ATLANTA—Georgia State University College of Law is one of only two law schools accepted this year into the national honors society for legal education, the Order of the Coif.
Wendy Reiser Cromwell
Director of Communications
College of Law
The Order of the Coif is an honorary scholastic society that encourages excellence in legal education by fostering a spirit of careful study, recognizing law students who attain a high grade of scholarship and honoring lawyers, judges and teachers who attain a high distinction for their scholarly or professional accomplishments.
“Whether a law school is worthy of receiving a Coif chapter turns heavily on whether the institution’s scholarly culture is robust,” said Nirej Sekhon, Coif application committee chair and associate professor of law. “The college’s faculty demonstrated excellence in the three core dimensions of scholarly productivity: quality, quantity and distribution, meaning a broad swath of our faculty contributed to our productivity as opposed to just a select few.”
“This recognition is based on, and an enormous tribute to, the scholarly excellence of our faculty,” said Steven J. Kaminshine, dean and professor of law. “Coif membership is selective. Only 84 out of 208 U.S. law schools have chapters. Before this year, only seven new Coif chapters had been approved since 2000. Many apply annually and few make it.”
The University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law also was accepted.
The College of Law learned of its membership on March 27. Membership carries weight inside legal education and in the profession, said Jessica Gabel Cino, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor.
“Order of the Coif is regarded as a distinction among one’s peers,” Cino said.
Gaining Coif membership was one of the goals in the college’s 2014-2020 strategic plan, Kaminshine said.
Order of the Coif means the college is an academically rigorous school with talented and successful students and faculty who contribute to the intellectual conversations that influence law and policy, said Kelly Timmons, associate dean for student affairs and associate professor.
“We faculty have always believed that our top students were equal to the top students at the most elite law schools,” Timmons said. “Order of the Coif membership validates that belief and communicates it in a tangible way to the legal community. More importantly though, receiving a chapter is a testament to the strength and vitality of the community that makes up the college: students, staff and faculty.”
As a new chapter, Georgia State Law is eligible to induct the top 10 percent of its graduating class annually and retroactively to eligible 2014 and 2015 graduates, Kaminshine said.
The Coif application committee consisted of Sekhon, law librarian Pam Brannon, associate professors Cino and Caren Morrison, Professor Jonathan Todres and former librarian Deborah Schander.