical analysis of how Homeland Security decided asylum cases over a recent fourteen-year period.[42] The group's work in human rights law has met praise from international organizations like the United Nations Human Rights Council.[43] Under the direction of Schrag and Schoenholtz, the clinic has also focused on more prolonged displacement situations for political refugees.[44]

Criminal Defense and Prisoner Advocacy ClinicEdit

Students in CDPAC represent defendants facing misdemeanor charges in D.C. Superior Court, facing parole or supervised release revocation from the United States Parole Commission working with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, and they also work on prisoner advocacy projects.[45] Abbe Smith is the director of CDPAC.[46] Former Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia lawyer Vida Johnson works with Smith in CDPAC and the Prettyman fellowship program.[47]

DC Street Law ProgramEdit

The DC Street Law Program, Directed by Professor Charisma X. Howell, provides legal education to the DC population through two projects: the Street Law High Schools Clinic and the Street Law Community Clinic. Professor Richard Roe directed the Street Law High Schools Clinic since 1983. Professor Howell became the director in 2018. In the program, students introduce local high school students to the basic structure of the legal system, including the relationship among legislatures, courts, and agencies, and how citizens, especially in their world, relate to the lawmaking processes of each branch of government.[48][49]

Harrison Institute for Public LawEdit

The Harrison Institute is one of the longest running public law clinics in the country, having begun as the Project for Community Legal Assistance in 1972. In 1980 it was renamed in honor of Anne Blaine Harrison, a philanthropist and early supporter of the institute.[50] Over its history, the institute has been home to several clinical programs, including focuses on state and local legislation, administrative advocacy, housing and community development, and policy. In 2019, under the directorship of Robert Stumberg, the institute consists of four policy teams: Climate, Health, Human Rights, and Trade.[51] Each of these teams involves students working to shape policy to achieve client goals.


Gewirz Student Center provides student housing for mostly first-year law students.

Notable current faculty include:


Edward Bennett Williams Law Library, viewed from the campus north quad.

Georgetown University Law Center publishes fourteen student-run law journals, two peer-reviewed law journals, and a weekly student-run newspaper, the Georgetown Law Weekly. The journals are:

In 2016, the Georgetown Law Journal was ranked by Google Scholar and Washington and Lee School of Law as the #6 and #8 most influential law review in the country, respectively.[55][56]

The Georgetown Law Journal was also ranked #9 in the nation based on the 2018 ranking of flagship law reviews at U.S. law schools by Assistant Professor Bryce Clayton Newell.[57]

Notable alumniEdit


  1. ^ Expressed by Joseph A. Cantrel (Class of 1922), at the 50th Anniversary Celebration in December 1920. See official site
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2017. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2016 to FY 2017" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2017. Archived from the original on February 26, 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "US News Law School Rankings 2019".
  4. ^ "School Detail Information".
  5. ^ 125th Anniversary – Georgetown Law Library, Georgetown University Law Center, Retrieved: January 30, 2017
  6. ^ 10 Law Schools With the Most Full-Time Applications, U.S. News & World Report, Published: March 31, 2016. Retrieved: January 30, 2017
  7. ^ "ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019 – Law | Shanghai Ranking – 2019". Retrieved July 16, 2019.
  8. ^ "ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2017 – Law | Shanghai Ranking – 2017". Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2018 – Law | Shanghai Ranking – 2018". Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  10. ^ a b "2019 QS World University Rankings – Law". Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Times Higher Education World Law Rankings 2019".
  12. ^ a b Why Law School Rankings Matter More Than Any Other Education Rankings, Forbes, August 14, 2014
  13. ^ a b Where Are the US News Top 30 Law Schools of 1996 Now?, April 1, 2008, Law Librarian Blog (archived at the Internet Archive)
  14. ^ "U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Law Schools". Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  15. ^ Law Schools Ranked by Their Graduates’ Salaries, Bloomberg Law: January 25, 2017
  16. ^ Law Blog’s Best Big Law Feeder Schools, Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2012
  17. ^ "U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Law Schools". Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  18. ^ "2010 Super Lawyers U.S. Law School Rankings". Retrieved March 2, 2011.
  19. ^ "Where Big Firm Partners Went to Law School | the National Jurist". Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  20. ^ "Business Insider's Law School Ranking: 2014". Retrieved June 6, 2014.
  21. ^ "SUPREME COURT CLERKSHIP PLACEMENT, 2000 THROUGH 2010 TERMS". Retrieved March 2, 2011.
  22. ^ "Ranking of Top 40 Law Schools by Student (Numerical) Quality 2010". Retrieved March 2, 2011.
  23. ^ "Brian Leiter Law School Supreme Court Clerkship Placement, 2003–2013".
  24. ^ Smith-Barrow, Delece (March 31, 2016). "10 Law Schools With the Most Full-Time Applications". Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  25. ^ Frye, Brian L.; Ryan, C. J. (March 15, 2019). "The 2019 Revealed-Preferences Ranking of Law Schools". SSRN 3353256. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  26. ^ "Brian Leiter Law School Faculty Moves, 1995–2004".
  27. ^ a b "2018 Standard 509 Information Report" (PDF). American Bar Association. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  28. ^ "Employment Summary for 2018 Graduates" (PDF).
  29. ^ a b c d e f "American Bar Association Employment Summary for 2018 Graduates – Georgetown Law" (PDF). Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  30. ^ "Georgetown University Law Center Class of 2017 Summary Report" (PDF). Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  31. ^ Theodore P. Seto (2011). "Where Do Partners Come From?". Journal of Legal Education. SSRN 1903934.
  32. ^ "Sneak Peek at the 2019 Go-To Law Schools: Nos. 11–20 |". Retrieved April 17, 2019.
  33. ^ "Tuition & Cost of Attendance".
  34. ^ "Georgetown University, Finances".
  35. ^ "Best Law Libraries | the National Jurist". Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  36. ^ "Best Law Schools; US News Best Graduate Schools". Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  37. ^ "The National Jurist – Winter 2017". Retrieved May 11, 2018.
  38. ^ "Appellate Litigation Clinic — Georgetown Law". October 14, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  39. ^ "Center for Applied Legal Studies — Georgetown Law". October 14, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  40. ^ "Faculty Receive Prestigious Medals as Presidential Fellows at Convocation | Georgetown University". October 15, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  41. ^ Prof, Immigration. "ImmigrationProf Blog". Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  42. ^ "Lives in the Balance | Asylum Adjudication by the Department of Homeland Security | Books". NYU Press. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  43. ^ Schoenholtz, Andrew I. (2005). "Refugee Protection in the United States Post-September 11". Georgetown University Law Center. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  44. ^ Wong, Edward. ""The New Refugees and the Old Treaty: Persecutors and Persecuted in the Twenty-First Century" by Schoenholtz, Andrew I. – Chicago Journal of International Law, Vol. 16, Issue 1, Summer 2015 | Online Research Library". Questia. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  45. ^ "Criminal Defense & Prisoner Advocacy Clinic (CDPAC)".
  46. ^ "Profile Abbe Smith".
  47. ^ "CDPAC Staff".
  48. ^ "About Our Clinic — Georgetown Law". October 14, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  49. ^ "Street law schools in life skills – Video on". August 3, 2012. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
  50. ^ "The Anne Blaine Harrison Institute". The Washington Post. May 5, 1978. Retrieved October 9, 2019.
  51. ^ "Harrison Institute for Public Law".
  52. ^ "Food and Drug Law Journal".
  53. ^ "Journal of National Security Law & Policy".
  54. ^ "Georgetown Law Technology Review".
  55. ^ "PrawfsBlawg: Google Scholar Law Review Rankings – 2016". Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  56. ^ "Law Calendar". Washington and Lee University. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  57. ^ "Law Journal Ranking – Bryce Clayton Newell". Retrieved May 7, 2018.

External linksEdit