|University of Georgia School of Law|
|Parent endowment||$1.344 billion (2019)|
|Dean||Peter B. Rutledge|
|Bar pass rate||97.8%|
The University of Georgia School of Law (Georgia Law) is the prominent law school of the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. Ranked among the top-tier law schools in the United States, it was founded in 1859, making it among the oldest American university law schools in continuous operation.
Georgia Law recent graduates include 11 governors, over 110 state and federal legislators, approximately 70 federal judges, and numerous state supreme court justices, practitioners, government officials, ambassadors, trial court judges, academics and law firm principals. Notable recent alumni of Georgia Law include former acting United States Attorney General Sally Yates, former President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate Richard B. Russell Jr., former Chief Judge and present Senior Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals Larry Edmondson, and Ertharin Cousin, named to the TIME 100 most influential people in the world list and Payne Distinguished Professor at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
The law school was founded in 1859. The founding three professors of the university’s new law school included one of the United State’s first state supreme court chief justices, Joseph Lumpkin, a Princeton alumnus. Joining him was attorney Thomas Cobb, who was the author of first enacted comprehensive codification of common law in the United States. The third original law professor was William Hull, an honors graduate of the University of Georgia, who had been a United States Attorney and a Solicitor General of the United States. Previously, law courses had been offered as part of the undergraduate curriculum of Franklin College of the university. The first classes of the Lumpkin Law School, as it was originally designated, were held at the law offices of Lumpkin and Cobb at the corner of Prince Avenue and Pulaski Street until 1873.
By 1880, the curriculum included courses in equity, parliamentary law, and various commercial law studies such as partnership, insurance, tax, and tariffs. Around 1889, stricter admission standards mandated that students be at least 18 years old. Two years later, an entrance exam had been instituted. The modern method of case law instruction was ushered in during the 1920s. In December 1931, the school was granted membership in the Association of American Law Schools. After being housed in various buildings over the years, the law school in 1932 moved into the new Hirsch Hall, named in honor of prominent Coca-Cola attorney Harold Hirsch, located on historic North Campus at the University of Georgia.
Hirsch Hall, expanded by many thousands of square feet over the years in connected buildings and upgrades, remains the site of law school classrooms and offices, as well as the Alexander Campbell King Law Library and the Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom. A 2012 renovation created almost 4,000 square feet of additional space, including a cafe and enclosed three story courtyard.
The law school's four-story, 40,000-square-foot separate addition, Dean Rusk Hall, opened in 1996 near Hirsch Hall. Named for former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk, who was a Georgia Law professor, this building became the new home of the Dean Rusk International Law Center, founded in 1977. Dean Rusk Hall also houses classrooms, faculty offices, additional library space, and a second law school courtroom, the James E. Butler Courtroom. In the three years up to 2020, the Law School raised an additional $61 million to add to its endowment for scholarships, teaching, clinics, and experiential offerings.
More than 300 courses, clinics, and seminars are offered at Georgia Law, including business-related law, property-related law, personal rights and public interest law, trial and appellate practice, as well as global practice preparation. Degrees awarded include the Juris Doctor (J.D.), the Master of Laws (LL.M.) for foreign-trained lawyers, and the Master in the Study of Law (M.S.L.) for those who do not want to practice law, but wish to gain an understanding of legal principles and perspectives in order to advance their careers. Students also may choose to pursue interdisciplinary coursework in other University schools and colleges, or to earn one of many dual degrees including a J.D./M.B.A. or LL.M./M.B.A.
The law school is accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), is a member of the Association of American Law Schools, has a chapter of the Order of the Coif, and is host to two advocacy inns: Lumpkin Inn of Court, one of the earliest American inns of court, and E. Wycliffe Orr Sr. American Inn of Court. Both are modeled after the English inns of court. It is also an academic partner of the American Society of International Law.
Admission to the school is highly competitive, Georgia Law accepting 26.8% of applicants for the Class of 2021, with a median LSAT of 166 and a median GPA of 3.83. Georgia Law's average selectivity rating is 95 out of a possible maximum of 99, Georgia Law enrolled students being in the top 4% of law school applicants. Although grades, degrees earned, and standardized test scores are important, for each applicant the admissions committee primarily considers a mandatory personal admission essay, a mandatory resume detailing the applicant's education, employment, fellowships, skills, honors, awards, community involvement, volunteer work, and other accomplishments, as well as mandatory letters of recommendation.
Student support and faculty to student ratio
Georgia Law's Mentorship Program matches every law student with a faculty member mentor, an upperclassman peer mentor, a Career Development Office counselor, and an alumnus professional mentor. There are just six students for each faculty member.
Law review and journals
Georgia Law students publish three legal journals: Georgia Law Review, Journal of Intellectual Property Law, and Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law. These journals have frequently been cited by federal and state courts, as well as textbooks and law reviews. Membership on the journals is limited to students in their second and third years of law school. In addition to the Georgia Law Review, students publish the online component, the Georgia Law Review Posts, which features essays by students, practitioners, judges and professors focused primarily on timely legal issues in the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Courts of Appeals.
Alexander Campbell King Law Library
The Alexander Campbell King Law Library is the oldest and largest law library in the state of Georgia. In 1967, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black gave the keynote address at an outdoor ceremony to dedicate a modern law library building adjacent to Hirsch Hall. Housing a collection of more than 500,000 digital and print titles, the law library is a founding member of the Legal Information Preservation Alliance and the Law Library Microform Consortium. It has been designated a Federal Depository Library. The library is also one of the United States' Specialized European Documentation Centres, houses the Faculty Writings Collection, the Phillips Nuremberg Trials Collection, the Rare Book Collection, and the J. Alton Hosch Collection, which includes the extensive personal library of Dean Hosch, a member of the law school faculty from 1935 to 1964.
The Louis B. Sohn Library on International Relations is housed within the school's Dean Rusk International Law Center. The Sohn library is the extensive international law collection of Louis B. Sohn, who was the Woodruff Chair professor at Georgia Law and previously the Bemis Professor of International Law at Harvard Law School.
There are over 100 organizations, experiential learning and practical training offerings, and other additional education opportunities at Georgia Law. Some of the offerings include, without limitation, the Business Law Clinic, Civil Law Practice Externships, the Corporate Counsel Externship, the Environmental Law Practicum, the Washington D.C. Semester in Practice, the First Amendment Clinic, the Atlanta Semester in Practice, Corsair Law Society (transactions and litigation in major financial markets), the Family Justice Clinic, Labor & Employment Law Association, Public Interest Law Council, Real Estate & Other Property Organization, the Mediation Clinic, the Community Health Law Partnership (HeLP) Clinic, Business Law Society, American Constitution Society, the Public Interest Practicum and Fellowships, Health Law Society, Intellectual Property Law Society, International Law Society, the Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation Clinic, Family Law Society, Association of Law and Politics, the Criminal Defense Practicum, the Prosecutorial Justice Program, Environmental Law Association, Veteran Legal Services Clinic, Trial Lawyers Association, Practicum in Animal Welfare Skills, Entertainment & Sports Law Society, Federal Bar Association, Tax Law Society, national award-winning moot court, mock trial and negotiation programs (for example, in last five years members have been awarded 13 national and ten regional titles), Georgia Law-Leuven Centre Global Governance Summer School in Belgium, Georgia Law at the University of Oxford program, and the Capital Assistance Project. Students in the Appellate Litigation Clinic have briefed and argued before the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Ninth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits. The Global Externship initiative provides global practice preparation for many students each summer, for instance past practice preparation included, without limitation, placement with law firms like DLA Piper in Russia, GÖRG Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB in Germany, Priti Suri & Associates (PSA) in India, Siqueira Castro Advogados in Brazil, and King & Wood Mallesons in China. To educate students in the benefits of public service and the functioning of the judiciary, up to 20 jurists, including U.S. Supreme Court justices, U.S. Court of Appeals judges, and trial judges, visit Georgia Law to teach classes.
Tuition for one year at Georgia Law is $17,430 for Georgia residents and $35,868 for non-residents. The total cost of attendance (including the cost of tuition, fees and off-campus living expenses) for the 2018-19 academic year is estimated to be $37,558 for Georgia residents and $56,496 for non-residents. Non-resident students are able to obtain Georgia residency at the beginning of their second year of law school, and available are tuition reduction scholarships that allow non-residents to pay resident tuition for one or two semesters of the first year of Georgia Law. Further, nearly 70% of the members of the Class of 2021 received merit based scholarships funded by donors. U.S. News & World Report ranked Georgia Law as a top ten law school in having the 4th best salary to debt ratio.
Living Georgia Law graduates work in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. According to the School of Law's official 2019 ABA-required disclosures, not including those choosing to open their own practices, to pursue additional education, etc., within nine months 93.8% of the 2018 graduating class were hired to perform high-value jobs within nine months after graduation, and 91.8% held full-time, long-term, JD-advantage positions at that point (Georgia Law being in the top 14 law schools for high-value jobs out of 204 ABA-approved schools). Of 179 students who graduated in 2018 - not including those who opened their own practices, pursued additional education, etc. - 56 went to law firms with up to 50 attorneys, 36 to law firms with 51 to over 500 attorneys, 15 to business organizations, 32 to government and public interest organizations (not including judicial clerkships that 38 graduates obtained) and one to academia.
Serving as a judicial clerk is considered one of the most prestigious positions in legal circles, and often opens up wide-ranging opportunities in private practice, high-ranking government work, and academia. Georgia Law has had six alumni serve as judicial clerks for justices of the U.S. Supreme Court since 2005. Based on the 2005-2018 graduating classes, the School of Law was ranked 14th among the nation's law schools for sending its graduates to clerk for the U.S. Supreme Court. For the class of 2018, Georgia Law placed 38 graduates in federal and state court clerkships (a top 13 placement rate of all ABA-approved law schools in the nation for federal court clerkships).
For the 2019 Top 50 Law School Rankings, of the 204 ABA-approved law schools, Georgia Law was ranked #19. However, according to the study by Law School Transparency, Georgia Law ranked in the top ten nationally for employment outcomes, while The New York Times recognized Georgia law as being in the top five law schools offering the best salary-to-debt ratios in the nation. Furthermore, the law school has been ranked #13 of the top best law schools by the National Jurist. U.S. News & World Report's 2021 ranking of #31 places Georgia Law in the top tier of all ABA-approved law schools, with the school additionally individually ranked in Trial Advocacy, Business/Corporate Law, Clinical Training, Constitutional Law, Contracts/Commercial Law, Dispute Resolution, Environmental Law, Intellectual Property Law, International Law, Healthcare Law, Legal Writing, and Tax Law. Finally, based on outcome-driven factors such as average indebtedness, bar passage, and employment, Georgia Law has been ranked #1 as the best value in legal education in the United States by the National Jurist for the last three straight years.
Notable recent alumni
Georgia Law graduates work in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. Among Georgia Law graduates are 11 governors, more than 110 state and federal legislators, approximately 70 federal appeals and district court judges, multiple state trial and appeals court judges, numerous state supreme court justices, government officials, ambassadors, law firm principals, as well as other notable practitioners, leaders, authors, and academics. Some recent graduates include the following.
- Luis A. Aguilar (J.D. 1979), attorney, former Commissioner, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
- Maurice Neil Andrews (LL.B. 1956), former special assistant to the Attorney General of the United States, Chief of the Trial Section of the United States Department of Justice Criminal Division, United States Attorney, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court
- Ellis Arnall (LL.B. 1931), attorney, Am Law 200 law firm founder, former Governor
- R. Stan Baker (J.D. 2004), Judge, U.S. District Court
- Roy Barnes (J.D. 1972), former Governor, attorney, law firm founder
- Timothy C. Batten, Sr. (J.D. 1984), Judge, U.S. District Court
- Robert Benham (J.D. 1970), Chief Justice state Supreme Court, first African-American to serve as Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia
- Charlie Bethel (J.D. 2001), Justice, state Supreme Court
- Keith R. Blackwell (J.D. 1999), Justice, state Supreme Court
- J. P. Boulee (J.D. 1996), Judge, U.S. District Court
- Dudley Hollingsworth Bowen Jr. (LL.B. 1965), Judge, U.S. District Court
- Mike Bowers (J.D. 1974), state Attorney General
- Michael Lawrence Brown (J.D. 1994), Judge, U.S. District Court
- George Busbee (J.D. 1952), senior partner at King & Spalding international law firm, former Governor
- Valerie E. Caproni (J.D. 1979), Judge, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; formerly, General Counsel, Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Julie E. Carnes (J.D. 1975), Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals
- Christopher M. Carr (J.D. 1999), state Attorney General
- Thomas Alonzo Clark (LL.B. 1949), Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals
- Christian A. Coomer (J.D. 1999), Judge, state Court of Appeals
- Ertharin Cousin (J.D. 1982), named to the TIME 100 most influential people in the world list, Payne Distinguished Professor at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
- George W. Darden III (J.D. 1967), former Member U.S. House of Representatives; presidential appointee to the Board of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; Advisor on behalf of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs; partner, international law firm McKenna Long & Aldridge (now, Dentons)
- Bertis Downs IV (J.D. 1981), entertainment attorney
- Berry Avant Edenfield (LL.B. 1958), Chief Judge, U.S. District Court
- Newell Edenfield (LL.B. 1938), Senior Judge, U.S. District Court
- James Larry Edmondson (J.D. 1971), former Chief Judge, now Senior Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals
- John J. Ellington (J.D. 1985), Justice, state Supreme Court
- Randy Evans (J.D. 1983), attorney, ambassador, member Dentons international law firm U.S. board of directors, former general counsel to Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
- Duross Fitzpatrick (LL.B. 1966), Chief Judge, U.S. District Court
- Norman S. Fletcher (J.D. 1958), Chief Justice, state Supreme Court
- Daisy Hurst Floyd (J.D.1980), attorney, law professor, and law school Dean
- Joan T.A. Gabel (J.D. 1993), American academic and first female President of the University of Minnesota
- Elizabeth Gobeil (J.D. 1995), Judge, state Court of Appeals
- Stephen S. Goss (J.D. 1986), Judge, state Court of Appeals
- James Randal Hall (J.D. 1982), Chief Judge, U.S. District Court
- Frank Hanna III (J.D. 1986), former corporate attorney, now entrepreneur, merchant banker, philanthropist, and Grand Cross Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great
- Kenneth B. Hodges, III (J.D. 1991), Judge, state Court of Appeals
- Pierre Howard (J.D. 1974), attorney, Lieutenant Governor, Senator
- C. Donald Johnson Jr. (J.D. 1973), attorney, academic, former Congressman U.S. House of Representatives; former ambassador at the Office of the United States Trade Representative; partner, Squire Patton Boggs
- Francys Johnson (J.D. 2006), civil rights attorney and academic
- Steve C. Jones (J.D. 1987), Judge, U.S. District Court
- Dar'shun N. Kendrick (J.D. 2007), attorney, member state House of Representatives
- Clay D. Land (J.D. 1985), Chief Judge, U.S. District Court
- Edward H. Lindsey Jr. (J.D. 1984), attorney, law firm founder, partner in Dentons international law firm
- Beverly B. Martin (J.D. 1981), Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals
- Leigh Martin May (J.D. 1998), Judge, U.S. District Court
- Christopher J. McFadden (J.D. 1985), Presiding Judge, state Court of Appeals
- Carla Wong McMillian (J.D. 1998), Justice, state Supreme Court
- Peter Meldrim (LL.B. 1969), Judge, President of the American Bar Association, Commissioner of the Uniform Law Commission
- Harold D. Melton (J.D. 1991), Chief Justice, state Supreme Court
- Patrick N. Millsaps (J.D. 2000), attorney and American film producer
- Tamika Montgomery–Reeves (J.D. 2006), Justice, state Supreme Court, former Chancellor, Delaware Court of Chancery, former attorney with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
- William Theodore Moore Jr. (J. D. 1964), Chief Judge, U.S. District Court
- Lewis Render Morgan (J. D. 1935), Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals
- Thomas B. Murphy (J.D. 1949), attorney, Speaker, state House of Representatives from 1973 to 2002.
- Harold Lloyd Murphy (J. D. 1949), Judge, U. S. District Court
- Wilbur Dawson Owens Jr. (J.D. 1952), Chief Judge, U.S. District Court
- Charles A. Pannell Jr. (J.D. 1970), Senior Judge, U.S. District Court
- William Porter Payne (J.D. 1973), former Managing Director of Gleacher & Company, former Vice Chairman of Bank of America and other companies, president and CEO of the Committee for the Olympic Games responsible for bringing the 1996 Summer Olympics to the United States
- David Ralston (J.D. 1980), attorney, former member of state Senate, Speaker, state House of Representatives
- William McCrary Ray II (J.D. 1990), Judge, U. S. District Court
- Brian M. Rickman (J.D. 2001), Judge, state Court of Appeals
- Jack L. Rives (J.D. 1977), Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, American Bar Association
- C. Ashley Royal (J.D. 1974), Judge, U. S. District Court
- Richard B. Russell Jr. (LL.B. 1938), U.S. Senator, former President Pro Tempore of the Senate
- Carl Sanders (J. D. 1947), former Governor, founder and chairman of the multiple city national law firm of Troutman Sanders
- Frank W. "Sonny" Seiler (J.D. 1957), trial attorney, leading role in the longest-standing New York Times Best-Seller, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
- Tilman E. Self (J.D. 1997), Judge, U.S. District Court
- Marvin Herman Shoob (J.D. 1948), Senior Judge, U.S. District Court
- Samuel Hale Sibley (LL.B. 1933), Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals
- Sidney Oslin Smith Jr. (J.D. 1949), Chief Judge, U.S. District Court
- George T. Smith (J. D. 1948), Justice, state Supreme Court, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
- Richard W. Story (J.D. 1978), Judge, U.S. District Court
- Herman E. Talmadge (J.D. 1936), Governor, U.S. Senator
- Edward J. Tarver (1991), former state Senator, attorney, United States Attorney
- Robert L. Vining Jr. (J.D. 1959), Senior Judge, U.S. District Court
- Joe D. Whitley (J.D. 1975), youngest appointed United States Attorney, then United States Associate Attorney General, first General Counsel for the United States Department of Homeland Security, Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University Law School, former partner at Alston & Bird international law firm, present partner at Baker Donelson
- Robert Whitlow (J.D. 1979), North Carolina attorney, best-selling author, and filmmaker
- Lisa Godbey Wood (J.D. 1990), Chief Judge, U.S. District Court
- William Robert Woodall III (J.D. 1997), member, U.S. House of Representatives
- Sally Quillian Yates (J.D. 1986), partner, international law firm King & Spalding, former faculty Georgetown University Law Center, former United States Deputy Attorney General and acting United States Attorney General
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