Washington College of Law
|Washington College of Law|
|Parent school||American University|
|Dean||Robert Dinerstein (acting)|
|Location||Washington, DC, US|
|Outlines||622 (See List)|
WCL is nationally renowned for its International Law, Clinical and Trial Advocacy programs, which are ranked 5th, 2nd and 11th in the nation, respectively, by U.S. News & World Report. In 2008, WCL was included on U.S. News & World Report's college and university rankings list of the Top 100 Law Schools, where WCL consistently ranks in the top 50. In 2007-08, U.S. News' index of diversity recognized WCL as the most diverse top-tier law school in the Washington, D.C. area, and number 3 among top-tier law schools in the nation. Furthermore, WCL is known for its strong programs in both human rights and public interest work.
WCL offers the J.D. (Juris Doctor), LL.M. (Master of Laws), and S.J.D. (Doctor of Juridical Science) degrees. Additionally, students can enroll in one of several dual degree programs offered at WCL, including a J.D./M.A. program with the School of International Service, and J.D./M.B.A. and L.L.M/M.B.A programs with the Kogod School of Business.
Located in the northwest edge of Washington, D.C., near the Maryland state line, the law school is 20 minutes from the White House, yet it is set within the green boundaries of a residential neighborhood. WCL's 8.5 acre, multi-building campus is located at 4300 Nebraska Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.. The campus received LEED Gold certification in spring 2017.
WCL is an institution with a unique heritage. It was founded over one hundred years ago by two pioneering women - Ellen Spencer Mussey and Emma Gillett - at a time when women were generally excluded from the legal profession. The founders created a tradition of providing opportunities for those historically outside the mainstream of the legal profession. They also believed that lawyers had a crucial role to play in the development of society, business, government, and individual freedoms. Their extraordinary foresight and perseverance has formed the foundation for this law school. Over one hundred years later, as a center of educational scholarly excellence, where women and men from all backgrounds continue to pursue the founders' mission, WCL is a testament to these women's ideals and tenacity.
Incorporated by the District of Columbia in April 1898, the Washington College of Law became the first law school in the world founded by women; the first to have a woman dean; and the first to graduate an all-female law school class. Significantly, WCL's original articles of incorporation stated, "primarily the college aims to provide such a legal education for women as will enable them to practice the legal profession." It is noteworthy that male enrollment began as early as 1897.
Today, WCL enrolls 1,646 students, 58 percent of which are female. For the 2006 admissions cycle, WCL received 8,600 applications for 469 available seats in the Juris Doctor program. The Juris Doctor program's 2006 incoming class boasted a median undergraduate GPA of 3.42 (out of 4.00) as well as a median LSAT of 162 (out of 180), a score which is higher than those of roughly 90 percent of all test-takers nationwide. Furthermore, WCL ranks 9th in racial diversity among top law schools, and all U.S. states and over 60 foreign countries are represented.
Programs & Centers
- Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law
- Clinical Program
- Externship Program
- Health Law Project
- Humphrey Fellowship Program (Fulbright Exchange)
- International Arbitration Program
- International Legal Studies Program (ILSP)
- International Visiting Scholars Program
- Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Literacy Project
- National Institute of Military Justice
- National Institute of Corrections/WCL Project on Addressing Prison Rape
- Office of Public Interest
- Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property
- Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law
- Program on Law & Government
- Special Events & Continuing Legal Education
- Trial Advocacy Program
- War Crimes Research Office
- Women & International Law Program
- Women & the Law Program
- The Administrative Law Review
- The Alternative Dispute Resolution Newsletter
- The American Jurist
- The American University International Law Review
- The American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law
- The American University Law Review
- The Business Law Brief
- The Criminal Law Brief
- The Human Rights Brief
- The Modern American
- Sustainable Development Law & Policy
Facts worth noting
WCL participates in several popular study abroad and student exchange programs with universities around the world, including a semester-long program with the School of Law at City University of Hong Kong.
The Administrative Law Review is the Official ABA Section on Administrative Law Publication.
WCL's moot court program is consistently competitive--in 2002, the Jessup Moot Court Team was the top ranked team in the United States and Third in the World.
In 2005, The Business Law Brief, a two-year old student-run publication, won the award for "Magazine of the Year" from the American Bar Association.
While many alumni pursue law firm and government careers, the school is known for its focus on public interest law. For example, WCL offers grant money through the Equal Justice Foundation for students working in the public sector and offers special loan repayment assistance programs.