|Antonin Scalia Law School|
Hazel Hall, Antonin Scalia Law School
|Parent school||George Mason University|
|Dean||Henry N. Butler|
|Location||Arlington, Virginia, USA|
|USNWR ranking||45th (2020)|
|ABA profile||ABA Profile|
Antonin Scalia Law School (previously George Mason University School of Law) is the law school of George Mason University, a state university in Virginia, United States. The law school is located in Arlington, roughly fifteen miles east-northeast of the university's main campus in Fairfax.
U.S. News & World Report ranks the school 45th among American law schools, and it is the 3rd-highest-ranked law school in the Washington metropolitan area, behind Georgetown University Law Center and George Washington University Law School. As of 2017, the school had 525 students in its J.D., LL.M., JD/MBA, and JD/MPP programs. The median LSAT score among incoming J.D. students in 2018 was 163 and the median GPA was 3.76. The passage rate for first-time takers of the Virginia bar exam in July 2017 was 80.33%, fifth among Virginia's eight law schools.
On March 31, 2016, the Board of Visitors approved renaming the school after the late United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The name change followed gifts of $20 million from an anonymous donor, and an additional $10 million from the Charles Koch Foundation conditioned on the renaming, and was announced as requiring approval by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. The initial name, the Antonin Scalia School of Law, was changed to the current name after controversy over the acronym. The name change became effective on May 17, 2016.
George Mason University School of Law was authorized by the Virginia General Assembly in March 1979 and was founded on July 1, 1979. The school had started as the "International School of Law" (ISL), which opened in 1972 in a classroom at the Federal Bar Building on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. In 1973, it moved into the home of former United States Chief Justice Edward Douglass White on Rhode Island Avenue, and in 1975 purchased the old Kann's Department Store in Arlington. Despite growth, ISL could never obtain accreditation. In 1976, it discussed a merger with George Mason University, which was interested in setting up a law school. In 1978, the Virginia State Council of Education denied GMU's proposal to start a law school and encouraged a merger with ISL instead. Later that year, the Council advised against allowing that merger, but the Virginia state legislature nonetheless approved the merger in early March 1979.
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) for the 2017-18 academic year at Mason Law is $49,219 for in-state students attending full-time; the total cost of attendance for non-resident students attending full-time is $64,605. The Law School Transparency estimated debt-financed cost of attendance for three years is $179,567 for residents, and $234,586 for non-residents. To combat the high cost of law school, George Mason's Board of Visitors voted in 2013 to freeze tuition through the 2016-2017 academic year.
Mason Law is somewhat distinctive in offering a wide variety of intense law tracks, each of which requires that approximately one-third of the credits for graduation be completed in the track, and law concentrations, which are elective specializations and have a less restrictive credit requirement as compared to the track program. The law tracks include Litigation Law, Patent Law, and Regulatory Law.
The law concentrations include Antitrust Law, Communications Law, Corporate and Securities Law, Criminal Law, Homeland & National Security Law, Immigration Law, Intellectual Property Law, International Business Law, Legal and Economic Theory, Litigation Law, Personal Law, Regulatory Law, Tax Law, and Technology Law.
Also, the school has a Legal Research, Writing and Analysis (LRWA) curriculum. Mason Law requires its students to complete four semesters (two years) of LRWA coursework. Students acquire the necessary skills for trial and appellate practice. The first-year LRWA curriculum is taught by third-year (and fourth-year evening) law students under the guidance of full-time faculty. During the first semester, students learn how to conduct legal research and write a predictive memorandum, while during the second semester, students compete in intramural oral arguments while producing both predictive and persuasive memoranda. The second year of LRWA is taught by legal practitioners, and consists of Appellate Writing and Legal Drafting. Student transcripts bear a separate grade-point average (GPA) for LRWA and writing-intensive coursework in addition to the overall GPA. Students must successfully complete 89 credits to graduate.
In addition to two semesters (5 credits total) of LRWA, the first-year curriculum is filled with foundation courses. First-year day students cover the following legal foundation courses: Torts (4 credits), Contracts (5 credits), Property (4 credits), Civil Procedure (4 credits), Legislation and Statutory Interpretation (2 credits), and Criminal Law (3 credits). In addition, every student is required to complete one semester of "Economic Foundations of Legal Studies," a basic economics course taught by distinguished economists. First-year students may not take any electives.
The first-year students are graded according to a mandatory 3.25 curve.
In their second year of study, day students must complete a 4-credit Constitutional Law course and complete an additional 4 credits of LRWA. Students may select from a variety of upper-level electives in addition to these requirements.
According to George Mason's official ABA-required disclosures, 56% of the Class of 2014 obtained full-time, long-term, JD-required employment nine months after graduation. Ten months after graduation, 84% of the Class of 2014 was employed in or about to begin full-time jobs requiring bar passage or jobs for which a J.D. provides an advantage. George Mason's Law School Transparency under-employment score is 16.8%, indicating the percentage of the Class of 2014 unemployed, pursuing an additional degree, or working in a non-professional, short-term, or part-time job nine months after graduation.
The George Mason Law Library has a collection of electronic and print materials providing access to legal treatises, journals, and databases. Non-legal materials are available through the GMU University Libraries. It is a selective depository for U.S. Government documents, and it provides interlibrary lending services with other academic libraries, which enables students and faculty to borrow materials from major academic libraries. The library occupies four levels of the law school building. It has 14 study rooms, 70 carrel seats, and 196 table seats wired with electrical and network connections, and a wireless network is available. The library also operates 2 computer labs with a variety of software. The library employs 16 full-time staff members, including 6 librarians with degrees in law and library science and 3 technology specialists.