Walter F. George School of Law
The Walter F. George School of Law (also known as Mercer University School of Law or Mercer Law School), founded in 1873, is one of the oldest law schools in the United States and is the second oldest of Mercer's eleven colleges and schools. The School of Law, with approximately 440 students, is located in Macon, Georgia on its own campus one mile (1.6 km) from Mercer's main campus. The law school building, one of Macon's most recognizable sites, is a three-story partial replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia and is located on Coleman Hill overlooking downtown Macon.
In May 2010, Mercer University president William D. Underwood announced Gary J. Simson, former dean of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, as the new dean of the Walter F. George School of Law effective July 1, 2010.1 Simson is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School.2
The School of Law is named for Walter F. George, a distinguished Mercer Law alumnus, class of 1901, who served as United States Senator from Georgia from 1922 to 1957 and as President pro tempore from 1955 to 1957. Before election to the Senate, he served as a Judge of the Georgia Court of Appeals in 1917 and as a Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court from 1917 to 1922. Mercer named its law school the Walter F. George School of Law of Mercer University in 1947. Fred M. Vinson, Chief Justice of the United States, participated in the naming ceremony.
The Walter F. George Foundation, created when the school was named, continues to fund scholarships for Mercer law students who have a demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in public service. Walter F. George Foundation Public Service Scholarships cover full tuition for three years of law school along with community service grants for first-year and second-year summer public service internships.
The School of Law celebrated its centennial in 1973. The principal event occurred on November 18, 1973; participants included Richard Nixon, President of the United States and Jimmy Carter, Governor of Georgia and future President of the United States.3 In his speech, President Nixon announced the nation's third Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier would be named in honor of Carl Vinson, Mercer Law class of 1902. Vinson, who was present at the event, was the first member of the United States House of Representatives to serve for more than 50 years (he served 1914-1965), and was the long-time chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Also present were Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and Secretary of the Navy John Warner.
In the 2012 edition of its law school rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranks Mercer 110th among the nation's top 145 law schools.5 The same edition ranks Mercer's legal writing program second in the nation.6 The legal writing program has been ranked first or second since US News & World Report began the speciality ranking in 2006.7 The program was ranked first in 2006 (tied with one other school), second in 2007, and first in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.89
The Princeton Review includes Mercer in its "Best 174 Law Schools: 2010 Edition" and has ranked the faculty among the top ten in nation on its list "Professors Rock (Legally Speaking)".101112 The ranking is based on responses to student surveys on two ratings: the quality of teaching and accessibility of faculty.
The School of Law enrolls approximately 440 students and has a faculty of approximately 30 full-time professors and 30 adjunct professors. The following degrees are offered: Juris Doctor (JD), a joint Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration (JD/MBA) in conjunction with Mercer's Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Federal Criminal Practice and Procedure, which is the nation's only LLM program with this subject matter focus.1314 The school publishes the Mercer Law Review, the oldest law review in Georgia, and the Journal of Southern Legal History.
The School of Law's model curriculum, the Woodruff Curriculum, named for philanthropist George W. Woodruff, is viewed as a model for law schools across the United States. The curriculum, based on small classes and a practice oriented approach, focuses on legal ethics, professional responsibility, and legal writing and has been honored with the prestigious Gambrell Professionalism Award from the American Bar Association.415
The School of Law houses the Mercer Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism, established in 2000 and dedicated to fostering and teaching ethics and professionalism in the practice of law, and the National Criminal Defense College, a not-for-profit organization established in 1985 and devoted to improved trial advocacy and trial practice.
The School of Law also houses the Legal Writing Institute, the world's largest organization devoted to improved legal writing.16 The Institute's 1,800 members represent attorneys, judges, and legal writing professors in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
The School of Law has one of the largest law school endowments, valued at more than $90 million, in the United States.17 The endowment was the sixteenth largest in 2000 with the eleventh largest per-student value, over $220,000, and the fourth largest per-student value when adjusted for cost for living, almost $500,000.18 The endowment, funded in 1947 with $1 million from the friends of Walter F. George when the school was named in his honor, has grown remarkably since a $15 million bequest in 1987 from George W. Woodruff. Income from the endowment allows the school to maintain its low student-faculty ratio (12:1) and funds the student financial aid program.4
The Furman Smith Law Library, named to honor a distinguished alumnus, is the school's center of legal research. A premier facility, the library is used by lawyers and judges from across the state and recognized for its superior resources and service. The library occupies over 30,000 square feet (3,000 m2) in a central location on the second and third floors of the law school building. Large windows in the library provide students with views of historic Macon from the law building's location on Coleman Hill. The Furman Smith Law Library contains more than 310,000 volumes dealing with domestic and international law, including 3300 serial titles and a growing number of electronic titles.
The Mercer Law Review is edited and published by the students of the Walter F. George School of Law of Mercer University. Mercer Law Review was founded in 1949 and is the oldest continually published law review in Georgia.
According to the 2001-2008 Washington and Lee University School of Law rankings of 198 general-content legal journals printed in the United States, the Mercer Law Review ranked in the top one-third in the nation for citations in judicial opinions.19
Notable Mercer Law alumni are listed below. Alumni without dates of service (e.g., 1900-1901) are presently serving in the positions indicated.
- A. Harris Adams - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals
- Griffin B. Bell - Federal Appeals Court Judge, 1962-1976; 72nd Attorney General of the United States, 1977-1979
- Reason C. Bell - Chief Justice, Georgia Supreme Court, 1943-1946; Associate Justice, 1932-1943 and 1946-1949; Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1922-1932
- Michael P. Boggs - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals
- William Augustus Bootle - Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 1954-1981; ordered admission of the first African-American to the University of Georgia
- G. Harrold Carswell - Judge, Federal District Court for the Northern District of Florida, 1958-1969; Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 1969-1970; unsuccessful nominee to the United States Supreme Court, 1970
- Abraham Benjamin Conger - Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 1949-1953
- Bascom Sine Deaver - Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 1928-1944
- Sara L. Doyle - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals
- Walter Homer Drake - Bankruptcy Judge, Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia; Chairman, Mercer University Board of Trustees, 2008-2010
- Homer C. Eberhardt - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1961-1974
- Jule Wimberly Felton - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1937-1969; Chief Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1954-1969; Georgia Supreme Court Justice, 1969-1971
- Hardy Gregory - Georgia Supreme Court Justice, 1981-1989
- John B. Guerry - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1933-1940
- Albert John Henderson - Federal Appeals Court Judge, 1979-1999; Judge, Federal District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, 1968-1979
- Robert F. Hershner - Chief Bankruptcy Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
- Claude W. Hicks, Jr. - Federal Magistrate Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 1983-2010
- William Leroy McMurray - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1976-2000
- M. Yvette Miller - Chief Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals; the first African-American woman to serve on the court
- Richard Henry Mills - Judge, Federal District Court for the Central District of Illinois
- Carlton Mobley - Chief Justice, Georgia Supreme Court, 1972-1974; Associate Justice, 1954-1972; United States Representative, Georgia's 6th Congressional District, 1932-1933
- David M. Parker - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1944-1949
- Willie Louis Sands - Judge, Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia; the first African-American to serve on the court
- Hugh Thompson - Georgia Supreme Court Justice
- Julian Webb - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1974-1979
- Charles W. Worrill - Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals, 1949-1953; Georgia Supreme Court Justice, 1953-1954
- Elizabeth P. Archer - Georgia Inspector General, 2006-201120
- Doug Barnard - United States Representative, Georgia's 10th Congressional district, 1977-1993
- Dan J. Bradley - President, Legal Services Corporation, 1979-1982
- J. Eugene Cook - Georgia Attorney General, 1945-1965, the longest serving Attorney General in Georgia history; Georgia Supreme Court Justice, 1965-1967
- Cathy Cox - Georgia Secretary of State, 1999-2007, the first woman elected to this position; President, Young Harris College
- Edward E. Cox - United States Representative, Georgia's 2nd Congressional district, 1925-1952
- Nathan Deal - United States Representative, Georgia's 9th Congressional district, 1993-2010; elected Governor of Georgia in 2010
- Julia C. Dudley - United States Attorney, Federal District Court for the Western District of Virginia, 2008-2009
- Peter Zack Geer - Georgia Lieutenant Governor, 1963-1967
- Walter F. George - United States Senator from Georgia, 1922-1957, served as President pro tempore, 1955-1957; namesake of Mercer's Law School
- Deron Hicks - Georgia Inspector General21
- Anthony J. Jenkins - United States Attorney, Federal District Court for the District of the Virgin Islands, 2005-2008
- Buckner F. Melton - Mayor of Macon, 1975-1979
- Michael Meyer von Bremen - Georgia State Senator, 1999-2009; served as the Democratic Party Senate Minority Leader, 2002-2009
- John Oxendine - Georgia Insurance Commissioner, 1995-2011
- G. F. Peterman - United States Attorney (acting), Federal District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, 2000-2001 and 2009
- Robert Reichert - Mayor of Macon and former member of the Georgia House of Representatives
- Dwight L. Rogers - United States Representative, Florida's 6th Congressional district, 1945-1954
- Christopher N. Smith - Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Denmark
- Malcolm C. Tarver - United States Representative, Georgia's 7th Congressional district, 1927-1947
- Richard S. Thompson - United States Attorney, Federal District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, 2001-2004
- Carl Vinson - United States Representative for over 50 years, 1914-1965; long-time Chairman, House Armed Services Committee; has been called the "patriarch of the armed services" and the "father of the two-ocean navy"; namesake of the USS Carl Vinson
- William S. West - United States Senator from Georgia, 1914-1914
- J. Mark Wilcox - United States Representative, Florida's 4th Congressional district, 1933-1939
- John S. Wood - United States Representative, Georgia's 9th Congressional district, 1931-1935 and 1945-1953; Chairman, House Un-American Activities Committee, 1949-1953
- Charles R. Adams III - adjunct law professor; author of Georgia Law of Torts
- Glen Ashman - author of the Georgia Municipal Court Judges Benchbook
- Steve Berry - author of six novels including several New York Times bestsellers
- Brainerd Currie - law professor; noted conflict of laws scholar who developed the characterisation concept of governmental interest analysis
- Deryl Dantzler - law professor; Dean of the National Criminal Defense College; recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Gerald M. Edenfield - President, State Bar of Georgia, 2007-2008
- Nancy Grace - anchor for Court TV, legal commentator, and host of Nancy Grace on the Headline News television network
- Frank C. Jones - President, State Bar of Georgia, 1969-1970
- Rudolph N. Patterson - President, State Bar of Georgia, 1999-2000
- James C. Rehberg - law professor; recognized as an expert in Georgia real estate law
- Jay Sekulow - Chief Counsel, American Center for Law and Justice
- Evett L. Simmons - President, National Bar Association, 2000-2001
- Neil Skene - career journalist; President and Publisher, Congressional Quarterly, 1990-1997
- Kent W. Spence - noted trial attorney; son and law firm partner of noted trial attorney Gerry Spence
- Robert L. Steed - senior partner, King & Spalding; noted author and humorist
- L. Lin Wood - high profile trial attorney; has represented Richard Jewell, the parents of JonBenét Ramsey, Gary Condit, Kobe Bryant, and Herman Cain
- Nathan Deal, Class of 1966, was inaugurated as Governor of Georgia in 2011. Deal and John Oxendine, Class of 1987, Georgia Insurance Commissioner, were both Republican candidates in the 2010 gubernatorial election, with Deal advancing to a runoff for the Republican nomination. Deal won the party runoff and then the general election.
- Professor Jim Marshall, a long-time faculty member, was defeated for re-election in 2010; he was seeking a fifth term in the United States House of Representatives representing Georgia's 8th Congressional district.
- A. Harris Adams, Class of 1971, was re-elected in 2010 to the Georgia Court of Appeals.
- M. Yvette Miller, Class of 1980, the first African-American woman to serve on the Georgia Court of Appeals, became the court's Chief Judge in January 2009.2223
- Michael J. Moore, Class of 1993, was nominated in 2009 by President Barack Obama to be United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. He replaced G. F. Peterman, Class of 1976, who was the United States Attorney (acting).
- Marc T. Treadwell, Class of 1981, was nominated in 2010 by President Barack Obama to be a Judge of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia.24
- Thomas P. Bishop, Class of 1985, was elected in 2010 by the Georgia Chamber of Commerce as the Chair of its Law and Judiciary Policy Committee.25 Bishop is the General Counsel of Georgia Power, the largest electric utility in Georgia.26
- Erick Erickson, Class of 2000, became a CNN political contributor in 2010 for John King, USA.
- Brad Bryant, Class of 1979, was appointed Superintendent of the Georgia public schools in 2010 by Governor Sonny Perdue.27 The position is one of Georgia's eight statewide executive offices.
- Michael P. Boggs, Class of 1990, was appointed in 2011 to the Georgia Court of Appeals by Governor Nathan Deal, Class of 1966. A. Harris Adams, Class of 1971; M. Yvette Miller, Class of 1980; and Sara L. Doyle, Class of 1994, are the other Mercer Law graduates on the twelve-member court.
-  http://lawlib.wlu.edu/LJ/index.aspx, sort for United States, Printed, General-Content, and Courts.
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