Among the original schools contemplated in Mr. Jefferson’s plan for the organization of the University of Virginia was “Law: Municipal and Foreign, Embracing the General Principles, Theory and Practice of Jurisprudence, together with the Theory and Principles of Constitutional Government.” Accordingly, the Law School was established with the opening of the University in 1825 and has been an integral part of the University since that date.
Located on the North Grounds, along with the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration and the Judge Advocate General's School, the Law School features new classrooms, seminar rooms, and moot courtrooms. The Law Grounds also include comprehensive computer facilities; an expanded library with a magnificent three-story reading room; a large career services complex; attractive offices for student organizations; full dining services; and numerous student lounges. 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.
As of 2002-03, the J.D. student body is composed of 1,066 students from 47 states, the District of Columbia, and 15 foreign countries. They hold undergraduate or graduate degrees from approximately 225 colleges and universities. The teaching faculty includes over 60 full-time members who have been educated at this and the country’s other major law schools and who bring to Virginia wide experience in education, private legal practice, and government service. Their offerings are supplemented by several dozen distinguished adjunct faculty drawn from private practice, government agencies, the judiciary, as well as educators and practitioners from numerous other countries.
The Law School is justly famous for the collegial environment that bonds students and faculty, and student satisfaction is consistently cited as among the highest in American law schools. Intellectual challenges are complemented by a spirit of cooperation and camaraderie. Small first-year sections promote individual inquiry while providing support and friendship. Students read each other’s work and learn together, freely share course outlines and other materials, and rely on the honor system to maintain the highest ethical standards.
Intellectual rigor, dynamic teaching, and rich diversity of courses distinguish the Virginia curriculum. The Law School fosters creative scholarship in all aspects of law, blending skilled craftsmanship with an enlarged understanding of law’s changing functions in contemporary society. At Virginia, law in its origins, impact, implications, and full range of possibilities is analyzed and debated in classes, workshops, lecture programs, student organizations, and faculty-student informal exchanges. Faculty meet with and mentor students, exploring ideas and fostering understanding and creative scholarship. Interdisciplinary thinking comes naturally at Virginia, with a third of the faculty holding advanced degrees in fields such as psychology, economics, philosophy, history, and the social study of science and technology.
The Arthur J. Morris Law Library, with more than 860,000 volumes, is one of the largest law libraries in the country. While its primary mission is to support the Law School’s faculty and student body, it also provides service to the University and the legal community beyond the University. As a member of a global community of research organizations, it links the Law School to local, national, and international information sources. It is an instructional unit within the Law School responsible for teaching techniques of effective legal research and publishing materials that assist the researcher in understanding legal bibliography.
University of Virginia
School of Law
P.O. Box 400405
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903-1789