George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

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iSpool
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George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby iSpool » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:38 pm

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Last edited by iSpool on Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Aqualibrium
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby Aqualibrium » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:41 pm

You really won't need to drive much, and except for the recent snowpocalypse, the DC Metro area does a reasonably good job of keeping the streets clear.

Also, all the places I know of in the immediate area of the school that have garages are pretty expensive.

ran12
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby ran12 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 4:57 pm

Yea unless you plan on living pretty far from GMU, there's no point at all in having a car. Parking and driving are both a pain in the area. You should be able to take the Metro pretty much anywhere you need to go. When you do need a car though, you can always use Zipcar. It only costs a small annual fee, around $25 when I went to GW, and the cars are rented by hour from as low as $9. Zipcar has all types of cars too.

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iSpool
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby iSpool » Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:45 pm

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Last edited by iSpool on Wed Jan 18, 2012 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Underground404
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby Underground404 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:59 am

iSpool wrote:Thank you for the answers--could y'all suggest some apartments that are nearby the campus?

Specifically, I'd like an efficiency/studio apartment.

Thanks!!!


+1

I'm also seriously considering GMU as well and wanted to know more about housing in the area. I'm out-of-state and would want to obtain residency for my second and third years. Are there any specific areas within the Fairfax/Arlington/Alexandria area that current students would recommend. I'd like to be in a cheap (if that's even possible in Northern Virginia) area with nearby access to the Metro and to be around fellow students.

Thanks in advance!!!

bigkahuna2020
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby bigkahuna2020 » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:57 am

You cannot drive worse in the snow than DC/VA drivers. I swear I felt close to death during the blizzard there---stomping on the accelerator in the snow is jsut stupid

renee88
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby renee88 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:34 pm

I'm also an out-of-state prospective student for GMU. Could a current student elaborate on the housing and also on the school in general? I'd be willing to pay all of the out-of-state fees if it guaranteed a good school and good employment prospects, which seems to be the case about GMU from my perspective.

Oracl3
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby Oracl3 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 5:46 pm

I grew up in Arlington. I definitely liked having a car. Housing right around the law school is pretty expensive. Try looking at Ballston, Clarendon, Lyon Park and Courthouse if you want to be right next to the law school.

Underground404
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby Underground404 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:40 pm

Thank you for all of the responses. Two more questions:

1. How easy is it for an out-of-state student to establish residency in Virginia? I'm leaning heavily towards GMU at this point in time under the condition that I would be able to receive in-state tuition for my second and third years. I know about living in Virginia for 12 months, but are there any other ways to ensure that you are not denied residency?

2. I'm very interested in spending a semester abroad, due to my interest in International Law. I've looked all over the GMU website, but have only been able to find one study abroad program at the University of Hamburg. Does anyone know if this is indeed the only study abroad/semester exchange program offered through GMU School of Law? Additionally, is the School of Law flexible with independently studying abroad through another ABA-approved program?

Thanks in advance! I know these are rather specific questions, but any insight on these two questions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Pendulum
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby Pendulum » Tue Jan 18, 2011 10:47 pm

I don't think Snow is a big deal here. We sometimes have snow closings (like today), but Northern Virginia is generally very good at cleaning up the roads, probably better than a lot of the more snowy regions in the country.

Getting in-state is considered relatively hard in VA, but I'm not sure how what that really means. The Domicile Services office is not located in the Arlington Campus, and it's always seem mysterious to me. What I hear is that it is somewhat random whether you can get in-state after your first year. Other than that, I don't any more information than what can be found at http://registrar.gmu.edu/domicile/.

Housing in Arlington is generally expensive, but I've seen some people get housing for relatively low amounts (like in the 700-800s). It is hard to say what is the typical housing experience, because people live all over the place. Probably 1/3 of the people are not within walking distance of the school. There are people who live way out there (like really far away), although commuting from longer distances is easier after 1L when you have more control over your schedule.

I am entirely unfamiliar with study abroad.

-2L

Underground404
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby Underground404 » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:01 am

Thanks for all the information, Pendulum!

Another few questions (I apologize if I'm asking too many questions or taking up too much of your time):

What would you say is your favorite thing about GMU and what is your least favorite?

Do you believe that there is a lot of cameraderie among the law school students? (Ie...is it a tight community?)

How do you feel (as a 2L right now) about how GMU stacks up with Georgetown, GWU, American-WCL, Maryland, Catholic...etc? Do you feel that GMU has given you an adequate platform to find a decent job?

Is there something unique about GMU in particular that appeals to you that maybe other schools don't have?

Thanks!!! I'm just trying to get a better feel of the atmosphere and community at GMU.

Pendulum
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby Pendulum » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:34 am

What would you say is your favorite thing about GMU and what is your least favorite?

I think GMU does well in providing a practical education, including relatively high requirements for legal research and writing courses (although some people dislike this aspect), and effectively integrating practitioners/judges into its adjunct faculty to run clinics and teach upper level courses. I also particularly like the flexibility in being able to choose between day and night classes without restriction (after 1L year), which is extremely convenient if you want to control your schedule. I somewhat dislike how the total enrollment has been getting bigger over the last two years, but I suppose it's not unreasonable given that an entirely new building has opened up on campus and the school is in expansion mode.

Do you believe that there is a lot of cameraderie among the law school students? (Ie...is it a tight community?)

Definitely. Everything is essentially focused into one building (now two, actually), which is the focal point that basically brings everybody together, including those who commute from really long distances. Also, the fact that Arlington campus is very small (just 3 buildings total) means that we do not have undergrads walking around campus that "dilute" the feel of the law community. When you are at the law school, you are basically with just the law students only, and this makes the school especially tight knit.

How do you feel (as a 2L right now) about how GMU stacks up with Georgetown, GWU, American-WCL, Maryland, Catholic...etc? Do you feel that GMU has given you an adequate platform to find a decent job?

Since this is a fairly general question, I'm not sure if I can provide much more than the objective data that's already out there. I would say, though, that GMU, American, and Maryland are similarly ranked, but GMU is better connected to Northern Virginia, and Maryland is better connected to Maryland (which is probably not nearly as economically active as Northern Virginia). Also, if you can't get onto the biglaw / fed. clerkship gravy train, I think the value of GWU and GULC's rank is diminished compared to their "ex ante" ranking value.

Personally, I am satisfied with my job prospects. But obviously, everything is very unpredictable in this economy and different people have different experiences.

Is there something unique about GMU in particular that appeals to you that maybe other schools don't have?

Well for my case, GMU is indeed unique, because (among many reasons) it's the only VA school with low in-state tuition that's in DC. Of course the majority of students here are out-of-state students, so residency obviously isn't everything.

Underground404
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby Underground404 » Sun Jan 23, 2011 12:27 pm

Thank you for the detailed responses, Pendulum! All of this information is extremely helpful for me personally and I hope for others as well.

I've got a few more questions, if you have time to spare:

Where do most law school students live? Are they concentrated in the Arlington area (and particular neighborhoods within Arlington) or are they scattered all over Northern Virginia, DC, and perhaps even Maryland?

How would you describe the study atmosphere at GMU? At some schools, I know that students tend to be very cooperative with one another in terms of organizing study groups, note-taking, etc...whereas at others it tends to be extremely competitive. What was your experience like in this regard?

GMU has earned a reputation for being a conservative law school. How have you seen that manifested, either within the student body or the curriculum?

How has the work load been at GMU? I understand that law school is very demanding, but do you feel that your assignments have been fair and reasonable?

Outside of studying, how do GMU law students spend their time? What type of free time/social activities do students partake in?

Thank you again so much for your informative answers!

Pendulum
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby Pendulum » Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:31 pm

Commuting - I would estimate that 1/3 of the day class are not within walking distance from the school. These people commute from all over the place. Yes, there are people commuting from Maryland, and also from beyond the tip of the Orange line (the metro line that runs into Virginia).

Study atmosphere - there are usually people studying in the library, and people in a mix of socializing/studying in the atrium which is right outside of the library. I used study groups often during 1L. Now I don't, because the material no longer seems to be so sophisticated as to require multiple people to figure things out. I still exchange notes and study material, though.

Conservative reputation - Regarding the curriculum, "conservative" is probably not the correct term, but it may be better described as economic libertarian (free market economics). Personally, I think economics is a useful tool to analyze law. Surprisingly, besides the required microeconomic course, these topics usually do not show up as anything more than as side points for policy discussion in normal classes, if at all. As for the students, probably only a handful of students per section overtly act conservative.

Work load - Work load for core classes should be similar to peer schools because law school curricula are fairly standardized. There are two unique classes here, microeconomics and a "constitutional law" class that's actually a political science/history class on the constitutional convention, but I did not find them any more demanding than the other classes. However, we do have graded legal writing (2 credits 1st semester, 3 credits semester), which is demanding compared to schools that have ungraded legal writing.

Outside of studying - Probably varies, given the variance in age of the students. We have sponsored events, such as at local bars, from time to time. I'm sure the website lists the student groups at the school.

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gdane
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby gdane » Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:39 pm

Give me three reasons why GMU is better than AU WCL other than cost.

ran12
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby ran12 » Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:53 pm

gdane wrote:Give me three reasons why GMU is better than AU WCL other than cost.


1. Closer to downtown DC so better networking opportunities and easier to do academic year internships. Plus, you get more of the real DC experience.

2. Increasingly better reputation in DC while American is losing ground.

3. While Mason gets a conservative tilt rep, it's not nearly as noticeable as the liberal environment at AU.

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Henchman21
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby Henchman21 » Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:56 am

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mez06
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby mez06 » Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:22 am

ran12 wrote:
gdane wrote:Give me three reasons why GMU is better than AU WCL other than cost.


1. Closer to downtown DC so better networking opportunities and easier to do academic year internships. Plus, you get more of the real DC experience.

2. Increasingly better reputation in DC while American is losing ground.

3. While Mason gets a conservative tilt rep, it's not nearly as noticeable as the liberal environment at AU.


These difference are marginal if AT ALL not true.

Underground404
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby Underground404 » Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:57 am

mez06 wrote:
ran12 wrote:
gdane wrote:Give me three reasons why GMU is better than AU WCL other than cost.


1. Closer to downtown DC so better networking opportunities and easier to do academic year internships. Plus, you get more of the real DC experience.

2. Increasingly better reputation in DC while American is losing ground.

3. While Mason gets a conservative tilt rep, it's not nearly as noticeable as the liberal environment at AU.


These difference are marginal if AT ALL not true.


Both schools are very good in terms of curriculum, student body, faculty, etc. As someone interested in International Law, American-WCL obviously appeals to me very much (I'm still waiting to hear back from them). However, it is very expensive. At least with George Mason, as an out-of-state student, in-state tuition is a possibility for my second and third years.

In the end, it's probably about where you feel the most comfortable and what you can actually afford. Both schools have solid reputations within the DC area and in the Mid Atlantic. At either school, the education you receive and where you end up finding work is what you make of it.

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crysmissmichelle
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby crysmissmichelle » Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:16 pm

mez06 wrote:
ran12 wrote:
gdane wrote:Give me three reasons why GMU is better than AU WCL other than cost.


1. Closer to downtown DC so better networking opportunities and easier to do academic year internships. Plus, you get more of the real DC experience.

2. Increasingly better reputation in DC while American is losing ground.

3. While Mason gets a conservative tilt rep, it's not nearly as noticeable as the liberal environment at AU.


These difference are marginal if AT ALL not true.


Even if the difference is marginal, factor in the cost difference and class size difference, especially for AU vs. GMU. . . .

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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby bikepilot » Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:51 pm

No worries WRT snow. I've lived in NoVA since '85 (except for the law 3 years) and have yet to have problems getting around using a motorcycle as primary transportation. A FWD car will make it simple. Even last winter with the big snow I had no problem driving down from Cambridge with my wife in her '93 honda civic hatch. As long as you aren't an idiot, you won't have problems with snow. If you are, AWD/4wd won't help :roll:

As far as having a car - you won't need one to get groceries and get to school if you live in the area, but I wouldn't live without one by choice. What if you want to go somewhere? I like hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking etc - the metro doesn't go anywhere I wanna go. For my preferences, a car/motorcycle is a necessity. If you are only interested in urban attractions you can get by without one - the metro will (eventually, usually, as long as its not late at night or early in the morning) get you to DC and you can walk to Clarendon from GMU just fine. I have friends without cars who live near GMU and do just fine (they are also uninterested in outdoor activities), but I'd guess that 90% or better of the people I know in NoVA have cars.

Traffic in NoVA is some of the worst I've seen in the country, so take that into consideration if you'll be commuting by car.

As for GMU vs American, they are very different in terms of culture and environment. I personally much prefer GMU and it also seems to enjoy a significantly better reputation overall. I attended GMU for undergrad so might be a little biased (I was at the fairfax campus and had one course at Arlington - I also did barbri at Arlington). I have friends who went to law school at both schools so have heard quite a bit about them and work in biglaw in DC now.

As far as conservative vs liberal at GMU, from what I've seen its fairly well rounded and non-hostile to any particular group. If anything it is maybe less ideologically charged and more practical/down to earth than most schools. It is probably more conservative as compared to other law schools, but that isn't saying much. American has a rep for being almost uniformly, strongly liberal in a rather ideologically charged way. I find an intellectually diverse student body significantly increases the educational experience.

Everyone I've known who went to GMU law lived near-by in NoVA, though my sample size isn't huge and probably isn't normal (in the statistical sense).

In the DC biglaw market I'd guess that GULC > GW > GMW > UMD > American.

As far as cheap housing, its all relative. NoVA is better than Cambridge/Boston or NYC but is about the same as DC (but usually has less expensive parking than DC).

Logos
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby Logos » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:37 am

I have decided on GM and as I have family in the area they are suggesting I not bring my car. The university has a very good website for finding housing in the area. Hunt around for it.

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jigalion
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby jigalion » Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:20 am

iSpool wrote:Furthermore, are there any reasonably-priced apartments by GMU that have garaged/covered parking?

Not really. If you want to live near GMU I'd recommend renting a 3-4 BR townhouse/house with some friends in the Ballston/Clarendon/VS/Courthouse area.

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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby carrier » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:06 pm

jigalion wrote: Not really. If you want to live near GMU I'd recommend renting a 3-4 BR townhouse/house with some friends in the Ballston/Clarendon/VS/Courthouse area.


TITCR. I'm still deciding between GMU and a few other schools, but have been renting in North Arlington for 3 years and this is spot-on.

Basically, I've had 3 different apartments in Ballston and Rosslyn and paid $750-875 + utilities, but was in a shared house or in a townhouse with friends.

My advice: troll craigslist apartment listings religiously about 8 weeks before you want to move in, as there are lots of people who own houses and rent them privately as income properties. Apartments move very fast but these are the best deals. As for apartment complexes, there are no deals-- you always will get what you pay for (be it good or bad).

If you find something in Virginia Square or Clarendon that is south of Lee Highway, then the law school is within a long walk. You can also walk from Court House or Ballston if you're close to Wilson Blvd. Other than that, you'll have to look at what transportation you want to use and pick your apartment from there.

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nshapkar
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Re: George Mason - Arlington, VA Question

Postby nshapkar » Tue Apr 26, 2011 5:10 pm

iSpool wrote:I'm planning to attend GMU law. I've been to VA and know that it can snow something mean.

I have a lexus ES, which is a front-wheel drive sedan. Will this be sufficient to tackle driving in the snow/inclement weather?

Should I consider an all-wheel drive car or SUV?

Furthermore, are there any reasonably-priced apartments by GMU that have garaged/covered parking?

Thank you for your help.


I lived in NOVA for six years, snow isn't that big a deal there. When it does snow, city does good job to clear the snow. You'll be fine with any car you drive....NOVA isn't a region where all cars on the road are 4wd SUVs.




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