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Walter F. George School of Law

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Walter F. George School of Law
Established
School type
Dean
Location Macon, GA, US
Enrollment
Faculty (See List)
Annual tuition
Outlines 7 (See List)


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The Walter F. George School of Law, founded in 1873, is one of the oldest law schools in the United States. The School of Law is the second oldest of Mercer University's eleven colleges and schools. Founded in 1833, Mercer University, with an enrollment of 7300, is the only university of its size in the United States that offers programs in eleven diversified fields of study; liberal arts, business, education, engineering, music, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, law, theology, and continuing and professional studies. Mercer has campuses in Macon, Georgia and Atlanta, Georgia. The School of Law is located in Macon; on its own campus one mile from Mercer's historic main campus. The law school building, one of Macon's most recognizable sites, is a three-story partial replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia and is located on Coleman Hill overlooking downtown Macon.

Walter F. George

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Walter F. George

The School of Law is named for Walter F. George, a distinguished Mercer Law alumnus, class of 1901, who served as United States Senator from Georgia from 1922 to 1957 and as President pro tempore from 1955 to 1957. Before election to the Senate, he served as a Judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals in 1917 and as a Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court from 1917 to 1922. Mercer named its law school the Walter F. George School of Law of Mercer University in 1947. Fred M. Vinson, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, participated in the naming ceremony.

The Walter F. George Foundation, created when the school was named, continues to fund scholarships for Mercer law students who have a demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in public service. Walter F. George Foundation Public Service Scholarships cover full tuition for three years of law school along with community service grants for first-year and second-year summer public service internships.

Accreditation and Rankings

The School of Law has been a member of the Association of American Law Schools since 1923 and has been fully accredited by the American Bar Association since 1925.

In the 2008 edition of its law school rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranks the school 100th (tied with four other schools) among the nation's "Top 100 Law Schools"; the legal writing program is ranked first in the nation. The legal writing program was ranked first in 2006 (tied with one other school) and second in 2007.

In October 2006, the Princeton Review ranked the Mercer Law faculty ninth in the nation on its list entitled "Professors Rock (Legally Speaking)". The ranking is based on responses to student surveys on two ratings: the quality of teaching and accessibility of faculty. Mercer was ranked in the top ten in 2004 and 2005 as well.

In other rankings, National Jurist, a publication for prospective law students, placed the school in the "top of the technology class" in 2000, and in January 2005, ranked the school eleventh out of almost 200 law schools for its successful and innovative use of technology. The ranking is based in part on the school's laptop program, which provides every incoming student with a laptop computer and that has been used as a model for other law schools around the country.

Statistics

The School of Law enrolls approximately 420 students and has a faculty of 34 full-time professors and 33 adjunct professors. The school awards the Juris Doctor and a joint Juris Doctor/Master's of Business Administration in conjunction with Mercer's Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics. The school publishes the Mercer Law Review, the oldest law review in Georgia, and the Journal of Southern Legal History.

The School of Law has one of the largest law school endowments, valued at more than $75 million, in the United States. The endowment, initially funded in 1947 with $1 million from the friends of Walter F. George when the school was named in his honor, has grown remarkably since a $15 million bequest in 1987 from Atlanta philanthropist George W. Woodruff. Income from the endowment allows the school to maintain its low student-faculty ratio (12:1) and funds the student financial aid program.

The School of Law's model curriculum, the Woodruff Curriculum, named for philanthropist George W. Woodruff, is viewed as a model for law schools across the United States. The curriculum, based on small classes and a practice oriented approach, focuses on ethics and practical skills and has been honored with the Gambrell Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association for its "depth and excellence" and "obvious commitment to professionalism".

The School of Law is home to the Legal Writing Institute, the world's largest organization devoted to improved legal writing. The Institute's 1800 members represent attorneys, judges, and legal writing professors in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

The School of Law also houses the Mercer Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism, established in 2000 and dedicated to fostering and teaching ethics and professionalism in the practice of law, and the National Criminal Defense College, a not-for-profit organization established in 1985 and devoted to improved trial advocacy and trial practice.

Law Library

The Furman Smith Law Library, named to honor a distinguished alumnus, is the school's center of legal research. A premier facility, the library is used by lawyers and judges from across the state and recognized for its superior resources and service. The library occupies over 30,000 square feet in a central location on the second and third floors of the law school building. Large windows in the library provide students with views of historic Macon from the law building's location on Coleman Hill. The Furman Smith Law Library contains more than 310,000 volumes dealing with domestic and international law, including 3300 serial titles and a growing number of electronic titles.

Mercer Law Review

The Mercer Law Review is edited and published by the students of the Walter F. George School of Law of Mercer University. Mercer Law Review was founded in 1949 and is the oldest continually published law review in Georgia.

Alumni

Notable Mercer Law alumni are listed below. Alumni without dates of service (i.e. 1900-1901) are presently serving in the positions indicated.

Judiciary -- Federal Courts and State Appellate Courts

  • A. Harris Adams - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals
  • Griffin Bell - Federal Appeals Court Judge, 1962-1976; 72nd Attorney General of the United States, 1977-1979
  • Reason C. Bell - Chief Justice, Georgia Supreme Court, 1943-1946; Associate Justice, 1932-1943 and 1946-1949; Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1922-1932
  • William Augustus Bootle - Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 1954-2005; ordered admission of the first African-American to the University of Georgia
  • G. Harrold Carswell - Federal Appeals Court Judge, 1969-1970; unsuccessful nominee to the United States Supreme Court, 1970
  • Abraham B. Conger - Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 1949-1953
  • Bascom S. Deaver - Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 1928-1944
  • Walter Homer Drake - Bankruptcy Judge, Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
  • Homer C. Eberhardt - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1961-1974
  • Jule Wimberly Felton - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1937-1969; Chief Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1954-1969; Georgia Supreme Court Justice, 1969-1971
  • Hardy Gregory - Georgia Supreme Court Justice, 1981-1989
  • John B. Guerry - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1933-1940
  • Albert John Henderson - Federal Appeals Court Judge, 1979-1999; Judge, Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, 1968-1979
  • Robert F. Hershner - Chief Bankruptcy Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
  • Claude W. Hicks, Jr. - Federal Magistrate Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
  • William Leroy McMurray - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1976-2000
  • M. Yvette Miller - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals; the first African-American woman to serve on the court
  • Richard Henry Mills - Senior Judge, Federal District Court for the Central District of Illinois
  • Carlton Mobley - Chief Justice, Georgia Supreme Court, 1972-1974; Associate Justice, 1954-1972
  • David M. Parker - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1944-1949
  • W. Louis Sands - Chief Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia; the first African-American to serve on the court
  • Hugh Thompson - Georgia Supreme Court Justice
  • Julian Webb - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1974-1979
  • Charles W. Worrill - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1949-1953; Georgia Supreme Court Justice, 1953-1954

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