John Marshall Ranked 4th Most Diverse Law School by National Jurist

Providing a diverse learning environment for students is important to the faculty and administration at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. While this diversity enriches the academic environment, it also challenges the law school to meet the educational needs of students, many of whom are either returning to the rigors of an academic experience, or are simply seeking a supportive environment for the study of law. Therefore, it is a great honor for the National Jurist to name Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School the fourth most diverse law school in the nation in their winter issue. Other top diverse law schools joining John Marshall on the list are Texas Southern University (1), University of the District of Columbia (2), University of La Verne (3), and Florida A&M University (5). In the article, National Jurist explained how the rankings were determined.

“We broke down each school into six categories – percentage of minority faculty; percentage of black students; percentage of Asian and Hawaiian students; percentage of Hispanic students; percentage of American Indian students; and percentage of Caucasian students. We assigned each school a score from one to 10 for all categories, except for American Indians. We assigned each school a score from one to five for that category, given the much smaller number of students.

A school that matched the U.S. national average for any race received a seven (or 3.5 for American Indian), and a school that was 30 percent or greater than the national average received a 10 (or 5 for American Indian). We then weighted the student categories as 75 percent of the final diversity score and faculty at 25 percent. The final outcome is a list of schools that have a breadth of races both in student bodies and faculties.”

The full article gives prospective students and law schools a detailed look into what socioeconomic factors have caused an increase in black and Hispanic students while simultaneously creating a decline in white and Asian students. Regardless of the trend, a diverse law school should offer more than just ethnic diversity. At Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, the student population are also diverse in life experiences and professional background. A well-rounded understanding of diversity allows John Marshall to continue producing practice-ready, ethical, and knowledgeable members of the legal community.

For more on the various programs the law school provided, view our program offerings.

AJMLS Alumnus and Professor Quoted in AJC on Immigration

When it comes to the debate on U.S. immigration; neither U.S. Rep Doug Collins (Class of 2008) or Professor Joseph Rosen are strangers to the discussion.

In an article recently published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), both Collins and Rosen, along with several other law professors were given the opportunity to share their views on revamping the nation’s immigration system.

The article quotes Professor Rosen, who teaches Immigration Law at AJMLS, as saying; “This is the opportunity for the president through executive action, and (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) attorneys through prosecutorial discretion, to do the right thing. It is time for America to show the compassion and justice that are the foundations of this country.”

Prior to serving the 9th District of Georgia, Collins earned his law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School over his first term representing District 27 in the Georgia House of Representatives, and has also served the community as the senior pastor at Chicopee Baptist Church.

Prior to founding the Joseph H. Rosen Immigration Law Group, Professor Rosen served more than 30 years with the U.S. government. For 20 of those years Joe was an FBI Special Agent and a U.S. Customs Special Agent. Rosen is an Adjunct Professor of Law at John Marshall Law School (teaching Immigration Law, Seminar: Asylum & Refugee Law), past President of the North Fulton Bar Association, a former contract legal instructor with the U.S. government, and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

You may click here to view the article in its entirety.

AJMLS Celebrates Pro Bono Month This October

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) and the Office of Pro Bono Outreach and Externships (PBOE) celebrates Pro Bono Month this October as part of Georgia’s Pro Bono Month and National Pro Bono Week.

Year round, the AJMLS Pro Bono Program reinforces the mission of the law school – promoting the development of a student body and faculty with a strong social conscious and dedication to improving the legal system and society.

Highlighted October Events & Opportunities

Would you like to coach a high school Mock Trial Team?

Please attend the informational meeting on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 1:00PM in Room 302 or email Travis Foreman at

Home for Good: Overcoming Legal barriers to Reentry Team

Meets every Wednesday in Room 302 at 5:15PM.

Guns Rights and Wrongs: Balancing the Interests

Monday, October 6, 2014, 4:00PM-7:00PM

Blackburn Conference Center Auditorium and Reception Hall, 1405 Spring Street, Atlanta, GA 30309

School Discipline Legal Workshop

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett

12 Bethesda Church Road in Lawrenceville, Saturday, October 11, 2014, 10:00AM-12:30PM

Gwinnett Sexual Assault Center & Children’s Advocacy Center (GSAC-CAC)

Is looking for students to assist attorneys assisting victims of sexual assault. Interested students should contact Ms. Seterria Brodnex, Victim Assistance Attorney: 770-497-9122 Ext. 31.

Additional Information & Contacts

Approved Placements

Pro Bono FAQ

Judge Renata Turner, Assistant Dean of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning

Bridgett Ortega, Assistant Director of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning


Professor Mears Discusses the Upcoming Execution of Marcus Wellons

Marcus Wellons, convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 1989 is set to be executed on June 17, 2014 at 7 p.m.

However, instead of a three-drug cocktail formerly used, the state of Georgia wants to use one drug — sodium pentothal — to execute Marcus Wellons. In small doses, it is a sedative. The state wants to use a custom-maker to actually make the drug — because the drug manufacturer that normally makes it won’t sell it to conduct executions. However, the identity of the new manufacturer that will make the lethal injection meant for Marcus Wellons is remaining a secret; making Wellons the new face of the argument over how to carry out Georgia’s death penalty.

“It’s an experimentation process that’s going on here. And they’re doing it in secret,” said Mike Mears, a lawyer, former mayor of Decatur, and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor who has opposed the death penalty his entire legal career.

A new state law allows the state to keep secret who made the drug that would put Wellons to death. “I get drugs to treat an animal, and they have to tell me more than the state of Georgia is telling us about how they’re going to kill Marcus Wellons,” Mears said.

Marcus Wellons is due to die today, on the gurney in Jackson — unless his attorneys successfully challenge the secret source of the chemicals that would kill him. The full article and video can be found at 11Alive. For more information on Professor Mears, view his faculty profile.

Professor Rapping Speaks on Unequal Representation for the Poor

A recent article from The Guardian calls on Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jonathan Rapping to discuss unequal representation for the nation’s poor. In the article by Sadhbh Walshe, the issue of wealth and its connection with acquittals, not-guilty verdicts, and reduced sentences were discussed. Professor Rapping insists that, “Money determines who sits in jail pre-trial. It determines who takes a plea deal, it determines who gets to have a trial and it can influence the outcome of a trial. This is not how our legal system is supposed to work.”

Walshe goes on to say: Public defenders today are dealing with caseloads that far exceed the recommended federal maximums established in 1973, and they’re cutting back on case spending because of it. “No matter how zealous, talented or passionate an attorney is,” says Rapping, “they cannot perform at their best when they are overworked and under-resourced.” Pit that lawyer against a team of high-powered attorneys with their accompanying “expert” witnesses, investigators, scientific tests, gloves and all, and someone who relies upon the Sixth Amendment doesn’t stand a chance.

Read the full article at The Guardian. An in-depth profile of Professor Rapping can be found on the law school’s faculty page.


AJMLS Students Participate in Law Day at the Georgia Bar

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students recently participated in Law Day. Law Day is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law, to recognize the role of the courts in our democracy, the importance of jury service and maintaining the integrity of the courts.  The official Law Day designated by Congress in 1961 is May 1st.

Georgia holds Law Day during the month of May at different locations around the state like churches, the Georgia Bar, community centers, and high schools. This year’s Law Day event was held at the Georgia Bar. The theme set by the American Bar Association for this year was ‘American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters’ due to the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The event was held in conjunction with Atlanta Public Schools (APS), several Georgia Bar Associations and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.  The morning session was focused on educating APS high school students and registering them students to vote.  AJMLS students participated in registering students and providing voter simulations. The evening session was a CLE for attorneys open to the public.

Panel discussions were held with leaders from the League of Women Voters, Counsel of the GA Democratic Party, Georgia Republican Party, Georgia State Law Professors, The Carter Center, Amnesty International, UGA Law Professors, the Human Rights Network, SVP of Legal at CNN, the Georgia Secretary of State, Civil Rights Activists, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients and a US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

Jonathan Rapping Earns National Recognition with Inaugural Purpose Economy 100 Award

Nearly 80 percent of the 12 million people who move annually through America’s criminal justice system cannot afford a lawyer. As a result, many innocent defendants plead guilty simply because they cannot afford to take their case to trial, and the public defender system is so overwhelmed by crushing volume, that adequate and meaningful defense fails them as well. For Jonathan Rapping, the injustice in the U.S. justice system is simply unacceptable, and now everyone is taking note of his exploding and impactful non-profit organization, Gideon’s Promise.

Gideon’s Promise, based in Atlanta, yet armed with a national reputation, works tirelessly to inspire, mobilize and train legal professionals to provide the highest quality defense representation to people unable to afford an attorney. And work zealously to ensure that those accused of crimes, who are most vulnerable in our society, have the same access to criminal justice as everyone else.

“For the past seven years, we at Gideon’s Promise have worked tirelessly to ensure ‘equal justice for all’ is not just an empty promise, but a reality that is consistent with our Constitution and its founding ideals,” says Rapping. “Being honored with the Inaugural Purpose Economy 100 truly validates that our work to change the status quo is vital, and that our public defenders are making justice a reality every day.”

It is because of this ground-breaking work that Rapping was recently honored as one of the Inaugural Purpose Economy 100, an honor that he shares with Melinda Gates, Rick Warren, former Vice President Al Gore and Jonathan Trent among others. A complete list of winners can be found at

“The Purpose 100 highlights and celebrates the work of those shifting the paradigm on what is possible for all of us through work that reignites purpose,” says Aaron Hurst, CEO of Imperative and innovator/creator of The Purpose Economy. “By founding Gideon’s Promise and training more than 250 public defenders over the past seven years, Jon more than exemplifies that calling. He is a pioneer working to bring equal justice back to our judicial system. I look forward to watching Jon and Gideon’s Promise continue strengthening the resources available to public defenders.”

Last year, Rapping and Gideon’s Promise were featured in the HBO documentary, “Gideon’s Army,” which follows three young public defenders, trained by Rapping and Gideon’s Promise, in their sometimes breaking quest for equal justice in indigent defense. The organization has now trained more than 250 public defenders, who each see an average caseload of 300 per year.

Rapping is a nationally renowned speaker and author – advocating for better standards in the criminal justice system by delivering powerful and varying keynotes at conferences and institutions across the country. His national outreach includes audiences at law schools, organizations committed to justice, bar associations and public defender offices and systems.

Professor D’Agostino Interviewed Regarding Bankruptcy Laws

In a recent article from CardHub, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Robert D’Agostino and other legal experts answered common questions individuals have regarding bankruptcy. CardHub offers an easily-accessible search engine and relevant articles for individuals to use to find a credit card that suits their personal and financial needs. However, due to the increase of bankruptcy filings and subsequent increase in societal reliance on credit cards, CardHub sought out legal experts to answer general questions about bankruptcy in an effort to educate its audience.

Professor D’Agostino was asked, “What part of the bankruptcy process do you think people understand least?” He replied, “The issue of what is and what is not dischargeable . This particularly true of tax liabilities and the IRS’s ability to impose a 100% penalty on bankrupt small business owners when the business has not paid its required taxes. BAPCA has clarified and broadened the law applicable to what assets of an individual do not become part of the bankruptcy estate. The ‘mini’ chapter 11 has made that process more accessible and less expensive for small business.

To view the entire article and read what other experts said about bankruptcy, click here.


The National Jurist Names AJMLS Among the Best Law Schools for Practical Training

In the March 2014 issue of The National Jurist, the magazine names the law schools with the most comprehensive experiential learning offerings. By analyzing the information each school provided to the American Bar Association in December, the magazine was able to assign a letter grade to each law school. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning earned a “B” for their efforts to provide students with a quality and in-depth variety of pro bono and externship opportunities. Congratulations to Director Renata Turner and Assistant Director Bridgett Ortega for all their hard work and dedication to improving the student experience at the law school. To read the full article, click here.