Ten years ago, George Mason University School of Law was tiny, tucked into quarters on GMU’s Arlington campus in what was once a Kann’s department store. The law school was well-regarded locally, but little heard of outside the region. Now with the sponsorship of Virginia Gov. James Gilmore III and a center devoted to technology and law, the school is attracting attention. The National Center for Technology and the Law – the brainchild of law school Dean Mark Grady – is the first of its kind: A university think tank created with $1 million in state funds solely for the study of the law and information technology.

Last week, the center officially opened its doors, with a party attended by scores of local politicians and business leaders. In addition to highlighting GMU’s intention to be the academic center of what Gilmore calls “the Internet Dominion,” the opening signaled the growing popularity of specialization, a new trend in legal education. The law school is developing a special track, ready for the fall term, for information technology law in its J.D. program. Dean Grady says the program, which will focus on the practical application of laws to high-tech businesses, will include courses on the law of e-commerce, venture start-ups, and cyber-contracting. The school already offers several cyberlaw courses, but the track program will resemble the school’s patent and international business tracks, among others, which allow students to major in a specific area of law.

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