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    Feb 05, 2023  
American University Catalog 2022-2023 
American University Catalog 2022-2023

WCL General Information


Dean  Roger A. Fairfax, Jr.
Senior Associate Dean for Faculty & Academic Affairs  Heather Hughes
Associate Dean of Experiential Education  Llezlie Green
Associate Dean for Part Time & Evening Programs  Ezra Rosser
Associate Dean for Scholarship  Hilary Allen
Associate Dean of Development & Alumni Relations  Laura Herr
Associate Dean of Finance & Administration  Robert Campe
Associate Dean for Student Affairs  David B. Jaffe
Assistant Dean for Adjunct Faculty Affairs  William J. Snape III
Assistant Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid  Akira Shiroma
Assistant Dean of Diversity, Inclusion & Affinity Relations  Lisa Taylor
Assistant Dean for Online Learning  Catherine Schenker

Academic Programs

The academic program leading to the Juris Doctor (JD) degree is designed to allow students to develop special skills in public law, business and commercial law, international law, property and land use, and related fields. In addition to the JD program, Washington College of Law offers the Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD), Master of Legal Studies (MLS), and Master of Laws (LLM) in Advocacy; Gender, International, and Comparative Law; Intellectual Property and Technology; International Arbitration and Business; International Business and Trade; International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law; Derechos Humanos y Derecho Humanitario; International Legal Studies; Legislation; and Law and Government.

WCL also participates in joint degree programs with other American University (AU) schools and International Dual Degrees with partner universities abroad. Within the U.S., students have the opportunity to receive both a JD from the Washington College of Law and a master’s degree in International Affairs (MA) with the School of International Service ; Justice, Law and Criminology (MS) , Public Administration (MPA) , or Public Policy (MPP)  with the School of Public Affairs ; or Business Administration (MBA)  with the Kogod School of Business . Joint degree LLM programs are also available with the MBA, MPA, or MPP. Opportunities for JD students outside of the U.S. include: earning a JD from the Washington College of Law and a terminal professional law degree from the Monash University Law School in Australia (JD); University of Ottawa Common Law Section in Canada (JD); Université Paris Nanterre in France (M1 & M2); or an LLM with the Universidad Carlos III in Spain; LUISS in Italy; or the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Spain.

American University’s law school has a strong national and international substantive focus, offering a broad range of courses in addition to the basic program necessary for state bar examinations. Clinical programs engage students in providing representation, under close faculty supervision, to individuals and organizations in litigation, administrative, transactional, and policy matters. Students have responsibility for every phase of cases, from the initial client interview through the trial, appeal, or other substantive resolution of the case. The Clinics include Community and Economic Development Law, Entrepreneurship, Criminal Justice, Disability Rights Law, Civil Advocacy, Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law, Housing Advocacy and Litigation, Janet R. Spragens Federal Tax, Immigrant Justice, International Humans Rights Law, Re-Entry, and Women and the Law. For more information, go to:

Beyond the classroom, clinical programs, and supervised externships and field placements at federal, state, and local agencies, courts, and legislatures, academic offerings are enriched by an extensive independent study program allowing for intensive faculty-student work on complex legal research projects. In addition, Washington College of Law publications, including The American University Law Review, The American University International Law Review, The Administrative Law Review, The American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law, and The American University Business Law Review provide opportunities for students to develop expertise in traditional legal writing and research. For more information and a full listing of WCL publications, go to:

The basic first-year classes are taught using case analysis and dialogue as well as the problem method. First-year students take Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property, Torts, and a year-long course in legal research and writing. Upper-class courses are mostly elective and include a wide variety of teaching styles and formats.

Law Library

The Pence Law Library is the intellectual heart of the Washington College of Law. In a beautiful, light filled space, the law library supports WCL students and faculty with innovative services and extensive holdings of print and electronic materials, databases and journals. The law library provides access to many databases, including HeinOnline, ProQuest Congressional,, Access UN. All WCL students have password access to Lexis Advance, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law.

Services to WCL alumni include off-site access to the Law Journal Library, the ABA Law Library Collection Periodicals, federal and state case law via Fastcase on HeinOnline, as well as to JSTOR, and Academic Search, Alumni Edition. Please see our research guide at for further information about law library services to alumni. Learn more about the law library on our website at and search the library’s holdings in LEAGLE, the law library catalog.

The library’s special collections include depositories of US and European Union documents; the Goodman Rare Book Collection; the Richard Baxter Collection in International Law; a collection of litigation documents, including transcripts from the Iran Contra controversy of the late 1980s; the archives of the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia; and the Washington College of Law archives. For more information on the Pence Law Library, go to:

Legal Study in Washington, DC

American University Washington College of Law is a leading law school preparing students to practice in all areas of the law. With six specialty programs ranked in the top 15 by U.S. News and World Report, AU WCL students receive a legal education that prepares them to tackle a breadth of challenges in Washington, DC, throughout the country, and around the world.

There is no place for law students quite like the nation’s capital. With government agencies, international organizations, top law firms, and numerous NGOs located within a short metro ride of American University Washington College of Law, opportunities to gain practical experience and to access DC’s greatest legal minds abound.

Our location in the nation’s capital allows the entire city to become an extension of the classroom. An American University Washington College of Law education builds upon the first year doctrinal courses with a wide variety of experiential opportunities as students enter their second year and beyond. And our 8.5 acre campus connects students with hundreds of DC internship and externship opportunities each year.

This is a law school with tremendous faculty who are both practitioners and top scholars in their fields. They take on some of the latest issues in intellectual property, international law, environmental law, and more. Our professors have connections in Washington, DC, and around the world, and they stand ready to introduce students to their networks and work side by side with students in our specialized programs.

For information regarding Washington College of Law admissions, financial aid, or programs, please contact:

Office of Admissions
Washington College of Law
4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW, Suite C201
Washington, DC 20016-2132
For more information, visit