Since enrolling its first class in 1865, The George Washington University Law School has produced some of the finest minds across the spectrum of legal scholarship.
That tradition continues today, as GW Law graduates use the knowledge and skills they gain here to influence the critical legal conversations of our times. The school is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a charter member of the Association of American Law Schools. The law school is located on the GW campus in the downtown neighborhood familiarly known as Foggy Bottom.
In the early years of the Republic, when the nation's new capital was no more than a small collection of public buildings separated by pastureland, President George Washington advised Congress to establish a national university at the seat of government.
His goal was to educate future generations of civil servants and thereby forge a national identity based on "principles friendly to republican government and to the true and genuine liberties of mankind." He left in his will 50 shares of stock in the Potowmack Canal Company for the endowment of a university "to which the youth of fortune and talents from all parts thereof might be sent for the completion of their education in all the branches of polite literature-in arts and Sciences-in acquiring knowledge in the principles of Politics & good Government."
Though it would be decades before George Washington's namesake university would be established by an Act of Congress, the George Washington University Law School-established in 1865-was the first law school in the District of Columbia. Today, the School continues to embody the aspirations of the nation's first president.
DC & GW Law
The First Law School in the Capital City
Students have unmatched opportunities to learn from expert faculty and distinguished visitors and to pursue internships, clerkships, and employment, all while enjoying the city's vibrant culture, nightlife, and dining.
With a history of more than 145 years in the heart of Washington, D.C., life at The George Washington University Law School is inextricably linked to the life of its surrounding community. Our campus is only four blocks from the White House, and within easy reach of the World Bank, Department of Justice, Department of State, federal and local courts, and countless nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations. GW Law students have unmatched opportunities to learn from expert faculty and distinguished visitors and to pursue internships, clerkships, and employment, all while enjoying the city's vibrant culture, nightlife, and dining.
From the Dean
Welcome to GW Law!
The George Washington University Law School, founded in 1865, is one of the largest, most renowned, and diverse members of the legal academy. I invite you to explore our campus and community to discover a law school that is deeply rooted in tradition, highly responsive to changes in legal education and the legal profession, and fully committed to producing impactful lawyers and transformative ideas. Students come to GW Law because they want to change the world, and they graduate as professionals prepared to write, advocate, innovate, create, and pursue the highest ideals of law and justice.
As you visit our website, you will see the many ways our world-class institution prepares students for the realities of the global legal marketplace. Located in the heart of our nation’s capital, GW Law combines excellent legal instruction with innovative programming and abundant opportunities for internships, externships, mentorship, and networking.
A World-Class Faculty. At the core of the GW Law experience is a robust pedagogy that combines scholarship, doctrine, and practice. Helping to develop our students into impactful lawyers is a distinguished faculty that are not only publishing widely-cited books and articles but actively reshaping the legal landscape. Our nationally- and internationally-recognized professors are regularly involved in litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court, international tribunals, and other courts. They also provide expert commentary to the news media, testify on Capitol Hill, serve as consultants to various governments, and pursue many other activities that enrich the academic life of the school.
Where Law is Made. GW Law is perfectly positioned geographically to provide a uniquely Washingtonian legal educational experience. Our location – at the center of national and international law, top government officials, Supreme Court justices – allows for key Washington figures to frequent our classrooms, attend conferences on our campus, and speak at more than 100 special events annually at our law school.
Real-World Experience. Our engaged student body is diverse, supportive, creative, innovative, and hardworking. At GW Law, we provide our students with a deep set of opportunities to study, to explore, to debate, and to question law and legal principles in the classroom and out in the real world. Many students participate in GW’s Jacob Burns Community Legal Clinics, representing clients in real cases under faculty supervision. They also take part in advocacy competitions, student-edited law journals, pro bono projects, and hundreds of field placements at government agencies and leading national and international institutions in the Washington area.
Changing the World. We hope you will consider becoming a part of our community. I encourage you to dig deeper and learn what makes GW Law the ideal destination to acquire the skills that will enable you to change the world. Please visit us in person to tour our facilities and get a better sense of who we are, what we do, and how you can apply to join us. I look forward to welcoming you to our law school.
Christopher Alan Bracey
Interim Dean, Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, and Professor of Law