University of Georgia School of Law
The University of Georgia School of Law is among the finest law schools in the South and is widely considered to be one of the 50 best law schools in the nation. Students at the school can look forward to excellent job prospects in the region, and especially in the growing legal market of the city of Atlanta. Applicants interested in securing employment in this region should give the school serious consideration, while residents of the state of Georgia, who can enroll at bargain rates, should place the school near the top of their lists.
Admissions & tuition
With an acceptance rate that usually falls under 25%, the University of Georgia Law School has a highly selective admissions process. In a typical year, nearly 2,300 applicants petition for entry into the law school, fewer than 600 are granted admission, and about 230 of those admitted matriculate to form that year's entering class. For the 2009 entering class, the median LSAT score was 164, while the median GPA was 3.7 To have a good chance at gaining admission into Georgia in future application cycles, applicants should have numbers near or above these medians. Of course, those with numbers well above these medians will be considered for considerable scholarships. Applicants with numbers below these medians, on the other hand, should focus on highlighting in their application any diversity that they might be offer to the school, as Georgia, like most other reputable law schools, aims to put together entering classes diverse in ethnicity, background and experience.
As mentioned in the introduction, Georgia's impressively low rate of in-state tuition should make the school an attractive option for residents of the state of Georgia. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the typical incoming class at Georgia is mostly comprised of resident students. The 2009 entering class, for example, consisted of 171 residents and only 70 non-residents. These resident students paid $14,448 in tuition for the 2009-2010 academic year, while those coming from outside the state faced $30,226 for the same period. Fortunately for the latter group, Georgia seems to have a relatively generous residency policy, and the school states that more than 80% of non-resident students usually achieve residency for their second and third years of law school. It thus seems safe to say that nearly all students who enroll at Georgia can expect to receive a fine legal education at a relatively low cost.
Academics & curriculum
Like students at most top law schools, Georgia Law students enroll in a required set of courses during their 1L year, which is thought to be the most academically rigorous year at the law school. After completing first-year requirements, students are free to choose from among 126 elective courses at the law school, and can also take courses at other schools and colleges at the University of Georgia for credit towards their JD degrees. Interdisciplinary opportunities are also available in the form of several joint degree programs available to law students, including the traditional JD/MBA and the less common JD/MEd in Sports Studies. Students looking for more practical training can take advantage of Georgia Law's several clinical opportunities, among them the Criminal Defense Clinic and the Family Violence Clinic, and can also participate in the school's acclaimed and decorated Moot Court and Mock Trial teams. Lastly, students interested in taking their legal educations beyond American borders will have plenty of opportunity to do so through Georgia Law's various study abroad programs, which take place in Oxford, Brussels and several other cities.
Quality of life
There seems to be an almost universal admiration of Athens among students at Georgia Law School. The college town houses a variety of restaurants and bars, the latter of which is often home to live musical acts to suit a wide range of musical tastes. Athens has a very active live music scene and has helped launch such famous bands as REM and the B-52's. Aside from nightlife, students at Georgia can participate in the hoopla surrounding the university's storied football program, and can also participate in the various functions and events hosted by the law school. It seems safe to say that Georgia Law students will run out of free time, especially during their 1L year, before they run out of ways to pass that free time in Athens. In terms of housing, students are typically able to find suitable apartments for less than $500 per month, and most tend to live off-campus. The city's public transportation system is said to be convenient and efficient in getting students to campus, although parking on campus is not a problem. All this, combined with Athens' proximity to Atlanta (75 miles), and the University of Georgia's beautiful and spacious campus, makes for a promising quality of life for students at Georgia Law School.
Employment prospects & bar passage
In Georgia and its neighboring states, graduates of the University of Georgia Law School enjoy great job prospects. Many top firms from this area, including those from the huge Atlanta legal market, visit Athens each year to interview the school's students, about 75% of whom take jobs in the state of Georgia upon graduation. As is the case with any regional school, Georgia Law's reputation wanes as one looks outside of the state, and students hoping to secure employment on either coast will likely be in for a tougher job search. Of course, the school's impressive alumni network and career services office will help students wishing to land jobs on the coasts, and graduating near the top of his or her class will greatly improve a student's chances of landing a job outside of Georgia. In terms of employment type, the majority of Georgia Law School graduates typically take on jobs in the private sector, earning an average first-year salary of $131,000 in 2008. When it comes to the bar exam, the school's students excel, as about 92.7% of graduates sitting for the bar in Georgia successfully pass the exam on their first attempt, compared to an overall state passage rate of about 84.8%.
The University of Georgia School of Law provides its students a fine legal education at a reasonable cost, followed by excellent job prospects in Atlanta and the state of Georgia as a whole. At the same time, the charming city of Athens promises Georgia Law students a high quality of life and a low cost of living, a combination sure to make for an enjoyable three years at the law school. Without a doubt, residents of Georgia and applicants wishing to land employment in Georgia should give the school serious consideration.
U.S. News ranking: 35th
Application deadline: 2/1
Application fee: $50
Entering class size: 241 (2009)
Median LSAT: 164
Median GPA: 3.7
Yearly tuition: Resident: $14,448, Non-resident: $30,226 (2009-2010)
Median private sector first-year salary: $130,000 (Class of 2008, 65% reporting)