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Georgetown University Law Center
Published September 2007, last updated June 2010
The Georgetown University Law Center (GULC for short) is one of the best law schools in America; this reputation has been reinforced by the US News and World Report law school rankings, in which Georgetown has maintained its 14th-best ranking for the past 10 years. Located in one of the world’s most vibrant legal and political metropolises, the school has much to offer its students. With its large size and prestigious reputation, GULC provides a plethora of opportunities for its elite group of future lawyers and legal scholars. Extracurricular activities including clinics and journals are never in short supply and its location a few blocks from the United States Supreme Court offers distinct advantages that other schools simply cannot provide.
As one should expect given the prestige of the school, it is not easy to gain admission to GULC. The application process is rigorous, as the school receives a huge number of applications each admissions cycle with more and more students applying every year.
Tuition and Fees
Tuition at GULC is comparable to its peer schools amongst the “Top 14”; for the 2009-2010 school year, tuition was $43,750 for full-time students and $38,280 for part-time students. Living expenses hover around $20,000 per year, so total costs come out to be around $63,750 per year for full time students and $58,280 per year for part time students.
Three years at GULC may be a pricy endeavor, but scholarships and financial aid are available. Last year, 557 out of 1,990 total students received grant money. Fewer part-time students received aid (only 10 out of 385 last year) than full-time students (547 out of 1,605). The majority of these students received less than half tuition in aid, although GULC does give out some full scholarships. The median grant amount was $15,000 for full-time students and $8,900 for part time students. Recognizing that most applicants will have to take on student loans in order to finance their legal education, GULC provides a list of common lenders their students use on their website (see the footnote below). While the majority of aid from GULC is based on need and academic achievement, there is also a public interest scholarship for students who have demonstrated a strong commitment to a public interest field.
For those looking for merit scholarships, Andy Cornblatt, Dean of Admissions, reassures applicants that the amount of aid given depends on more than one’s LSAT / UGPA:
We're looking for people who are well-rounded, that is to say, people who are involved either on-campus or in their community, or that have otherwise led interesting lives. Obviously in terms of merit scholarships LSAT scores and GPAs are an important characteristic, but as with the admissions process, we look at everything the applicant has supplied to us, and after looking at it once to determine who will be admitted, we look at it again to see how those people match up with other scholarship candidates.
Georgetown’s LSAT median for its full-time program currently rests at an impressive 170, with its 25th percentile and 75th percentile being 167 and 172 respectively. Part-time numbers are slightly less competitive, with a median LSAT of 165, a 25th percentile of 162, and a 75th percentile of 167.
Georgetown’s GPA statistics are similarly impressive. For the full-time program, the median GPA is 3.67, with its 25th percentile and 75th percentile being 3.42 and 3.82 respectively. Once again, the part-time program has slightly lower numbers, with a median GPA of 3.62 and a 25th percentile and 75th percentile of 3.44 and 3.77.
As mentioned earlier, the competition is fierce for obtaining an acceptance. Last year, GULC made 2,554 total admissions offers (2,366 full time, 188 part time) out of 10,688 applications (9,815 full time, 873 part time). Traditionally, the part-time program has been easier to gain acceptance to, but with US News’ recent decision to take part time numbers into consideration when determining a school’s overall ranking, this disparity might soon vanish.
Beyond the Numbers
In his recent interview with Top-Law-Schools.com, Dean Andy Cornblatt emphasized that getting admitted at GULC depends on a lot more than simply an applicant’s LSAT / GPA. He remarked that:
Most applicants think that this is strictly a numbers game, LSAT and GPA and that's the end of it. That's not so. The process is more interesting and complicated than that, and therefore how you present yourself, what your voice is in this, matters a lot.
Even if you feel that you are slightly deficient in terms of your concrete numbers, a great personal statement and a cohesive and well-thought-out application will significantly increase your chances of acceptance. Likewise, even if you have great numbers, a sloppy application can put you in the “reject pile.” Dean Cornblatt emphasized this point, stating:
I also don't like to see applications that are casually and sloppily put together. Those often come from some of our best applicants, who just throw something together and click submit without really giving it a lot of thought. If I feel like the application is being done in a sloppy way, without a lot of thought, that will hurt that applicant. We are looking for people who have thought this through, those who are applying in a focused, thoughtful way. If that is not the case it will definitely hurt their chances.
In other words, make sure to spell check your application and your essays! Multiple typos make an application look sloppy and rushed. Also, make sure that you don’t accidentally include another school’s name in your application. One surprisingly common error is when applicants forget to fully edit a personal statement or a “Why?” essay for different schools; telling Georgetown Law how much you’d love to attend Harvard isn’t going to win you any love. However, somewhat surprisingly, Dean Cornblatt doesn’t seem to think that this mistake necessarily dooms the applicant:
I think it'll happen, over the course of reading 12,000 files...maybe fifty times? Not a good way to go. Most of this is inadvertent though, it's still sloppy, but if someone recaptures the initiative and sends in something to the effect of “my mistake, here's the correction” that's absolutely fine.
Finally, Dean Cornblatt had a number of interesting comments on applicants that have gone through severe hardship (alcoholism, drugs, depression, etc.). When asked if those factors can help explain away a lower GPA, he responded:
For applicants that fit that profile, we pay even more attention to their personal statement and letters of recommendation, just to get the best possible picture we can of what happened and where the applicant was then and where they are now. Once we feel that the applicant has left that behind and is in good shape to begin law school, we think that shows a real strength of character and we would view that in a positive way. However, it's on a case-by-case basis, so we have to look at each individual and what their particular circumstances were, and we weigh all of those circumstances together. We do feel that anything that requires real strength of character and determination is something that we'll look upon favorably.
In other words, there’s no need to avoid these “taboo” topics if they proved to be a significant factor in your personal development. Instead, consider confronting them in an addendum and explaining how you’ve changed. It will help explain any deficiencies in your academic record, and it might just get the admissions committee to give your application a second look.
As with other top law schools, writing a compelling personal statement is an important part of gaining admission. A riveting essay can seal the deal if your numbers are borderline; in the same regard, a sloppy one can spell doom for your application. Dean Cornblatt remarked:
I've seen enough of this to know when a personal statement feels rushed...I don’t know, this is just one of those things where if you've read enough applications and have been doing this long enough, you know it when you see it. The lesson to be learned is: work carefully on your application.
Dean Cornblatt also recommended that applicants keep their personal statements concise and to the point. He stated:
I've done this so long now that...well, it's never, and I mean never, that someone does something to cause them to be automatically rejected. I think that the biggest error in judgment that an applicant might make is to talk too much in their personal statement. It is so much more effective for an applicant to be concise, say what they have to say, make their point, and then stop talking. It's not a good thing to go on forever, so I think in that respect that might hurt someone's chances.
It should be noted that there is no minimum or maximum length requirement for personal statements submitted to GULC, though it’s probably best to keep your essay to a reasonable length (around two to three pages).
Finally, making your essay Georgetown-centric can win you some points in the admissions game. Dean Cornblatt said:
I think that it is a plus, however it is not a requirement or we would ask for it. If it is included and feels genuine in such a way that it makes sense in the context of the rest of the personal statement, then the applicant connecting his or her interests with what we have to offer is a plus.
If you’re interested in improving your personal statement or even just looking for ideas to write about, Ken DeLeon, the creator of Top-Law-Schools.com, wrote a fantastic guide to personal statements which can be found here for free: http://www.top-law-schools.com/guide-to-personal-statements.html
When to Apply
Georgetown has two different “early” application options. First, for applicants who are truly dedicated to Georgetown, choosing to apply Early Decision (or ED) can provide a substantial boost. This makes your acceptance binding, meaning that if you are accepted, you have to attend Georgetown and withdraw applications from all other schools. Georgetown has the following to say about applying ED:
Decision letters are mailed by December 15. To apply Early Decision, Georgetown Law must receive your application by October 31, and the application must be complete with all required documentation by December 1. Please be certain to check the "Early Decision" box on your application to indicate your intention to apply under this process and to sign the Early Decision Agreement Form. To meet the deadlines for Early Decision, you must have taken the LSAT by [October].
For Georgetown undergraduates, there is an “Early Assurance” program, designed to encourage top students from Georgetown undergrad to apply to the law school. This can be a great option for Georgetown undergrads that are intent on studying law at GULC. Georgetown has the following to say about applying EA:
The Program is for Juniors currently enrolled at Georgetown University, and students in all majors are encouraged to apply. Applications are due by March 16 of your junior year. Early Assurance is designed to give a student the freedom to pursue a less conventional curriculum during his or her senior year and is non-binding.
Early Assurance applicants are exempt from taking the LSAT and registering with the LSDAS. Instead, please include an official transcript with at least five semesters of undergraduate grades. Early Assurance applicants must submit two recommendations, one of which must be the Early Assurance Dean's Certification Form. Competitive Early Assurance applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of at least a 3.8.
ULC begins receiving regular and ED applications on September 25th and stops on February 1st, but don’t wait until January to start preparing your application! On the data-collecting site lawschoolnumbers.com, many applicants have already reported receiving their decisions by December. There are more spots open earlier on in the admissions cycle, so if you want to give yourself the best possible chance, apply early!
Letters of Recommendation
GULC requires only one letter of recommendation but accepts up to four. The school prefers letters from academic sources (professors, teachers, etc.) since they can attest to your academic potential, but letters from employers are also accepted.
Cancelled LSATs and other Addenda
For a single cancelled LSAT score, Dean Cornblatt said an addendum is “not necessary.” However, in some circumstances an addendum can help explain a dark spot in an applicant’s file. For instance, in cases of academic probation, Dean Cornblatt says:
It is imperative that applicants who are in this situation send an addendum to the file with an explanation of what happened then and where they are now. We're going to notice all of that, so they need to talk about it.
One should also consider writing an addendum if one has an issue with one’s UGPA, such as a downward trend. The school will take into account factors like family illness, work responsibilities, etc. when making its decisions, and an addendum can help mitigate the damage of a lower GPA.
As with most schools, transferring into Georgetown is a difficult task indeed. According to the school’s website, they “receive over 400 applications every year for Fall transfer,” and that in order to be “competitive, students should be in the top 15% of their class with an A-/B+ average.” To find out more about the transfer process refer to the above link.
Final Thoughts about Admissions
Gaining admission to GULC is quite an accomplishment and students who attend can look forward to three years in an intellectually charged environment right in the heart of Washington D.C. To make your application as strong as possible, take the time to do the little things (school-specific personal statement, addenda to address any issues in your application, etc.). This attention to detail can pay dividends.
Law School Culture
Situated in downtown Washington D.C., Georgetown provides its students with a fantastic quality of life while in law school. You don’t need to travel far to find culture and recreation in the nation’s capital. The Capitol, the Washington Monument, the White House, the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, the National Mall, and Smithsonian Museums are all within blocks of the law school. There are frequent outdoor concerts, movies, and other fun events hosted in the area, and some of the best fireworks in the world can be seen on July 4th. The Mall is also home to the famous Cherry Blossom Festival and weekly ultimate Frisbee tournaments. Without a doubt, D.C. is an eclectic city, and GULC puts its students in the middle of it all; it is up to them to get out and make the most of it.
In addition to giving its students a great social life, GULC also offers an intellectually charged environment. At Georgetown, students study against the best legal backdrop in the United States. Dean Cornblatt explains further:
Well, there are [more advantage to studying in Washington D.C.] than I have time to go into, but, first of all, there's the possibility during your second and third year of law school to be out working in this incredible city where laws are made, interpreted, and implemented, within walking distance of Georgetown Law School. So we think that's a huge plus in terms of employment while you're here.
The second plus is, even if you're not getting paid or not working, the opportunity to participate as an observer, or to participate in a million different ways, whether it's your job or not, to be exposed to all of the things that people in other parts of the country are reading about, but you can walk over to the Supreme Court and watch an argument, you can go over to Capitol Hill, you can be involved in all sorts of things that go on here.
This combination of cultural and intellectual enrichment is hard to beat, and students at GULC will spend three years being involved with some of the most exciting legal work in the country.
In terms of housing, there are plenty of options available for students. Dean Carol Walsh of Residence Life went into detail:
Certainly the nearby apartment complexes such as Meridian, Mass Court, and so on are desirable simply because of their location. Popular neighborhoods are probably the next most desirable location, neighborhoods like Dupont Circle and the Capitol Hill area. The Chinatown area is becoming more popular, but it’s also more expensive, so I think that’s something each student weighs for themselves in terms of priorities. We used to have a problem with some of the newer, luxury apartment buildings not necessarily wanting to work with us because they didn’t want students, but recently they’ve been sending information directly to our office. I think this is a product of them realizing that law students are not like your typical undergrads, and are actually quite desirable tenants.
If you’re looking for a bit more guidance, you can always contact Georgetown’s off-campus housing director and ask for advice. Dean Walsh explained further:
We do have an off-campus housing coordinator who is available not only to current students, but also incoming students looking for housing for their 1L year. This can be a great resource for asking about what different neighborhoods are like, what buildings around here are popular, lease questions, things like that. We also are going to try this year to become more involved in Facebook, as it seems like a lot of students have on their own found roommates through it, and we want to set-up a group that will act as a location for people to meet and look for roommates who they think they’d be compatible with.
It should be noted that GULC is separated from Georgetown’s main campus; there is also a general lack of parking at the law school. However, most law students enjoy being separated from the undergraduate mayhem (one student remarked: “I rather like the separation from the undergrad mill”), and access to the D.C. metro (GULC’s campus is only a five minute walk from Union Station) removes the need for most students to drive.
The Student Body
Georgetown, like other top law schools, is dedicated to bringing together a diverse class each year. For the class of 2012, the student body is roughly equally divided between males and females (53% and 47%, respectively). Students of color make up 25% of the class, and 210 colleges and universities (and 46 states) are represented in the class. Finally, international students make up 8% of the class.
Despite being a top law school, Georgetown doesn’t have an overly competitive environment. One student explained further:
It’s a good group overall - some people with highly inflated senses of self-worth, but not too bad. Competition is minimal so far. Everybody is willing to share notes and help each other out. Study groups are quite common as well. I was actually discussing the lack of competition today with a few other classmates who had heard similar rumors about the alleged cutthroat nature of students here. None of us have experienced anything like that. There is only one “gunner” in my section and he is universally mocked.
There are also plenty of different kinds of people at GULC, so chances are that all students will find a place to fit in. As one student remarked:
It's a pretty wide range of backgrounds here. I've met everyone from children of ambassadors to ex farm boys. The stereotypical rich kid law student is certainly present and accounted for, but I've not experienced any real snobbery beyond what can be expected from some 22 year old hot shot law students who don't know any better. I come from pretty modest means, and I don't feel out of place.
Another student confirmed this viewpoint:
I mostly only see the students in my section. People seem friendly; I haven't had any unpleasant dealings with anybody at all. I don't feel like I lost out by attending a school with a large student body. The sections are broken down into even smaller sections for Contracts and Legal Research & Writing, so not all the classes have all 120 of us in there.
If you search around TLS, you’ll find similar perspectives from many other students. Despite the fact that GULC boasts one of the largest student bodies of any top law school, it clearly takes steps to ensure that students have the opportunity to experience smaller class settings.
Georgetown’s gym is a frequent recipient of praise, and for good reason. One student detailed the workout facility:
The fitness center on campus is great. There are plenty of cardio machines (treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, stairmasters), lots of free weights, lots of weight machines, and the few classes I've taken have been a really good workout (and free!). There's also an indoor pool and a basketball court, as well as jacuzzis in both the men's and women's locker rooms. There's also a towel service free of charge. I live on campus and it's extremely easy to fit a workout in whenever I have a chunk of free time since the fitness center is so close.
The rest of the school’s facilities are modern and impressive as well. One applicant even described Georgetown’s facilities as “overwhelming.” If you’re looking for an up-to-date law school with lots of modern amenities, Georgetown is a great choice.
Like other top law schools, the choices are practically endless when it comes to extracurricular activities. Students can choose between dozens of different organizations and clubs to get involved with; a small sampling might include the Military Law Society, the Wine Tasters, and the GULC Softball Club. More information on extracurriculars is available here.
Georgetown Law has ten different legal journals which students contribute to each year. Topics range from immigration law to poverty law to legal ethics, with the Georgetown Law Journal addressing topics of “general legal concern.” To find out more about these journals and how to submit articles visit their website.
Academically, GULC is one of the top law schools in the country. Brian Leiter, the University of Chicago professor and rankings guru, places Georgetown Law’s faculty as the 12th best (by mean per capita) in the nation based on scholarly impact. In terms of student (numerical) quality, Georgetown’s full time program ranks 7th in the nation. GULC boasts the largest in-house clinical program of any law school in the U.S. and was ranked #1 in the nation by US News for its clinical training capabilities. The school is known to be strong in the fields of International Law, Environmental Law, Tax Law, and Human Rights Law. Of course, a school with a reputation as strong as Georgetown’s is sure to see strong placement in all the major fields of law.
The curve for classes at Georgetown Law has changed recently undergone changes. The new curve is: A: 10%, A-: 15%, B+: 25%, B: 30%, B-: 15%, C+ to F: 5%. The Curriculum & Academic Standards Committee explained why the recent change was implemented:
The Curriculum & Academic Standards student-faculty committee recommended these changes to the faculty based in part on the curves from other schools and also based on faculty members’ feelings about the rising level of student performance.
One of the most intriguing parts of Georgetown is its alternate first year curriculum, Curriculum B. Developed in 1991, the curriculum “offers an innovative and integrated approach to the study of law.” One student explained how he thinks this set of classes differs from the standard law school fare:
From my perspective, the most valuable thing that B/3 provides is philosophical and historical context which broadens our perspective on legal issues embodied in discrete cases. Even if the interdisciplinary nature of the section is at times not what I ideally hope it could be, our readings/classes invite a different kind of debate/discussion among our section members than you see in the other sections. B/3 conversations often probe alternate legal formations – what could have been held in a case, and what the implications of that holding would have been.
GULC’s website puts it thusly: “The ‘B’ section emphasizes the sources of law in history, philosophy, political theory, and economics. It also seeks to reflect the increasingly public nature of contemporary law.”
There are four sections (three full time, one part time) of curriculum A and only one section of curriculum B at Georgetown, and the alternate curriculum is definitely not for everyone. Dean Cornblatt describes the curriculum as “more of a liberal arts approach to the first year of law school,” so if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, applying to curriculum B might not be in your best interests. One student pointed out that the majority of the section leans liberal, although not radically so. He wrote:
I’d say it’s leftist, though our few staunch conservatives/libertarians seem to do well enough, as do our deeply religious class members. However, from my perspective, it’s not an openly radical left.
Joining the section (Section 3) that uses curriculum B doesn’t seem to be overly competitive, as “nearly every year it’s what almost exactly one full section of our class is looking for.” In other words, if you’re lucky enough to be accepted to GULC, getting into curriculum B shouldn’t be too difficult. In terms of career options, Section 3 alumni seem to be doing just fine, as one student pointed out:
I very much doubt B/3 will adversely impact your legal career. It may well give you a huge leg up. The school tracked alumni for 6 years and found they did at least as well as alumni from other sections (in terms of jobs, clerkships, etc.) Employers don’t really care about your first year if you do very well in your second year classes. I’m not sure how B/3 correlates with job satisfaction, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion it would be pretty high. Anecdotal evidence: the editorial board of the Law Review here is predominantly Section 3 alumni. B/3s do well in mock trial, moot court, etc. It’s not like you’re “missing” something by going the B/3 route.
Also, students in Section 3 report having slightly less free time than their classmates. However, the difference isn’t staggering, and you should still have time to go out, exercise, and engage in a couple of extracurricular activities of your choice.
Finally, on a different note, the school also offers 11 different joint degree programs, ranging from JD/MBA to JD/MA in Arab Studies. More information about admissions and financial aid for these joint degrees can be found on the joint degree FAQ page, located here.
If you’re looking to go to law school part-time, then Georgetown has the best program in the country. The school is proud of its tradition of “providing quality legal education to working students.” Those students who need to work while in law school can rest assured that they will receive a first-rate education at GULC.
In fact, the differences between the full time program and part time program are minor. Part-time students can’t take the alternate curriculum (Curriculum B / Section 3), and they take 24 hours of credit their first year and 8-11 credits each semester after that. The whole program normally takes “eight semesters and one summer session of study,” but it’s possible to complete the program faster if you’re truly dedicated. In contrast, full-time students usually have 31 hours of credit their first year and 12-16 credits after that.
Of course, there are a few other minor setbacks that part time students have to deal with. One student in the FT program suggests that it might be difficult to find clinical work while working full-time, and socializing with your classmates might be slightly more difficult if you take mostly evening classes. In general, however, the part-time program offers the same superb education as the full-time program.
Those who wish to transfer from the part-time program to the full-time program can usually do so at will. One student describes the process:
All I did was send an email requesting a transfer. In theory, if too many people ask they will hold a lottery. In practice, that has never actually happened. About one-half of the class transfers. I thought I would try to work my way through law school and stay PT, but 1L year ran me into the ground. After 7 months of getting 5hrs a night of sleep, I cracked and put in for the transfer. I haven't looked back. Considering the opportunity cost and the awful 2L recruiting this year, I am very glad I did it. It really doesn't cost the school anything to allow the transfer, because all they are really doing is allowing you to take enough credits to graduate earlier. You could still theoretically just take night classes. Those who stay PT could theoretically take only day classes after their first year.
Those applicants who would have difficulty getting into GULC’s full time program can apply for the part-time program and then transfer into the full-time program after a year. This plan allows students with slightly lower numbers to complete most of a full-time GULC education.
When it comes to public interest, Georgetown has one of the strongest programs in the country. Dean Cornblatt described the school as the “largest public interest firm in the country”:
We are, in many ways, the largest public interest law firm in the country, in that we have all of our students who are interested in taking part, representing people who can't afford representation otherwise. It's a very exciting part of the curriculum, and Georgetown is considered to be the best in the country in that area. That's something we're proud of, but what's important is just the substance of it and what it offers to our students.
Because of the school’s location in Washington D.C., students have unparalleled access to government externships and other opportunities. Georgetown even has its own career services office for public interest (the Office of Public Interest Community Services or OPICS), which Dean Gihan Fernando of the Career Services Office explained in detail:
Georgetown has a separate Office of Public Interest Community Services, OPICS, which deals with the public sector broadly defined as government and non-profit positions, and perhaps also positions in firms that focus on public interest work. This is something that not many other schools have, and it allows students to have a resource that’s dedicated specifically to working with them towards finding public sector opportunities.
As mentioned earlier, there is also a public interest scholarship where GULC offers to pay up to one third of a student’s annual tuition. While not as generous as some public interest scholarships at peer schools, the added financial cushion this scholarship provides is another reason those students seeking public interest careers may be drawn to the school.
There are a plethora of public interest programs to get involved with at GULC, including the D.C. Family Literacy Project, the Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program, and the National Center for Tenant Ownership. Those interested in reading more about GULC’s public interest program should check out their website.
Like the public interest program, the clinical program at GULC is superb. The school offers 19 clinical courses through 12 clinics each year. GULC sums up their status thusly:
Situated within walking distance of the United States Supreme Court, Congress, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the local courts of the District of Columbia, and numerous government agencies, the Law Center offers clinic participants unparalleled access to the governing institutions in our Nation's Capital.
Clinics like the Appellate Litigation Clinic, the Criminal Justice Clinic, and the Domestic Violence Clinic allow students to get hands-on experience in one of the most electrifying legal settings in the world.
Unfortunately, with such a large student body, it is sometimes challenging for students to get into clinics. One student wrote:
None of the clinics are easy to get into. Probably less than 20% of 2L applicants get into a clinic, and almost no one will ever get to take more than one clinic…Basically, it seems like you only have a real shot at taking a clinic as a 3L, and then you only have a shot (though it's a pretty good one) at your top-choice clinic.
Another student’s assessment was markedly less dramatic:
Some clinics have a policy of only allowing 3Ls, either officially (Appellate Litigation) or unofficially (Institute for Public Representation, Federal Legislation), while others like Criminal and Juvenile Justice, Domestic Violence, and Law Students in Court all require Evidence as a prerequisite (which locks out rising 2Ls). The immigration clinic gets the most applicants and is hardest to get into statistically, but it does accept an even number of 2Ls and 3Ls. The Harrison Housing and Harrison Policy Clinics and International Women's Human Rights Clinic all accepted quite a few 2Ls this year. But you do need to carefully target the clinic you want, make it your first choice, and put together a strong application.
Finally, if you manage to get into a clinic as a 2L, then you “go to the back of the line if you apply for another as a 3L,” as the school wants to give as many students as possible the opportunity to do clinical work.
To find out more about the amazing breadth of the clinical programs at GULC you can peruse their website.
Unsurprisingly, most students seem to love their professors at GULC. One student wrote:
My professors are awesome. I'm in B/3 (the alt curriculum B) and I kind of feel like we get the best profs, but my friends in other sections also really like their professors. 1Ls all have dinner with a small section either at their professor's house or at a place of the professor's choosing sometime. This was 150% the right choice for me. LOVING it.
Another student wrote that all of his professors have been “friendly and approachable.” Of course, as with any school, some students are going to find some professors more boring than others, but in general, students tend to think highly of their professors. The teachers also tend to have real world experience, as Dean Fernando points out:
Georgetown students also have the benefit of having access to the amazing faculty here, which includes many people that have personal insight into the way government operates and the process by which it accomplishes things. Not only do we have many full-time professors with that type of experience, but we also have many of the best lawyers in the field working as adjunct professors here. These people are federal judges, agency lawyers and the like in their day jobs, but also come teach upper-level classes. They are able to inform the academic focus of the class with actual practice experience, and also can serve as valuable contacts for the students that take their courses.
If you are looking for great professors, GULC won’t disappoint.
Students at Georgetown generally stay for the entire three years. LSAC reports that the JD attrition for last year’s 1L class was only 0.5%. That attrition rate only grows slightly for 2Ls (2.1%) and drops again for 3Ls (0.9%). In other words, you’ll be competing with the vast majority of your 1L classmates for jobs when On Campus Interviewing (OCI) rolls around.
In addition, many more students transfer into Georgetown than transfer out. Last year, 93 students transferred into Georgetown while only 12 transferred out. Leaving the debate about whether transfer students are at a disadvantage for employment for another time, it is clear that competition will be fierce for jobs, especially because of the struggling economy.
Most students pass the bar the first time that they take it. Students take the bar exam in various states, including New York, California, Maryland, and Virginia. With the majority of first time takers reporting (74.39%), the average school passing rate was 89.01%, versus the average state passing rate of 80.44%.
Of course, in these troubled economic times, obtaining a job via OCI is never a sure thing. With 99.2% of its most recent graduates reporting, Georgetown reports that 97.1% were employed after nine months, with 439 graduates (or 70.1%) working for law firms. Other areas of employment include academia (1 graduate or 0.2%), clerkships (59 graduates or 9.4%), and public interest (28 graduates or 4.5%).
Many students want to know how Georgetown’s career services are reacting to the economy. Dean Fernando had some comforting words in this regard:
We’ve worked very hard with students seeking employment to help them explore what other options are out there. We’ve instituted a program we call “Taking Care of Business” that’s a series of small group sessions in which we go over the employment issues that students are having, such as how to break into a certain practice area or just how to write an effective cover letter. We’ve been mostly focusing on how to get those types of jobs with employers who aren’t going to come interview on campus and students have to put in leg work to submit a resume for them. We’ve also compiled resume books by region that we sent out to firms around the country and we learned of at least 15-20 openings through that. We’re always looking for new ways to help our students in the job search, and we’re heavily involved in a national conversation through NALP and are also talking to our peer schools about legal recruiting in the coming years.
Dean Fernando also emphasized Georgetown’s extensive alumni connections as one way the school is dealing with the economic downturn:
Outreach to those alumni who are in positions to hire has been a great help to our students and has led to a lot of placements. Even though our large class is highlighted as a liability in the question, it is actually a significant advantage to our students because we have so many loyal alumni all over the country and in a wide range of jobs who are dedicated to hiring Hoyas. We do both e-mail out-reach to our alumni encouraging hiring from Georgetown, but we also reach out to specific alumni in a more personalized fashion, and we’ve seen hires from both methods. We’re making the effort to contact alumni who aren’t necessarily practicing law to try to get our graduates into corporate management positions if that’s something they’re interested in.
So the official word is positive. However, what are the students saying about the job market? As expected, students are more cautious about employment opportunities. One student writes:
[Job] prospects are pretty bad overall but I would assume that NYC placement is a bit better than elsewhere. DC is super competitive and secondary markets never bring in huge SA classes. [I’d] estimate that 25% of the class got big law this year.
In other words, students should hit the books hard if they want a shot at “Biglaw”. Another student confirmed that many students are having trouble placing into Biglaw:
Career services will do anything they can to help you find work of any type. While I know quite a few people who are shut out of big law in this economy, everyone I know has gotten substantive employment during the summer and school year (if they were seeking it).
Prospects aren’t completely bleak, and Georgetown remains an elite law school. One student put a more positive spin on the situation:
I would think that "any kind of job" is definitely a ridiculous exaggeration of any difficulty in getting the job that you want. Look at the employment stats at graduation and you'll see that statement is just patently false. I have heard rumors with the economy that some 2Ls with GPAs below 3.0 had more difficulties early in the fall getting summer internship offers as a result of the general economic downturn right now. I'm not sure how that has panned out for them, but if you are willing to go to your home market where you have demonstrated commitment (i.e. where you are from) for the summer, then I would think you would be able to get an internship.
As mentioned previously, Georgetown’s alternate section (Section 3) doesn’t seem to have any adverse effect on employment prospects. Truth be told, the economic situation is taking its toll on nearly every school; Dean Fernando emphasized this point, stating:
I talk to my counterparts at the Career Service Offices of all of our peer schools, and they are seeing very similar things happen this year in their hiring. The perception in the marketplace is that Georgetown is a great institution that turns out very bright students.
The days of Georgetown placing 70-75% of its graduates into Biglaw are gone, but GULC is still one of the strongest law schools in the country, and its career services office is working hard to make sure that graduates understand their options.
Georgetown has long been heralded as one of the top schools in the country and remains highly regarded today. Students at GULC get to participate in an endless array of activities, both academic and recreational. Job prospects are not as strong in this economy as they have been in the past, but Georgetown is ready for action. Its alumni connections and hard-working career services office give Hoyas the best possible chance at finding good employment. Considering the quality of life provided by vibrant Washington D.C., the academic boost that comes from GULC’s unique location, and the quality of the school’s faculty and reputation, pre-law students owe it to themselves to give the Georgetown University Law Center a close look.
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