Names have power and promise. A law school named for our greatest Supreme Court Chief Justice is making quite a claim. John Marshall was an American hero before he was Chief Justice. After service in the Continental Army, he helped ratify the Constitution and was a member of Congress; he was an internationally known diplomat and Secretary of State. Only then did he become the judge who balanced the three branches of government so that the Constitution not only survived, but grew stronger over the next 200 years. Yes, John Marshall is a name of great power.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School has been educating lawyers and leaders in Georgia since 1933 and now attracts students from around the country, many of whom will practice law in other states and around the world. What does this law school do to be worthy of its name? We provide a rigorous, high quality program of legal education that produces competent and ethical lawyers who are dedicated to serving people, especially in underserved communities. We intentionally instill in our students a sense of obligation to the community and to the legal profession–an obligation to pursue justice, rather than mere personal gain, and to improve society, rather than to solely advance personal ambition. Whether our graduates remain in law practice, become judges, enter politics, or succeed in business, these rich values stay with them.
However, noble values without strong skills accomplish little. John Marshall Law School relies on a broad curriculum of required courses designed to introduce students to the basic legal principles in the fields of law that all lawyers must master. A tough, well-planned sequence of professional skills training courses and externships enable our graduates to excel in written and oral advocacy. Finally, both in coursework and in every activity at the school, we emphasize the highest standards of ethical and professional conduct. As another Supreme Court justice named Marshall, Thurgood Marshall, once said, “There’s only one kind of reputation a young lawyer gets in a hurry.” Graduates of this law school are trained to do the right thing.
Chief Justice John Marshall studied law under America’s first great law professor, George Wythe. Here, you will study under the guidance of an outstanding group of teacher/scholars who combine excellent academic credentials with years of practical experience. Your courses will be taught in small classes that allow for substantial interaction with the professors and the best conditions for learning. Small class sizes also foster close friendships with fellow students and with faculty. Your professors will know you as a person, not a customer, and will help you succeed in law school, in law practice, and in life. They are mentors and role models who balance high expectations with compassion.
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is an exciting place. The promise of our name is this: you can help people, pursue justice, and improve the legal profession and society, both here and around the world, and your legacy will be more profound because your professional training was inspired by John Marshall. This is the right law school, in the right place, at the right time.
I hope you will join us in Atlanta, but I wish you the best no matter what the future holds for you. Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions.
Dean and Professor of Law