University of Virginia School of Law
|University of Virginia School of Law|
|Parent school||University of Virginia|
|Endowment||US $ 555 million|
|Parent endowment||US $ 9.6 billion|
|Location||Charlottesville, Virginia, USA|
|USNWR ranking||8th (2022)|
|Bar pass rate||95.9%|
|ABA profile||ABA Profile|
The University of Virginia School of Law (Virginia Law or UVA Law) is the law school of the University of Virginia. The law school was founded in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson as part of his "academical village," which became University of Virginia, where law was one of the original disciplines taught. UVA Law is the fourth-oldest active law school in the United States and the second-oldest continuously operating law school. The law school offers the J.D., LL.M., and S.J.D. degrees in law and hosts visiting scholars, visiting researchers and a number of legal research centers.
Virginia Law is considered one of the top ten ranked law schools in the United States. In the 2022 U.S. News ranking, Virginia Law is ranked 8th overall. Globally, Virginia Law is ranked as the ninth-best law school in the world according to Shanghai Ranking Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) by subject Law. Since 2018, UVA Law has contantly ranked the first in the Princeton Review rankings of top law schools for Best Professors. Also, Virginia Law ranks the first in the Princeton Review rankings of top law schools for Best Classroom Experience and Best Quality of Life.
Notable alumni include U.S. Supreme Court Justice James Clark McReynolds, as well as numerous members of U.S. Congress and judges on federal courts throughout the United States. UVA Law has more than 20,000 alumni in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and 64 foreign countries.
For the class entering in the fall of 2020, 299 out of 5,472 J.D. applicants matriculated. The 25th and 75th LSAT percentiles for the 2020 entering class were 164 and 172, respectively, with a median of 170. The 25th and 75th undergraduate GPA percentiles were 3.49 and 3.96, respectively, with a median of 3.90. The class of 2023 consists of students from 38 states and the District of Columbia and from 144 undergraduate institutions. The age range was 20 to 37. 52% of the class was female, 48% male, and 33% identified themselves as people of color. 70% of the class had postgraduate experience.
The LL.M. Program admits around 40-50 students each year. It provides an American legal education to lawyers who have obtained their first law degree in their home countries; LL.M. candidates take classes alongside J.D. students, allowing participants to fully engage in the community and plan their own coursework  The S.J.D. Program has about 10-20 candidates, and it is intended primarily for aspiring legal academics.
Cost of attendance
The total cost of attendance (indicating the cost of tuition, fees, and living expenses) for first-year law students at UVA Law for the 2020–2021 academic year is $85,396 for Virginia residents and $88,396 for nonresidents. Law School Transparency has estimated that the debt-financed cost of attendance for three years, based on data from the 2019–2020 academic year, is $304,672 for residents; the estimated cost for non-residents is $314,961.
UVA Law receives no funding from the state; instead, the school depends upon the generosity of private donors (bolstered by its over 50% alumni giving rate), its substantial endowment (US $ 555 million), the 5th largest among all law schools, and student tuition payments. In 1995–1997, UVA Law used entirely donated funds to renovate and expand its buildings on the University's North Grounds to include the former facilities of the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, which built a new campus several hundred yards away.
The Arthur J. Morris Law Library holds more than 820,000 volumes, including substantial collections of federal, state, and international documents, manuscripts, archives, and online research databases.
UVA Law maintains an extensive roster of student organizations, including chapters of the Federalist Society, the American Constitution Society and the St. Thomas More Society. The Virginia Law Weekly, UVA Law's student-run weekly newspaper, has been published since 1948. The paper has been cited in several court cases, including in the dissenting opinion of Justice Powell in the U.S. Supreme Court case Patterson v. New York. In addition to its news content, the VLW also contains student-submitted content, which often includes humorous and creative pieces. The Law Weekly has won the American Bar Association's previous three "Best Newspaper Awards," in 2006, 2007, and 2008.
Each spring, over one hundred students write, direct and perform in The Libel Show, a comedy and musical theater production that was first organized in 1904. Its performers roast Law School professors, student stereotypes and life in Charlottesville throughout each of its three nightly showings. Professors write and sing their response to the students' jokes at the penultimate performance.
The school hosts an annual softball tournament to raise money for ReadyKids, an organization that provides care and counseling for at-risk families in Central Virginia, and the Public Interest Law Association, which provides public service internships for law students. 51 different law schools send teams to compete in men's and co-rec brackets. In 2017, $25,000 was raised.
- Virginia Journal of International Law, the oldest student-edited international law journal in the country
- Virginia Environmental Law Journal
- Virginia Journal of Law & Technology
- Virginia Journal of Social Policy & the Law
- Virginia Law & Business Review
- Virginia Law Review
- Virginia Sports & Entertainment Law Journal
- Virginia Tax Review
- Virginia Journal of Criminal Law
- Journal of Law and Politics
UVA Law's curricular programs include the programs in Law & Business and Law and Public Service, as well as programs in international law, legal and constitutional history, criminal law, human rights, race and law, environmental and land use law, immigration law, intellectual property, public policy and regulation, health law, law and humanities, and animal law. UVA Law also has programs that help students build skills, such as the legal writing program, courses in professional ethics, trial advocacy and public speaking, and other practical-skills courses. The Princeton Review ranked UVA Law as first in "Best Quality of Life" and "Best Professors" among the nation's law schools, second in "Best Classroom Experience," fifth in "Toughest to Get Into," and sixth in "Career Prospects." The 2016 QS World University Rankings for law schools ranks UVA Law in the range of 51–100 worldwide and as the 13th-best law school in U.S.
Among the more than 250 courses and seminars offered each year, UVA Law has 23 clinics:
- Appellate Litigation
- Civil Rights
- Community Solutions
- Criminal Defense
- Decarceration and Community Reentry
- Economic and Consumer Justice
- Employment Law
- Entrepreneurial Law
- Environmental Law and Community Engagement
- Federal Criminal Sentence Reduction
- First Amendment Law
- Health and Disability Law
- Holistic Juvenile Defense
- Immigration Law
- Innocence Project
- International Human Rights
- Litigation and Housing Law
- Patent and Licensing
- Project for Informed Reform
- State and Local Government Policy
- Supreme Court Litigation
- Youth Advocacy
Students may participate in eight international exchange programs:
- Bocconi Law in Milan, Italy
- Bucerius Law School in Hamburg, Germany
- Hebrew University School of Law in Jerusalem, Israel
- Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain
- Melbourne Law School in Melbourne, Australia
- Seoul National University in Seul, South Korea
- Tel Aviv University Law School in Tel Aviv, Israel
- University of Auckland in Auckland, New Zealand
- University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia
- Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan
In addition, UVA Law offers rising third-year students the opportunity to obtain a dual degree from Sciences Po in Paris. Students who successfully complete this program earn a French law diploma (entitling them to sit for the French bar exam) and a J.D. degree from Virginia. Students also may spend one semester abroad through the student-initiated study abroad program or as an external studies project. Each year one-credit courses are offered in Paris and Tel Aviv through the January Term.
Institutes and centers
UVA Law includes several internationally known special programs and centers directed by faculty members.
- The John W. Glynn, Jr. Law & Business Program
- Program in Law and Public Service
- Center for International & Comparative Law
- Program on Constitutional Law and Legal History
- Center for Criminal Justice
- Karsh Center for Law and Democracy
- Virginia Center for Tax Law
- PLACE: Program in Law, Communities and the Environment
- National Security Law Center
- LawTech Center
- Center for the Study of Race and Law
- Health Law
- Human Rights Program
- Center for Public Law and Political Economy
- First Amendment Center
- Family Law Center
- Center for Law & Philosophy
- Intellectual Property
- Immigration Law
- Public Policy and Regulation
- Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy
- John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics
- Animal Law Program
UVA Law has long been regarded as one of the most prestigious law schools in the United States. As of 2020, UVA Law ranked No. 1 in Best Classroom Experience, Best Professors and Best Quality of Life according to The Princeton Review. U.S. News & World Report ranks UVA Law as eighth in the nation. In the 2019 Above the Law rankings, which focuses on employment outcomes, UVA Law ranked first in the nation. A study published in the Journal of Legal Education ranked UVA Law fourth in the number of partners in the National Law Journal's top 100 firms.
According to UVA Law's official 2019 ABA-required disclosures, 92.6% of the Class of 2018 obtained non-school funded full-time, long-term, JD-required employment ten months after graduation. A 2019 analysis conducted by Law.com placed Virginia in second for employment outcomes, behind Columbia, with 92.64% of graduates obtaining employment within ten months.
UVA Law is fourth in the number of partners in the National Law Journal's top 100 firms, and a survey by the NLJ found that UVA Law ranked third in the number of associates promoted to partner among the NLJ's top 250 firms in 2015. Additionally, UVA Law is second only to Harvard in the number of alumni serving as chief legal counsel at Fortune 500 companies. Alumni from UVA Law are also employed at 100 of the American Lawyer top 100 law firms (as of May 2016). In a 2010 study by Stanford Graduate School of Business professors, Virginia ranked fifth in the number of lawyers at the top 300 U.S. law firms.
From 2005 to 2018, UVA Law had the fourth-highest placement of law clerks on the United States Supreme Court, surpassed only by Yale, Harvard and Stanford. In 2016 UVA Law alumni set a school record for obtaining the most appellate court clerkships in a term.
Deans of the University of Virginia School of Law
- 1904–1932 William Minor Lile
- 1932–1937 Armistead Dobie
- 1939–1963 F.D.G. Ribble
- 1963–1968 Hardy C. Dillard
- 1968–1976 Monrad G. Paulsen
- 1976–1980 Emerson Spies
- 1980–1988 Richard A. Merrill
- 1988–1991 Thomas H. Jackson
- 1991–2001 Robert E. Scott
- 2001–2008 John C. Jeffries Jr.
- 2008–2016 Paul G. Mahoney
- 2016–present Risa L. Goluboff
Notable faculty and alumni
UVA Law maintains a list of prominent alumni and has graduated many influential figures in government, business, the judiciary, academia, journalism, and the law, including Woodrow Wilson, Robert F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, Lowell Weicker, John Warner, David K.E. Bruce, Louis Auchincloss, DeMaurice Smith, Robert Mueller, Janet Napolitano and others. The school's alumni giving rate of more than 50 percent for the past 11 years is among the highest of the nation's law schools.
Many of UVA Law's faculty are prominent scholars and academics, including Anne Coughlin, professor of criminal law, John F. Duffy, who teaches intellectual property, and law school dean Risa L. Goluboff, who is also a professor of legal history and constitutional law.
- Kenneth Abraham – insurance law, torts
- Richard Bonnie (LL.B. 1969) – criminal law, bioethics, public policy
- Naomi R. Cahn – family law, trusts and estates, feminist jurisprudence
- Danielle Citron – privacy, free expression, civil rights
- Anne Coughlin – criminal law, feminist jurisprudence
- Ashley Deeks – national security, international law, intelligence and the laws of war
- John Duffy – patent law, international intellectual property, administrative law
- Risa Goluboff – Dean, legal history, constitutional law, constitutional history, civil rights
- John C. Harrison – constitutional law, administrative law, constitutional history
- A.E. Dick Howard (LL.B. 1961) – constitutional law, comparative constitutionalism, constitutional history
- John Jeffries (J.D. 1973) – Dean Emeritus, criminal law, constitutional law, civil rights
- Edmund W. Kitch – agency, corporations, securities and antitrust
- Douglas Laycock – constitutional law, religious liberties, remedies
- M. Elizabeth Magill (J.D. 1995) – Provost of the University of Virginia, administrative law, constitutional law
- Paul G. Mahoney – Dean Emeritus, securities regulation, corporations
- John Monahan – social science in law, mental health law
- Caleb Nelson – civil procedure, federal courts
- Cynthia Nicoletti – legal history, constitutional history, property
- Saikrishna Prakash – constitutional law, separation of powers
- James E. Ryan (J.D. 1992) – President of the University of Virginia, education law, constitutional law
- Frederick Schauer – constitutional law and theory, philosophy of law, freedom of expression
- Micah Schwartzman (J.D. 2005) – Law and religion, legal theory, constitutional law and theory
- John Setear – international law, international environmental law, foreign relations
- Lawrence Solum – philosophy of law, constitutional theory, procedure
- Mila Versteeg – comparative constitutional law, public international law, empirical legal studies
- Steven Walt – commercial law, contracts, bankruptcy
- G. Edward White – legal history, constitutional law, torts
- Lillian BeVier (1973-2010) - Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus
- Antonin G. Scalia (1967-1974) – Associate U.S. Supreme Court Justice
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