On the Doorstep of the Nation's Capital
Visitors from around the nation and around the world converge on the Mall in Washington, D.C., to await the inauguration of America's 44th president on January 20, 2009. The skyline of Arlington, Virginia, where the law school is located, is visible just behind the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. At left is the Smithsonian Institution's "Castle." Inauguration photos by Paul Bohman of the School of Law.
Cost, reputation, and location are three of the most commonly cited reasons why prospective law students select one law school over another. Mason Law scores high in all three areas, attracting many of America's best law school prospects. Its competitive tuition, its high rankings in recognized surveys, and its location "on the doorstep of the nation's capital" afford advantages seldom packaged together so effectively for the prospective law student.
In addition to its proximity to Washington, D.C., Arlington itself deserves a closer look.
Home to the School of Law, Arlington is an urban county bordering the Potomac River, directly opposite Washington, D.C., and was in fact part of the original area that was surveyed for the nation's capital. In the 1840s, Congress returned the Potomac's west bank to the Commonwealth of Virginia, where a portion of the area is known today as Arlington County and houses such national landmarks as the Pentagon, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Iwo Jima Memorial.
Arlington is an affluent county with a 2008 Median Household Income of just under $92,000 and an Average Assessed Home Value (all types) of slightly more than $540,000. Its July 2008 population topped 208,000, and roughly two-thirds of those residents hold a bachelor's degree or higher, resulting in a work force that is among the most highly educated in the nation. The population is tremendously diverse, with more than a third of Arlington residents speaking a language other than English in the home.
Rosslyn, at the foot of Georgetown's Key Bridge, and Crystal City, adjacent to Reagan National Airport, are two of Arlington's largest commercial centers and contain many of the over 207,000 jobs located within the county in mid-2008. Arlington County officials estimate that Arlington private office space exceeds that of downtown Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Denver. The county's largest single employer is the government, which provides nearly 29% of local jobs, and the March 2008 unemployment rate was a low 2.4%.
Comprehensive transportation networks provide an additional benefit to the county, with 11 of the area's 33 Metro subway stops located within Arlington. The law school is conveniently located at the Virginia Square/GMU stop on Metro's Orange Line, with Metro trains forming a complex network throughout the Virginia and Maryland suburbs, as well as within Washington, D.C., and providing direct service to Reagan National Airport and Washington's Union Station.
The Clarendon-Wilson Corridor, which adjoins the law school, recently was cited by the American Planning Association as one of America's Great Streets in its 2008 list of Great Places in America, recognizing it for its "exemplary character, quality and planning." Among Arlington's wonderful amenities are nearly 600 restaurants, many of them offering foreign and ethnic cuisine; nine live stage theatres; 86 miles of bicycle and jogging paths; a network of nearly 200 parks and playgrounds; and the pleasures of a real farmers' market in the midst of an urban village.
Add the vibrancy of the law school's environs to the proximity of the nation's capital with its myriad advantages, and you have a location that is pretty hard to top. Add to that the cost of attendance and the school's established upward trajectory, and it is easy to see why Mason Law has made a name for itself as a pre-eminent player in the Washington law school community and across the nation.
Local facts and figures derived from the Arlington, Virginia, Profile 2008 Summer Update