Students in front of the Capitol in Washington, DC.

American University Washington College of Law’s Specialty Programs Recognized Among the Nation's Best

March 12, 2019

American University Washington College of Law is pleased to have six specialty programs highly ranked in the 2020 U.S. News and World Report rankings released March 12, 2019. We are ranked #2 for Clinical Legal Education, #5 for Trial Advocacy, #8 for Intellectual Property, #8 for our Part-time JD program, and #9 for International Law – five programs in the top 10! Our Health Law and Policy Program is at #15 in the Health Care Law category.

“These specialty program rankings provide outstanding recognition of our top programs that are considerable strengths at Washington College of Law,” said Dean Camille Nelson. “We remain a law school with outstanding nationally and internationally renowned academic programs, which serve a wonderfully diverse student body that reflects our global connectedness, and enriches the depth and quality of our educational experience.”

We invite you to learn more about our specialty programs below.

Law Clinic

#2 Clinical Legal Education

“The AUWCL Clinical Program, which has been nationally ranked for more than 25 years, provides a unique and transformative learning experience.  Our program allows students to represent real clients on real cases, under the supervision of the clinic’s highly respected faculty. The clinics undertake representation of individual and organizational clients, both domestically and overseas, across a range of subject matter areas. Our program continues to grow and evolve, keeping up with the changing nature of law practice and responding to emergent legal needs.”

-Professor Jayesh Rathod, Associate Dean for Experiential Education; Director, Immigrant Justice Clinic

The AUWCL Clinical Program is made up of 10 in-house clinics, with 20+ faculty members that serve approximately 200 students each year. With clinics focused on Immigrant Justice, Disability Rights, International Human Rights, Community and Economic Development, and Intellectual Property, among others, the Clinical Program has jump-started countless legal careers in its 45-year history. LEARN MORE


Weinstein Courtroom, Trial Advocacy

#5 Trial Advocacy

“The Trial Advocacy Program is thrilled to be ranked #5 in the nation, particularly given the recent changes to the U.S. News & World Report specialty ranking system.  AUWCL recognizes and supports the need to ensure our students and graduates are practice ready upon graduation. The Trial Advocacy Program excels in providing multiple resources to our students, including over 24 specialized trial advocacy-based courses, competition teams, seminars and workshops, and unique opportunities. We dedicate our time and energy to ensure that AUWCL graduates excel in the practical skills necessary to win cases, whether it be in a courtroom, an arbitration, mediation, or other areas that require excellence in advocacy.”

-Liz Lippy, Associate Director, Stephen S. Weinstein Trial Advocacy Program

Through the Trial Advocacy Program, AUWCL students benefit from over 24 Trial Advocacy courses ranging from basic Civil and Criminal Trial Advocacy to advanced advocacy courses such as Litigating in a High Tech Courtroom, Scientific Evidence and Expert Testimony, Special Witnesses, and Victims’ Rights, to name a few. For advanced students, the opportunity to compete on any of our championship Mock Trial, Moot Court, Dispute Resolution or Transactional Law competition teams is unparalleled. More than 400 students each year take part in approximately 40 small class sections of AUWCL’s trial advocacy courses. LEARN MORE


Professor teaching class

#8 Intellectual Property

“The Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property’s consistent strength in the national rankings reflects our deep commitment to meaningful research and scholarship and to helping students succeed in their study and practice of intellectual property, communications, technology, and privacy law. We bring lawyers working on cutting-edge issues to the law school through national and international events, and we send our students out into the world through externships, summer programs, competitions, and other opportunities. There really is no other place to get trained and to get connected in these fields like American University Washington College of Law.”

-Professor Michael Carroll, Director, Program on Information Justice and Information Property

The AUWCL Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) has continued to expand over the last decade. With 32 faculty members (16 full-time) and more than 40 courses offered in a wide range of intellectual property topics, AUWCL offers an unparalleled course of study. AUWCL’s Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic was the first of its kind in the country, and our strong network of highly accomplished alumni help us provide unparalleled experiential opportunities through externships and employment. PIJIP takes advantage of AUWCL’s Washington location to convene national and international meetings that cover the wide range of emerging and important issues in our field. LEARN MORE


Students studying

#8 Part-Time JD Program

“The AUWCL part-time JD program strives to provide our students with the same courses, services, activities, and experiences as their full-time counterparts. We take care to offer sections of desired courses – in particular clinical and experiential courses – in the evenings to provide part-time students with the necessary opportunities to develop their skills in a learning-by-doing format. In addition, we have had a positive response to providing part-time students with weekend courses, intensive short courses, online options in order to answer the demands of their hectic schedules. Our continued, intentional efforts and improvements, are once again reflected in a Top 10 U.S. News ranking.”

-Professor Elizabeth Boals, Assistant Dean for Part-Time and Online Education 

The four-year part-time JD program gives students the intellectual foundations for legal study and the opportunity to focus their studies on areas of particular interest through advanced classes, clinics, and writing projects. Our professors represent the entire spectrum of the profession, public as well as private, bringing contemporary national issues into the classroom. LEARN MORE


United Nations in Geneva

#9 International Law

“International, comparative, and transnational law continues to be an integral part of AUWCL identity given our world-renowned faculty, diverse and rich curriculum, centers, and programs. In 2018, AUWCL faculty continued to engage in important and impactful scholarship in diverse areas ranging from international and transitional justice to investment treaty arbitration. AUWCL faculty are at the forefront of creating international law through leadership positions in important international, regional, and academic fora, such as the International Law Commission. We are delighted that the excellence of our programs continue to be reflected in the rankings."

-Professor Padideh Ala’i, Director, International and Comparative Legal Studies

For over 20 years, AUWCL has grown its international offerings to include 20 programs, over 30 semester exchanges, and six dual degree programs. We continue to build in new areas of interest including transnational business law, international economic law, labor migration, and global regulatory cooperation, as well as explore new partnerships with law schools around the world. The law school’s more than 3,500 International Legal Studies Program alumni continue to provide countless connections for our students and graduates around the world. LEARN MORE


Professors on panel discussion

#15 Health Care Law

“We’re honored to be recognized as one of the fastest rising health law programs in the country. Our faculty and staff work hard to ensure our students graduate practice ready and connected to opportunities. This year, we’ve expanded our course offerings and externship opportunities, and we’ve launched a new Health Care Compliance Certificate Program for JD and LL.M. students who take a concentration of courses in health care law and corporate compliance. In the last year, our nationally-recognized conferences drew more than 300 leading experts in health care law, food and drug law, and health policy to our campus.”

-Professor Lindsay F. Wiley, Director, Health Law and Policy Program; President of the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics

The Health Law and Policy Program’s conferences and networking events connect leading experts from across the country with movers and shakers in the nation’s capital. This February, the program hosted “The Opioid Crisis: Rethinking Policy and Law.” Over 150 people attended the day-long interdisciplinary conference, which brought together leading experts from across the country in the fields of public policy, law, economics, medicine, public health, law enforcement, and emergency response to re-imagine policies and laws related to the opioid epidemic. The program also boasts a robust Health Law and Policy Summer Institute, where nationally recognized practitioners lead intensive, practice-focused courses on subjects like Health Care Business Transactions and Digital Health. LEARN MORE


Environmental and Energy Law Program Ranked by U.S. News for First Time

In addition, our relaunched Program on Environmental and Energy Law led by Professor Amanda Leiter, previously the Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law, was ranked for the first time in the Environmental Law category at #36. The program includes a curriculum of more than 25 environmental and energy law-related courses, 4 student-run environmental, energy, and animal law organizations and more than 25 high profile adjunct professors who practice in the field, along with numerous classroom and field opportunities to learn from professors and practitioners engaged with pressing domestic and international issues. LEARN MORE


In 1896, American University Washington College of Law became the first law school in the country founded by women. More than 120 years since its founding, this law school community is grounded in the values of equality, diversity, and intellectual rigor. The law school's nationally and internationally recognized programs (in clinical legal education, trial advocacy, international law, intellectual property, and health law and policy to name a few) and dedicated faculty provide its JD, LL.M., and SJD students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact as students and as graduates, in Washington, DC and around the world. For more information, visit