Inns of Court
The Inns of Court program, recipient of the 2018 E. Smythe Gambrell Professionalism Award presented by the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Professionalism, offers GW Law students support and guidance from a diverse set of staff and faculty advisors dedicated to enriching their law school experience and enhancing their career opportunities. These Inns become their communities throughout their time at GW Law and offer students a dynamic combination of support and career development from their first week at GW Law school that has become a distinguishing feature of the GW Law experience.
Founded in 2011, the JD Inns of Court for 1Ls features six cohorts named after former Supreme Court Justices. Students take all of their 1L classes with their Inn and attend almost weekly Inns of Court Program sessions led by their advisors and designed to supplement doctrinal courses with critical skills development, career exploration, and professional identity formation.
In 2023, this trail-blazing professional development program was expanded to include the unique and diverse LLM student population with the addition of the Thomas Buergenthal Inn of Court. Named for the late Honorable Thomas Buergenthal, these Inn sessions are tailored to the specific professional needs and existing skill levels of LLM students and offer important training on the American legal community and practice.
The Inns of Court at GW Law distinguish these degree programs from every other law school in the nation and demonstrates our commitment to training law students holistically and preparing them for successful, meaningful careers in the legal profession.
The Inns of Court (JD Program)
The JD Inns of Court Program is a voluntary professional development program for 1Ls led by an Advisory Team made up of classroom, clinical, and Fundamentals of Lawyering faculty, staff from the Dean of Students Office, the Career Center, and the Law Library, and upper-level student mentors. Through almost weekly sessions, the Inns Program fosters a more personal law school experience for 1Ls by providing them with a smaller, more accessible community, exposing them to the full range of skills they will need to succeed as lawyers including the non-cognitive skills students do not learn in their classrooms, and assisting students in making informed and ultimately meaningful career choices by facilitating the exploration of their own interests and skills as well as practice areas and settings. 1Ls work with their Advisors, doing hands-on exercises that give them a new perspective on the practice of law and empower them to explore their own professional identity. They also get several opportunities to meet local attorneys and alumni working in various legal fields, practice critical lawyering skills, and learn about the myriad of ways and places attorneys work all of which help 1Ls capitalize on their time in law school and make the most of their legal careers from day one.
The GW Law Inns of Court program was the first of its kind and remains a prestigious model for professional identity formation curricula around the country. New ABA standards require law schools to better facilitate professional identity development, recognizing its importance in creating well-rounded, self-directed, happy lawyers, and GW leads the way in providing 1Ls with a strong foundation in that area. Through the Inns of Court program, we are helping develop whole lawyers who are practice-ready as soon as they leave GW’s hallowed halls and enter the legal profession.
With each Inn, students are provided:
Each Inn includes an advisory team of faculty, administrators, staff, and upper-class students who help students 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.
Students attend regular sessions on professional development, well-being, and how to succeed in law school. These sessions provide a chance to learn about matters essential to their professional success in addition to what they are learning in the classroom.
We help students determine what type of career will be meaningful to them, and we connect them with practitioners and alumni to help begin to build a circle of professional relationships that will lay the foundation for summer and post-graduate job searches.
- Spring 2024 Weekly Schedule
Week 1 – January 9 – Strategic Planning for Law School: Purposeful Skills Development Outside the Classroom
Week 2 – January 16 – Overview of Careers in Government and Public Interest
Week 3 – January 23 – Working with Judges: Judicial Internships, Externships, and Clerkships
Week 4 – January 30 – Resilience for Lawyers: A Key to Professional Success (Day Inns); Career Connections (Jay Inn)
Week 5 – February 6 – Practice-In-Action: Lawyers at Work
Week 6 – February 13 – NO SESSIONS
Week 7 – February 20 – Better Listener, Better Lawyer (No Jay Inn Session)
Week 8 – February 27 – Real Clients, Real Cases: Practicing Client-Centered Service through Clinical Education (Day Inns); The Evening Student's Pathway (Jay Inn)
Week 9 – March 5 – Building on Foundations: Assessing and Marketing Your Competencies
"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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
Todd Peterson, Professor of Law, Director, Inns of Court and Foundations of Practice Programs
Sierra Brummett, Assistant Program Director for Professional Development
Leah Hollar, Program Associate, Inns of Court, Foundations of Practice, and Alumni Mentorship Programs
The Thomas Buergenthal Inn of Court (LLM Program)
The Buergenthal Inn of Court is the most comprehensive professional development program of its kind currently being offered to LLM students at a U.S. law school.
The program aims to provide foreign trained lawyers and foreign law graduates with: (1) a successful transition into the U.S. Law School academic system, (2) real-world perspectives on different practice areas in the U.S., (3) critical professionals skills related to the U.S. legal field, and (4) an opportunity to expand their U.S. and global network of professional relationships. The program also aims to be a continuing professional development program for U.S. LLM students. LLM students will attend a total of 12 Inn sessions during the academic year. These sessions will be led by a dedicated team of Advisors composed of GW Law Faculty members and professional Staff members. The Inn sessions will complement the career services provided to the LLM students and will be held in addition to the ongoing career related events and programming scheduled during the academic year.
The LLM Inn of Court is named after the late Honorable Thomas Buergenthal. Mr. Buergenthal served as Judge on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague, the Netherlands, from 2000 to 2010, and as a Judge on the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and on the Inter-American Development Bank's Administrative Tribunal. Judge Buergenthal was also one of the world’s leading international human rights experts, one of the youngest survivors of the Holocaust, an accomplished author, and a professor at GW Law first as the Lobingier Professor of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence at GW Law from 1989 to 2000 and then as the Lobingier Professor Emeritus of Comparative Law and Jurisprudence from 2010 until his retirement in 2015.
- Fall 2023 Schedule
Session 1 - August 29: Introduction to Inn Advisor Team & personal and professional goal settings for the year
Session 2 - September 5: Strategies for Law School Success
Session 3 - September 19: The Negotiation Toolkit with Professor Robin Juni
September 26: One Month Check In
Session 4 - October 10: Optimizing Focus and Concentration in Law School
Session 5 - October 24: Understanding Legal Practice Areas and Settings
Session 6 - October 31: Self-Assessment: The Key to Finding Meaning, Satisfaction and Happiness in Your Career
Session 7 - November 7: Putting it All Together: The Practicing Lawyer’s Perspective on Hiring
- Spring 2024 Schedule
Session 8 – January 19: Practice-In-Action: Lawyer at Work
Session 9 – February 9: Career Connections
Session 10 - February 23: Better Listener, Better Lawyer
Session 11- March 7: Cultural Competency
Session 12 – March 22- Building on Foundations: Assessing & Marketing Your Competencies
“Dum Spiro Spero,” meaning “While I breathe, I hope.”
The symbol (a globe, olive branches, a parchment, and quill) and motto reflect Justice Buergenthal’s lifelong commitment to justice and human rights in the face of formidable challenges. They also reflect a tenacity and ambition unique to the LLM student community.
Shehernaz Joshi, Assistant Dean, Graduate and International Programs, Buergenthal Inn of Court Advisor
Fahed Alrawaf, LLM Senior Career Counselor, Buergenthal Inn of Court Lead Advisor