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Legal Studies


Academics

The comprehensive nature of the institute gives you the academic background necessary to succeed as a professional in the legal field.

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The program’s academic goal is to create stronger attorneys by engaging you in in-depth discussions on economic and constitutional foundations of the legal practice.  What better place to do that than in the nation’s capital where laws are actually made?

You will take a two-part course at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University to complement your DC internship experience. The course is taught by a team of GMU's leading legal scholars and exposes students to a broad survey of economic and constitutional concepts that play a crucial role in determining the outcome of legal disputes, and underpin a system of limited government and free enterprise.

Class sessions are held at the Scalia Law facilities conveniently located just across the Potomac River in Arlington, VA and easily accessible on the Orange Line Metro train. Founded in 1972 as the International School of Law in Washington, DC, it merged with GMU in 1979 to become George Mason University School of Law.  In 2016, it was renamed the Antonin Scalia Law School in memory of the late Supreme Court Justice. Scalia Law is home to an exceptional market-oriented faculty, placing them at the center of foundational debates on liberty, private property rights, constitutionally limited government, and the economic analysis of law. Scalia Law also hosts research projects and programs through the Law and Economics Center and the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property.

Students will earn three credit hours awarded through Scalia Law upon successful completion of the coursework.

I was given the chance to expand my knowledge of the Constitution and the important issues grounded in its interpretation. I would like my career to center around constitutional law, and I know my experiences as part of LSI have helped me prepare for that future.”

Cole Milliard, Catholic University
Intern, Stein, Mitchell & Mezines, LLP

Course Description

Part 1: Economic Foundations of Legal Studies (2 Credits)

The course exposes students to a broad survey of economic concepts that play a crucial role in determining the outcome of legal disputes. The goal is to educate and train students so that they will be better prepared to understand a dispute, craft an argument, or prepare a witness. Throughout the course students will be exposed to crucial economic, statistical, finance and accounting concepts. Please click here for last summer's syllabus.

 Part 1: Constitutional Interpretation: The Debate over Originalism (1 Credits)

The course will explore the concepts of original meaning theory as a method of constitutional interpretation. Students will be exposed to the history of orginalism and its practical application in landmark cases before the Supreme Court. Click here for last summer's syllabus.

“I found it amazing that on my commute to class each day I passed by the U.S. Supreme Court and other influential institutions I had only ever read about in text books.”

Blake Edwards, University of Kentucky
Intern, Bregman, Berbert, Schwartz & Gilday, LLP

Faculty

James C. Cooper
Associate Professor of Law and Director, Program on Economics & Privacy

Associate Professor of Law James C. Cooper brings over a decade of public and private sector experience to his research and teaching. He served as Deputy and Acting Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Policy Planning, Advisor to Federal Trade Commissioner William Kovacic, and an associate in the antitrust group of Crowell and Moring, LLP. His research on vertical restraints, price discrimination, behavioral economics and antitrust, and privacy policy have appeared in top journals and are widely cited.

Professor Cooper has a BA from the University of South Carolina, received his Ph.D. in economics from Emory University, and his law degree (magna cum laude) from George Mason University School of Law, where he was a Levy Fellow and a member of the George Mason Law Review.

He teaches Economic Foundations of Legal Studies, Advanced Seminar on Law & Economics, and Digital Information Policy Seminar.

Jeremy N. Rabkin
Professor of Law

Jeremy A. Rabkin is a Professor of Law at Antonin Scalia Law School. Before joining the faculty in June 2007, he was, for over two decades, a professor in the Department of Government at Cornell University. Professor Rabkin serves on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Institute of Peace (originally appointed by President George W. Bush in 2007, then appointed for a second term by President Barack Obama and reconfirmed by the Senate in 2011). He also serves on the Board of Academic Advisers of the American Enterprise Institute and on the Board of Directors of the Center for Individual Rights, a public interest law firm based in Washington, D.C.

Professor Rabkin’s books include Law Without Nations? (Princeton University Press, 2005). He authored “If You Need a Friend, Don’t Call a Cosmopolitan,” a chapter in Varieties of Sovereignty and Citizenship (Sigal R. Ben-Porath & Rogers M. Smith eds., University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012). His articles have appeared in major law reviews and political science journals and his journalistic contributions in a range of magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

Lecture Series

As part of our comprehensive program, weekly guest lectures give you a chance to learn, question and, more often than not, exchange business cards with some of the best public policy experts and legal minds in D.C.

These lectures are designed to complement what you are learning in your classes and internship. Covering the constitution as well as a wide variety of current topics, the events are lively, interactive, and challenging.

Recent guest lecturers have included:

  • Judge Douglas Ginsburg, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit
  • Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey
  • Judge Diane Sykes, U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • Judge Loren Smith, Senior Judge, U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • Shannon Bradford Franklin, Executive Director, Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
  • Steven Bradbury, Former Head of Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice
  • Clark Neily, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice
  • Ilya Shapiro, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Studies, Cato Institute
  • Randy Barnett, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Russell C. Deyo, Former Under Secretary for Management, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Judge Andrew Napolitano, Senior Judicial Analyst, Fox News
  • Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent, The New York Times
  • Todd Gaziano, Pacific Legal Foundation
  • Alan Hanson, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Office of Judicial Programs, U.S. Department of Justice

"The Guest Lecture Series was an exciting component of the program. Each speaker had his or her own perspective and area of expertise, and each presentation was incredibly articulate, engaging, and informative.”

Jim Buechele, University of Texas
Intern, Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, LLP