George Mason University School of Law
|George Mason University School of Law|
|Location||Arlington, VA, US|
|Outlines||7 (See List)|
The school was founded in 1972 as the International School of Law, a private institution in Washington, D.C. In 1979, GMU acquired the school, which by that time had obtained provisional accreditation by the American Bar Association, and moved it to Arlington. It earned full ABA accreditation in 1981. GMU School of Law is among the nation's top and youngest law schools. The School of Law is nationally recognized for its law and economics curriculum, and as a pioneer in specialized J.D. programs in such areas of concentration as: Technology Law; Regulatory Law; Intellectual Property Law; Corporate and Securities Law; Litigation Law; Legal and Economic Theory, and International Business. The 2008 publication of U.S. News and World Report ranks it the 34th among the "Top 100" American law schools.
George Mason University has a distinguished record in the field of law and economics. The school is home to one third of the scholars who have been recognized as "founding fathers" of law and economics (Palgrave, 1998). Additionally, the university boasts two Nobel Prize economists: James M. Buchanan (1986) and Vernon L. Smith (2002).
The school is highly selective. George Mason has 717 students in its J.D., LL.M., and J.M. programs. The median LSAT score among those offered admission to the fall 2005 entering J.D. class was 165 and the median GPA was 3.57. Merit-based scholarships are offered to the most qualified applicants and average $12,000 per year, which is sufficient to cover the majority of the tuition for in-state students.
Tuition costs $15,274 for in-state students and $26,502 for non-residents, exclusive of books, and other costs. The first-time bar passage rate for all graduates is 85.4%. 96.2% of all graduates are employed within 6 months of graduation.
The school boasts one of the most rigorous Legal Research Writing and Analysis (LRWA) curricula in the nation. Students are required to complete 4 semesters (2 years) of LRWA coursework teaching the required skills for trial and appellate practice. The first year LRWA curriculum is taught by third-year (and fourth-year evening) law students under the guidance of full-time faculty. During the first semester, students learn how to conduct legal research and write a predictive memorandum, while during the second semester, students compete in intramural oral arguments while producing both predictive and persuasive memoranda. The second year of LRWA is taught by distinguished legal practitioners, and consists of Appellate Writing and Legal Drafting. Student transcripts bear a separate grade point average (GPA) for LRWA and writing-intensive coursework in addition to the overall GPA.
First year curriculum
In addition to two semesters (2 credits per semester) of LRWA, the first year curriculum is filled with foundation courses. First year day students cover the following legal foundation courses: Torts (4 credits), Contracts (6 credits), Property (4 credits), Civil Procedure (4 credits), Criminal Law (3 credits) and Professional Responsibility (3 credits). In addition, every student is required to complete one semester of "Economic Foundations of Legal Studies," a basic economics course taught by distinguished economists to prepare students to identify and understand the overlap of economic and legal theories. First-year students may not take any electives.
The first year students are graded according to a mandatory 2.90 curve (3.0 for LRWA).
The admissions process at the School of Law is very competitive and highly selective. The primary factors considered in the admissions process are performance on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and undergraduate grade point average. The admissions committee also considers the difficulty of undergraduate major, undergraduate institution, possession of advanced degrees, writing ability (as indicated in the LSAT writing sample and in the personal statement), recommendations, extracurricular activities, employment experience, demonstrated commitment to public and community service, leadership skills and experience, history of overcoming personal or professional challenges, and other factors.
The School of Law follows a rolling admissions process and starts making admission decisions in January, ending in May. Students must use the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) to submit their LSAT scores, college transcripts and letters of recommendation.
- George Mason Law Review
- Civil Rights Law Journal
- Federal Circuit Bar Journal (FCBJ)
- Journal of Law, Economics & Policy (JLEP)
- Supreme Court Economic Review
- The Green Bag