University of Georgia School of Law
Academics & Programs: At the University of Georgia Law, students rave about the education they receive for a “bargain price.” Non-resident students may apply for in-state rates after the first year, and many out-of-state residents receive scholarships for their first year, which waive the tuition difference. That’s not to mention the school’s “great academic reputation” and position as a “feeder to the most prominent city in the South.” “It is really nice to be able to afford a JD from a reputable school and not be faced with the ‘golden handcuffs,’” says a student not looking to work at a firm. All in all, “The professors, the people, the curriculum, and the facilities contribute to an overall competitive and comprehensive program that still embodies southern hospitality.”
The “stellar” teachers at Georgia Law are “compassionate, while still demanding excellence,” and it’s “very easy to meet with professors and discuss things unrelated to class,” as well as many student groups that allow for diverse ideas and discussions among students. “They genuinely care about us as individuals and have never been too busy to assist,” says a student. Though students “are definitely left to figure things out on our own in many respects” (“Communication about how to get grades, apply for residency, etc., are somewhat lacking.”), the school “provides a wide range of clinical opportunities for its students,” as well as its nationally recognized moot court and mock trial programs and three major journals. It also offers study and work abroad programs to help reinforce its focus on global issues, and concurrent enrollment with the university’s other programs is an option.
There’s a wide variety of courses from which students can choose their electives, and the school has a unique approach to grading in the “intense” first year. Students don’t receive grades for the first semester (with the exception of criminal law and civil procedure), and at the end of 1L, fall semester performance counts toward the final grade, but it’s weighted significantly less than spring exam scores. The school wants students to focus on their studies and discourages 1Ls from taking jobs during the first year of law school.
Campus Life/Facilities: Georgia Law has one of the largest law libraries in the nation—students love its “huge, picturesque windows and accommodating seating and tables”—and it’s embarking on a renovation and expansion that will only improve the quality of life. Classroom facilities are “also great,” and the school produces an enthusiastic alumni base that helps during interview season.
Still, many students do wish that more job opportunities outside of Georgia found their way to the UGA Law campus. Students say that the “small Southern town” of Athens, with its coffee shops and music scene, is the “quintessential college town,” but one that can be “somewhat limiting for older students.” Though the school is just a couple of blocks from downtown, “Housing options are pretty limited around the law school and most students live two to three miles away,” and often must drive to school as “the Athens bus service is not great.” Atlanta is about an hour-and-a-half away, so students who must frequently travel for their internships have a bit of a hike, but it’s still close enough that its myriad entertainment options can be enjoyed without much trouble. “The camaraderie of the students, an awesome social scene, and proximity to Atlanta make a good educational experience that much better,” says a student.
UGA Law offers a “great balance between traditional legal education and strong social environment.” Small class sizes mean, “Everyone is very independently driven,” providing at most a “friendly competition,” instead of a cutthroat one, but “Grabbing a beer with friends after a long Friday full of classes makes law school really bearable.” “No one is hiding books; no one is refusing to help. We are all in this together and at the end of the day, the person next to you is a future referral and professional colleague,” says a 2L. “One thing that Dean White reminds all incoming 1Ls at orientation is that our classmates are our colleagues, not our competition, and students really take this to heart,” says another student.
* The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.