Inns of Court

Inns Banners

The award-winning Inns of Court program, recipient of the 2018 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award, a program of the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism, offers GW Law students support and guidance from a diverse set of advisors dedicated to enriching their law school experience and enhancing their career opportunities.

As 1Ls, students are assigned to one of six Inns of Court, named after former Supreme Court Justices, and take all 1L classes with their Inn. Their Inn remains their community for the next few years. (We borrowed the "Inns of Court" name from the British institutions that traditionally trained barristers and regulated their practice.)

Within each Inn, students are provided:

  • an advisory team of faculty, administrators, staff, and upper-class students who help them transition to and thrive in law school, and assist them in developing their legal career paths. Students work with their advisors both in a group setting and one-on-one.
  • regular sessions on professional development, well-being, and how to succeed in law school. These sessions give students a chance to learn about matters essential to their professional success in addition to what they are learning in the classroom.
  • an early focus on career satisfaction and career development. Through the Inns of Court, we help students determine what type of career will be meaningful to them, and we connect them with practitioners and alumni to help them begin to build a circle of professional relationships that will lay the foundation for their summer and post-graduate job searches.

This dynamic combination of support and career development from the first week of law school is a distinguishing feature of the GW Law experience.

Brandeis Seal

The Louis Brandeis Inn

"Incepto Ne Desistam," meaning "May I Not Shrink From My Purpose," taken from Virgil’s Aeneid, Book I.

The symbols and motto reflect Justice Brandeis' tenacity and reputation as a crusader for social justice, regardless of his opponent. The motto also reflects the goal of building determination and resilience among our students that will help them overcome whatever challenges they may face throughout law school and in their post-graduation careers.

Cardozo Seal

The Benjamin Cardozo Inn

“Scientia Est Potestas,” meaning “Knowledge Is Power,” coined by famed British jurist and author Sir Francis Bacon.

The motto reflects Justice Cardozo’s advocacy for the power and importance of common law. The symbols reflect the jurist’s legacy as a profound legal author, of whom it has been said: “His prose is rated with those of Greek and Roman classicists, whose works he read in the original language for his own pleasure.”

Jackson Seal

The Robert Jackson Inn

“Audentes Fortuna Iuvat,” meaning “Fortune Favors The Bold,” taken from Virgil’s Aeneid, Book X. Said to have been the last words of Pliny the Elder as he left the docks at Pompeii to rescue its citizens from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

The symbols reflect Justice Jackson’s stature as a lawyer with a national and international reputation, and as Attorney General, Supreme Court Justice and Nuremberg prosecutor. The motto reflects his integrity and his determination to achieve justice at the Nuremberg Trials on behalf of the oppressed.

Jay Seal

The John Jay Inn

“Nil Volentibus Arduum,” meaning “Nothing Is Impossible For The Willing.”

The motto is a nod to Jay’s evening students, who work extremely hard to achieve distinction while obtaining their JDs at night. The symbol reflects GW Law’s location in our nation’s capital, and marks John Jay’s place in history as a patriot, diplomat, and the first Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Marshall Seal

The Thurgood Marshall Inn

“Vincit Qui Patitur,” meaning “Those Who Endure Will Conquer.”

The symbols and motto reflect Justice Marshall’s courageous work during the Civil Rights Movement, including his litigation of Brown v. Board of Education before the Supreme Court, and his place in history as the first Supreme Court Justice of color. The symbols of endurance and equality recall the injustices endured before equality under law was achieved. They also reflect the Inns of Court program’s goal of building resilience and community among the student body.

O'Connor Seal

The Sandra Day O'Connor Inn

“Alis Volat Propriis,” meaning “She Flies On Her Own Wings.”

The symbol and motto reflect Justice O’Connor’s commitment to gender equality and judicial independence. They also reflect the Inns of Court program’s goal of fostering independence and an individual path for each of its students.

Fall 2018 Program Schedule

Fall Semester Meeting Times


Tuesdays (All students)


Great Room or Faculty Conference Center


1:40 – 2:35 pm: Brandeis (Great Room)
2:45 – 3:40 pm: Marshall (Great Room) & O'Connor (Faculty Conference Center)
3:50 – 4:45 pm: Cardozo (Great Room) & Jackson (Faculty Conference Center)
8:10 – 9 pm: Jay (Faculty Conference Center)

Weekly Schedule

Week 1 — August 21

Introduction to the Inns of Court Program

Week 2 — August 28

Strategies for Law School Success

Week 3 — September 4

Start Your Professional Journey

Week 4 — September 11

Writing Center Workshop: Strategies for Exam Success

Week 5 — September 18

Critical Skills for Professional Success

Wednesday, September 12

Writing Center Workshop: Finalizing the LIA

Week 6 — September 25 & 28

The Negotiation Toolkit

Week 7 — October 2

Strategies for Optimizing Focus and Concentration in Law School 

Week 8 — October 9

Writing Center Workshop: Organizing ORM Research

Week 9 — October 16

Fall Break

Week 10 — October 23

Self-Assessment:  The Key to Finding Meaning, Satisfaction and Happiness in Your Career

Week 11 — October 30

Understanding Legal Practice Areas and Settings

Wednesday, October 31

Writing Center Workshop: Exam Prep + Test-taking Strategies

Week 12 — November 6

Career Conversations:  Building Professional Relationships

Friday, November 9

Career Center: How I Found My 1L Summer Job

Week 13 — November 13

Summing Up the Semester:  The Practicing Lawyer’s Perspective on Hiring 

Wednesday, November 14

Writing Center Workshop: Finalizing the ORM

Thursday, November 15

Career Center: Practice Area Expo

Contact Us

Co-Directors, Inns of Court and Foundations of Practice Programs

  • Todd Peterson, Professor of Law
  • Susan Fine, Interim Associate Dean for Professional Development and Career Strategy