George Mason University School of Law
3301 Fairfax Dr,
Arlington, VA 22201
Academics & Programs: George Mason University School of Law has “a very strong reputation in the surrounding area,” and “It’s got to be one of the best bangs for your buck in the country.” A “robust legal clinic program” provides “clinics for almost everything you can imagine.” “The school has excellent standing in Washington, D.C. We have lots of interesting speakers and opportunities to work in the nation’s capital.” A host of specialization programs on offer include intellectual property, technology law, and international business law. Probably the most unique feature here is the ubiquitous emphasis on the nexus between law and economics.
“The law and economics approach pervades the curriculum” and “teaches you as much about how the world operates as it does about the law.” “It’s like getting two degrees for the price of one,” says a satisfied 3L. However, “The extent of the econ bent” is the bane of some students. “If you want to focus on something else, you have to pick your classes very carefully,” notes a critic. The “arduous,” four-semester legal writing program requires an enormous investment of time and is “by far the biggest complaint” among students. Moreover, “The low setting of the mandatory curve doesn’t do Mason students any favors in the job market.” Fortunately, “apart from the horrors of legal writing…the rest of the experience at George Mason is wonderful.”
GMU’s “supportive” and “incredibly dedicated faculty” is full of “intelligent, witty,” and approachable professors who “coax the best out of their students.” “They are always happy to discuss career plans and even send your resume to their friends,” beams a 2L. “Some professors are so brilliant that they can’t teach,” but most “engage the students” and “keep class lively.” “Older teachers are more likely to adhere to the Socratic Method, whereas classes with younger teachers are more relaxed and laid-back.” “Lots of classes are taught by adjuncts” (including a “large number of judges”) who are able to offer “practical, job-related advice.” GMU has a reputation as a “right-of-center” law school. For many students, “The collection of so many conservative and libertarian geniuses among the faculty is wondrous and nearly incomparable.” Moreover, the “zany libertarian bent…makes class interesting, even if you disagree with them.”
“The administration at GMU has an extremely personable approach. From Career Services to Academic Advisors, the administration truly wants to get to know the students, take the student’s input, and give each student the best experience possible.” Career Services on campus “will go to great lengths to try and assist you in finding a job.” “Each year, more and more prestigious law firms and government agencies recruit” at Mason. Also, “Alumni are extremely interested in helping current students meet their career goals.” “Mason alums are very active on campus, and love to hire from their alma mater.” And the results have been impressive: “My class has graduates heading to top ten firms in the most competitive legal markets,” boasts a 3L
Campus Life/Facilities: Many students come to Mason “for the school’s conservative reputation.” Others “come for the cheap tuition.” “The student body is hardly monolithic,” and “all kinds of perspectives and political backgrounds are apparent,” explains a 3L. “There is a noticeable chasm in social interaction between the straight-out-of-college group and the students who have worked for a few years.” Competition for grades is minimal among these “unusually motivated and down-to-earth students.” As one student explains, “The law school is actually less competitive and more collegial than I expected. Students compete with each other, but they want everyone else to succeed. Ripping pages out of treatises in the library is a thing of the past.” “Except for the total spazzes and the slackers, the majority of us just want to get through it,” confesses a 3L.
Some students complain that “There is absolutely no sense of community at Mason, mainly because everyone works at least twenty hours per week and only comes to campus for class.” Some say their classmates “seem too busy to enjoy themselves.” “Students may try to tell themselves that the social void thing is normal, but it’s simply not,” says a 2L. Other students perceive that “there’s a wealth of school-sponsored social activities” and that GMU’s location “in the heart of” suburban Virginia “provides unparalleled social and cultural opportunities.”
“We have an abundance of student groups with something for everyone—from the GMU Sports Club, to the Jewish Law Student Association, to ACLU, to the Mason Republicans,” declares a 1L. “There are hermits and partiers,” adds another student, “so you can always find a quiet evening out with friends, or a drunken evening stumbling through the bar-laden streets.” “There is a large faction, myself included, who enthusiastically immerse ourselves in the culture and nightlife of D.C. and Northern Virginia,” says a fun-loving 2L. “Thursday nights you’ll find some of us having dollar beers and tacos at the Mexican restaurant up the road, and you might run into another group of Masonites at two-dollar mug night at Whitlow’s in Clarendon.
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.