University of Virginia (School of Law)
Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants. Consistently ranked among the top law schools in the nation, Virginia has educated generations of lawyers, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity, and community service. A faculty of nationally acclaimed experts in their fields and outstanding teachers lead Virginia’s 1,100 students to appreciate the power of law to shape human behavior and to influence political, social, and cultural life.
Virginia is justly famous for its collegial environment that bonds students and faculty, and student satisfaction is consistently cited as among the highest in American law schools. Intellectual challenges are met in a spirit of cooperation. Small first-year sections promote individual inquiry while providing support and friendship. Students learn together, reading each other’s work and freely sharing course outlines and other materials, confidently relying on the nation’s oldest student-run Honor System to maintain the highest ethical standards.
Virginia has a national reputation for producing highly skilled lawyers with a healthy combination of legal acuity and personal balance. American Lawyer magazine once identified Virginia as one of only two law schools in the country with graduates practicing in each of the nation’s top 100 law firms.
With a total student body of approximately 18,500 and a faculty of more than 2,000, the University of Virginia has achieved national prominence in many disciplines and has been ranked first or second among the nation's public universities since 1984, a judgment based on faculty strength, student achievement, satisfaction of alumni, and numerous other factors.
The University is proud to be recognized as a major research institution with an uncommonly strong commitment to teaching. It also maintains a strong tradition of student self-government. Forever marked by the vision and foresight of Thomas Jefferson, the architectural heritage confers a sense of place, and Jefferson’s original buildings are still in use. In the Jeffersonian tradition, the University maintains the best traditions of the past, yet is boldly oriented to the future.
At Virginia, your legal studies will take place in what is perhaps the most appealing physical environment found at any law school in the country. The David A. Harrison III Law Grounds reflect a recent $46 million expansion and renovation project funded entirely by private support from alumni and friends. Surrounded by inviting gardens and an elegant, tree-lined lawn, the setting reflects Jefferson’s conviction that locating an intellectual community within a beautiful environment fosters learning and personal growth.
The Law Grounds feature new classrooms, seminar rooms, and moot courtrooms, comprehensive computer facilities, an expanded library with a three-story reading room, new dining facilities, attractive offices for student organizations, and numerous student lounges.
Charlottesville is a city of contrasts. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains two hours southwest of Washington, D.C., the city is cosmopolitan and relaxed. A picturesque and thriving metropolitan area of more than 130,000, Charlottesville has kept its small-town feeling. Area restaurants are featured in publications such as Gourmet magazine and The New York Times, and an impressive array of local wineries offers award-winning vintages.
The hometown of the Dave Matthews Band, Charlottesville’s many nightclubs and music festivals create a thriving scene for live music. Free concerts are a staple of warm Friday evenings on the historic Downtown Mall; the Dogwood Blues Festival is another herald of the area’s gorgeous spring season.
Cultural opportunities abound. Theater, opera, and music are community fixtures. Jefferson’s Monticello and the nearby homes of James Madison and James Monroe feature classic architecture and rich history. Each fall the University hosts the nationally acclaimed Virginia Film Festival and in the spring gathers the nation’s literary luminaries for the Virginia Festival of the Book.
Law students seeking a community in which they can relax, find plentiful entertainment, and appreciate abundant natural beauty to balance the intense rigors of law study will find a home in Charlottesville.
Intellectual rigor, dynamic teaching, and a course selection offering both breadth and depth distinguish the Virginia curriculum. The School of Law fosters creative scholarship in all aspects of law, blending skilled craftsmanship with an enlarged understanding of the law’s changing functions in contemporary society. Students are challenged to determine how and why the law developed in a certain way, whether it accomplishes its intended purpose, and how changes in the law might affect social behavior. In addition, Virginia encourages students to think about law in historical, sociological, and economic contexts.
Each first-year student takes one “small-section” class of 30 students during the first semester. Other first-year classes range from 60 to 120 students. During the second semester, first-year students choose five to seven hours of electives, affording them the opportunity to explore areas of interest early in their legal education. Elective courses include interdisciplinary offerings such as law and economics, law and social science, and law and medicine; other introductory courses, including tax, evidence, corporations, family law, and international law; and advanced offerings of some required first-semester courses. Elective classes might be as small as 10 students or as large as 150. In the current academic year, the Law School offers more than 200 different courses and seminars beyond the required first-year classes. Full-time faculty teach the vast majority of offerings, but Virginia is also proud of a roster of approximately 60 adjunct faculty, judges, and practicing lawyers who teach in specialty areas and supervise some clinical programs.
VIRGINIA'S PRINCIPLES & PRACTICE PROGRAM teams law professors with practitioners, judges, and other professionals to give students an opportunity to apply legal theory in real-life situations. Principles & Practice courses meld the insights of theory with those of contemporary practice, giving students a more sophisticated understanding of the nature of the legal profession.
THE TRIAL ADVOCACY INSTITUTE is an intensive nine-day experience offered annually between the fall and spring terms. Third-year students are enrolled with participants from the nation's best litigation units in an intensive practice program with a faculty composed of some of the best trial lawyers and most outstanding judges in the country. This selective program supplements the 12 sections of trial advocacy offered each academic year. Additional practice opportunities for students include 16 clinical offerings plus a variety of classes using simulations or transactional teaching methods.
SEMINARS IN ETHICAL VALUES enhance students' understanding of ethical issues and address the broader ethical and moral responsibilities of lawyers as citizens and leaders. With content ranging from modern literature and films to classic fiction and philosophy, the seminars offer third-year students the opportunity to explore dimensions of professional life seldom found in standard legal education. The seminars augment Virginia's required course in professional responsibility, which focuses on the lawyer's ethical responsibilities through the study of rules and principles of legal ethics as codified by the states.
The School of Law includes several internationally known special programs directed by faculty members who are respected in their fields and often called upon by private and governmental organizations worldwide for their expertise.
The Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy offers training, educational, research, and service programs in the areas of forensic psychiatry, forensic psychology, and mental health law. Affiliated with the School of Law, the University’s School of Medicine, and the College of Arts & Sciences, the Institute has an interdisciplinary faculty of attorneys, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. Its Forensic Psychiatry Clinic performs clinical evaluations in a wide variety of civil and criminal cases. The Institute conducts training programs for the Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services and provides continuing education for attorneys and judges. The Institute also conducts extensive empirical and theoretical research in clinical criminology, forensic psychiatry/psychology, and mental health law and policy.
The Center for National Security Law was established in 1981 to promote nonpartisan interdisciplinary scholarship and education about legal issues affecting U.S. national security. Topics of special interest include legal constraints on the use of armed force and the separation of constitutional powers concerning war and treaties; the proper role of an intelligence service in a free society; terrorism; and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In addition to teaching courses and seminars, Center scholars conduct research, publish, and lecture. The Center also sponsors professional conferences and publishes scholarly studies.
The Center for Oceans Law and Policy promotes rational management of the world’s oceans, coastal, and polar areas through teaching, research, and the dissemination of information. The Center offers research and publications; conferences, seminars, and speakers; associateships and fellowships; curricular and teaching programs in oceans law and policy, and maintains the Newlin Collection of Oceans Law and Policy in the Morris Law Library.
Law School faculty also are actively involved with other multidisciplinary endeavors at the University, including the Center for Children, Families, and the Law, co-directed by one of our faculty members.
The University of Virginia School of Law is enriched by the scope of student organizations, extracurricular activities, and the community spirit that permeates student life. Opportunities include nine student-run academic journals, 60 interest-centered organizations, student governance (both Law School and University), and a vibrant range of social and athletic activities. In addition, the University and local community are both large enough to offer something to meet anyone's interests and small enough to make active participation compatible with a student's rigorous academic schedule.
Virginia values its reputation as a school that produces graduates who are skilled in law and balanced in life. It encourages students to enjoy their legal studies, to expand intellectually and personally, and to join the thousands of successful alumni who recall their law school years with warmth and enthusiasm.
Spacious and serene, the Arthur J. Morris Law Library
holds more than 870,000 volumes and one million
microforms, and provides access to all national lawrelated databases. One of the largest law libraries in the country, it supports research in Anglo-American law as well as foreign, international, and comparative law.
Maritime law scholars around the world know its outstanding Oceans Collection. Among its special collections are titles chosen by Thomas Jefferson for the University Library when it opened in 1825, as well as first editions of leading scholars in English common
law, including Glanville, Coke, Bracton, and Blackstone.
Law students have full access to and borrowing privileges for all libraries on the Grounds, whose combined volume count approaches five million, making the University of Virginia library system a leader among American research libraries. The Law Library shares its
catalog and many of its electronic resources with other
campus libraries. It includes wired and wireless Local
Area Network capability throughout.
Among the resources of the Morris Law Library is a
staff of knowledgeable librarians available to work with
students to teach effective legal research. Librarian consultation is available to all students year-round.
School name:University of VirginiaSchool of Law
Address:580 Massie Road
Zip & city:VA 22903-1738 Virginia
Address:580 Massie Road
Zip & city:VA 22903-1738 Virginia
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