University of Virginia

Graduate Record 1996-1997

Chapter 10: School of Law

General Information

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.

From 1825 until 1894, the course of study comprised the work of a single year. With the session of 1894-1895, the course became two years in length and continued as such until the session of 1909-1910, when the course was extended to three years.

The Law School is now located on the North Grounds, along with the Graduate School of Business Administration and the Judge Advocate General's School.

As of 1995 the student body is composed of 1,153 students from 51 states and foreign countries. They hold undergraduate or graduate degrees from approximately 227 colleges and universities. The teaching faculty includes over 50 full-time members who have been educated at this and the country's other major law schools and bring wide experience in education, private legal practice, and government service. Their offerings are supplemented by several dozen distinguished part-time lecturers drawn largely from private practice and government agencies as well as the bench.

The expanding role of law in both national and international arenas constitutes a continuing challenge to legal education. The University of Virginia School of Law attempts to provide its students with, more than anything else, the flexibility necessary to understand and apply the law as it evolves. Because the law is constantly changing, teaching a series of legal rules applicable at one moment in history would be practically useless to a lawyer in his or her future career. Virginia, in contrast, trains its students to use the permanent research tools of reported cases, statutes, scholarly work-and the analytical techniques of precise issue identification, evaluation of competing considerations, clear and concise articulation of results-as touchstones against which future developments in the law can be measured.

It is relatively easy to learn what the current law is in any given area; students at Virginia are challenged to determine how and why the law developed in a certain way, whether a law accomplishes its intended purpose, and how changes in the law might affect social behavior. In addition, Virginia exposes its students to historical, sociological, and economic treatments of the law. Out of this combination should arise an appreciation of the power of the law, for good or ill, to influence the course of human conduct.

The primary objective of university legal education, however, is to train students to become superior practitioners of their profession, whether in the private or public sector. Through the research activities of both faculty and students and its graduate program, the School of Law encourages creative scholarship in all aspects of law as it applies to its own and to related disciplines. In short, the institution's mission is to weld skilled craftsmanship with an enlarged understanding of law's changing functions in contemporary society.

University of Virginia
School of Law
580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(804) 924-7354
School of Law World Wide Web site

Admission Information

Preliminary Education   The study of law requires the constant application of a disciplined mind. Therefore, those courses are best suited to prelaw study which either in content or method of instruction are best adapted to inculcating habits of disciplined thought. Furthermore, the scope of law is so broad that no single field of study can be peremptorily excluded. Subjects such as economics and political science are customarily recommended, but to recommend these subjects is not to suggest that other courses, such as history, mathematics, English and American literature, philosophy, the natural sciences, psychology, Latin, and modern languages are not of equal value. A lawyer is constantly engaged in communicating ideas, and to that end, emphasis on the capacity to write clearly is properly stressed. Courses in English composition are therefore recommended. Courses in accounting and public speaking are often recommended. It should be noted, however, that the School of Law offers the opportunity for pursuing these courses as related to law, so they are not specifically recommended in preference to broader and more culturally-oriented courses.

Profile of the 1995 Entering Class   The 380 students who entered the first year of law study at the University of Virginia in August 1995 were selected from a total of 4,101 applicants from 565 different colleges and universities. There were 196 Virginia residents; the remaining 184 came from 35 different states, the District of Columbia, and Sweden. There were 143 women students and 42 black minority students.

Although widely differing approaches to college grading often serve to render comparative statements about undergraduate records misleading, it is significant that most students in this fall's entering class ranked in the upper 20 percent of their graduating classes. The median grade point average for the entering class was 3.6 on a 4.0 scale. (This computation does not include several students whose grades could not accurately be interpolated to a 4.0 scale.) The mean LSAT score was the 96th percentile. Many of these students also had completed advanced degree work. The average age was 25.

The Law School has continued its policy of giving preferred status to Virginia applicants, and a large number of highly qualified non-Virginians must be turned away for lack of space. A total of 1,088 Virginia residents applied for admission, compared with 3,013 out-of-state applicants.

Regular Students

Candidates for the degree of Juris Doctor must have attained the age of 18 years (counting to the nearest birthday) before entering the School of Law, must produce a certificate of good character from each school or college attended, or from another satisfactory source, and must conform to the general requirements set forth below. The Law School does not offer a summer session.

Applicants should inform themselves of the character and other qualifications for admission to the Bar of the state in which they intend to practice.

Academic Requirements   Each candidate must present evidence that he or she is a graduate of an accredited college.

Candidates for admission who have not completed the required entrance credits will not be admitted with the privilege of making up the deficiency.

Applications for Admission   Applications for admission must be submitted upon forms obtainable from the Admissions Office. All applications must be accompanied by a nonrefundable $40 fee. Students beginning their study of law are accepted only for the fall semester starting in late August of each year.

Applications may be filed after the completion of six semesters or equivalent of undergraduate work. Application volume has been around 4,000 in recent years, and we therefore want to urge applicants to file and complete their applications as soon as possible in order to allow the Admissions Office sufficient time to process them efficiently. Because of the problems encountered during the past several years with processing the large volume of applications we have been receiving, the Committee on Admissions established January 15 as the deadline for receipt of applications for admission. All required materials, in addition to the application form itself, should be received at the Admissions Office prior to that date. The Committee on Admissions may, at its discretion, accept or reject applications received after that date. Whenever possible, we suggest that the application be filed and completed by January 1.

It is the policy of the Admissions Committee to make every effort to accommodate all those who wish a personal interview. Interviews are granted between October 1 and January 31. Unfortunately, it has been our recent experience that the volume of requests outstrips our interviewing capacities. Last year, for example, it was not possible to meet the heavy demand. Therefore, the Committee asks that the applicant call or write for an appointment as early as possible and urges that those who seek interviews try to arrange visits prior to the first of the year.

All applicants will be notified, upon acceptance, that they will be required to pay a deposit to secure a place in the entering class. This deposit will be credited toward tuition.

Standards for Admission   In recent years the admission process at the University of Virginia School of Law has been rigorously selective. Spatial restrictions have necessitated the denial of admission to hundreds of applicants who would otherwise have been routinely accepted.

The Admissions Committee believes that an absolute standard based solely on a combination of LSAT score and undergraduate grade point average (GPA) is neither the most equitable nor the most effective way to select an entering class. Consequently, the Committee considers a broad array of elements in addition to the essential factors of LSAT and GPA. The Committee's purpose is to assemble a diverse student body while at the same time arriving at a fair appraisal of each applicant based on many factors, subjective and objective, quantitative and qualitative.

This broad array of data used in determining admissions decisions makes it difficult to predict what action may be taken on an individual application. The LSAT score and GPA still constitute the bulk of the Committee's consideration; usually about 80 percent total weighting is accorded these two factors. The Committee views these factors in the context of the maturing effect on an individual of some years spent away from formal education, continuing improvement in academic performance as opposed to steady but unexceptional work; financial pressure requiring employment while a full-time student; significant personal achievement in extracurricular work at college or in a work or military situation; unusual prior training, background, or ethnicity that promises a significant contribution to the Law School community. Other similar factors are also considered.

Law School Admission Test   The School of Law cooperates with the Law School Admission Council in the preparation and development of the Law School Admission Test. All applicants for admission are required to take the test. Test scores are used to supplement college records and other criteria that determine admission.

For the convenience of applicants taking the Law School Admission Test, examination centers have been established in many colleges throughout the country, and the test is offered in October, December, February, and June. Applicants are urged to take the test in October. Applicants with outstanding academic records who score poorly on the first test and who have good reason to believe they can improve their performance significantly should seriously consider retaking the test. Application forms and further information concerning the test may be obtained from the Law School Admission Services, Box 2000, Newtown, PA 18940.

LSDAS   The applicant should register with Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS) by completing and mailing the registration form which may be obtained from LSDAS. A transcript from each college or university attended should then be sent not to the law school but directly to: Law School Admission Services, Box 2000, Newtown, PA 18940.

The LSDAS will analyze and duplicate the transcript. If you are accepted, you will be asked to submit a final transcript, showing the award of a bachelor's degree, directly to the Law School.

Admission From Other Law Schools   No person who has previously attended any law school in the United States shall be eligible for admission as a student in this School of Law, unless he or she is eligible for re-admission to the law school previously attended. Applications of students contemplating transfer with advanced standing will not be acted upon until one full year of work has been completed.

Advanced Standing Credit   Credit toward the degree of Juris Doctor in this School of Law, in no event to exceed the equivalent of the work of three full quarters or two semesters, may, at the discretion of the Dean or Assistant Dean, or upon vote of the law faculty, be given for courses satisfactorily passed in a law school in the United States which is either approved by the American Bar Association or is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Similar credits may in like manner be given for work done in law schools outside the United States.

No credit shall be given for work in any single session during which the student failed in two or more courses, nor shall credit be given for any course in which the student did not receive a grade of "D" (or the equivalent) or better, and credits once given may be withdrawn for unsatisfactory work in this School. The Dean and Assistant Dean are given power to make such rulings and adjustments as shall be necessary for the fair and equitable administration of this general provision.

Transfer students are eligible to participate in combined degree programs with other Departments and Schools of the University and to receive academic credit for graduate level courses taken in other Departments and Schools of the University on the same basis as regularly enrolled students. In considering the admission of a transfer student to a combined degree program or the authorization of non-Law School credit for a transfer student, the faculty advisor or the Assistant Dean, as the case may be, may take into account the transfer applicant's academic record and the institution form which he or she has transferred.

Health   Students who have been admitted to the University must complete a personal medical history form. Appropriate forms are sent after admission is granted. All health requirements must be met prior to registration.

Special Students

A limited number of applicants who, though unable to fulfill the foregoing entrance requirements, can present proper evidence of good character, maturity, and training, may, in exceptional cases and by special action of the law faculty, be admitted as special students. (The limitation of the number of special students admitted conforms to the recommendation of the American Bar Association.) Applicants who fulfill the regular graduate entrance requirement but who are unable to meet the intense competition for places should note that the special student category is not available to them. Special student applicants must take the Law School Admission Test.

The applicant for admission as a special student must make written application on forms available from the Admissions Office and must supplement this with detailed information as to prior education and business experience and general fitness to undertake the study of law, as well as with a statement explaining why the applicant is unable to qualify as a regular student.

Financial Aid Information

Title IV Institutional Code = 003745
College Name = University of Virginia

Financial aid in the form of scholarships, federal loans, and federally supported work-study employment is available to students who demonstrate "need" according to the guidelines of the FAFSA form. In addition to the scholarship, federal loan and employment programs, Federal and non-Federal loan assistance is available without regard to a family's ability to contribute toward meeting educational costs. Although there are deadlines which, in the student's self-interest, ought to be observed, the Financial Aid Office recognizes that emergencies may arise and available financial resources may change unexpectedly. When unforeseen circumstances occur or when questions arise about the nature of and/or responsibilities for the various forms of financial aid, inquiries should be addressed to or an appointment made with the Director of Financial Aid.

All citizens and permanent residents of the United States are eligible to apply for financial assistance. All financial aid data provided is kept confidential.

First-Year Students - How To Apply Applicants applying for federal and institutional financial aid must file the FAFSA form. This form may be obtained from the financial aid office at the institution you are currently attending, or you may use the FAFSA Renewal form sent to you. Due to changing Federal Regulations, you may want to verify with our office the required forms needed before beginning the financial aid process. The applications should be filed no later than February 15, if at all possible, in order to assure its receipt at the school by March 1. The FAFSA contains sections to be completed by the applicant, spouse, and the applicant's parents. Parental information is required by our institution for all applicants under the age of 26, regardless of the FAFSA instructions. An in-house financial aid application is required from admitted applicants only.

Second- and Third-Year Students Each present second- and third-year law student who is currently on financial aid must re-apply yearly to continue receiving financial aid. Since a person's financial circumstances can change significantly from one year to the next, new applications are necessary each year to reflect all such changes accurately. To renew financial assistance each student must submit either the FAFSA, or FAFSA Renewal and an in-house application which serves the particular needs and programs available at this law school. Applications are available from the Financial Aid Office.

Rising second- and third-year students should complete and submit the forms no later than April 15 of the year preceding the period for which aid is requested. Since the amount of scholarship and federal financial aid is limited, these funds will be distributed on a first-come first-served basis. Tardy reapplications may diminish the extent of aid provided or may exclude the late applicant altogether from either or both of these programs.


Students' budgets are determined by the University Committee on Scholarships, Loans, and Employment and are standardized for all graduate and professional schools at the University. Modifications are made to reflect the actual costs which are incurred by law students in general. Modifications are also made to reflect the particular circumstances of each applicant. Exceptions are kept at a minimum, however, due to the limited amount of scholarships and federal funds which are allocated to the law school, and for the standardized distribution of financial assistance to all aid recipients. All expenses covered must be educationally related. Individual counseling may be appropriate and the Director of Financial Aid is available for such purposes.

Budgets for the 1996-97 academic year are as follows:

VA ResidentNon-Resident
Tuition & Fees$12,030$19,178
Room, Board, Misc.9,7209,720
Loan Origination Fees740740

An additional allowance in the amount of child care is permitted. A petition indicating the estimated child care expenses is required. The Financial Office may use its discretion in the allowance made based upon the total number of children.

Standard Forms of Financial Aid

dScholarships   The Financial Aid Office has at its disposal a variety of scholarships that have been donated from individuals and groups as well as grants, the source of which are both the federal and state governments. The Director of Financial Aid distributes gift assistance in such a way as to maintain a reasonable ratio of gift to loan or work-study assistance. Financial need is the overriding principle by which grants are awarded and, to the extent it is possible, effort is made to distribute gift aid to all recipients proportionately. In addition, effort is made to keep the financial aid package constant from year to year. This principle may be mitigated by the number of students seeking aid as well as funding allocations which occur yearly.

Emergency Loans   Emergency loans can be obtained to cover unforeseen expenses which may arise during the academic year, that are educationally related. Emergency loans are obtained by written petition to the Director of Financial Aid, stating the amount needed (not to exceed $400), the nature of the expense, and the source from which this payment will come. Emergency funds are "revolving"; that is, they are available only to the extent they are repaid. These loans are interest free and are limited to one per academic year.

Federal Direct Student Loan Program   The University of Virginia is a Federal Direct Loan lending institution. Separate bank loan applications are not required. The FAFSA form will determine your eligibility for both the Stafford Subsidized and the Unsubsidized Stafford loan. The federal government will be the lender rather than a bank. Applicants may be deemed eligible to receive both programs, however, the combined loan total may not exceed $18,500 per year. Loan information will be sent as part of your financial aid package. Additional information on both loans is cited below.

Federal Direct Stafford Subsidized Loan   A need-based loan program which allows a student to be eligible to borrow up to $8,500 per year to help offset the total cost of education as deemed by the Financial Aid Office. Borrowers loans will be a variable rate capped at 8.25 percent interest. The interest rate for repeat borrowers with outstanding balances may vary depending upon prior loan terms and current Stafford regulations. The cumulative debt you can have outstanding from your undergraduate and graduate study is $65,500.

Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan   This loan program allows graduate and professional students to be eligible for up to $18,500 a year. Unlike the Stafford Subsidized Loan program, interest begins accruing. Payment of the interest must either be made while enrolled or capitalized. This loan program may be used to help offset a student's expected family contribution. The interest rate is variable but will not exceed 8.25 percent.

Law Access and Law Loans Programs   Each of these agencies provide access to the private loan market known as a Law Access Loan and a Law Student Loan. These loans are based upon credit worthiness. Application for these loans is made through the financial aid office, and no cosigner, bank-customer relationship, or state residency is required. For further information, contact the financial aid office.

Bar Examination Loans   These loans are available through Law Access or Law Loans during your final year of study and are based upon your credit worthiness and overall program restrictions. Repayment begins nine months after graduation.

Employment Opportunities

Students may apply for part-time work through either the Law School or the University's part-time employment counselor in the Office of Financial Aid to Students. However, first-year students are discouraged from part-time work because of the extensive requirements of the first-year curriculum. In no event may any student engage in more than 20 hours of employment per week.

Students are employed in the Law School as research assistants to law professors and assistants in the Law Library, the Admissions Office, and the Placement Office. Only second- and third-year students are eligible for work-study employment. All other positions are open to all students.

Special Scholarships

The Financial Aid Office has at its disposal a variety of scholarships which have been donated from individuals and groups. Some of these special scholarships are as follows:

Lacy Withers Armour Scholarship,   chosen by a subcommittee of the Admissions Committee from among applicants with highest overall admissions credentials who would be unable to attend the law school without financial assistance. This award is renewable.

Franklin O. Blechman Scholarship,   established in memory of Franklin O. Blechman, Law Class of 1927. Recipients are nominated by the subcommittee of the Admissions Committee from among those well-rounded applicants who possess a superior academic record, augmented by a record of extracurricular undergraduate activities and communal activities. Preference is given to applicants from the Virginia peninsula. The size of the scholarship will be related to financial need.

Christian Barton Epps Scholarship,   for students with excellent academic records who plan to practice law in Virginia or who are presently Virginia residents. This scholarship is need-based.

Edwin S. Cohen Tax Scholarship,   to be awarded at the end of the second year to students entering their third year who are the highest ranked student from nominees submitted by the tax faculty.

Hardy Cross Dillard,   nominated by a subcommittee of the Admissions Committee and selected by the Foundation Selection Committee from among applicants with highest overall admissions credentials who have demonstrated financial need. These scholarships provide funds to cover tuition and fees in addition to a $5,000 living expense stipend. This is a three-year scholarship and the largest that the law school awards.

David Hartfield, Jr. Memorial Scholarship,  based on scholarship record. This scholarship may also be awarded without regard to need.

S. Philip Heiner Scholarship,   established as a memorial to Philip Heiner. The recipient should be an exceptional student who combines a strong commitment to the University with extraordinary academic achievement.

Society of Cincinnati Scholarship,   awarded principally to second- and third-year Virginia residents who have a good academic record and an expressed desire to practice in Virginia-especially in a rural or small town.

Union Standish Scholarship,   a need-based scholarship awarded to non-resident students.

William D. Ford Scholarship,   awarded to those who combine sound academic achievement with financial need.

Paul A. Simon Memorial Scholarship,   established in memory of Paul Ashley Simon is awarded to a second- or third-year student on the basis of scholarship, character, and leadership ability. The family serves as the selection committee from nominees provided by the Director of Financial Aid.

Career Services

Over the years, students in the School of Law have consistently been able to obtain excellent permanent and summer jobs. Most of these jobs are the result of contacts made during interviews with employers conducted at the Law School; the remainder are obtained by students on their own, often with the assistance of the Law School's Career Planning and Placement Office. The Office is one of the very busiest in the country in terms of the number of employers contacting the Office each year with job opportunities. In the fall of 1995, for example, more than 450 employers from 35 states and the District of Columbia conducted approximately 7,000 interviews at the Law School from mid-September to early November. An additional 600 employers solicited resumes from Virginia students without visiting the Law School.

This volume of recruiting activity is a measure of the esteem in which Virginia students are held by legal employers. It has, moreover, resulted in a geographical pattern of job placement that is as diverse as that of any law school in the country. For example, the most popular employment locales for graduates of the Class of 1995 were, after the Commonwealth of Virginia and District of Columbia, New York, Texas, California, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

The Career Planning and Placement Office offers a wide range of services to students seeking permanent and summer employment. In addition to attending to the logistical demands of the fall interviewing season, the Office provides individual placement counseling on subjects ranging from interviewing techniques to strategies for obtaining specific types of jobs to letter and resume writing. It also helps students who are looking for jobs outside the formal interviewing process, by corresponding with and forwarding student resumes to non-visiting employers who have contacted the Office, and by assisting students in locating still other employers who have not contacted the Office, often making use of the comprehensive employer listings contained in the Placement library.

The Career Planning and Placement Office has also developed and maintains an extensive Alumni Career Network, made up of more than 2,000 UVA Law graduates who have volunteered to provide advice and assistance to students and graduates in the job market. There is an additional alumni network designed especially for those looking for public service careers.

Other projects conducted by the Career Planning Office include panel discussions on various kinds of legal opportunities, including those not generally represented among visiting employers; newsletters for students and graduates; regional job fairs; an annual Public Interest Job Fair; symposia on job search techniques and strategies; and projects designed to promote careers in public service, such as Student Funded Fellowships, which provide stipends to students in summer public-service jobs, and the Career Choice Plan, which provides loan assistance to graduates in public service positions.

At graduation in 1995, 336 out of 373 graduates had informed the Placement Office that they had obtained jobs: 205 with law firms; 72 as judicial clerks; 7 with the Federal government; 14 with city or state government or public interest groups; and 10 with corporations. The remaining graduates engaged in such disparate endeavors as graduate study, military service, accounting, and teaching. Almost all accepted jobs for which the law degree was a prerequisite.

The members of the Class of 1995 accepted positions in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Starting salaries varied considerably with location and type of work. For example, large New York firms offered 1995 graduates $85,000 per year, while similar jobs in large urban areas were generally more than $65,000 and in smaller urban areas generally around $45,000. Jobs with the federal government were in most cases at the $35,000 salary level. Although precise figures are not available, the average starting salary for graduates was estimated by the Career Planning & Placement Office to be about $68,000.