These days, the nation's capitol is so infused with law and politics, even its roads aren't immune from their reach. License plates abound describing the city as a land of taxation without representation, harkening back to a rallying cry of the American Revolution. While such messaging emphasizes the lack of political power among D.C. residents and the need for statehood, some instead use it to argue for an exemption from federal taxation. Clever.
Taking a step back from that debate for a moment, even without legislative representatives, many residents of the capitol city still hold significant power and influence. Students in D.C. law schools, for example, have positions throughout the government that shape law and policy. With judicial clerkships, law students typically research and draft opinions that have the potential to impact the state of the law for decades. Some law students are even able to screen Supreme Court arguments before they're presented to the High Court.
With the unique professional opportunities available at law schools in the District of Columbia, starting your legal career in the nation's capitol, and possibly the 51st state, is definitely worthy of consideration.
D.C. Law Schools: What Do They Have to Offer?
As you decide whether to go to law school in Washington D.C., there are a number of resources to help you weigh your options. The American Bar Association (ABA), for example, compiles annual standard law school reports containing a wealth of statistics by school from tuition costs to bar passage rates and everything in between.
There are at least six ABA-approved law schools in D.C., which include:
- American University, Washington College of Law
- Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law
- George Washington University Law School
- Georgetown University Law Center
- Howard University School of Law
- University of District of Columbia, David A. Clarke School of Law
You can find a wealth of information about these schools on their websites, although some of their highlights are described below.
Georgetown University Law Center
As one of the more prominent law schools in D.C, Georgetown has been ranked among the top 15 in the nation. With its location just blocks from the U.S. Capitol and Supreme Court, its students have access to a wide range of venues to gain practical experience while earning their degrees. It's setting also allows it to draw faculty from all areas of government, including the Supreme Court bar. In addition, Georgetown Law is home to 13 law journals, so there are a number of ways for students to develop their research and writing skills before graduation.
George Washington University Law School
Like Georgetown, GW Law has been ranked among the top 25 law programs nationwide and also boasts of its proximity to decision makers in all branches of government. Located within walking distance of the White House allows GW Law to place students throughout the federal government. In addition, GW Law confers a wide variety of law degrees, including a Doctor of Juridical Science, a degree that could be of benefit if you're planning on a career in the academic world.
American University, Washington College of Law
Although not located in downtown D.C., American University's law school, ranked among the top 80 in the nation, is still close to the seat of the federal government. Its law school offers a diverse range of academic opportunities for law students, including summer abroad and semester exchange programs. In addition, for those students still trying to discern their career path, the university has established an academic pathways program in which faculty introduce students to different practice areas to help illuminate their potential careers.
District of Columbia Law Schools: Next Steps
As you start planning your legal career, remember that there is a universe of support to help you along the way. The lawyers at FindLaw have a wealth of experience and are more than happy to share information and advice to help get your career off the ground. Keep connected with FindLaw for Law Students to learn more about what law school and a legal career have to offer.