The George Washington University Law School
2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, District of Columbia 20052
TipppingTheScales (2013): 13
U.S. News (2013): 21
AboveTheLaw (2013): 31
GEORGE WASHINGTON LAW SCHOOL STUDENTS SAY…
Academics & Programs: The caliber of the “limitless” resources available to a George Washington University law students are outstanding, and the location cannot be beat; its various connections to federal agencies, lobbyists, firms, and judges in the area make it easy to find some area of law that will interest any student, as well as allowing for a wealth of outside placement and internship possibilities. “I have enough room in my schedule to go hear oral arguments at the Supreme Court or the Federal Circuit Court,” says a student. “Nearly everyone I know has had the opportunity to intern in the federal or D.C. courts or some federal agency,” says another. Even if students aren’t happy with the Career Development office (and many outside of the top fifteen percent of the class are not), there’s the matter of the upstanding reputation with employers. “People that don’t get jobs that attend GW either (1) didn’t try hard enough to diversify where they were applying (particularly, geographically—people seem to forget there are jobs outside D.C., NY and the coasts), or (2) aren’t trying hard enough period,” says a 3L.
Add to that stellar academics, and this “close knit, high energy” school is definitely on the move, though the price tag can be steep. The somewhat high enrollment means “at times it feels a bit crowded” at GW, but the law school complex is very big, and the school has done a good job of expanding spaces, having recently developed a café for students and enlarging student conference spaces. In addition to the excellent law library, at one’s fingertips on any given day there are lectures, panels, and workshops.
The Student Bar Association is one of the best in the nation, which is a reflection of the close relationship between the students and the administration, who “make a clear effort to engage students on the decisions of the law school.” GW Law’s Dean is a “terrific fundraiser and cheerleader,” and even normally teaches a 1L Criminal Law class. The emphasis placed upon professors’ teaching abilities is reflected in the inclusion of a student panel on the Faculty Appointments Committee, where students’ views as reflected in their reports to the faculty are “given serious consideration during the appointment process.”
It shows, too, as the professors at GW are first-rate; there are “so many ‘must-takes’ here that you are guaranteed a great professor (at least by reputation) for each major doctrinal course.” Indeed, GW Law professors are well-known locally and nationally, and “it’s not unusual to attend a professor’s class, and then later see him or her on the television that evening.” These superstars are approachable as well, and “you would be hard-pressed to go to a student function and not find a friendly face from the faculty and staff enjoying time away from the formal school setting and lending their wisdom and wit to the outside student life.”
Campus Life/Facilities: Classes mix theory and practice, placing an emphasis on didactic ability, and “There can be a little tough love involved” if needed. Each lecture “is an experience,” and while the Socratic Method is used, it is used “very gently, and tends to create more of an open discussion format than a fear-invoking grilling process.” However, students would like to see their torts class expanded to two semesters. The student culture and atmosphere at GW Law rounds out the experience, as “people actually like each other and enjoy a good conversation, whether studying or not.”
As a large law school, “There is a group (or clique) for everyone,” and while “most law students are naturally type-A,” the school is not competitive, possibly because most students have a job when graduating. There is a genuine atmosphere of camaraderie, where “students are colleagues not just in the classroom, but in the outside world as well.” Only a few blocks from the National Mall and a short walk to Georgetown and Dupont Circle, GW has the perfect location for the social, career, and academic needs of students. It “is expensive to live here,” but “The benefits far outweigh the costs.” Students are all business for the most part in the classroom, but “relaxed and laid-back outside of it,” and most “tend to be social and well-adjusted.” The school is a social paradise, with “beautiful people, [a] 200-student ski trip, weekly special events at local bars, formal dances at luxury hotels, intra-class dating, and every other extracurricular activity necessary for keeping your sanity in law school is provided for in healthy amounts.”
Despite the more visible liberal element at the school, “liberals and conservatives, atheists, Jews, Mormons, the occasional Evangelical, and kids of all different backgrounds and ethnicities get together and enjoy each others’ company on a regular basis.” Tons of student groups help bring together the already diverse student body, and a huge percentage attend SBA events like the Halloween party and Barrister’s Ball.
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.