In addition to the J.D., the law school offers the LL.M. and S.J.D. Students may take relevant courses in other programs and apply credit toward the J.D.; a maximum of 6 credits may be applied. The following joint degrees may be earned: J.D./M.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Arts in international affairs), J.D./M.B.A. (Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration), and J.D./M.S. (Juris Doctor/Master of Science in law, justice, and society).
The Washington College of Law offers concentrations in corporate law, criminal law, environmental law, family law, intellectual property law, international law, juvenile law, labor law, litigation, securities law, tax law, torts and insurance, human rights law, arbitration, international, environment, and administrative law. In addition, clinical experiences offered to students include the Civil Practice Clinic for 14 credits, International Human Rights Law Clinic for 14 credits, and Community and Economic Development Clinic for 14 credits. Internships, available with government agencies, international organizations, and nonprofit entities, are under faculty supervision. The Independent Study Program permits directed research under faculty supervision. The Field Component Program offers field work with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the State Department, and the National Association of Securities Dealers. Special lecture series include an extensive series of conferences and speaker series that deal with topics of contemporary interest. In addition, student organizations sponsor lectures and panel discussions on a range of topics. Study abroad consists of summer programs in Chile (study involving legal structures in Latin America), Istanbul, London/Paris/Geneva (international business, human rights, and environmental law); a semester exchange: Paris-X Nanterre, France; Hong Kong Exchange; Canada, Mexico, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Australia, Spain; and dual degree programs in Spain and Canada. There is a Peer Counseling Program. An academic support program is available for all students, but remedial programs are not provided. The Office of Diversity Services offers minority programs and advisory services. The most widely taken electives are Evidence, Business Associations, and Administrative Law.
To earn the J.D., candidates must complete 86 total credits, of which 32 are for required courses. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the required courses. The following first-year courses are required of all students: Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Legal Rhetoric I and II, Property, and Torts. Required upper-level courses consist of Criminal Procedure I and Legal Ethics. The required orientation program for first-year students is 3 days and includes registration, dean’s and faculty welcome, academic orientation, technology and financial aid sessions, a reception, and Student Bar Association social activities.
In order to graduate, candidates must have a GPA of 2.0, have completed the upper-division writing requirement, and a lawyering skills requirement.
In the fall 2007 first-year class, 8864 applied, 2066 were accepted, and 464 enrolled. Seventy-four transfers enrolled. The median LSAT percentile of the most recent first-year class was 79; the median GPA was 3.42 on a scale of 4.0. The lowest LSAT percentile accepted was 32; the highest was 99.
Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and take the LSAT. The most important admission factors include academic achievement, GPA, and LSAT results. No specific undergraduate courses are required. Candidates are not interviewed.
The application deadline for fall entry is March 1. Applicants should submit an application form, LSAT results, transcripts, a nonrefundable application fee of $65, 1 letter of recommendation, and a personal statement. Notification of the admissions decision begins late December. The latest acceptable LSAT test date for fall entry is February. The law school uses the LSDAS.
About 74% of current law students receive some form of aid. The average annual amount of aid from all sources combined, including scholarships, loans, and work contracts, is $38,268; maximum, $50,493. Awards are based on need and merit. Required financial statements are the FAFSA and Need Access Application. The aid application deadline for fall entry is March 1. Special funds for minority or disadvantaged students include need-based grants and donor restricted scholarships. First-year students are notified about their financial aid application within 2 weeks of acceptance if application is made by the filing deadline.
About 57% of the student body are women; 32%, minorities; 8%, African American; 11%, Asian American; 12%, Hispanic; and 1%, Native American. The majority of students come from the Northeast (54%). The average age of entering students is 24; age range is 20 to 47. About 5% drop out after the first year for academic or personal reasons; 95% remain to receive a law degree.
Students edit the American University Law Review, Administrative Law Review, (ABA Section Publication), American University International Law Review, American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law, American Jurist, Business Law Brief, Criminal Law Brief, Human Rights Brief, Modern American, and Sustainable Development Law and Policy. Three moot court competitions are Alvina Reckman Myers First-Year Moot Court Competition, the Inter-American Moot Court Competition, and the Burton D. Wechsler First Amendment Moot Court Competition. Students participate in approximately 12 competitions, including the Jean Pictet Competition and the VIS Moot International Arbitration Team. Law student organizations, local chapters of national associations, and campus organizations include Equal Justice Foundation, Law and Government Society, Women’s Law Association, American Constitution Society, Black Law Students Association, Hispanic Law Students Association, Lambda Law Society, Federalist Society, and Phi Delta Phi.
The law school operates on a traditional semester basis. Courses for full-time students are offered both day and evening and must be completed within 5 years. For part-time students, courses are offered both day and evening and must be completed within 6 years. New full- and part-time students are admitted in the fall. There is a 9-week summer session. Transferable summer courses are offered.