Eight American University Specialty Programs Recognized Among the Nation's Best by U.S. News 2021 Law School Rankings


Clinical Program ranked #2

American University Washington College of Law (AUWCL) is a leading law school preparing students to practice in all areas of the law. Our specialty programs ranked among the top in the nation by U.S. News and World Report – Clinical Program (#2), International Law (#4), Trial Advocacy (#4), Part-time JD program (#6), Intellectual Property (#10), and Health Law and Policy (#11) – are just some of our areas of excellence. AUWCL is also ranked #26 in the nation in the Criminal Law category and #37 in Environmental Law.

We pride ourselves on providing students with the critical skills and values to have an immediate impact in the Washington, D.C. region, our nation, and around the world. At American University Washington College of Law students are supported by a law school community committed to equity and inclusive excellence, their well-being, and their professional development and advancement.

At AUWCL, we strive to Champion What Matters.

For more information on how to join our community, visit our JD Admissions page.

Clinical Program ranked #2

#2 Clinical Program

The AUWCL Clinical Program is made up of 11 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 about our Clinical Program.

International Law

#4 International Law

International and comparative law has long been central to the educational mandate of American University Washington College of Law. AUWCL’s 29 full-time international law faculty continue to engage in innovative scholarship with over 50 publications annually, as well as impactful activities with key organizations such as the UN International Law Commission, the International Commission of Jurists, the American Law Institute, the American Society of International Law, the Society of International Economic Law, and the International Chamber of Commerce Court of International Arbitration, among others. The law school’s international offerings have grown to include 25 specialized programs, 22 semester exchanges, 6 dual degrees, and 65+ partnership agreements in 36 countries worldwide. With more than 4,000 international alumni, AUWCL provides countless connections for our students and graduates around the world. Learn more about International and Comparative Law.

Advocacy Program

#4 Trial Advocacy

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 upper level students, the opportunity to compete on any of our championship Mock Trial, Moot Court, Dispute Resolution or Transactional Law competition teams is unparalleled. Over the last year, the Program has garnered four championships, five finalists and over 20 individual awards. More than 400 students each year take part in approximately 40 small class sections of AUWCL’s advocacy courses. Learn more about our Trial Advocacy Program.

Part-time JD Program

#6 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.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 about our Part-Time JD Program.


#10 Intellectual Property

American University’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) has continued to expand and now offers more than 40 intellectual property and technology courses. It’s deep bench of tenure-line faculty teach all of the foundational courses. It’s Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic was one of the first two IP clinics in the country and offers students the opportunity to represent live clients and hone practical skills. It’s vast alumni network provides unparalleled  opportunities through annual networking receptions and mentoring events. PIJIP’s impact projects, and those of the newly launched Tech, Law and Security Program take advantage of AUWCL’s Washington, D.C. location to connect research to policy and convene national and international conversations that define and promote the public interest in intellectual property and technology law. Learn more about the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property.

Health Law PROGRAM

#11 Health Law

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. In Fall of 2019, in partnership with the American Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics and our cosponsor, American University School of Public Affairs, the program hosted Next Steps in Health Reform, a biennial conference that brings together national leaders in health care law, policy, economics, and administration. The program also boasts a robust Health Law and Policy Summer Institute, where nationally recognized practitioners lead intensive, practice-focused courses on subjects like Digital Health, the False Claims Act and Drug Pricing, along with a lunch and learn series. Our national annual health law student writing competition is in its fifth year with participation from students representing over 60 law schools. Learn more about our Health Law and Policy Program.

Criminal Law

#26 Criminal Law

American University Washington College of Law’s Criminal Justice Practice and Policy Institute was founded in 2013 to improve the practice of criminal law through scholarship, practical skills training, and robust engagement in policy discourse and reform. The law school’s curriculum features over 30 criminal law and related classes taught by 13 full-time criminal law faculty, as well as a criminal justice clinic, related immigration and domestic violence clinics, four journals/law reviews, two student organizations, and numerous externship and internship opportunities. AUWCL’s criminal law faculty are nationally recognized scholars in the areas of criminal justice, criminal procedure, constitutional law, international criminal law, race and the justice system, clinical legal education and pedagogy, cybersecurity, trial advocacy, and corrections law. Learn more about the Criminal Justice Practice and Policy Institute.

Environmental Law

#37 Environmental Law

The Program on Environmental and Energy Law includes a curriculum of more than 25 animal, energy, and environmental law-related courses, 4 student-run organizations, and more than 25 high profile adjunct professors who practice in the field, along with numerous classroom, field, and hybrid classroom-field opportunities to learn from professors and practitioners engaged with pressing domestic and international issues at federal and state agencies, private firms, and nonprofit organizations in the DC area. Learn more about our Program on Environmental and Energy Law.


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 www.wcl.american.edu.