GW Law and COVID-19

Below you will find a guide to information relating to GW Law and COVID-19. 

 

 

 

 

Per President LeBlanc’s message on July 27th, 2020, the university has decided to hold courses online for the Fall semester. We will continue to update this page as more information becomes available. Read Interim Dean Bracey's most recent message to the GW Law community for more information. 

Contact Info for Additional Questions

The university recently launched a COVID-19 hotline – 855-GWU-INFO – which is open and ready to answer any questions you may have regarding the university’s preparedness for COVID-19. For law-school-specific questions, please email [email protected] and visit this page. This website will be updated regularly as new information becomes available.

Frequently Asked Questions/Appendix

*Answer has been recently added or updated

General

Per President LeBlanc’s message on July 27th, 2020, the university has decided to hold courses online for the Fall semester. We will be updating the GW Law website frequently as new information becomes available.

The University's Coronavirus website is updated regularly with new information on the Fall 2020 plan and answers to frequently asked questions.

The ABA responded on July 17 with approval of GW Law's variance request for online courses. 

View the approval notice

Along with this GW Law-specific page, the University's Coronavirus FAQ page includes information on the university's efforts to support students this fall.

Student Services

The Career Center is fully open for business all year round and continues to monitor legal market news and employer trends. Students may schedule a phone appointment with a Career Counselor to talk through specific job search needs, concerns about the market, coordinating job searches with changed bar examination dates, and other related issues.  

The Career Center's COVID-19 Resources contain up-to-date information and FAQs for students in all stages of the job search process, including those who may have concerns about offers that have already been accepted. 

On-Campus Recruiting will now take place in January 2021. This postponement allows employers more time to determine their hiring needs and to consider grades from Fall 2020 in reviewing students' applications. The Career Center series of videos on how to prepare for 2021 recruiting programs are now available to view on demand. As it becomes available, additional information will be updated on the Recruitment Programs page on the career center website.

Students experiencing financial hardship due to these COVID-19-related disruptions should contact the law school Financial Aid Office at [email protected].

The law school complex may be closed, but the Jacob Burns Law Library continues to provide services.

Access to the Burns Law Library

During the Fall 2020 semester, the University is granting GW Law students access to the Burns Law Library on an “emergency one-time access” basis.  Students needing to access materials from the library’s reserve collection, including casebooks, will be able to do so through this method.

To arrange the use of the reserve collection, please send an email to Scott Pagel, Director of the Burns Law Library ([email protected]). He will arrange a block of time for you to come to the library and ensure that the books you need will be available. Students will be permitted to have access Monday through Friday only (the days that the UPD station is open). You will be required to follow the safety protocols established for the Law Library:  wear a facemask at all times, do not bring food or drinks into the library (to enforce the facemask policy), obey all signs posted to ensure the safety of library users.

On the day that you have an appointment to use the reserve collection, you will first need to visit the UPD station at 2145 G Street. You will be asked to have your temperature taken and to complete an access request form. Your reason for access should be “appointment to use non-circulating materials at the Burns Law Library on a one-time basis.” UPD will then ask GWorld to enable your ID for the day so that you can enter the Law Library. If you are a new student and do not have a GW ID, you will be directed to go to the library entrance at 716 20th St. There is a buzzer at the entrance and the Circulation staff will admit you.

When you make your appointment with Dean Pagel, you will want to schedule sufficient time to do all the work you might need for the entire semester. UPD is very serious about this being “one-time access.” 

Students who want to check out books from the Law Library (except for items on reserve) do not need to make use of the one-time access policy. You can obtain books from the collection through the library’s “Grab n Go” service or have them mailed if you are more than 30 miles from campus.

Checking Out Books

If you need to check out books from the Burns Law Library (except books on reserve), we can provide them to you through the mail (if you are more than 30 miles from campus) or through our new “Grab n Go” service. With “Grab n Go” we set the books requested in the library lobby so you can pick them up at a pre-arranged time without making contact with any staff. You just need to place a request through our Interlibrary Loan system. We also will borrow books for you through interlibrary loan or the Consortium Loan Service and mail them to you or make them available through “Grab n Go.” 

Interlibrary Loan Service Information

Reference Assistance

Reference assistance is available every day.  The reference librarians are teleworking and can be reached by email, phone, or chat. 

Contact a Reference Librarian

Online Services

The many online services of the Burns Law Library (including Wolters Kluwer study aids) are available to GW Law students throughout the world. 

View a Complete List of Online Services

Course Packs

The Copy Center continues to produce Course Packs.  These are available on the portal page for each course.  If you want to purchase a copy, you can have it mailed to you or pick it up at the library.

Course Pack Information

Until we receive permission from the University to admit students to the Burns Law Library, we continue to scan readings at the request of professors for them to post to their course portal pages. If you need readings scanned, please ask your professor to send a request to Scott Pagel, Director of the Law Library ([email protected]).

Classes

No. The early/extended add-drop period will proceed as planned so that you can adjust your schedule as needed.

As announced on July 27, 2020, all law school courses will be delivered remotely for the fall semester. All classes will be recorded and we will follow our current academic calendar. As previously announced, exams will take place remotely at the end of the semester as indicated on our calendar.

We are planning to offer an early and extended add-drop period so that students may make adjustments to their schedules prior to the beginning of classes.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we anticipate releasing an updated fall course schedule by the close of business, August 3. On Wednesday, August 5, the add-drop period will open for 3Ls (JD students with 50 or more earned credits); and on Wednesday, August 12, the add-drop period will open for all students who are not first-semester 1Ls. The add-drop period will remain open to all students until Sunday, August 30.

LLM, MSL, and SJD students can expect details for registration directly from our graduate student administration. If you have immediate questions, please contact Shehernaz Joshi or Stephanie Allgaier.

Some courses will initially be restricted from registration due to graduate student enrollment, which also begins on August 5. The restrictions will be lifted on August 11, at 7 am EDT.

Many courses filled at the conclusion of registration in March 2020. Some of these courses are skills or experiential courses that have caps to enable fulfillment of accreditation requirements. In addition, some of our part-time faculty have course caps to ensure that they can meet our students' needs while practicing law full-time. These circumstances have not changed with our shift to remote instruction. Larger courses taught by full-time faculty, however, are sometimes limited in enrollment by our physical room constraints, so we have raised their caps to enable more choices for our students. That said, class sizes need to remain manageable and we cannot offer unlimited enrollment while maintaining our commitment to interactive, dynamic remote education.

The academic calendar remains in effect and is available here. All classes will conclude prior to Thanksgiving. Exams will be conducted in a take-home format at the end of the semester. 

Students will be able to take part in their clinics this fall, whether they are in Washington, D.C. or elsewhere. Clinic activities will take place remotely. Please contact the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, Laurie Kohn, for further information.

Students whose placements allow for in-person supervision will have the option to complete their placements in that manner; others will continue to work remotely as was the approach for Summer 2020. All of the co-requisite courses, as well as Advanced Field Placement, will be offered remotely. Please contact the Field Placement Program at [email protected] for further information.

Yes. After the updated fall course schedule is released, students will have the opportunity to make changes during the early/extended add-drop period. Students may also make changes through the first week of classes, as usual.

The University has announced that it will share its plans for Spring 2021 in December. The law school must follow the University and District of Columbia requirements for any approach to re-opening. Subject to that caveat, the law school anticipates that we will begin the semester in January with remote instruction.

Our faculty are working diligently this summer to ensure that online classes live up to our commitment to excellence in legal education. Students won’t just be logging in and watching a recording; they should expect interactive content. For online learners, faculty may choose to utilize a variety of approaches that include meaningful faculty/student interactions and formative assessment.

Yes. Your professors will be available just as always, but office hours will generally be conducted virtually rather than in person.

No. You are expected to be an active participant in your classes. This approach would also violate University, Law School, and accreditation policies and standards.

Exams and Grading

The normal grading policy will be in effect. View the 2020-2021 Bulletin to learn more about the grading policy.

All end-of-semester scheduled exams will be in a twenty-four hour take-home format administered via MyLaw (the portal). Exams will begin at the times posted (see the Records page for more information). Your instructor may choose to impose time limits from the time you download your exam until the time when you upload your answers. For example, you would have three hours to take a three-hour exam, and could take it anytime within the twenty-four-hour period. Contact your instructor directly to learn whether there will be a time limit on your exam.

Community Safety and Logistics

Although our events will be in a virtual format, we will have the same number of events as normal. We look forward to holding a large variety of law school events virtually this year!

View our Event Schedule

Students will have limited availability to access the law library. While the law school complex may be closed, the Jacob Burns Law Library continues to provide services.

Access to the Burns Law Library

During the Fall 2020 semester, the University is granting GW Law students access to the Burns Law Library on an “emergency one-time access” basis.  Students needing to access materials from the library’s reserve collection, including casebooks, will be able to do so through this method.

To arrange the use of the reserve collection, please send an email to Scott Pagel, Director of the Burns Law Library ([email protected]). He will arrange a block of time for you to come to the library and ensure that the books you need will be available. Students will be permitted to have access Monday through Friday only (the days that the UPD station is open). You will be required to follow the safety protocols established for the Law Library:  wear a facemask at all times, do not bring food or drinks into the library (to enforce the facemask policy), obey all signs posted to ensure the safety of library users.

On the day that you have an appointment to use the reserve collection, you will first need to visit the UPD station at 2145 G Street. You will be asked to have your temperature taken and to complete an access request form. Your reason for access should be “appointment to use non-circulating materials at the Burns Law Library on a one-time basis.” UPD will then ask GWorld to enable your ID for the day so that you can enter the Law Library. If you are a new student and do not have a GW ID, you will be directed to go to the library entrance at 716 20th St. There is a buzzer at the entrance and the Circulation staff will admit you.

When you make your appointment with Dean Pagel, you will want to schedule sufficient time to do all the work you might need for the entire semester. UPD is very serious about this being “one-time access.” 

Students who want to check out books from the Law Library (except for items on reserve) do not need to make use of the one-time access policy. You can obtain books from the collection through the library’s “Grab n Go” service or have them mailed if you are more than 30 miles from campus.

Checking Out Books

If you need to check out books from the Burns Law Library (except books on reserve), we can provide them to you through the mail (if you are more than 30 miles from campus) or through our new “Grab n Go” service. With “Grab n Go” we set the books requested in the library lobby so you can pick them up at a pre-arranged time without making contact with any staff. You just need to place a request through our Interlibrary Loan system. We also will borrow books for you through interlibrary loan or the Consortium Loan Service and mail them to you or make them available through “Grab n Go.” 

Interlibrary Loan Service Information

Reference Assistance

Reference assistance is available every day.  The reference librarians are teleworking and can be reached by email, phone, or chat. 

Contact a Reference Librarian

Online Services

The many online services of the Burns Law Library (including Wolters Kluwer study aids) are available to GW Law students throughout the world. 

View a Complete List of Online Services

Course Packs

The Copy Center continues to produce Course Packs.  These are available on the portal page for each course.  If you want to purchase a copy, you can have it mailed to you or pick it up at the library.

Course Pack Information

Until we receive permission from the University to admit students to the Burns Law Library, we continue to scan readings at the request of professors for them to post to their course portal pages. If you need readings scanned, please ask your professor to send a request to Scott Pagel, Director of the Law Library ([email protected]).

Tuition

On the subject of tuition reduction, Interim Dean Chris Bracey sent the following message on July 29, 2020:

I am writing to follow up on Provost M. Brian Blake’s message to graduate students sent earlier this evening in which he announced that the planned tuition increases will not be applied to graduate students for the 2020-21 academic year.   

As I mentioned in my letter to you earlier this week, the dean’s office had been advocating for some form of tuition relief for law students. The university heard us and has agreed not to increase this year’s tuition as planned. Accordingly, law school tuition for the 2020-21 academic year will remain the same as it was in the 2019-20 academic year. This is a one-time adjustment in recognition of the financial and personal challenges that many of you and your families are experiencing as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We know you have questions. Therefore, on August 7, Deans Matthew and Hammond will host an online discussion to provide further details about the fall schedule, tuition, and our plans to serve you during the fall semester.

As we look forward to the commencement of the fall semester, I extend my very best wishes to you and your loved ones for good health and a productive, peaceful close to the summer.

 

Sincerely,

 

Christopher A. Bracey
Interim Dean and Professor of Law, GW Law
Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs, GW

Incoming 1L Students

Orientation for the evening JD program will be Tuesday, August 11 from 6 pm – 9:30 pm and orientation for the full-time JD program will be held Wednesday, August 12 – Friday, August 14. There is also plenty of preorientation content available already online. Consistent with the law school's plans for the fall academic semester, all mandatory sessions and required information for students will be delivered online--either synchronously or asynchronously. Therefore, students will be able to participate remotely.

Learn more about Orientation

Students are receiving their Inn assignments and schedules on August 7, 2020. Students who are admitted after this date may have a slight delay before receiving their registration information, but we will work with you to get you up-to-date as quickly as possible.

Transfer Students

The Dean of Students Office is the primary contact to make sure what credits are able to be transferred in and what courses you need. GW Law is also saving space for transfer students in courses as we open up the add/drop period in early August.

In July, the law school will complete a review of your transcript. In August (prior to Orientation and academic advising), the Dean of Students Office will notify you regarding which credits will transfer to your GW Law transcript and whether you will need to register for any courses in order to complete the GW Law first-year curriculum. Please note that in assessing the transferability of credits earned at a law student’s prior institution, the law school is taking into consideration the extraordinary circumstances presented by the COVID-19 crisis during the Spring 2020 semester.

International Students

GW Law will offer all students admitted to the Master of Laws (LLM), Master of Studies in Law (MSL), and Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) degree programs a one-time option to start their degree program online in Fall 2020 through the GW Law Flex Start Program.

Learn more about our Flex Start Program

Disability Services

We are working closely with the Dean of Students office to maximize our means to accommodate different learning styles and disabilities for online classes. If you have specific questions, please reach out to Andra Roy Chernack, Director of Disability Services and Senior Academic Advisor, for advice on your specific situation.

2020 Graduates

University Graduation Services is working as quickly as possible to mail diplomas. Their best estimate at this time is that diplomas will be sent in late July. The delay is attributed to challenges related to COVID-19. We regret the delay and appreciate your patience. We will continue to update this page if circumstances change.

For more information, please note the University Graduation and diploma FAQs.

Visit the law school's Commencement 2020 website to view all commencement materials from this year, including the 2020 diploma ceremony video, academic award winners, graduate yearbook, celebration programs, and notes from the faculty.