Professor Herschel W. Arant and Bishop Warren A. Candler, the chancellor of Emory University, aspired to create a law school that would be in league with the law schools of nationally recognized universities, emphasize the "ethics and ideals of an ancient and honorable profession," and encourage the service of the law.
In 1916, the Emory Board of Trustees named the new school L. Q. C. Lamar School of Law. Lamar graduated from Emory College in 1845 and had a distinguished career as a statesman, scholar, and lawyer. The original location (now Carlos Hall) was one of the original buildings on the Emory Quadrangle. The building, featuring a graceful central staircase and Georgia marble facade, was designed by the highly regarded Beaux-Arts architect Henry Hornbostel. Twenty-eight students enrolled in the fall of 1916.
Under the leadership of Samuel C. Williams, the first dean, the law school was the first in Georgia to be granted membership in the Association of American Law Schools. The American Bar Association classified Emory as a "Class A" school in 1923. The only other schools in the Southeast to be honored with this designation were the University of Virginia and Washington and Lee University.
E. Smythe Gambrell, a graduate of Harvard Law School, joined the adjunct faculty in 1924. He served on the faculty until the eve of World War II and later provided the gift that enabled the construction of the present-day law school building—Gambrell Hall, named in memory of his parents.
Through scholarship, teaching, and immersion in the world and its communities, Emory Law’s mission is to:
- Produce scholarship and educate students regarding the role of law in defining and addressing social ills; structuring conflict; designing effective legal, political, and market institutions; informing and constraining governments; and memorializing societal commitments.
- Advance the rule of law and the resulting benefits of accountability, individual rights, social justice, thriving markets, and economic development.
- Cultivate leaders who serve the community through roles in the judiciary, government, legal education, public interest law, corporations, and law firms.
- Prepare students for a variety of careers and ever-changing legal, political, social, and market conditions by providing a rigorous education that integrates theory, doctrine, and experiential learning.
- Promote excellence by striving for diversity of its student body, faculty, and staff and by facilitating scholarly productivity and interdisciplinary exchange with members of the university, the broader academic community in the United States and abroad, and the legal profession.
A community of diversity and inclusion
Today, Emory Law is an institution where diversity is the norm. Student organizations span a wide range of cultural, gender, philosophical, faith, and political interests, from the active and engaged Black Law Students Association, Legal Association of Women Students, OutLaw, and Latin American Law Students Association to Jewish Law Students Association and Law School Democrats. Our faculty represents the world of legal education, reflecting their diverse interests and backgrounds in the classroom and in their scholarship. Emory University's international acclaim and proactive encouragement of diversity and inclusion adds a multicultural texture to its curricular offerings, student life, and social opportunities across campus.
Dynamic Intellectual Community
Emory Law faculty members pursue path-breaking interdisciplinary scholarship across many fields, including law and religion, feminism and legal theory, international and comparative law, and public law and regulation. They develop new ideas and approaches that will have a transformative impact on a changing world. Whether the topic is climate change, mortgage foreclosure, the place of Islam in the secular state, or the challenges of human vulnerability, Emory Law presses the boundaries of learning.
Today more than ever, a lawyer’s knowledge must be as broad as it is deep. A further asset of our community is our position as an integral part of one of the world’s leading research universities. Drawing on the strength of the University, Emory Law provides students with unparalleled opportunities for advanced study and joint degrees.
Integrating Theory and Practice
Emory Law emphasizes the acquisition of critical thinking skills while offering an array of experiential learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom. Our signature programs integrate theory and practice, bringing students into close contact with both leading scholars and skilled practitioners. The TI:GER program, a unique collaboration with the Georgia Institute of Technology, allows law students to participate in developing and commercializing innovative technologies. The student-edited Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal connects faculty and students with the bankruptcy bench and bar from across the country. Through the Center for Transactional Law and Practice and the Kessler-Eidson Program for Trial Techniques, Emory Law offers students inventive training in both deal skills and advocacy.
Emory Law’s clinical programs, focusing on environmental law, child law, international humanitarian law, and veterans affairs law, provide additional opportunities to gain practice experience while also advancing the public interest. Because of our location in a major urban center, students can choose from an array of challenging externships offering credit for work in government, public interest, or corporate settings.
Each of these programs, among others, helps our students seamlessly transition from law school into their legal careers. At the heart of our student-centered focus, is Emory Law’s Center for Professional Development and Career Strategy—which offers a robust approach to help students identify legal fields of interest from the outset of their studies, develop professional success skills, and chart their individual career paths. This fall, first-year students will enroll in an innovative new class entitled Career Strategy and Design. The class is designed to help law students identify their professional strengths, interests, and values; understand the current legal hiring market; and select and implement persuasive themes in their resumes, cover letters, and business communications in ways that enhance their marketability. This creative new course will complement the one-on-one counseling already offered by the Career Center.
ABA required disclosures
Emory University School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association. Contact the ABA Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar at 321 N. Clark Street, 21st Floor, Chicago, IL 60654 or call 312.988.6738 for questions about the accreditation of Emory Law.
Download the ABA 2016 Standard 509 Information Report